Hamilton contributes to his own downfall


brought to you by TJ13’s Editor in Chief Andrew Huntley-Jacobs

If dominating a Formula One weekend from FP1 through to the last 14 laps of a race means a driver deserves to win the race, then Lewis Hamilton was robbed at the 2015 Monaco GP.

Having made his one and only pit stop, Lewis proceeded to disappear up the road and by the end of lap 64, he was almost 26 seconds ahead of the second placed driver, his team mate Nico Rosberg.

Then in a little over two minutes it all went terribly wrong for Hamilton, as he stopped for a second time to put on the a new set of the much faster super-soft tyres.

Following the race, Lewis was visibly distraught though he realised his fate was sealed much earlier. Rejoining the track in third place, following his extra stop, Lewis commented on pit to car radio: “I’ve lost this race, haven’t I?”

After the podium ceremony, Toto Wolff took full responsibility on behalf of the trackside team members. “There is nothing else to do than apologise to Lewis,” said Wolff, “it was a misjudgement in the heat of the moment.

“I’m sorry for Lewis that we made the mistake and I’m sorry for Lewis. It should have been a perfect one-two today. We made a decision and it was the wrong decision. We need to analyse it and to apologise to Lewis.”

So how did one of the biggest strategy errors since Ferrari most likely cost Alonso a title in Abu Dhabi come about?

It all began on lap 64 with the youngest ever driver in Formula One, making an basic error, which saw him collide with Romain Grosjean down the pit, straight. The result was the debut of the Virtual Safety car.

Under the virtual safety car, the drivers must circulate below a maximum lap time, which also sees the time differences between the drivers maintained.


Up front, it’s radio silence and all calm. Regular laps in the low 1:19 region and Lewis leads by 17.4s. Nice job. #MonacoGP
24/05/2015 14:27
Lap 63 tweet

Over the course of laps 63 and 64, Lewis had extended his lead over Rosberg from 17.422 seconds to 25.727 seconds. Interestingly a whopping 6 seconds of this was due to the deployment of the virtual safety car on lap 64.

This was possible because the drivers under the VSC and when catching the safety car are not restricted to a speed limit, but a time over the lap. So Lewis had less track to cover to the end of the lap than the cars behind him. He could therefore still make the delta time but was travelling a lot more quickly.

This gap was more than enough to pit Hamilton because a comfortable pit stop required just 20-21 seconds.

To understand what how Mercedes got themselves into such a mess, its vital to know where the cars were on track during lap 64.

Lewis was 30 seconds ahead of Verstappen and Romain Grosjean, when the Dutch driver made his mistake. However, it was a further 22 seconds before the virtual safety car was deployed.

This meant at racing speed, Hamilton was just 13-14 seconds from the point of no return on lap 64, where he would have to commit to a pit stop. Reduced speed under the virtual safety car meant that this ‘thinking’ time was in fact a second or two longer.

Mercedes sent out the mechanics into the pit lane with a change of tyres for Lewis should the call be made for him to pit. However, the team decided to leave Hamilton out, instructed him accordingly. Lewis then completed lap 64.

30 seconds after the deployment of the virtual safety car, the safety car itself was released. Hamilton had just passed the pit lane entrance and was on his way to start lap 65 at this moment.

In the post race FIA press conference Lewis stated, “I saw a screen, it looked like the team was out and I thought that Nico had pitted. Obviously I couldn’t see the guys behind so I thought the guys behind were pitting”.

The TV screen, which Lewis referred to, was on the way up the hill after St Devote. Rosberg had not reached Rascasse or the pit lane entry, when Lewis saw the screen.

However, there was a crucial misunderstanding that came about because Lewis did not convey his thoughts to the team, that he was concerned about Rosberg being on fresh options.

Hamilton challenged the decision which had been made that he should ‘stay out’, and told the team, “these tyres are going to drop in temperature”.

Lewis had of course taken more out of the second set of tyres than Rosberg and Vettel, building up the 7 second lead he had when Rosberg stopped first time to 19.196 seconds by the end of lap 63. This may have been a reason to switch Hamilton’s tyres, though Wolff confirms Hamilton’s comments.

Toto Wolff confirmed after the race Hamilton’s comments had concerned the team. “He made a call saying the tyre temperatures have dropped and there is no grip anymore.”

By now the chatter on the internal team radio had grown as Toto Wolff and others now joined the debate. Ferrari pitting Vettel for new super soft tyres was now introduced into the discussion.

Given the gap to Vettel, Mercedes had to make the decision to stop Lewis some time before the Ferrari team would become visible making a dash to the pit box, to be ready for the quadruple world champion.

They could have made a stop – when Lewis was at Rascasse, [Rosberg and Vettel] weren’t even at Tabac,” confirmed Wolff to SKY F1.

