Hello and welcome to ESPNF1's coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix.


14:00: Hamilton takes his place on pole. Moments away from lights out as the field filters in...

13:59: Hamilton has a very slow get away off the line to start the formation lap. He did similar in Spain and had a woeful start... He is fine to re-take his position if he doesn't drop to the back of the field and he didn't, only Rosberg and Vettel seemed to get away ahead of him before his Mercedes started moving.


13:38: The Manor drivers, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Alonso will start on the soft tyre. Everyone else on supersofts. The grid is starting to clear out ahead of the formation lap.




13:52: Here's the man to beat this afternoon.



13:46: The drivers are stood on the podium steps for the Monaco national anthem. The royal family in attendance as well.


13:43: Naturally lots of thoughts this weekend with Jules Bianchi, who scored Marussia's first points at last year's race. A repeat from Manor looks very unlikely this afternoon but anything can happen in Monte Carlo.


13:40: Huge media scrum around Cara Delevingne, the model. Another point of interest is that there are grid boys for this race rather than grid girls. A low key change but an interesting one given that the World Endurance Championship made a big song and dance about getting rid of grid girls ahead of the current season.


13:38: Elsewhere, the battle to Turn 1 will be the one to watch. Rosberg and Vettel are sat ready to pounce on any slip ups from poleman Hamilton. Ricciardo in starts highly in fourth but has a habit of tardy starts off the line, something he will need to avoid this afternoon.


13:35: Grid news for you. Jenson Button will start 10th due to two penalties around him. Carlos Sainz will start from the pit lane after missing a date with the FIA weighbridge, while Romain Grosjean drops five places for a power unit change.


13:28: Lotus had Mad Max branding on its car in Spain. This weekend? Pharrell Williams. And they said F1 wasn't down with young people.



Lap 1

Good start from Hamilton who leads Rosberg into Turn 1 and somehow there is no contact behind him. Kvyat beats Ricciardo into Turn 1 while the Australian checks out the back of Vettel through Ste Devote.

Hulkenberg into the wall at Mirabeau. He's lost his front wing and, as he tries to get going again, he drives over the wing. Replays show Alonso barged Hulkenberg into the wall as he drove down the inside.

Lap 2

That incident between Hulkenberg and Alonso immediately under investigation.

Hulkenberg in the pits for a new front wing. Massa also in the pits, switching to the soft compound and getting a new nose. He had been on the radio complaining something was "finished" earlier.

Lap 3

Fastest lap from race leader Hamilton, a 1:20.852. Already a lead of 1.5s over Rosberg.

Replays of the start show Kvyat coming oh so close to losing his front wing on the back of Vettel's Ferrari. He did well to avoid contact and get ahead of Ricciardo into that turn.

Lap 4

Sounds like Massa's problems came from a clash with Maldonado.

"We think the brakes are OK now," Lotus tells Maldonado. "They are not OK," comes the reply.

Lap 5

Hulkenberg sets a fastest lap, a 1:20.220, showing the benefit of having an intact front wing in Formula One these days.

Hamilton's lead is now 2.317s.

Lotus tells Maldonado to do some lift and coast, Toro Rosso tells Verstappen, the man behind, to put the Venezuelan under pressure.

Verstappen all over the back off Maldonado coming through Tabac but there's no room to get past.

Lap 6

Verstappen opens up the DRS and passes Maldonado very nicely through Turn 1. Maldonado was squeezed very closely against the wall as the teenager drove away from him at the bottom of the hill.

Lap 7

Five second penalty for Alonso after that Hulkenberg collision. He can serve that at his next pit stop or have it added to his race time at the end of the race. He's very well placed in 10th and on the soft tyre.

Perez warned Verstappen will start to close the gap as Maldonado, the man he just passed for P8, pulls into the pit lane to retire.

Lap 8

Sainz runs across the Nouvelle Chicane and very nearly clouts the back of a Sauber.

Lap 9

Hamilton sets a new fastest lap, a 1:20.187. That was four tenths quicker than Rosberg, things panning out nicely for the world champion currently.

