Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said his long-awaited victory at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday "feels like the best ever"
Lewis Hamilton said his long-awaited victory at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday "feels like the best ever" and the world champion did not feel he was fortunate to end his barren run.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo felt he had been "screwed" for the second race in succession after finishing second behind Hamilton, having started on pole in the Principality.
Ricciardo let his feelings be known after a slow pit stop on lap 32 proved to be costly, with the Australian having switched to intermediate tyres while Hamilton remained on wets in changeable conditions.
The Red Bull pit crew were not ready when Ricciardo - who had re-taken the lead after Hamilton's first stop - was called in again for a set of super-softs.
Ricciardo rejoined the race behind Hamilton following his prolonged stop and the Mercedes driver held on for his first victory since he took the chequered flag in Austin last October to win his third world title.
"I've had a lot of races, but personally this feels like the best ever - this feels like the one, in my heart, that I earned," said the Brit.
"And I earned it today. It didn't feel like a stroke of luck. I really ground out every inch of track, every ounce of grip, every bit of skill that I had in order to stay ahead of Daniel.
"My 44th win, in Monaco, when I haven't won in ages…it feels like the greatest blessing."
Asked about the tactic of staying out on wets, Hamilton added: "I wasn't necessarily the quickest, but when the track was drying, those are generally my preferred conditions.
"I decided to stay out; I knew if I could eke them [his wet tyres] out just a bit longer I could do a one-stop and come straight out for slicks. That was my goal.
"There was still a long way to go on those tyres - and the crazy thing is you don't know how long they will go.
"There are things you can do to manage the tyres, but every now and then Daniel would close the gap so I had to keep pushing. It felt like a lifetime. I'm so grateful, so happy."
Hamilton trails team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg by 24 points after the German finished back in seventh, with Sergio Perez completing the podium for Force India.