Further, the spectre of Monaco 2014 could have been hanging over the team strategists, when Lewis queried why he wasn’t pitted under a safety car. That decision was later thought to have cost Hamilton another opportunity for a win in Monaco. Suddenly the team were today faced with a similar prospect were they to ignore Lewis’ concerns.

During lap 65. Hamilton extended his lead over Rosberg by several seconds, then it diminished again to around 21 seconds just as Lewis exited the swimming pool. This happens because the drivers know when they start a new lap they can blast through the first section of the lap at speeds above the VSC delta lap time or the delta lap time they have been given to drive to whilst catching the safety car.

The drivers slow down to compensate later in the lap.

Mercedes made two fatal errors. Firstly, Lewis caught the safety car on the approach to Rascasse. The safety car is obviously travelling more slowly than the cars who are catching it. Lewis then suffered a net time loss to Rosberg as he was approaching the pit lane entrance.

The safety car then continued on but Rosberg and Vettel were still some way back. Rosberg pushed flat out having crossed the start finish line, as both he and Hamilton had done the previous lap.

This extra Rosberg speed plus the net time loss Lewis suffered when he caught the safety car created the window of opportunity for Rosberg and Vettel.

Yet one of the cold hard realities in the post mortem will be, had Hamilton simply obeyed the instructions from the team to “stay out”, the fateful pit stop would never have taken place. Add to that, Lewis was unhappy with the team’s strategy which failed to pit him last year, and so he added an incremental element of doubt into the confusion over whether Lewis should receive a change of tyres.

Hamilton was remarkably restrained following the race, and maybe this was because he was aware of the small part he played in the big debate described by Niki Lauda as, “a lot of people talking – and the wrong decision.”

Lewis conceded in the media pen, “I feel content in my heart; I did everything I could,” admitting “It was a collective decision.”

Of course it was Mercedes pit wall who failed to correctly asses at the last corner that Lewis no longer had a sufficient gap to get in and get out and remain in the lead, but by then the die was cast and it had been decided that Lewis would be coming into the pits.

Rosberg was magnanimous in victory and his first comment of the podium interview was, “I’m very happy of course, but I know also that it was just a lot of luck today. Lewis drove brilliantly and deserved the win for sure”

Bitter sweet for Mercedes is that Nico Rosberg now joins an exclusive club of just four F1 drivers in history, as Hamilton did in China. Nico’s three consecutive race wins in Monaca places him in the record books alongside Ayrton Senna, Graham Hill and Alain Prost

When the dust settles, this will be viewed as just an unfortunate set back for Lewis – but hardly tragic. The result of a real F1 tragedy sees a young man nigh on brain dead, just 25 miles up the coast from the latest procession that was 99% of the 2015 Monaco GP.

77 responses to “Hamilton contributes to his own downfall

  1. I will say this – It is ultimately down to the team to make the best decisions as they are the ones in the best position as opposed to a driver who in the heat of the moment will inevitably start to question the strategy they take. The whole thing about the team thinking about what Lewis complained about last year should be and is irrelevant. The team should be the ones with the cool heads and applying a bit of common sense in making strategy decisions. They failed to do so this race. Saying Lewis contributed to his downfall is just a cover up for the fact that the team were incapable of applying common sense.

    Anyway, the team’ll have to move on from this and start to think about the way they go about making decisions in the heat of the moment so as to not fu*k up another race.

  2. This will either get mod or deleted…

    “Lewis had of course taken more out of the tyres than Rosberg and Vettel since his first stop, building up the nigh on twenty second lead.”

    He did 37 (pitted on lap 38) laps on the supersoft tires which was less durable than the softs that many said could do 40, so I find that statement as nothing more than speculation…..

    An excerpt from the press conference….

    “Today, I didn’t really have to push too much, I could have doubled the lead if I needed it so on the one hand it’s a good thing that I had that pace and I’m grateful for that. You live to fight another day.”

    There was no issues with tire degradation from any of the top 3 drivers.

    “Toto Wolff confirmed after the race Hamilton’s comments had concerned the team. “He made a call saying the tyre temperatures have dropped and there is no grip anymore.”

    This is Toto’s full comment…

    “TW: We talked about it. There was the information that the temperatures dropped and that there was no grip any more on the prime tyres – but that was not the real reason why we called him in. The numbers just added up.”….

    • I can understand why you get moderated at times Fortis – your responses are frequently either aggressive or inappropriately dismissive. This kind of commenting is why I generally avoid participating here.

      The F1 personnel repeat the same interview a number of times after the race. Each time it is obviously slightly different.

      The source you cite is not the same as mine – which was the first words Toto spoke in public before even the cars had come to rest in front of the podium.