Maldonado is out of his car and walking down the pit lane. Seems like a brake failure for the Lotus man.

Lap 10

Seems Hamilton is nursing his own brakes slightly, but the gap over Rosberg keeps getting bigger and is now 3.1s.

Lap 11

Verstappen absolutely flying out there. He's got seven seconds to make up on Perez after being held up by Maldonado but at the moment his lap times are similar to the front runners.

Lap 12

Nice on board shot with Alonso on the FOM broadcast. He's currently 10th.

I imagine the front runners are saving brakes and tyres out there a bit as the times are nothing spectacular. Rosberg keeping Hamilton in check, the lead around the 2.7s mark.

Lap 13

Rosberg not really shaking Vettel at the moment either. The Ferrari driver still within two seconds of the Mercedes in front.

Sainz comes in for soft tyres. He was 16th so that sort of strategy call makes a lot of sense but getting to the end of the race on that set will be a huge ask.

Lap 14

"We're losing a lot of time here guys!" complains Ericsson. Sauber says it is assessing the situation. He's currently behind Bottas so it must be a complaint about his tyres.

At the front, it seems Hamilton's pace is backing Rosberg into Vettel slightly. Shades of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Lap 15

Button currently catching the cars in front.

Hamilton's lead seems to be decreasing ever so slightly, I think he's in super conservative mode at the moment to save these brakes. He does goes purple in the first sector, however.

Lap 16

Great message from Toro Rosso to Sainz: "The strategy is to go as fast as possible and over take as many cars as you can." Radical thinking.

"What can I do to save these brakes? I am having to drive so slowly right now," says Hamilton. That would explain why he's not been able to shake Rosberg as of yet.

Lap 17

The lead 2.7s currently. Vettel just 1.3s behind Rosberg. Kvyat five seconds back, with Ricciardo a further three seconds down. Some interesting calls to be made when the pit stop window opens.

Lap 18

Fastest lap Hamilton, a 1:20.077, suggesting he's got things under control out in front. Rosberg now 3.3s down and is probably more concerned with the looming red car in his Ferrari.

Grosjean pits from 12th.

Lap 19

Blue flags for Rosberg and Vettel as they approach Merhi up the hill.

"How are the tyres, Kimi?" "Yeah, tyres are OK apart from that issue I told you. There's no point going closer to the car in front"

The Finn is currently just over a second behind Ricciardo.

Lap 20

Hamilton's just gained 1.3s on Rosberg in one lap - that gap is now 4.0s. Rosberg has opened up a bit more breathing space over Vettel, however, the gap around 1.8s. Mercedes will now be concerned about Vettel and the undercut as they can't pit both drivers on the same lap.

Traffic now starting to have an impact on gaps and positional battles.

Lap 21

Rosberg responds with a personal best lap, a 1:20.252, as Mercedes asks him to close the gap to Hamilton for a safety buffer to Vettel.

Lap 22

Mercedes tells Hamilton his brake situation under control now, which has been reflected in his recent lap times - including his most recent, a fastest lap of 1:19.869.

Lap 23

Rosberg now told Vettel is a threat for the undercut and that he needs to push.

"Solid job so far, keep it sweet, keep it consistent," Red Bull tells Kvyat.

Lap 24

Another fastest lap from Hamilton, a 1:19.807. He's flying.

McLaren tells Alonso to push so he can get out ahead of Nasr at the next pit stop in the battle for tenth. McLaren currently on for a double points finish.

Lap 25

Lap 26

Rosberg still only 1.6s ahead of Vettel. He's not been able to open up a big gap to the Ferrari.

Seems Hamilton's brake situation is "approaching the limit" again.

Lap 27

"I lost a lot of time in that traffic," says Hamilton. But Rosberg and Vettel have to navigate through the same pack of cars, so you'd expect it to even out.

Lap 28

Ricciardo complains his rear tyres are starting to go off.

Some entertainment from the Honda power unit accounts.

