Faulty Mercedes pit equipment the final straw for Lewis Hamilton

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The Tuesday following a Grand Prix weekend, is when the Mercedes AMG F1 team carry out their usual race weekend debrief back in Brackley.

Niki Lauda was all guns blazing in Monaco following the debacle that saw Lewis lose the 2015 race due to an error which saw him return to the track following an unscheduled second pit stop – a mere 0.5 seconds behind his team mate Nico Rosberg.

Favourite to carry the can is Paddy Lowe, as Lauda told German TV the final decision to pit Hamilton lay with Paddy Lowe. The chairman of the supervisory board for the Mercedes F1 team added, “I have instructed Toto Wolff to find out what went wrong”, Lauda thundered.

Yet TJ13 believes a contributory factory was faulty pit stop equipment. Lewis stop was 1.3 seconds longer than his first. He missed his mark, and the whole tyre was beyond the line where he should have stopped. This would account for between two and three tenths of a second.

Felipe Nasr entered the pits about four seconds behind Hamilton, and when car number 44 was dropped to the floor, Hamilton had to be held to avoid being penalised for an unsafe release.

However, when Hamilton was up to full pit lane speed following Nasr who was about to pit – he was nigh on 1.5 seconds behind the Sauber. This is an inordinate distance even when accounting for the safe release protocols.

TJ13 has learned the Mercedes pit lane crew member who provides the signal for Hamilton to be released, made attempts to give the green light for Hamilton to go, but was thwarted by the equipment.

This accounts for why Lewis was stationary for almost a second after the front jack man had cleared, and why Hamilton was so far behind the Sauber when finally released. The lost time here alone would have been enough for Mercedes to get Lewis out ahead of his team mate.

It may be true that Mercedes strategists were playing with fire calling this pit stop, but the ultimate link in the chain of events was beyond even them.

41 responses to “Faulty Mercedes pit equipment the final straw for Lewis Hamilton

  1. That’s an interesting one, so the computers and pits wall were correct,they could have had him back out in the lead. Again it just sounds like a racing incident and a 50/50 blame, Lewis must have killed a pharaoh in past life judging by last weekend

  2. Next year Lewis should just skip that race, because it seems like all the luck he had, he used it up in 08…..

    • Maybe, but this one wasn’t bad luck, it was just several people in the team combining to make a stupid decision. As I commented at the time while the stop was slow it isn’t as if slow stops have been rare for Merc this season so why they felt they needed to take the risk is beyond me.

      Disappointing also that something like this seems to make Lewis become so negative. It sounded like he’d talked himself out of being able to pass Vettel before he even tried and one had a few half-hearted goes before coming on the radio to say it was impossible.

      That said, around Monaco there is so much more that could have gone wrong, especially with a lot of rookies in slow cars. At least he got a decent haul of points and a trophy, better than picking bits of Merc out of a barrier and only being 2 points ahead.

      • “It sounded like he’d talked himself out of being able to pass Vettel before he even tried ”

        I’d say he sounded realistic. Hamilton of yore may have attempted some Perez- or Verstappen-style banzai moves, but Hamilton of age seems to understand the importance of damage limitation.

        • Verstappen actually passed a couple of cars before the crash with the Lotus.

          • Hi Mark. I can’t work out what point you’re trying to make.
            Are you saying that because VES didn’t crash earlier in the race then his eventual crash was not relevant? Surely the point is to cross the line and not crash.

            He did some overtaking – good: that’s what he’s being paid for. He crashed – bad: that’s the worst possible outcome. The trick is to be able to do the overtaking bit without doing the crashing bit 😉

          • The point I was making was that Verstappen showed Hamilton that it is actually technically feasable for an F1 car to pass another F1 car at Monaco, but you have to have a big tyre advantage to even try it.

          • Verstappen executed his passes by tailgating Vettel’s Ferrari when he was lapping cars, and taking risks. The lapped cars were being taken by surprise, and one or another may not have indulged Verstappen in his youthful petulant exuberance. When Grosjean was alerted to the tailgating and closed the door wide shut, Verstappen didn’t quite show us how to overtake at Monaco…

          • All these discussions are a little silly. Lewis was running in the points, Verstappen wasn’t. So Max couldn’t do damage control, since he would have finished with zero points had he kept his position. He could only get points by taking risks, which the team seem to have agreed with as a strategy. And Torro Rosso isn’t made up of 17 year olds.

            I’d also argue that a development team would want their young driver to test the limit and learn as much as possible, rather than trundle around safely managing his tires.

