Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on: 28 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Englishman Lewis Hamilton wins the glamour Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

Lewis Hamilton scored his second race win of the season when crossing the chequered flag first at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The McLaren Mercedes star escaped a collision with the barriers to win an incident packed race that was shortened from 78 laps to 76 because of rain.

Hamilton’s early error punctured a rear tyre but worked in his favour in a race defined by the changeable weather conditions.

His team refuelled his car at the tyre change, enabling him to delay his final pit stop and build a decisive lead.

The Brit beat BMW’s Robert Kubica by three seconds with the Pole finishing in front of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

Hamilton’s win puts him three points ahead of Ferrari-rival Kimi Raikkonen in the Championship standings after six races.

A jubilant Hamilton described his victory in Monaco as the highlight of his fascinating career to date.

“This is the highlight of my career. This will stay with me for a long time… it is the highlight of my life so far,” says Hamilton.

“I was able to get a good start. I felt comfortable and I knew I had a good car to challenge Felipe (Massa), but then as the rain came down there was so much spray.”

“I hit a river of water and slid into the barrier, but fortunately I was able to tell the team and they reacted very quickly.”

“They did a great job and without them I wouldn’t have won this.”

The Briton’s victory has been seen by many as a fortunate one after hitting the barrier in only the sixth lap.

Nevertheless, having taken the lead on lap 33, Hamilton subsequently stole a march on his pursuers to build up a lead of 40 seconds.

He was therefore able to make his second pit-stop without losing the lead and, despite losing his advantage after a late Safety Car period, Hamilton took the chequered flag.

Meanwhile, World Champion Raikkonen was having a torrid time, completing the race back in ninth position and in doing so, losing his grip on the overall leaderboard.

The race in Monte Carlo has been run since 1929 and is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious motor racing events in the world alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with which it forms the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

The history, spectacle and glamour make it considered “the jewel of the Formula One crown.”

The Monaco circuit consists of the city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, which includes the famous harbour.

The race circuit itself has many elevation changes, tight corners and a narrow course that make it the most demanding track in Formula One.

Despite the fact that the course has had minor surgery during its history, it’s still considered to be the ultimate test of driving skills and if it were not already an existing Grand Prix, it would not be permitted to be added to the schedule for safety reasons.

Triple Formula One champion Nelson Piquet was fond of saying that racing at Monaco was “like trying to cycle around your living room” but added that “a win here was worth two anywhere else.”

Hamilton seemed to agree with Piquet after securing his first win at the famous track.

“It’s the ultimate driving experience. In racing conditions it can be frightening, exciting and extremely dangerous but that’s why we love it,” he says.

“People rate you if you win in Monte Carlo. I’m thrilled to go down in history as a winner here. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Hamilton’s attention will now turn to Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on 8th June for the seventh of 2008’s 18 Grand Prix races.

By Mark O'Haire

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