Lap 29

Wow. The gap out in front has extended to 7.3s due to the traffic Rosberg and Vettel got caught up in. Vettel is within DRS range of Rosberg now, too.

Lap 30

Raikkonen now within eight tenths of Ricciardo as Verstappen pits. Toro Rosso will be keen to get him past Perez for sixth. But it's a slow stop for Verstappen! Disaster for the Dutch teenager, he might come out back of the field. Huge shame after such a brilliant weekend.

Lap 31

Hamilton in complete control, a 1:19.748. He leads by nine seconds. Rosberg has got things under control a bit with Vettel, the gap now 1.6s.

Lap 32

Mercedes must be thinking about pitting Hamilton soon. Force India tells Perez they may keep him out on the supersoft for a while longer but he says "this is all I have!" Sounds a bit frantic in that cockpit but with Verstappen's issue - which appears to have been with his right rear during the pit stop - has eased the pressure on the Mexican slightly.

Lap 33

Raikkonen within half a second of Ricciardo now.

Rosberg sets a personal best lap to narrow the gap out in front to 8.3s.

Alonso pits from ninth and serves that five second penalty before the McLaren mechanics get to work on his car. He's got out ahead of Nasr and Alonso is on for his first points finish of the season!

Lap 34

Hamilton the latest frontrunner to lose a bit of time behind traffic, but his lead looks pretty solid still.

Button tells McLaren he is struggling a lot with the rear tyres. He's yet to pit, of course.

Lap 35

Rosberg has lowered the gap to 6.5s, he's been quicker on the last five laps than Hamilton.

Lap 36

Alonso asking McLaren why he had the time penalty. Interesting McLaren didn't tell him about it until now.

Lap 37

Ricciardo struggling with the rears in low -speed corners as Vettel pits from third. Nice tidy stop, 3.1s, but he's going to re-join behind a big gaggleof traffic.

Ricciardo and Perez pit.

Lap 38

Unsurprisingly, Rosberg pits from second and he just makes it out ahead of Vettel. Good work from Mercedes, a 3.4s pit stop there and that should have second and third locked in.

Raikkonen pits and has jumped Ricciardo! Brilliant in-lap from the Finn.

Lap 39

Hamilton pits from the lead. Nice, tidy stop from Mercedes and he's well out in clear air.

Vettel seven tenths down on Rosberg. He's going to need to do something special to catch and pass the Mercedes, however.

Lap 40

Fastest lap from Rosberg, who is responding brilliantly to the pressure from Vettel. That was a 1:19.716 and the gap is now 1.7s.

Raikkonen runs across the Nouvelle Chicane and Ricciardo is now within half a second of the Ferrari.

Merhi under investigation for crossing the pit exit line.

Lap 41

Raikkonen responds to his last mistake with a personal best lap and has opened up a bit of breathing room over Ricciardo.

You can count the amount overtakes from this race on one hand currently.

Lap 42

Massa pits from 17th. Torrid race weekend for the Williams boys, they must be anxious to get out of the principality as quickly as possible. Canada should be a much happier stomping ground.

Raikkonen is now catching Kvyat pretty quickly, the gap now at 4.8s.

Lap 43

Fastest lap from Hamilton, a 1:18.676.

Yellow flags at Saint Devote and it's Alonso! He's slowed to a halt and that's all she wrote for the Spaniard. He called the McLaren "too fragile" yesterday and that still applies today.

Lap 44

Verstappen all over the back of Bottas now in the battle for 11th. Toro Rosso will be kicking themselves at the end of this race - a weekend of promise could end in zero points for either driver.

Lap 45

"Jenson we do not think it affects us," McLaren tells Button, referring to Alonso's issue. Seems the Spaniard thought it was a gearbox failure.

Merhi takes a novel approach to being blue-flagged as he dives across the Nouvelle Chicane with cars approaching.

Lap 46

Red Bull tells Perez that Ricciardo is struggling. The Force India responds with a personal best lap.

Replays show Sainz locking up and running across the Nouvelle Chicane.

