Formula One: Rosberg takes surprise Monaco hat-trick, as pit stop blows Hamilton's chances

German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG GP in action during the 2015 Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco at Monte Carlo circuit in Monaco, on May 24, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA 
German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG GP in action during the 2015 Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco at Monte Carlo circuit in Monaco, on May 24, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA 
Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany (centre) celebrates with members of his team after winning the Monaco F1 Grand Prix in Monaco on May 24, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany (centre) celebrates with members of his team after winning the Monaco F1 Grand Prix in Monaco on May 24, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Winner Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany, second-placed Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (left) of Germany and third-placed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain stand on the podium with Princess Charlene of Monaco (rear, second left), Prince Alber
Winner Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany, second-placed Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (left) of Germany and third-placed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain stand on the podium with Princess Charlene of Monaco (rear, second left), Prince Albert II of Monaco (rear centre) and his nephew Andrea Casiraghi (rear, second right) on May 24, 2015, at the Monaco street circuit in Monte Carlo. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates with his trophy on the podium, flanked by Prince ALbert II of Monaco (back), after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix on May 24, 2015, at the Monaco street circuit in Monte Carlo. -- PHOT
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates with his trophy on the podium, flanked by Prince ALbert II of Monaco (back), after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix on May 24, 2015, at the Monaco street circuit in Monte Carlo. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MONACO (REUTERS, AFP) - Nico Rosberg took a surprise hat-trick of Monaco Grand Prix victories on Sunday, after Mercedes blew championship-leading team mate Lewis Hamilton's chances with a late pit stop while he was leading.

The result, with Hamilton third after leading for 64 of the 78 laps after starting on pole, slashed the Briton's lead over German rival Rosberg to 10 points after six of 19 races. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished second.

Hamilton's race unravelled when the safety car was deployed after Dutch 17-year-old Max Verstappen crashed heavily into the barriers.

While the race leader pitted for fresh tyres, Rosberg and Vettel stayed out.

"I've lost the race haven't I," the disconsolate double Formula One world champion enquired over the team radio after rejoining in third place. "What's happened guys?"

Hamilton's team were swift to apologise for the misjudgment, but their actions had deprived him, and the spectators, of a fair sporting outcome after he had dominated the 62nd running of this classic contest.

Rosberg's triumph enabled him to join Briton Graham Hill, Frenchman Alain Prost and Brazilian Ayrton Senna in completing a Monaco hat-trick.