Seven months on from his last victory in Formula One, Lewis Hamilton breathed a huge sigh of relief atop the Monaco podium on Sunday, having bought the 2016 title race back to life.
A brilliant race from start to finish, Hamilton was able to profit from a lousy Red Bull pit-stop to usurp Daniel Ricciardo, the fastest driver all weekend, and see his car home at a slippery, damp Monaco.
The race started under a Safety Car such were the treacherous conditions thanks to a pre-race downpour. When the race finally got going after seven laps, chaos ensued. Jolyon Palmer wrote off his Renault before the lap was out, whilst Kimi Raikkonen suffered irreparable damage to his Ferrari and was lucky not to cause a dangerous collision in the tunnel. Max Verstappen ended a torrid weekend with a retirement midway through the race, having lost control of his Red Bull and ploughing into the crash barriers. To top of the mayhem, the two Saubers, battling for second-from-last place for a team than can barely make it to a race weekend at the moment, took one another out at Rascasse in the dying laps. Luckily, both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Eriksen are pay drivers, or else both will be looking at the sack this morning.
At the front of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo stole a huge lead on a struggling Nico Rosberg early doors, and by the time the first round of pit-stops came around to change from wets to slicks, he had built up enough time to take a comfortable stop. Unfortunately for him, the Red Bull mechanics were a bit too leisurely. A lack of ready tyres meant that he sat and sat and sat in his pit-grid, until the slicks came and he was given leave to get back into the waste. By the time he emerged, Lewis Hamilton had snuck into the lead and didn't look back. As Ricciardo put it, what a 'screw up'.
Nico Rosberg was unable to maintain his impressive recent form and was way off the pace for the whole race. His poor afternoon was compounded by Nico Hulkenberg pipping his fellow German to P6 on the finish line. His Mercedes team blamed it on brakes, but Rosberg made no mention of it in post-race interviews.
Hamilton, in all fairness, made the most of his good fortune and looked a lot like his old self at his adopted home. With just 24 points separating Rosberg and Hamilton at the top of the Drivers' Championship, the title race is truly on. This will test Rosberg's steel and temperament. Next up is Canada, a track that Hamilton loves. A repeat performance by both drivers will completely reverse the momentum and make Hamilton the favourite for a third consecutive title as we enter the summer programme.