(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton overcame an early collision with the barriers to win a dramatic, rain-hit Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and move three points clear in the overall championship standings.
Hamilton's prospects did not look bright when he suffered a puncture after a sixth lap blunder.
Hamilton's blunder left him with a punctured rear tire but the incident was to work in his favor in a race run in changing conditions.
McLaren refueled Hamilton's car as his tire was changed and this made it possible for him to delay his final pit stop and establish a decisive lead.
"This is the highlight of my career, and it will be the highlight for the rest of my life," Hamilton told the British Press Asscoiation.
"I was able to get a good start. I felt comfortable and I knew I had a good car to challenge Felipe (Massa), but then as the rain came down there was so much spray.
"Through Tabac I hit a river of water and slid into the barrier, but fortunately I was able to tell the team and they reacted very quickly. "They did a great job and without them I wouldn't have won this."
Robert Kubica, in a BMW Sauber, edged pole sitter Felipe Massa of Ferrari out of second place but there was heartbreak for Force India's Adrian Sutil who lost fourth place after a superb drive when world champion Kimi Raikkonen crashed into his rear end in the closing stages.
The Finn, who had closed on Sutil after a safety car had to be deployed, slid into the back of the German's car after breaking at the chicane.
Sutil had to retire but Raikkonen was able to resume after having a new nose cone fitted and finished ninth after a below-par performance.
Mark Webber of Red Bull finished sixth, slipping back two places after putting on dry-weather tires at his last pit stop on lap 48. It was a little too early for the dries.
Hamilton made his final stop on lap 54 when the track was sufficiently dried out for him to put the dry tires on.
Hamilton's prospects of victory took a dip when he slid on the Tabac corner in heavy rain on lap six.
Fernando Alonso also lost control of his Renault at the same spot two laps later but both drivers were able to continue after tire changes.
David Coulthard of Red Bull and Sebastian Bourdais in a Toro Rosso were not so lucky after crashing at the same point just after Alonso.
The safety car came out and Hamilton was in fourth place when he rejoined the race.
"Massa was in front, ahead of Kubica and Raikkonen, who had to take a drive-through penalty for not having his tires fitted in time before the start of the race.
Kubica took advantage of a blunder by Massa on lap 16, but the Ferrari driver regained the advantage when the Pole made a stop on lap 26.
"It's a miracle I finished the race," Kubica told PA. "It was a hard one for me, but second place was the best we could get, so I'm very happy."
When Massa came in six laps later Hamilton built a lead of 30 seconds but there was more incident before the end.
"All of us had our moments," said Brazilian Massa, who had two of the previous three races. "It was so easy to have little breaks in concentration, and it was a very difficult race.
"But it's good to be on the podium, and I'm happy with the result even though I was expecting the victory."
Nico Rosberg crashed at the Swimming Pool and that was followed by Raikkonen's accident which ended Sutil's race.
Hamilton has 38 points in the championship, three clear of previous leader Raikkonen, whose Ferrari team-mate Massa is a further point behind. Kubica is fourth on 32.