      In each iteration of interview Toto gave he covered more and more possibilities, and made his apology more and more absolute.

      Also, please explain why Mercedes decided to pit stop Lewis at all if as you suggests his tyres were in such pristine condition.

      There appears no purpose for the section of your comment which included – “Today, I didn’t really have to push too much, I could have doubled the lead if I needed it so on the one hand it’s a good thing that I had that pace and I’m grateful for that. You live to fight another day.” – other than to denigrate the integrity of the author.

      Also if what Lewis says is in fact true – Mercedes must be just a bunch of crazies.

      I suggest you moderate the tone of your contributions or you will be correct on something – they will be permanently deleted.

      • I can understand why you get moderated at times Fortis –

        As editor in chief it would be a bit odd if you didn’t.

        • @Nigel … I set the moderation policy, not AHJ.

          But to help people understand what gets my goat. It is the refusal of certain commentators to engage coherently with the issues presented – and merely attack the authors – often in a sound bite manner – and often with contrary ‘facts’ which are just incorrect.

          TJ13’s articles are mostly op-ed, by design – and not just the opinions of Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard transcribed from their comments. So there will of course be speculative elements, however I don’t remember there being too many which are unreasonable interpretations or wild leaps in the dark.

          So one line comments diminishing the efforts presented for debate, will just not make it past moderation.

          There has been an element of commentators here perpetuating this kind of nasty atmosphere. So unfortunately for the foreseeable future moderation policy is what it is.

          People can strongly disagree with each other – in a civil manner.

    • Immediately after the race both Toto and Lauda both said it was a team error, but also both mentioned that Hamilton wasnt happy with his tyres.

      From there onwards the Merc PR machine begins to spin and spin, they’d make some political parties proud to be fair.

      This was a team error, but the driver who wanted to pit, knowing he only had a 17s gap at racing speeds, cannot be absolved of fault.

      • The driver did not know what the gap was, because the team did not tell him. If he had known he was 17 seconds ahead, the team would’ve told him that he didn’t have the gap to do a stop and get back out in front.

        He said he was concerned about a drop in tire temp and not that the tires had gone off, his tires were on lap fresher than Nico and 2 to Seb’s and was out in front so could clearly manage his tires better, completely different things. He also said that, because he thought that both Nico and Seb had pitted and felt he would’ve been vulnerable with both of them being on fresh supersoft tires.

        Sometimes I think you guys only hear and see what you want to see……

        • Hahahaha Sometimes I think you guys only hear and see what you want to see……

          That’s a classic coming from you. Even if you say yourself that Hamilton was hinting at a pitstop you still try to blame it only at the team. They are both at fault here. You give the arguments yourself yet somehow you can’t get yourself to say that Lewis has a bit of the blame… can’t you see that irony?

        • They tell him what the gap is every lap! Every single lap, obviously the team is mainly at fault though. Hence its a blame proportion of ~ 90/10.

          • unfortunately they didn’t tell him what that gap was when he was caught by the safety car.

            And I don’t think they tell the drivers what the gap is ‘every lap’…

        • Lewis was at the controls of the car. He could simply have stayed out no matter what the team said. With the Mercedes recent history of slow pit stops it was always a risk to come in, even if he had had 25-26 seconds as they seemed to think. Monaco is a circuit where even with far, far better tyres it is difficult to pass, especially against the best car in the field. Had Ferrari pitted then Seb may have managed to do Rosberg but he’d have held him up enough for Lewis to pull a gap and manage things to the flag. Had they both pitted they’d be too busy fighting amongst themselves to worry Lewis. We know Nico doesn’t have the racecraft to pass in Monaco, especially against his team-mate who he will be more cautious with.

          The pitwall made a bad call and Lewis compounded it by (a) giving the impression he was worried about the tyres and (b) listening when they said to come in. Oh, and as you say, (c) not confirming with the team that Nico and/or Seb actually had pitted.

          I think the main thing we learn from this is that Mercedes need a Ross Brawn on the pitwall controlling things as they don’t seem able to keep track of what is going on in the race and I fear that once their advantage gets eroded further they will start losing more and more points due to poor strategy calls.

        • Try reading the article properly. It was not 17s – your broadcaster’s commentator got it wrong – plus Lewis actual stop was way longer than his first.

          Also just in from F1 scribe Adam Cooper…

          Tot Wolff says, “He [HAM] thought that we had pitted Nico, but he didn’t realise the others didn’t pit, he didn’t see that. Our data said we had the margin, and when he said the tyres were gone and they will not come back, it just added up to a whole lot of information, and that made us pit. But the main call was that we had the margin.

