Making the most of an epic pit-stop blunder from Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton was able to reignite his championship challenge at the Circuit de Monaco Having opened the season with five races where everything seemed to go against him, Lewis Hamilton finally had things go very, very right. Putting together the sort of drive that made him a three-time world champion, Hamilton came from third on the grid to beat Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in one of the most exciting Monaco races in recent memory. Ricciardo was a considerable favourite after delivering a stunning lap for pole on Saturday, and commanded early proceedings as the race started under wet conditions. However, his hopes of a first win since 2014 went up in flames after a disastrous second pit-stop saw him wait for an extra ten seconds in his box as his mechanics had failed to provide new tyres. From then on it was all Hamilton, who put-together an incredible 47-lap stint on ultra-soft tyres to take the victory. Adding to the day’s excitement was an even-more-unlikely podium for Force India’s Sergio Perez, putting the exclamation mark on a race that lived up to the race’s rarely-met expectations. Read on for a look at each of the top three’s equally notable outings at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Hamilton rides ultra-softs to improbable victory What a difference a year makes. In 2015, the Monaco Grand Prix was where it all went wrong for Lewis Hamilton. Under a late safety car, the decision was made to pit Hamilton from the lead, which due to a miscalculation of his gap to the cars behind him, saw him fall all the way to third as teammate Nico Rosberg went on to snatch the victory. In the post-race ceremony, Hamilton looked like a man who couldn’t escape the scene of the crime fast enough – come 2016, the Brit must feel like he has just gotten away with murder. It wasn’t just that Hamilton was gifted the lead thanks to the cock-up at Red Bull, but that he was put in a position to seize that opportunity thanks to the misfortune that befell the second-placed Rosberg. Suffering issues with brake temperature that left him well off leader Ricciardo’s pace, the German was quick to move aside just 16 laps into the race – for all the animosity that crops up between those two, it was nice to see such fair play, especially as Hamilton made sure it paid off. That’s because Ricciardo and Rosberg aside, Hamilton was absolutely superb in this race. You could argue that twice, Hamilton was disadvantaged by his tyre strategy, first staying on wets while almost everyone else went to inters – somehow not just making them last, but managing to match them for pace – and then taking a pair of ultra-softs 47 laps to the end of the race. It wasn’t just that his ultras well-outlived their expected life either, but that he was able to set the fastest time on them 39 laps into his stint – Ricciardo may feel robbed of a win, but getting that much extra out of such a set is just as criminal. Certainly, Sunday was a big morale booster for Hamilton, but it’s not all sunshine from here onwards. Saturday’s quali showed exactly why he still has plenty of cause for concern – both in terms of Rosberg’s pace and his own car’s reliability. And yet, being able to seize this opportunity in such commanding fashion will have him looking to close the gap in a title fight that with Rosberg’s eventual seventh-place (something tells me Lewis might owe Nico Hulkenberg a beer), has finally come to life. More doom and gloom for the Honey Badger It’s safe to say it hasn’t been a good past two races for Daniel Ricciardo. After losing the lead only to watch teammate Max Verstappen claim victory in Barcelona, the motorsport gods were happy to follow up that gut punch with their equivalent of a nut shot in Monaco. The story of the stop that blew Ricciardo’s race is pretty simple: the pit wall made the decision to change him to super-softs in what team principal Horner called “plenty of time”, however his mechanics had none readily at hand, which is why the Australian was left sitting in his box as the race slipped away. Ricciardo clearly didn’t take it well – his customarily upbeat demeanour reduced to a Hamilton-esque sourness in the post-race ceremony – and that certainly wasn’t helped by the somewhat-controversial move of Hamilton’s out of the nouvelle chicane on lap 37, as the Australian nearly went spinning into the barriers after having his attempt at retaking the lead was ruthlessly blocked. Leaving just enough space to avoid a penalty, Ricciardo was never able to recover, and thus we now have lots of pictures of a very grumpy honey badger. So after having the rug pulled out from under him on two consecutive occasions, is there any consolation for Ricciardo? He certainly demonstrated on Saturday how well he can drive with a little added motivation, taking a very impressive pole, and perhaps that carries over to Canada. Moreover, in reaching what is a definite “low point” perhaps the “bright side” is that at just 26, he’s already built the foundations of a very solid career. You’ve got to be good enough to go through both highs and lows, as all the current legends of the sport very well know. In the end this is a team sport, and today, the team missed its mark. It’s understandable – particularly in the current Mercedes-dominated era – that Ricciardo would be so dejected at missing this chance, but the way he’s driving right now, it’s unlikely to be his last. Perez produces Monaco masterclass Consider this your yearly reminder that Sergio Perez is a seriously talented racing driver. Making 2016 the third-straight year the Mexican has reached a Grand Prix podium, Perez once again demonstrated the race-craft that once made him one of Formula 1’s most sought-after young drivers. Bahrain 2014, Russia 2015, Perez added Monaco to the list with a quintessential drive around the principality. There was no spectacular pass to be had, but Perez simply drove the perfect race: banging in consistently fast laps, pouncing during the pit-windows and making no mistakes. A well-deserved podium if there ever was one. The question now is – as it has been after each of his Force India podiums: are we going to see Perez in a big team ever again? Since leaving McLaren after just one year in 2013, the Mexican has developed a reputation as a driver who performs best when given a whiff of the podium. Over the course of a whole season, perhaps he cedes the spotlight to teammate Nico Hulkenberg a little too often, and that could hurt him if a Ferrari or Williams desires consistency in their next hires, but few can go from the unremarkable to the spectacular like Perez, and that will continue to keep him on their shortlist. Who knows? If he rises to the occasion a few more times over the rest of this season, he could very well be at the top of it. Is Hamilton now the in-form Mercedes driver? Was Ricciardo unjustly deprived of a victory? Has Perez done enough to earn a look from one of F1’s bigger teams? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.