Nico Rosberg moved back into the lead of the F1 World Championship courtesy of a controversial victory around the streets of Monaco on Sunday.
Rosberg finished ahead of his Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, in the sport’s Blue Riband race to reestablish himself as the overall leader leader after six rounds of the season.
Despite the fifth 1-2 in succession for the Brackley team, tensions in the camp are high following a contentious qualifying session that saw Rosberg pip his team-mate to pole.
Sitting on provisional pole heading into the final minutes of Q3, Rosberg made an error on the approach to one of Monaco’s famous tight hairpin corners and was forced to drive into the escape road, which brought yellow flags and therefore prevented Hamilton from completing a final shot at taking pole position.
Hamilton was incensed by the incident and accused Rosberg of deliberately trying to sabotage his final run for the top spot. An accusation that Rosberg strongly denied.
As the cars lined-up for for Sunday’s race, Mercedes team bosses were still trying to play down the incident, insisting that a healthy rivalry was good for the team and for the sport.
After qualifying, Rosberg said: “Lewis was not happy after qualifying and I am sorry he feels that way, but I’m pleased to be on pole position and I hope to do all my talking on the track.”
At the start of the race, Rosberg did just that as he made a rapid start from the number one position to lead into Ste Devote. Once ahead, the German, who resides in Monaco, was able to control the pace and although he came under some pressure from Hamilton, he was able to lead from start to finish to clinch his second victory of the season.
The German said afterwards: “This is my second victory in Monaco. I have now scored back-to-back wins in a race at a track I call home and it feels fantastic to score victory here in a Silver Arrow.”
Hamilton remained frustrated after the race, despite finishing second, still smarting from his chance to secure pole position and earn his best chance of a fifth race win.
The Briton said: “This has not been my best weekend. We came here looking to win and extend my lead at the top of the world championship.
“Towards the end of the race, I managed to get some dust or grit in my eye, when it entered my crash helmet through a partially open visor. It made it very difficult to see as I could only really use one eye. It eventually cleared but only after I had lost time which prevented me from challenging Nico for the win.”
Daniel Ricciardo finished the race in third position for the Red Bull team with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fourth and Nico Hulkenberg in fifth.
The FIA F1 World Championship season continues next weekend in Montreal, Canada.