Days after the news of Niki Lauda’s death, Lewis Hamilton showed his speed and racecraft to win on the streets of Monaco
Hamilton came out on top in his fight with Verstappen for the win Photo: Motorsport Images
Mercedes paid its respects to Niki Lauda with red caps and a special livery but Lewis Hamilton’s race victory was the greatest tribute to the Austrian who had been so instrumental in the success of the team – and its recruitment of Hamilton.
Hamilton led team-mate Bottas from pole as Max Verstappen settled into third with Sebastian Vettel fourth.
Charles Leclerc was on a mission impossible at his home race starting from 16th having been knocked out by Vettel in Q1 after a miscalculation in cut-off time by Ferrari.
Leclerc makes contact with the barrier at Rascasse Photo: Motorsport Images
He was soon up the order and two decisive moves on Lando Norris and Romain Grosjean had him up into 12th place.
Leclerc tried to repeat his trick up the inside into Rascasse on Nico Hülkenberg but misjudged his move and hit the inside wall with his rear right tyre.
It resulted in an eventual puncture and the Monégasque driver destroyed the rear of his floor as the tyre delaminated on return to the pits.
The debris strewn across the racetrack brought out the safety car and the leaders pitted for their one and only stop of the afternoon.
More: full 2019 Monaco Grand Prix race report
Hamilton and Verstappen make contact Photo: Motorsport Images
While his rivals took hard tyres, Hamilton was put onto medium tyres and would have to make them last for the remainder of the race.
While Bottas led the Red Bull into the pits, Verstappen was released into the path of the Mercedes and made slight contact as the two left the pitlane side-by-side.
The Red Bull moved into second but would be handed a five-second time penalty for the incident.
For the remainder of the race, Hamilton was forced to try and conserve his tyres while fending off the threat of Verstappen behind.
Hamilton pays tribute to Niki Lauda Photo: Motorsport Images
For the final 20 laps of the race, Verstappen harried Hamilton for the win but couldn’t find a way through despite the tyre offset.
On lap 76, Verstappen made his final attempt with a late lunge down the inside into the Nouvelle Chicane.
Hamilton moved over to cover but the pair made slight contact and Hamilton took to the escape road.
A lap and half later, Hamilton crossed the line to win and dedicated the victory to Lauda.