Here’s our snap report. Giles Richards’ piece will follow shortly.
A couple of emails from the readers as the United Kingdom national anthem rings out as those on the podiums wear red caps.
First, Craig in Peru: “Hi John Your descriptions of Hamilton-Verstappen remind me of a Monaco GP from years ago when (I think) Senna held off Mansell who was all over the back of him, but couldn’t get past. Great racing spectacle.”
Next, James in NYC: “It’s obvious that Mercedes would rather die of thirst than allow Max “You Die If You Try To Pass” Verstappen to get in front of them at any point, in any race. There’s typically a very heavy mechanical price to pay whenever trying to pass Max.”
Lewis Hamilton speaks, starting with mention of Niki Lauda.
“I was fighting with the spirit of Niki. I know he’ll be looking down taking his hat off. I was trying to make him proud. We truly miss him…I have not driven on such empty tyres since Shanghai in 2007. I hope it wasn’t really boring. I was never going to come in. I learned the hard way here before. I was driving on nothing. This team has done an incredible job. What we have achieved in the first six races is remarkable. [On his late clash with Max Verstappen] It was a bit of a late dive. I saw him last minute. He wasn’t fully past. A light touch and move on.
“This one’s for Niki,” says Bono in the garage. Hamilton is silent, and there are undoubtedly emotions for Niki Lauda. A red cap celebration can begin. That was gutsy drive from Hamilton, who was driving against himself and his belief in his car’s tyres for so long in the race. He could have let Verstappen go clear and still won due to that five-second penalty but is such a competitor that he wanted to take the chequered flag first.
Lewis Hamilton wins the Monaco GP!
Lap 78/78: OK, the last lap, after the last lap passed without incident. The stewards looking at that prang on lap 76. One last chance for Verstappen, but he is too far back. Hamilton speeds away, looking comfortable at last in the final straight. Vettel and Bottas come in, and the Verstappen time penalty will mean that Verstappen drops to fourth!
Lap 76/78: Oh! Contact! Verstappen chases down Hamilton, and lost control just at the moment Hamilton looked likely to falter. Both were struggling, but Hamilton held it together far better.
Lap 75/78: The hairpin again…Hamilton stamps on the throttle and gains control of the car enough to stay clear just when a gap opens up.
Lap 74/78: Verstappen goes at the hairpin again but is not close enough and almost lost it. Hamilton again held him off. This has been a brilliant battle between the two. Up ahead, Kevin Magnussen presents a potential roadblock.
Lap 72/78: Hamilton doing a great defensive job, and his rear tyres are keeping him in this. At the hairpin bend where Verstappen made his big move the gaps is too large for a move.
Lap 71/78: This time, Verstappen is a little closer but then gets his braking all wrong and loses the line completely. Great work from Max to steer away from the barrier but he has the power to catch up Hamilton again.
Lap 70/78: Verstappen has a go…but Hamilton comes across him expertly to close the gap, and then cuts back to stay ahead.
Lap 68/78: Vettel’s car is overheating, such that he is reduced to a watching brief to pick up the pieces of what is going on ahead. Meanwhile, the garages have been on the line, and Verstappen has been told he has more power than Hamilton, who responded rather sarcastically to the news.
Lap 66/78: Hamilton has 12 laps to go to win this, and he has stopped complaining to his team. It will be their fault if he loses, and if he pulls this off, it will be a miracle, to use his term. Gasly, as predicted, takes the fastest lap, and will take a point. Bottas is within 3.8 seconds of Verstappen and so will be third.
Lap 65/78: Verstappen and Hamilton as close as ever through the old Loews hairpin, and Max is trying to get close, so close that he makes an error. Bottas sets a fastest lap and will thus overtake Verstappen on the grid.
63/78: Pierre Gasly pits for Red Bull. He will not lose a place and will stay in fifth. This looks like an attempt to set the fastest lap, which will be worth an extra point. Bottas meanwhile has dropped to over five seconds behind Verstappen, meaning he will not be third but fourth if the race stays as it is.
Lap 61/78: Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel is the order, as it has been since the safety car. Hamilton looking tentative now, not confident in his hard braking to get round the corners. Vettel, in figurative second place, with Verstappen on that five-second penalty, is looking the more comfortable.
Lap 59/78: Hamilton looks comfortable, despite his flood complaints. Verstappen has never quite been able to get close. “I don’t know what you are thinking with these tyres, man,” says the leader. I am hoping for a miracle.”
Lap 57/78: Hamilton’s strategy appears to be coming in, but the team want him to stay out. It’s high risk from them as only a win will with soothe him. He doesn’t like to be defensive.
Lap 55/78: Hamilton still yet to come in, no sign of a pit stop for him even he says their tyres are “dead”. Footage of Verstappen’s car shows how close they are. “I can’t keep the car behind, can’t you hear that?” The front right is looking grim now, too.
Lap 52/78: Still only one man has abandoned, and that is Leclerc, who has been just been shown taking a walk down by trackside. The rain is yet to come, and may not come. That may change things. Hamilton’s front left tyre looks bad and Verstappen is getting closer, while Vettel backs off, his engine still giving him problems.
Lap 49/78: Sounds like Verstappen is being asked to stop his engine getting so hot. or the brakes. Vettel lies in wait for him. Hamilton just has tyres to worry about but says: “I think I am in big trouble, guys. I can’t feel the left front.”
“We aren’t going to box now,” says his man in the garage.
Lap 47/78: Kimi finally pits and his chasers can relax. “I’m in a mess,” says Hamilton. He really doesn’t fancy this car. How much longer can his team keep him out of the pits. He laps Lance Stroll, as do Verstappen and Vettel. But Bottas is not so lucky and gets snarled up in traffic behind Stroll.
Lap 45/78: Hamilton and Verstappen coming into heavy traffic with the backmarkers bunching up. Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Perez and Hulkenberg are concertinaed together, with Kimi blocking them off at 11.
Lap 43/78: Vettel trails the leading pair but the word from the garage is his car is overheating. Hamilton is sat prettier than he thinks: Verstappen is on five seconds of penalty and the next best can’t give his car the full gun.
Lap 41/78: Albon pits, as a few in midfield have done. Bottas is being trailed by Grosjean, Gasly, Sainz and Kvyat. Hamilton tells the team that he doesn’t fancy the tyres, while he is reassured that the likes of Grosjean are doing OK on the same tyres. Verstappen is within 0.8 seconds, and really piling it on.
Lap 38/78: This looks like being a battle of burning rubber. That is where the race will be won. Hamilton being told by his team that nobody fancies overtaking.
Lap 36/78: Hamilton is informed over the radio that Verstappen’s tyres are worse than his, which may not be the case, but may keep him motivated. Vettel, meanwhile, is sitting pretty and seems to have bided his time to save his tyres.
Lap 34/78: Plenty of manoeuvre in the chasing pack but up at the front, Hamilton is holding on grimly, though seems to have a problem with his tyres. Verstappen’s tyres don’t look too much better, though. Both have opened up. It looks unlikely that they will last the distance.
Lap 32/78: A pic of that near pile-up that eventually did for Leclerc, though his goose was cooked anywhere, and some news on the consequences for those involved.