  3. The team calculated that they had time to bring Hamilton in and bring him out still in front. That is a calculation the driver is simply not in a position to make.
    They got it wrong. Tragic, no; stupid, yes.

    Blaming Hamilton for the team’s miscalculation – on what is a pretty simple matter from the pitwall – is fairly perverse, though possibly not entirely unexpected.

      • @ajhuntf1 I agree, earlier I did think it was more to do with a team decision than the driver but having read a number of different posts and sources imho its probably a 50/50 split between the two. Maybe Lewis pushed the issue for a stop thinking that those behind him would be on fresh rubber,this however was the wrong choice as we all know now. Monaco is the one race where track position is king so even with fresh boots its going to be a tough ask to make up places. A third place is still not a bad result for the team so why all the glum faces, I did smile at the podium interviews when Seb popped up and stated that at least he was happy. I do admire Lewis as a driver but at times he can be his own worst enemy, to not show up for the team photo is just bad form in my book.

        • Agreed about the photo. Thinking back to the last race of 2014, Rosbergs car developed an issue so he couldn’t fight for the race, but he still had the good grace to be in the photo where his team mate won the title.

          Sure you’d be annoyed, but sometimes in life you’ve got to be a little humble.

          • Nico had a mechanical failure whilst in second place and barring Lewis having a car failure of his own, he was watching his hopes of winning the title slip away. What happened to Nico was out of his and the teams control. Lewis did not gain anything from that. However yesterday Nico gained a race win and rather than being 27pts down, he’s only 10..

      • Nice overview however I believe you missed one critical piece of info that Brundle brought up. When looking at the timings, there is a vertical column that lists gaps between drivers. As Hamilton approached his pit stop it showed 26 seconds to Vettel and 24 to Rosberg (ish as I’m lazy and don’t feel like looking up the actual numbers again). However across the bottom (or in my case top) is a ticker that lists each driver in comparison to the lead driver. *That* gap was 20 seconds to Vettel and 19 to Rosberg and turned out to be accurate. My sense of the incident is that Mercedes looked at the wrong timings to make their choice, else they would have instructed Rosberg to slow behind the SC to aid Hamilton in re emerging in the lead.

        Regardless, the lack of activity in the Ferrari pits and certainly the fact the fact that no one thought to tell Lewis uh dude they’ll be 6 laps left and no one else is coming in when he started to push are comm issues Mercedes must address. Twice now Safety Car confusion has cost them and both in this incident and in Malaysia the lion’s share of responsibility rests on the pitwall’s shoulders. as they are the ones with the big picture.

        • I clearly made a ‘ham-fisted’ effort at explaining this difference. As Rosberg started lap 65 Lewis was 25.727s ahead of Rosberg. But this was because behind the safety car – the drivers boot it through the early part of the lap, slowing down later to stay within the delta time allowed for them to catch Bernd (ironic when the incident today was at turn one)

          This is evidenced by the ticker time 8 seconds after Hamilton started the lap reading the gap to be just 21.800 seconds. Rosberg is concluding lap 64 at this point and driving more slowly.

          15 seconds into the lap – the ticker shows Hamilton moving further ahead and now the gap is 23.204. Rosberg is still on lap 64 and driving to the lap delta required.

          Next ticker time when Hamilton is 20 seconds into the lap, shows Lewis now 24.552 ahead of Nico – who has yet to cross the start finish line and start lap 65.

          Lewis then has to start paying attention to the delta time, whilst Rosberg is booting it in S1.

          The gap closes by the next time we see the leaders ticker gaps. It is just 22.468 and Lewis is now 82 seconds into the lap.

          6 seconds later it falls to 21.480

          Hamilton enters the pit lane about 10 seconds after that – but had briefly caught the safety car which would have closed the gap even more – but we don’t get another ticker time now – it scrolls through p5-9, then p10-13 etc – and never re-appears until Hamilton is behind Vettel.

          The team would have visibility of these gaps throughout the lap – they did have about 15 seconds from when the gap was displayed as 22.468 to change the call – and about 10 seconds after it was shown as 21.480 – this was still enough time to get Lewis in and out.

          Lewis catching the safety car and Rosberg being able to hammer it down the pit straight appears to be the difference.

          • As I commented elsewhere, the stop was also slow. Lewis was held slightly for another car and I got the impression from the footage he slightly over-shot his marks and the crew had to re-set.

            However, Mercedes have had more than their fair share of slower stops this season which begs the question why risk it when the margin for error was so slight?

          • Thanks for this AJ. That’s much clearer, I’ve gone back to rewatch events unfold.

