Hamilton: I earned this victory
Three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton says his Monaco Grand Prix win “feels like the best race ever” after coming through a number of obstacles to finish top of the podium on Sunday.
Both Hamilton and his Mercedes team made the decision to extend his first stint on wet tyres to avoid the need for an additional pit stop in the race – just as his closest rival Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull had opted for.
The move turned out to be the perfect decision as Hamilton stormed to the front of the pack in the closing stages – along with some help from a scrappy pit stop from Red Bull – and close out the victory. Despite pressure from the Australian, the notoriously tough to overtake Monaco track helped the Brit to seal his first victory of the season.
“It feels like the best race ever,” he told Sky Sports F1. “I’ve had a lot of races so it’s difficult to recall all of them, but this one I feel in my heart that I earned it.
“I earned what I had out there today. It didn’t feel like a stroke of luck or anything like that, I really worked every inch of the track that I could use and ounce of grip that I had.
“I used every tool and skill that I had in order to stay ahead of Daniel and slog that car round as fast as I could.
“Honestly, I feel amazing. [Win number] 44, in Monaco, I haven’t won for ages – it feels like a lifetime – so it feels like the greatest blessing.”
Hamilton has cut a frustrated figure through the early stages of the season thus far, as he has had to watch teammate Nico Rosberg win the opening four races of the campaign. However, the German managed only 7th in Monaco on Sunday, allowing Hamilton to cut the gap between the pair to just 24 points.
After admitting the conditions suited him down to the ground, the defending World Champion claimed “it was the hardest race I can remember having to do” but was always confident in his and his team’s strategy.
“Those conditions are generally my preferred conditions: mixing, changing conditions,” Hamilton said.
“Whilst today I wasn’t necessary the quickest in those conditions, Daniel was incredibly quick, but they had more downforce than us this weekend, I just decided to stay out.
“The team were like ‘others are boxing, the intermediate looks quicker, box this lap’ and I was like ‘no, it’s drying real quick so if you box me now I’m going to be coming back in in 10-15 laps anyway and probably going to grain the tyres’.
“Then I started to push. I didn’t really have any graining of the tyres, and I was like ‘if I can eke it out a little bit longer I might be able to do one stop and come out on slicks’.
“But over two laps it hadn’t dried much and then the next lap it had dried a load. When I came out it was the trickiest conditions, it was like driving on ice.”
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