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Lady Luck smiles on Hamilton

sports Updated: May 30, 2016 08:43 IST

MONACO: Lewis Hamilton won an incident-packed Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday to get his Formula One championship bid back on track after a dismal run of eight races without a win.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo started from pole position and finished second — after a huge blunder from his team which failed to have his tyres ready — with Mexican driver Sergio Perez third for Force India.

Hamilton, the defending F1 champion, started from third but soon overtook his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, and then held off Ricciardo with a gritty blocking move midway through.

“It’s been a long time coming to get this win — not only in the season but here at the Monaco Grand Prix,” said Hamilton, whose only other Monaco win was in 2008 for McLaren. “As soon as it rained I knew there was an opportunity, and fortunately I was quick enough in the wet.”

With Rosberg — the championship leader — finishing seventh, Hamilton moved up to second overall in the standings, closing the gap on Rosberg to 24 points, while Ricciardo is in third spot.

Because of poor visibility and a drenched circuit, the first few laps were a procession behind a safety car.

But once the racing began properly, it was a thriller featuring multiple crashes and the comical sight of Red Bull’s pit crew not being ready for Ricciardo’s tire change.

The Australian driver was unforgiving, saying “everyone was running around like headless chucks (chickens).” He added: “It’s massively disappointing.”

By contrast, Hamilton was delighted, jumping out of his car and throwing himself into the arms of his team engineers - and even getting congratulated by U.S. pop star Justin Bieber. Hamilton, who had not won since clinching last season’s United States Grand Prix, took his helmet off and then ran back to get more hugs from his pit crew.

First Published: May 30, 2016 08:43 IST