            What strikes me is that pre-safety car (either VSC or SC) the mid way through Lewis’ 64th lap, the gap he had was 19.301s, so at racing speeds that was his ‘real’ gap back to Rosberg (and 20.9s back to VET). Given both the driver and team will have seen that gap growing incrementally over the last 20 odd laps I find it incredible that neither the driver nor team considered that it wasn’t enough of a gap to get out ahead of the two cars behind.

            This leads me to conclude that Mercedes were basing their pit stop gap on the time Lewis was gaining under the safety car, which was a false position given others could speed up for this section also, whilst Hamilton was thinking a pitstop would be ok as he incorrectly thought that Rosberg had pitted and no doubt also saw a larger gap on his dash.

            The only other point I’d make is that Rosberg didn’t really hammer down the pit straight whilst Lewis was in the pits, footage shows him to be going considerably slower (not SC slow, but not flat chat), in addition Vettel behind is actually weaving down the straight to get tyre temp.

            It appears to be a total cockup by all parties. If either party, be it driver or team, had questioned making a pitstop with only 19.3s in hand – rather than looking at the misleading safety car gaps we’d have seen a different winner.

            There are certainly lessons to be learnt by all teams regarding the fluctuating gaps under VSC and I feel it was information misinterpretation by firstly team then driver that cost Merc a 1-2 at Monaco.

      • Which I still think is a slightly perverse interpretation.

        The driver is simply does not have the information to assess relative track position; the team does.
        The team were also knew that Rosberg hadn’t, and wasn’t going to pit.

        Even if Ferrari had decided to gamble and pit Vettel (which wasn’t the case), it would probably not have got him past even Rosberg.

        The only reason for allowing Hamilton in was a miscalculation.
        The other teams who pitted under the safety car all did so because they had (correctly) calculated they had a free stop without loss of position.

        This was an egregious error by the team – which the live commentators were rightly astonished by.
        If Hamilton “contributed”, then it was pretty marginal.

        • I believe the author stated HAM contribution was “incremental” – so maybe you two agree – and maybe then the op-ed piece was not so perverse.

          We can write ‘Mercedes are lunatics’ like everyone else – but there were clearly reasons why the team decided on what appeared to be a completely unnecessarily change of Lewis’ tyres – along with evidence the information/opinion provided from Lewis.

  4. If Mercedes did “order” Hamilton to stay out, as is claimed, why had they already deployed the pit crew for him? Can’t have been a reaction to anything Ferrari did, because they didn’t do anything.

    The problem for Mercedes is not so much Rosberg vs. Hamilton, but Ferrari and Vettel and that’s two races now the incompetent strategists have gifted points.

    • Hamilton admitted the team told him to stay out – and he did exactly that as the article explains in detail – when the VSC was deployed, he was around 15 seconds from the pit lane entry on lap 64.

      • “If Mercedes did “order” Hamilton to stay out, as is claimed, why had they already deployed the pit crew for him?”

        Because there was a short window where Hamilton may duck in the pits at the last second, so the crew prepared.

        Spot on about Ferrari pressuring Mercedes into this surprising error.

    • I heard the team tell Hamilton to stay out in the broadcast and then Hamilton complained about tire temps. I was shocked when the team brought him in, after all it’s Hamilton at Monaco, how were they going to pass him? The team made the right call, initially, then Hamilton questioned it, which resulted in the change of call. Hamilton’s mistake was making his decision based on something he saw on TV.

      Hamilton realized he had lost the race as soon as he came out in 3rd, despite the fresh rubber, how did he not apply the same thinking to a scenario that had Vettel and Rosberg pitting? He new he could not get past Vettel and Rosberg, both on worn tires, so why would they have been able to pass him, if indeed they had pitted as Hamilton thought?
      The final call is the drivers and Hamilton has raced Monaco enough to know the leader controls the pace.

  5. Of course it’s Hamilton fault. I mean, it’s not enough that he drives, he has to keep an eye on telemetry and follow track position for the other cars and instruct the pitwall regarding strategy, tyre wear and fuel usage. He also should be able to make on the spot decisions against the engineers and their gargantuam ammount of data gathered and created.

    [Mod – An alternative view is that] his contribution was his unwavering faith in his pitwall. He should have had a better notion of how little laps there were to go and the literal and obvious importance of track positions.

    At least I hope he retains this lesson.

    • I’m surprised. What exactly did I write that merited moderation? I didn’t offend anyone, but made a point of stating what a more intelligent or reasonable opinion would look like. Sure some of the staff might disagree, but they already have the full front page available to posts reviews, articles, analysis and all sorts of pieces based on their interpretation and opinions.

      What is the point of readers replying with their opinions if there is such a low tolerance for sarcasm and wit?

