Lewis Hamilton limits damage with 7th place at Monaco GP
MONACO (AP) Lewis Hamilton produced a faultless drive to salvage a seventh-placed finish at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday after starting 13th on the grid.
Having endured a torrid weekend at the famous street circuit, the three-time world champion finally got to grips with his Mercedes to secure a useful six points.
Sebastian Vettel produced a dominant performance to lead a Ferrari one-two ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and extend his championship lead over Hamilton to 25 points.
''I like to look at the glass half-full - today I'm generally really happy with the day. I was sad yesterday, I was devastated but to come away with some points is better than nothing,'' Hamilton said.
''I did what I came to do today, didn't make any silly mistakes, didn't damage the car, got those points and I'd like to think at the end of the season those points are going to be valuable.''
Having failed to make it through to the third and final round of qualifying on Saturday, the race was always going to be a case of damage limitation for the British driver.
Hamilton made an ideal start as he got past Stoffel Vandoorne on the opening lap, before gaining from Nico Hulkenberg's engine failure and Sergio Perez's damaged wing to rise to 10th.
But with perfect weather conditions and one-stop strategies the order of the day, Hamilton's prospects of progressing further appeared limited.
However, Hamilton's ability to make his ultra-soft tires last significantly longer than his rivals created an opening.
Hamilton defied the fresher tires of Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean to produce faster lap times and emerged ahead of the trio when he finally pitted on lap 47.
With his new set of super-softs, Hamilton was briefly the fastest man on the track and quickly closed on sixth-placed Carlos Sainz Jr.
But a spate of crashes saw the safety car limit Hamilton's opportunity to pressure the Toro Rosso and he was made to settle for seventh.
''You'd rather have 2 points or 4 points rather than none because this might make all the difference at the end of the season when it gets tight in the championship,'' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said.
''He has perfectly executed. Those points might be valuable at the end - it was damage limitation.''