Lap 47

Meanwhile, Hamilton in control out in front. Ten seconds the gap.

Button is told Force India and Red Bull have similar pace but higher tyre degradation at the moment.

Lap 48

Verstappen pits again for new supersoft tyres.

Button complaining about lapped traffic: "These guys are really bad at getting out of the way today. He hasn't moved for a whole lap now."

Lap 49

Ricciardo sets a personal best lap. He's clearly wary of Perez, who is five seconds behind.

Lap 50

Button sets a personal best lap himself. The only worry for him now will be the issue which hit Alonso earlier. If he can avoid that, he's on for eighth position.

Lap 51

Looking down the timing screens and the intervals, there are no real battles forming anywhere. There's 26 laps left for that to change but at the moment not a great deal.

Lap 52

Reports of a temperature-related issue for Alonso. The Spaniard said it was gearbox on the McLaren radio.

Lap 53

Hamilton's lead now 12 seconds. It might look like a nice Sunday afternoon drive but I can guarantee you it won't seem like that in his Mercedes cockpit.

FOM graphic shows Button has used a lot more fuel than Perez.

Bottas asking about pitting again but Williams tells him there's no point, as he'll lose so much time. Sainz is now right on his tail.

Lap 54

Raikkonen complaining about blue flags. "Where are the blue flags!? Do I have to f***** overtake him or what?"

Lap 55

Verstappen has jumped past Sainz thanks to some blue flags. Verstappen looks like he's trying to unlap himself currently, but he's just jumped Bottas for 11th.

Lap 56

Hamilton's lead has grown to 13.4s. A bit of blue-flag related madness with Raikkonen/Bottas/the Toro Rossos behind. On boards show Verstappen passing Bottas on the exit of the Lowes hairpin.

Lap 57

"Good job Max. The next one will be Grosjean," says Toro Rosso. Verstappen tells Toro Rosso he needs to keep with the Ferrari ahead to make the pass on the Lotus man easier.

Lap 58

Bottas does pit then, he's taken on supersoft tyres, which will make him rather quick in the final 20 laps.

Lap 59

No further action for Merhi after he crossed the pit lane line earlier.

Lap 60

Grosjean now getting the message from Lotus to watch out when he's lapped by the Ferrari coming up behind him, a reaction to Verstappen's last radio message. The gap is still five seconds, however, so the Toro Rosso teenager still has a lot of time to make up.

Raikkonen has closed the gap to Kvyat down to 1.2s. His tyres are nine laps younger.

Lap 61

Grosjean now has Vettel and Verstappen in his mirrors. He's got the blue flags for Vettel but Verstappen is right on the Ferraris gearbox! Brilliantly opportunistic driving from Verstappen but Grosjean defends brilliantly through the Lowes chicane.

Verstappen closes in at Nouvelle but can't get close enough.

"Very well done, very well done. Keep Verstappen behind now." Lotus tells Grosjean. The Dutchman all over the back of his Lotus now!

Lap 62

Grosjean and Verstappen fighting tooth and nail for one world championship point.

Ricciardo the latest driver to complain about losing time behind lapped traffic. Ericsson is told to let him by despite having good pace.

Lap 63

Verstappen thinks about a move into Sainte Devote but Grosjean shifts to the right to block off the Renault-powered Toro Rosso. Great job from Verstappen to keep the Frenchman honest and even better from Grosjean to stay ahead.

Lap 64

Big shunt! Verstappen smashes into the back of Grosjean coming into Sainte Devote! Virtual safety car deployed.

Verstappen tells Toro Rosso he is OK as he clambers from his car. A wonderful scrap ends in really disappointing circumstances.

The actual safety car has been deployed now, which evaporates Hamilton's 19 second lead. Late drama in Monte Carlo.

Lap 65

Mercedes' pit crew is out and the pit stop is going to get very, very busy now.

"Is there damage or not!?" Grosjean asks. He also has some expletives for Verstappen. Replays suggest the Toro Rosso rookie just went in too hot there and paid the price.