      Anyhow, my point remains. Cooler, intelligent, heads should know how far is the reach of the pitwall in deciding strategy and making changes to it mid-race. Only they have the vast amounts of data instantly available for their decision making. Drivers simply give input, which is more data for the pitwall to work upon. Any reader/writer/fan who is not able to make this distinction should likely get up to speed with contemporary F1. Those who ignore the distinction have little room in an intelligent debate.

      • This will also get deleted……

        That’s exactly the problem, some of the authors are so overly sensitive, it is almost blasphemy to disagree or criticise anything they write.

        • That’s a line of bull, Fortis, and you know it. The entire site is in moderation. That’s a decision of our chief editor, because most people have a problem distinguishing between a critique and being insulting.

          • Hippo my good man, I had no idea the site was under full moderation, because I saw nothing written anywhere that stated such.

            Furthermore after AJ’s responded to my comment, I replied with a perfectly fine comment, which was no different to those I’ve seen here, but they were all deleted. But I will stick to original comment.

        • Try being more considered in the way you comment. Properly structured and reasoned engagement – instead of scores of spam like attacks – often with incorrect facts.

          BTW Lewis was 7.5s ahead when Rosberg pitted. 19.9s ahead at his second stop – You comment stating the writer had got this wrong was deleted – an example of misinformation you spread around the site as FACT which makes the author look as though they have done a bad job.

          Think more – type less – is my suggestion

  6. Will also state for the record that Paddy Lowe has been remarkably absent from the public eye since this happened. And that Dieter Zetsche was in attendance. Always a bad idea to do your best 3 stooges routine when the boss is in town.

  7. Excellent article, its so refreshing that amongst all the blame for Merc one site can tell the truth without resorting to sub prime click bait [Mod – commentator is actually formally known here as Justice Yell]

  8. I can’t see Paddy Lowe at Mercedes staying much longer. His ego far exceeds his abilities. Wasn’t he claiming earlier this year, that the current success of the team was down to him? His department have made several cockups this year and it’s time he put his hand up and accepted his part in the failures. Mercedes could do with a clearout of their strategy department, if only to show they can’t allow repeated simple errors, and there are hundreds of gameboy players available who could do a better job.
    I do find it odd that when we’re told there were pit/driver discussions about the situation, FOM have chosen not to released them. I guess that’s Bernie stirring the pot with his huge wooden spoon.

    • “I can’t see Paddy Lowe at Mercedes staying much longer.” I think neither can niki lauda, otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped short of calling him a weak leader on television.

      • Paddy should have stuck with the first target Toto sorted him for…..he’d have fitted well at Team Willy….

      • Actually it is the Wolff the nominal Team Principal at Merc, and he should get the full share of the blame. The Enforcer is merely the Technical director, as e.g. he was at McLaren, and as then his responsibilities float around making the cars go round and round and round. At McLaren any strategy cockups fell straight on Whitmarsh’s head, and at Merc they should be falling on Wolff’s…

  9. This is actually a great write-up, and a nice bit of analysis.

    Let me add two things to the following list…

    “Mercedes made two fatal errors.” If I may reword your words AJ, they were: 1) LH lost time behind SC approaching pits. 2) NR & SV gained additional time after start/finish line and 2nd SC at exit of pits over LH.

    So very good, not accounting for those seconds alone were fatal to the victory. But let me add two more errors that were perhaps significant:

    3) As you’ve illustrated, the team felt vulnerable to Vettel (and Rosberg) if they stopped for fresh tires.

    However, Vettel’s problem was that on lap 63 hed Kvyat 11 secs behind, plus Kimi ~13 secs, and Ricciardo ~16 behind. So Ferrari couldn’t pit Vettel because he would’ve lost position to those three drivers.

    On lap 64, RB was clever and pitted Ricciardo (only because FI had pitted Perez on lap 63 which gave them room). But what was clever is RB didn’t pit Kyvat.

    That put a bind on Ferrari. Depending on the strength of their strategy modeling, Ferrari would’ve seen that if they pitted Vettel, he would’ve had to fight through Kimi, Kvyat, and perhaps be harassed by Ricciardo from behind while doing that. If Rosberg didn’t pit, then he would have to try to fight through Rosberg to take Hamilton.

    So Mercedes made an error to believe that Hamilton was vulnerable to ROS or VET on fresh tires, as that scenario was very unlikely.

    4) Toto said more than once something very interesting… He said Mercedes didn’t have GPS.

    The FIA has tonight said that Toto is incorrect. All the teams had the usual GPS tracking system. The FIA told Ian Parkes at Autosport, “…the signal is not as robust as at some other circuits, (but) it is in play.”

    So this indicates a technical, systemic issue. We could speculate that if the GPS data is too erratic for Mercedes’ modeling systems, they may have opted to unplug the GPS from their data, and just use timing data.

