Hamilton denied Monaco win
The race was Lewis Hamilton’s to win, until his team pitted him during a late safety car after Max Verstappen’s effort to pass Romain Grosjean on lap 64 ended in a crash.
Mercedes called in Hamilton (who had a 25-second lead at that point) for a set of fresh supersoft tyres. Bad, bad mistake. Teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did not stop, and had passed Hamilton when he rejoined. Overtaking is notoriously difficult, in fact near impossible, on this circuit, so everyone has been questioning Mercedes’ decision.
Rosberg was able to coast to the finish line while Hamilton struggled in vain to overtake Vettel. After the race, Rosberg said, “Lewis drove brilliantly and deserved to win for sure, but that’s the way it is in racing.”
The whole situation is very similar to the 1992 Monaco GP, when Ayrton Senna, on old tyres, held off Nigel Mansell, who had led the race from pole until a late pitstop on lap 71. Although Mansell was the faster driver, Senna positioned his car to hold him off, just like Vettel did to Hamilton.
Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, called last Sunday the worst day of his life and made a public apology to his driver, but Hamilton’s lead has already been reduced to just 10 points over his teammate.
Verstappen received a five-place grid penalty for the upcoming race in Canada.