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Rosberg wins Monaco GP

updated 11:29 AM EDT, Sun May 25, 2014
Nico Rosberg won the Monaco GP to go top of the drivers' standings.
Nico Rosberg won the Monaco GP to go top of the drivers' standings.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mercedes' Nico Rosberg wins Monaco GP
  • Held off teammate Lewis Hamilton in second place
  • The two had clashed during qualifying
  • Rosberg replaces Hamilton in drivers championship

(CNN) -- Nico Rosberg overcame accusations of gamesmanship to beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and win a tense and at times dramatic Monaco Grand Prix.

The German driver led from the start with early championship pace setter Hamilton, nursing an eye injury later in the race, having to make do with second place.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished third.

I should have known that was going to happen and done it the lap before
Lewis Hamilton

But the race, much like the build up, was dominated by tensions between the two Mercedes drivers. With Rosberg and Hamilton -- who were separated by just three championship points going in to the race -- vying for pole position on the final lap of qualifying Saturday, Rosberg left the track after his front wheel locked.

The stewards brought out caution flags, preventing Hamilton from completing his final qualifying lap and handing pole to Rosberg.

Rosberg claimed it was a simple error and a steward's inquiry agreed, concluding that there was "no evidence of any offense."

But Hamilton was less convinced.

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"I found the time at the end and wasn't able to execute it so it wasn't a true showing of my true pace," the British driver told the BBC after qualifying.

"But I should have known that was going to happen and done it the lap before," he added.

Despite Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda voicing fears that the two drivers may collide at the first corner, the front row got away without incident and Rosberg built a strong lead on a course renowned for its difficulty in overtaking.

A stalemate followed until lap 28 when Sauber's Adrian Sutil crashed out, causing the safety car to come and provoking a flurry of tactical pit stops.

Thereafter Hamilton caught up with Rosberg, and looked set to challenge for the lead, until he suddenly dropped back, complaining to his team that he couldn't see out of his left eye.

In the end Hamilton was lucky to clinch second after Ricciardo pulled close in the final laps. But Hamilton held on.

The result saw Rosberg take the lead in the drivers championship, with Hamilton dropping back to second. But with many making comparisons between the famously bitter team rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, the battle, and the mind games, are likely to continue until the last race of the season.

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