      • Another thing he got from it was how good his pace was compared to Nico and that should offer him some kind of comfort.

        He was never going to get pass Seb even they were still racing today. The only person who made a pass after the safety car was Ricciardo and that in itself was a risky move that could’ve taken both him and Kimi out of the race.

        @Landroni…

        Fully agreed. The red mist could’ve come down and instead of picking up 15pts, they would be picking pieces of Mercedes and Ferrari from the barriers along with a grid penalty come Canada. It was a disappointing loss, but the end game is the championship. There’ll be other opportunities to win in Monaco.

        • I did say after the safety car….


          “- should’ve naked Grosean”….. Eh?

          • I think His Honour meant “Should have nailed Grosjean”. FWIW, I think the large amount of typos and grammatical errors in the copy on this site are down to the use of some sort of speech-to-text software. A lot of the time, if you say it out loud (as a native English speaker) it’s easy to work out what the original intent may have been. If you’re not a native speaker (i.e., have an accent) then it’ll be a bit more hit-and-miss.

          • I am a man always on the move… self destructing tapes are becoming a more and more difficult medium by which to convey my intentions.

            The simple mobile phone app voice synthesisers are most handy though.

  3. Do we know yet the radio exchange between the pit wall and Lewis around this time? Was he complaining about tyre deg and thus forcing a pit stop?

    I know in previous races he’s been quite vocal on the radio about the tyres being rubbish and usually the team tell him to stay out but this was clearly not the case this time?

        • I recall being told no-one saw an overshoot on Sunday when I noted it, thanks Judge for providing a time estimate on this. It’s always easy for drivers to criticize the poor guys in the pits for lost time, but it’s a high pressure job, and drivers can contribute to difficulty by overshooting.

          • So problem number two was Lewies foot/hand/eye/brain coordination was shot by this time. Probably knew deep down he’d fcuked up .

          • Well that couldn’t have dawned on him given he was ahead when he pitted and had know idea what the gap was to Nico and Seb.

          • I saw on TV how he nailed the P3 Finisher marker. Moved it a meter, looked like.

        • His complaint included the fact that the tyres were not new…. And therefore would not heat up as quickly… Vettel made the same observation on the podium when comparing his tyres to Lewis ‘new sticky super-softs’

  4. Faulty equipment my ar5e!!! I think someone high up his finger on the “delay green light option” button and decided it was better for Mercchumps to give Nico a 3 on the bounce win in Monaco, and teach Hammy a lesson for being a smartar5e and conducting his own contract negotiations, then he huffed and puffed forever and a month before signing it, and to cap it all off he kicked Mercchumps in the bo!!ox for an extra £30 mill a season!!! His Monaco hoodoo continues! #:)

  5. No amount of analysis will justify the wrongful decision taken in the first place at that stage of the race. Unbelievable and totally unsatisfactory conclusion to an unblemished weekend by Hamilton.

    • Agreed.
      The hole sorry saga can be laid at the feet of a Team Principal not managing his pit-wall.

      • Surely Saint Ross will have looked at the right screens, for starters. Before mumbling: “Negative, Lewis. We do not have a window for a free pit stop, and the cars behind you haven’t stopped. Stay out.”

        🙂

        • I think his message would have been much shorter than that – more like
          “Negative, Lewis. Stay out.”

    • It’s still interesting to hear how many different little factors all added up to this. Mercedes could very well have gotten away with it if one of these factors was different. It reminds me how most aircraft disasters are a combination of errors of judgement and malfunctioning equipment.

      • Or Binachi’s Suzuka crash. Too bad the FIA preferred to put it all on the driver and the team’s equipment (allegedly), and exonerate itself from any errors of judgement.

    • Hilarious stuff. Lewis being hunted by the pack.

      Poor Nicole… maybe she wishes she’d not bitched about babies incessantly…

      It could be Lewis wasn’t awarded with the number three just once on Sunday 😉

  6. On lap 68 I remember seeing the TV camera turn to Lauda and he was pumping his arms like a jack man. Immediately I thought he was indicating there was a problem with the way Hamilton was released.

    • Yep, as soon as there was a replay of the event, it was obvious that this was the answer. The gap from Lewis to Nasr when he left the pit box was too big – enough to be ahead of Vettel at least. Now imagine that situation – what would Mercedes have done ? Asked Rosberg to let Lewis back past for their blunder? Or let them fight? Call it off? That would have been interesting…

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