Nico Rosberg produced a stellar drive to claim his second win of the 2014 season at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The German held off team-mate Lewis Hamilton throughout the race until a problem with vision for Hamilton caused the Briton to drop back and only just hold off Daniel Ricciardo in third for Red Bull.
At the start both Mercedes got away well as Kimi Raikkonen was the man on the move jumping from sixth for fourth as Daniel Ricciardo’s poor start saw him drop to fifth.
Everyone made it safely through Ste Devote but there was drama as Sergio Perez collided with Jenson Button exiting Mirabeau causing the first opening lap Safety Car period in four years.
Once the debris and Force India was cleared the race restarted allowing Rosberg and Hamilton’s fight to begin, initially it was the Briton looking for a way through as Sebastian Vettel hit mechanical problems and was forced to retire from third.
The race continued in a similar pattern with the two Mercedes pulling clear at the front as Raikkonen moved up to third, however, as Hamilton was pushing again to pass Rosberg, Adrian Sutil crashed exiting the tunnel and causing a second Safety Car period.
This meant both Mercedes had to pit at the same time as did much of the grid to move onto the soft prime tyres.
As the lapped cars moved through, as they are allowed to do behind the Safety Car, contact between Raikkonen and Max Chilton gave the Ferrari a puncture forcing him to stop again and drop down the order.
The race restarted once more following a similar pattern as before with the two Mercedes separated by under a second out front as Ricciardo, now back in third, pulled a gap to Fernando Alonso in fourth.
Trouble behind for the Toro Rosso’s who, after their best qualifying in Monaco, were both forced to retire with engine issues as was Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.
McLaren enjoyed a much improved race with both cars in the top ten and Nico Hulkenberg was also very quiet but doing a brilliant job for Force India in fifth.
Felipe Massa was the only driver not to stop under the Safety Car opting to do a shorter run on the yellow-striped tyres and move through the field when those around began to lose grip.
Mid-race concerns over fuel consumption for Rosberg seemed to give Hamilton a chance, however, the Briton never really got close enough to pull a move and indeed the German began to slightly extend his lead at the front.
More incidents behind as Esteban Gutierrez clouted the barrier exiting Rascasse forcing him into a spin and out of the race and this promoted Jules Bianchi up into tenth and on course for Marussia’s first F1 points.
That feat was all but assured in the closing laps as Kimi Raikkonen looked to pull a move on Kevin Magnussen at the Loews Hairpin as they and Jenson Button closed on Hulkenberg in fifth.
However, the Finn ran too deep and was unable to make the corner forcing both men down to order and promoting Bianchi upto eighth.
An earlier five second penalty for failing to pull into the correct grid slot meant the Frenchman drops to ninth behind Romain Grosjean but the two points have moved Marussia ahead of Sauber into ninth on the Constructors standings.
Kevin Magnussen recovered to take tenth as Hulkenberg also retained fifth ahead of Jenson Button – as McLaren score their first points since Malaysia – with the late collision also gifting Massa seventh.
At the front, however, Rosberg’s lead began to quickly increase and the reason was due to Lewis Hamilton suffering from a lack of vision in his left eye after dirt had got inside his visor.
That problem was exacerbated by a big increase in pace late in the race by Daniel Ricciardo in third who closed by over a second per lap but was unable to find a way through on the Mercedes and had to settle for third with Fernando Alonso enjoying an uneventful drive in fourth.
The pre-race tension between Rosberg and Hamilton was apparent throughout the race, with Hamilton particularly upset about when he pitted for his first stop during the second Safety Car period.
The result means Rosberg returns to the top of the championship table four points clear of Hamilton heading to the next round in Canada in two weeks time.
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