Nico Rosberg may have been gifted victory in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix by the Mercedes team, but the German driver joined a very exclusive club of Monaco three-peat winners on a funny day in the principality.
For the entirety of the weekend, Rosberg had been second best, trailing his teammate in FP1, FP2 and qualifying before falling 19 seconds adrift in the race ahead of the safety car period.
Mercedes’ decision to pit Hamilton was a disastrous one, given that his lead was not quite big enough to be so complacent and try to rub salt into the wound by exacting an even more crushing defeat on the rest of the field.
The result was that Rosberg, who had spent the entire weekend in the shadows, was able to claim his third successive win around the streets of Monaco that he has called home for the majority of his life.
With victory, he became just the fourth driver in the 86-year history of the Monaco Grand Prix to win it three years in a row.
Graham Hill was the first driver to complete a hat-trick in such fashion, winning in 1963, 1964 and 1965. He would win again in 1968 and 1969 to earn himself the nickname ‘Mr. Monaco’.
Four-time world champion Alain Prost was next up in achieving a Monaco three-peat with victories in 1984, 1985 and 1986 for McLaren.
However, he was soon put in the shade around the streets of the principality. Ayrton Senna made his name in the 1984 race at Monaco when he so nearly denied Prost a win, only for a questionable red flag call to curtail his charge.
Senna soon lifted himself onto the top step of the podium, winning for the first time in 1987 for Lotus. In 1988, he looked poised to win for a second time after producing what is widely regarded as being the greatest qualifying lap in F1 history to finish 1.4 seconds clear of Prost.
In total control of the race, the Brazilian made an uncharacteristic error at Portiers. He got out of his car and went straight to his apartment, and wasn’t seen for many days.
Senna bounced back the following year to start a run of five successive wins at Monaco, taking his final tally to six. Crazier still, it could so easily have been seven in a row, if not eight overall.
And now Rosberg joins the three-peat party. His status in F1 may not yet be up there with Hill, Senna or Prost, but he certainly has etched his place in the history of the sport with this victory, even if it did come under rather bizarre circumstances.