Nico Rosberg won his third consecutive Monaco Grand Prix after teammate Lewis Hamilton was told by Mercedes to pit from the race lead in the closing stages.
Hamilton had built up an incredible 19s lead, only for Mercedes to completely throw it away.
A spectacular collision between Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean sent the 17-year-old rookie hard into the barrier at the end of the front straight, bringing out the safety car.
During the ensuing safety car period, Mercedes frantically brought Lewis in for fresh tires, but Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel stayed out, relegating Hamilton to third.
A series of tense radio messages between Lewis and his team ensued trying to figure out the situation. Hamilton at one point sounded utterly despondent.
I’ve just lost this race haven’t I?
– Lewis Hamilton
The safety car period ended on lap 71 of 78, when Nico Rosberg disappeared off into the distance leaving Hamilton to hound the back of Vettel’s Ferrari.
Behind them Daniel Ricciardo knocked Kimi Raikkonen wide and then slipped by his teammate.
With five laps remaining, Rosberg had a four second lead.
With three to go, Vettel led a nose to tail train with Hamilton and Ricciardo right behind him.
In the end Rosberg crossed the line five seconds clear of his pursuers, becoming just the fourth man in history to claim three Monaco victories in a row, putting his name in with the likes of Prost, Hill and Senna.
Hamilton parked his car in parc ferme and sat in the car in shock and disbelief.
His championship lead is now cut down to a scant 10 points.
Behind the leaders Ricciardo gave 4th back to teammate Kvyat after a last lap radio instruction from the team.
Raikkonen struggled on low temp tires most of the day and finished a lonely 6th.
Sergio Perez, so often looming in Kimi’s mirrors finished where he started in 7th.
Jenson Button came in a strong 8th place, finally giving the McLaren-Honda team its first hard earned points of the season.
Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten with strong runs from the back of the field.
Much will be made of the call to put Hamilton on fresh tires for the closing laps, along with the potential fall out inside the Mercedes garage that could very well factor in the championship come seasons end.
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Image: Mercedes AMG F1