    Or we could speculate that Mercedes’ models failed to correctly account for the VSC and real (analogue?) safety car effects on time deltas for pitting.

    Either way, at the speed of these decisions, the tool that would’ve prevented this error is Mercedes’ live strategy modeling system, which should’ve made the correct decision obvious to the team. That system apparently failed the team.

  10. I did have one thought about all of this as it happened.

    Zero chance there would have been a balls up like this if Ross was still in charge.

  11. Well done, Andy… I think a logical, fair and well thought out peice given the evidence. This had to be written.

    For what it’s worth, +1.

  12. If you want to say he sort of contributed. … ok. really is stretching it. Clearly Lewis couldn’t have known He would end up behind in third.

    If the team had said. “Lewis. No one else is pitting. You will go behind but you will have fresh tyres”. Then he would have stayed out. Putting any blame on Lewis here is really a stretch. Sounds to me like strategy by committee. Sometimes you Need one set of balls off the line. They thought he’d get out in 1st and they messed up. This is open and shut the Merc strategists to blame.

    Do any lip readers out there know what the Merc official was saying to Nico as he got out if the car. Looked to me like he was being told to calm down.

          • The whoops in car were odd . He basically watched his opponent foul on the black ball. But celebrated like he earned it. He can celebrate all he wants. Just seemed silly.

            I then wonder if he had some quick PR couching Which was then reflected in the interviews.

          • You’re doing it again, Spanners. You still try to make it look as if Rosberg is not able to conduct himself properly without prior coaching. That’s lacking in respect. Your frustration about the lost win, okay, but taking it out on another driver is childish.

          • Lolz.

            You constantly attack Hamilton’s behaviour.

            I’m suggesting that Rosberg may have misjudged the situation. I’m entitled to that view.

          • @WTF..

            What you on about… this counts as friendly. You should see our whatsApp thread.

          • @spanners in a way he did earn it. To finish first, first you have to finish. It’s not like being second all the time and being gifted the race through an incident in the field in which he doesn’t had a say, he becomes someone who didn’t earn it. There are many races out there where someone won because of some sort of error from someone else…

          • Yeah Bruznic. That’s an entirely far comment but there are degrees of ‘earning’

            Personally I would celebrate those differently

            It turned into a bigger point than I had intended. 😣

    • Lol. Looks like you and AHJ will be having an interesting debate on Wednesday when the podcast is recorded.

      Readers can see the recording live starting from around 19:45-20:00 by visiting the site and following the “watch here” button.

    • @Spanners: “If the team had said. “Lewis. No one else is pitting. You will go behind but you will have fresh tyres”. Then he would have stayed out. Putting any blame on Lewis here is really a stretch. ”

      Well I think the underlying problem here is that Lewis doesn’t seem to communicate or trust his team all that much. He saw something on the TV screens that made him assume Nico had pitted. He then assumed that the team hadn’t told him that, and were just going to leave him on older tyres to defend against the others. He then asked to pit, and then when told to stay out complained that his tyres were stuffed. If he’d just asked what was happening, or said why he wanted fresh tyres, it all would have been cleared up.

      It’s like Lewis has this constantly persecuted complex thing going on in his head, and seems to assume the worst all the time. Added to that seems to be a difficult relationship between him and the guy on the radio. For their part, Mercedes seems to treat Lewis like a particularly sensitive hand grenade a lot of the time too, and at Monaco it seems it was like “Don’t pit”. “But I want to pit”. . “Ok, pit”.

      • That’s the race I saw.
        The teams call was to stay out (why risk a bad stop in the first place), Hamilton questioned the decision (he’s the one with the tires in hand) and the team tried to make a stop work. The final decision is always the drivers. Monaco, with a dozen laps to go and everyone on basically the same tires, track position is king. Screw the pit wall, Hamilton should have known not to to pit….almost every fan and pundit did.

  13. I think you cant really blame Hamilton for this mistakes. He would have never agreed on this pit stop If he knew that the gap was not safely. The team clearly risked way too much. If Hamilton had a gap somewhere around 30 seconds, than they could probably make this “safety stop” (what was supposed to be one), but the gap wasnt that big, so they should never have called him for this stop. That Hamilton told his pitwal that he would like rather pit is logical, if the gap is big enough everyone would like to do so just for beeing safe even thought that this is in Monaco unnecessary (due to overtaking is almost impossible), but if you have the gap you can do that and only the pitwal had the data, so Lewis trusted them. The problem also was that Mercedes saw a threat which wasn’t a threat. If Vettel had pitted he would have lost his position to Kvyat and couldnt attack the Mercedes anyway. They’ve just panicked. Besides that Rosberg apparently also reported problems with the tyre temperature and his pace was pretty awful before the safety car was deployed. But a pit stop for him would never have made sense because he would have lost for sure track positions, in Hamiltons case they thought that he wouldn’t lost track positions. Regarding the tyre deg: Hamilton drove 38 laps on the super soft, why shouldn’t he able to make the same distance with the softs? He was driving in some parts of the race as slow as the slowiest car on the track (beside Manor of course), he wasn’t pushing and he is known for beeing better with the tyres than Rosberg. There is nothing for Hamilton to blame.