Lap 66

Hamilton pits from the lead and takes on supersoft tyre. Hamilton comes out behind Rosberg and Vettel!!! He's side by side with Vettel coming up the hill.

It looks like Hamilton has lost two places in that pit stop. Disastrous stop for the world champion, but he does have supersoft tyres on.

Lap 67

Why did Mercedes pit Hamilton there? That was a big, big misjudgement from the team and if Hamilton gets past Vettel I'd wager there will be some interesting calls to be made on the pit wall.

"I've lost this race haven't I!" Hamilton tells Mercedes.

Lap 68

If Hamilton doesn't win this race he is going to be absolutely livid in the post-race media interviews.

The safety car is now letting the lapped traffic past. Hamilton just isn't going to have the time to pass lapped traffic. Replays showing Hamilton re-joining the circuit and he was definitely behind Vettel when he re-joined.

Lap 69

Mercedes asking Rosberg if they're repairing the barrier at Turn 1.

Unsurprisingly, Verstappen/Grosjean incident is now under investigation.

Hamilton being asked if he came out ahead of Vettel at the pits. Says he was alongside.

Lap 70

"This makes no sense!" Vettel complains about the speed of the safety car.

Replays show Vettel clearly passed the safety car line before Hamilton.

Safety car in this lap. Hamilton has a chance to get past Vettel with those colder soft tyres but how much temperature will he have in his new supersofts?

Lap 71

Rosberg holds station into Turn 1. Hamilton right on Vettel's gearbox but can't make a move.

Hamilton clearly has much better grip but it's letting Rosberg scamper away out in front.

Hamilton not close enough at Nouvelle. DRS won't be re-activated for another lap.

Lap 72

Hamilton three tenths behind Vettel at the start of the next lap. He'll have DRS next time around. Vettel gets a bit more heat into his brakes and tyres every lap.

Hamilton climbing all over the gearbox, he's all over the back of Vettel!

Raikkonen complaining someone hit him. "That's not very nice!" the Finn complains. Ricciardo has got past him.

Lap 73

Replays show Ricciardo nudging past Raikkonen through Mirabeau. Alonso got a five-second penalty for similar earlier.

DRS enabled. This is now Hamilton's chance.

Rosberg now three seconds up the road.

Ricciardo has been let past team-mate Kvyat. He's also on fresher rubber.

Lap 74

Hamilton has DRS into Sainte Devote but can't get close enough. "Impossible to pass," Hamilton tells Mercedes.

Just as well Mercedes sorted that contract out this week, isn't it....

Lap 75

I tell you what, Ricciardo is absolutely flying behind Hamilton! He could well be in this battle soon as well.

Lap 76

Vettel doing really well in front of Hamilton as he sets a personal best lap. The world champion unable to get close enough to the Ferrari.

Ricciardo is told to get stuck into the scrap going on ahead of him. Thrilling finish here in Monaco.

Lap 77

"Please stop talking to me, please," says Hamilton as he gets information from Bonnington. He might not even finish on the podium at this rate. He sounds fed up and can you blame him?

No penalty for Ricciardo so he has a lap and a half to try and get a spot on the podium.

Kvyat asking if Ricciardo made any progress - he sounds a bit upset he had to let his team-mate through, too.

Lap 78

Rosberg has this one in the bag. Hamilton now having to look in his mirrors to finish third - Vettel has a big buffer out in front.

Madness from Mercedes. Utter madness.

Ah, Ricciardo will be giving a position back to Kvyat if he can't get past Hamilton, presumably through a time penalty.

Rosberg wins the Monaco Grand Prix!

Astonishing finish in Monte Carlo. Ricciardo slows to let Kvyat cross ahead of him after not getting close enough to Hamilton.

"WOOO! Yes!" Rosberg celebrates.

"Really sorry Lewis. We're going to have to have a word with the pit wall," says a sheepish Peter Bonnington to Hamilton.

Hamilton has stopped at the side of the race track.

Rosberg celebrating exuberantly and some will wonder why. He was handed that win by his team.