  14. I must admit I’d not realised the VSC allows the drivers to push so much. I thought the point was the circuit was split in to a large number of sectors – something like 15-20 – and the drivers were given delta times for each of those sectors.

    That would prevent anything like that as each section would be so short there is no benefit to pushing, at least not excessively.

    You do get cases where marshals sometimes use safety car conditions to clear bits of debris at other parts of the track – if the drivers only think they need to be slow at the sight of the accident and they can push elsewhere then there is still a risk surely?

    • That was the idea Stephen, but I they’ve got far fewer sectors than originally proposed.

      The real problem is the safety car itself. Cars catching the safety car can drive flat out at the start of the lap and compensate later in the lap to bring them in under the delta

    • Stephen – Great comment about the VSC system. I too wonder exactly how it works.

      I know from a Jonathan Noble’s article today that there are ~20 timing loops throughout the track. That would mean an avg of 6.7 timing loops per each of the three track sectors.

      So I wonder if the VSC system in the car reports to the driver how much over or under they are to their calculated time for the sector they are in as they cross over each of the timing loops in that sector?

      If that is the case, then it would be wise to be ahead of your sector time for most of the sector in anticipation of catching the green flag, and having a few precious seconds in-hand.

      • They moved to longer sectors because the drivers were having a hard time controlling time in the shorter sectors. This was discussed after some of the early testing. Generally, the argument form the drivers goes that the cars can be less safe slow as the DF coming off the car is so great plus the operating temperatures of the tyres is relatively narrow and low. In order to solve for that in races you wind up with a chassis that has a hard time warming tyres. Letting them run faster solves that problem to a certain extent.

  15. Dear Massa, in 6 races this “boy” has already shown things you were never capable of.
    Ironic that these comments come from you and Grosjean.

    • This… boy hasn’t shown much if anything yet. Such overtaking is what we see in lower formulae: a lot of risk taking, and a lot of silly crashes. And as for Massa having shown less than Mad Max, think again: had a butterfly flown to the left, we’d be talking today about 1x Massa WDC and 1x Hamilton WDC.

      Grosjean learned in time to control his driving, and is now the consistency standard at Lotus. Let’s see if Maximilian can learn the craft on the go…

  16. Part of it is different mods will have different interpretations of standard (kinda like stewards, eh), but generally attacking the site, or other commenters directly (ie that’s really stupid/dumb/moronic without winky face you pretentious tw#t/d*ckhead/arse mongling moose c*ck sucker again without smily face) generally will get your comment disallowed…

    Beyond that and just from a technical point of view, I will point out if you’re on mobile on WP the button right below approve comment on your phone is trash, something WP GUI might wish to rethink. Oh wait 😉

  17. “the drivers know when they start a new lap they can blast through the first section of the lap at speeds above the VSC delta lap time or the delta lap time they have been given to drive to whilst catching the safety car.

    The drivers slow down to compensate later in the lap.”

    Is this safe? Or yet another institutionalized cock-up by the FIA? Doesn’t sound very safe to me, especially given the marshals and Maximilian were on foot at T1…

    • Why they couldn’t just have code 100 80 and 60 like WEC is beyond me. that way no one is playing fancy math games with average speeds and delta times

  18. Ha ha ha ha – this is great!!!!! The wife and I spent a long weekend in San Francisco and I didn’t see results until reading the paper this morning. Thanks for the analysis Andrew, great job. Hamilton stuffed it; the driver has ultimate choice of whether to stop or not. As McMaster said above, there was no way anyone was going to pass Hamilton at Monaco, cold tires or not. Hamilton should have known this, so he screwed up big time and paid the price.

    @ Fortis; remember (I’m sure you do!!!) when Hamilton was told to not push but did and won the race? Same thing here; he was in charge and blew it. You can’t have it both ways.

    • I continue to try to point this out and my comments continue to get deleted. Cold tired DO NOT equate to the pit crew being ready for a stop while the call to box is still being discussed. And cold tires CERTAINLY do not equate to being called to box.

      How that becomes Hamilton’s fault is beyond comprehension.

  19. Besides 3 *Wins* In A Row For The Same Track, Now blondi Finally Accomplished Something That Even #3 Did Last Year – *Win* 2 Races In A Row.

    GO, 44 !

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