F1 2015 Monaco Grand Prix result: Hamilton victory hopes dashed

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 May 2015 | UPDATED: 18:27 24 May 2015

Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes-Benz

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton saw his victory hopes dashed in Monte Carlo as Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag in the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton on track during practice for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton on track during practice for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

The 30-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas driver from Hertfordshire looked on course to comfortably win the race from pole position in Monte Carlo today (Sunday).

He dominated the opening 64 laps around the Circuit de Monaco, pulling more than 20 seconds clear of his Silver Arrows team-mate.

But Hamilton’s 21-second lead was erased when the safety car was deployed, after Max Verstappen had a major shunt at Turn One following a collision involving Romain Grosjean.

Hamilton was wrongly told to pit under the safety car for fresh Option tyres, and he exited in third place behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, who didn’t stop for fresh rubber.

It proved a huge mistake by the team to pit the race leader and, ultimately, cost Hamilton an easy victory.

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, admitted afterwards it was a blunder. So did Niki Lauda, and both Mercedes bosses apologised to the unfortunate Hamilton on TV.

The race finally restarted after 70 laps, with Rosberg pulling away at the front and Hamilton unable to overtake Vettel’s Ferrari in second place after the safety car had come in.

As a result, Rosberg took a fortunate chequered flag for his third successive Monaco GP win, with Vettel second on the podium and the unlucky Hamilton third.

Third place was scant reward for Hamilton, who should have been celebrating his 37th F1 career victory. Instead, it was Rosberg marking a hat-trick of successive Monaco wins.

The result left most observers questioning why Mercedes pitted Hamilton when there was no real need to.

And there was a huge roar for Hamilton as the interviews began after the podium celebrations.

Martin Brundle asked Lewis: “What’s your comment?”

The reigning F1 world champion replied: “I’ll have to win the next one.”

After the race, the Mercedes team’s official Twitter account @MercedesAMGF1 tweeted: “To all our disappointed fans out there, we feel your pain. We got it wrong today and that’s the simple fact. We will grow stronger from this.”

As for having a near certain victory snatched from his grasp, Hamilton diplomatically said afterwards: “We win and we lose together.”

No doubt fuming inside, Hamilton added: “I can’t express how I feel right now so I won’t attempt to. But you live to fight another day.”

Even German race winner Rosberg admitted: “Lewis deserved it today.”

It was an embarrassing mistake by the Mercedes team in the week Hamilton signed a new three-year contract with the Silver Arrows and made it a bittersweet victory for Rosberg.

He became only the fourth driver to win three consecutive races in Monaco after Graham Hill, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.

Afterwards, Hamilton said: “I can’t express the way I feel at the moment.

"We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“I saw the team out in the pit-lane on one of the screens and thought Nico was pitting.

“I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same. This is a race that’s been close to my heart for years and it’s special to me, so I really wanted to win.

“The team have been brilliant all year, so I don’t blame them.”

He added: “We’ll analyse and work out what went wrong, but we’ll do that collectively and try to improve for the future.

"Until the safety car Lewis has done a perfect job, he was better than me over the weekend, so he definitely deserved the win. "

Monaco Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg

“I always say to my team and my fans, we win and we lose together. You live to fight another day.”

Rosberg ran Option then Prime, stopping once on lap 37, with Lewis running Option/Prime/Option, stopping on laps 38 and, unfortunately, 65.

Hamilton now leads Rosberg by 10 points in the Drivers’ World Championship, with Mercedes heading Ferrari by 84 points in the Constructors’ battle.

Race winner Rosberg said: “That was my luckiest experience in racing so far. What a crazy race.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix result

1 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4 Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull)

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

6 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

7 Sergio Perez (Force India)

8 Jenson Button (McLaren)

9 Felipe Nasr (Sauber)

10 Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)

“I was surprised when I saw no one else behind the safety car than me.

“I didn’t know what was happening in that moment. But I concentrated on getting temperature into the tyres as they felt like ice.

“Until the safety car Lewis has done a perfect job, he was better than me over the weekend, so he definitely deserved the win.

“I know how horrible he must feel now.”

Rosberg added: “This weekend was a warning for me that I have to work even harder for the next race in Montreal.

“For sure I also feel happy to win again here in Monaco. It’s always so special, and one part of me will celebrate that victory today. A win is a win.”

Reflecting on a “crazy day”, team boss Toto Wolff said: “I don’t think there has ever been a more bittersweet feeling than this one.

“We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time.

“First of all, we must apologise to Lewis. We win and we lose together and what I am proud of in this team is that we take collective responsibility.

“But this is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here. What happened? In simple terms, we got our numbers wrong.

“We thought we had the gap for Lewis to take fresh tyres and come back out in the lead behind the Safety Car, ahead of Nico and covering off any risk of another competitor taking fresh tyres.

“But the calculation was incorrect and he came out in third place.

“It was our decision to call him in and our mistake, pure and simple; in these situations, a driver trusts his team. Lewis had driven flawlessly until then and really delivered a perfect weekend, with a stunning pole lap and a masterful race.

“There’s nothing more to say other than to highlight the grace with which he handled the situation; he was a leader and a true sportsman this afternoon.”

The team supremo added: “As for Nico, he didn’t put a foot wrong all day, and it would be wrong if we didn’t take the time to recognise his achievement: a third consecutive win in Monaco is something only three other drivers in history have achieved before.

“It is a very special moment indeed and one for him to savour.

“He didn’t have the pace of Lewis today but, in this sport, you take the victories any way they come. This, too, is motor racing.

“We now need to stay calm and analyse how we made the mistake this afternoon.

“We will be harshly self-critical behind closed doors and this experience will make us a better and a stronger team in the races ahead.

“There is still a very long way to go in this championship and today showed that we have the performance in our car to do the job this year.”

While there were mixed emotions for the Mercedes camp on the team’s double podium, bookies were celebrating Rosberg’s Monaco miracle.

William Hill reported that 66 per cent of all bets on the Monaco Grand Prix had been for a Hamilton victory.

The current world champion went off at 2/7, while Rosberg, who went off at 4/1, attracted just 10 per cent of all wagers.

“We were worried about a potential Hamilton hammering but Rosberg has proved that you can win without getting pole in Monaco and has upset a number of punters in the process,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

Hamilton remains the favourite to win the Drivers’ Championship at 1/4 with Rosberg 4/1.

The McLaren-Honda team scored its first points of the season at Monaco today.

Starting from 10th on the grid, Jenson Button drove a typically unruffled race to eighth, earning the team four points. In fact, Button was never out of the top 10 all afternoon.

He moved past Pastor Maldonado when the Lotus driver encountered brake issues, then jumped Max Verstappen when the Dutchman was delayed in the pits.

The late-race Safety Car offered the opportunity to catch Sergio Perez, but he was unable to generate enough temperature in the tyres to mount a sustained challenge to the flag.

Button said: “It’s been a positive day for us. We were hoping to score a point today, and we scored four.

“I certainly didn’t expect to finish eighth.”

The 2009 world champion added: “At the start I lost a position to Nico [Hulkenberg], but got it back by going around the outside of him at Turn Three on the first lap, which was good fun.

“Once I got past Pastor [Maldonado], my race was basically about turning quali lap after quali lap: it was flat-out.

“That was tough – in fact it was pretty physical out there – but I really enjoyed it.

“I’m really happy for the team – we’ve worked hard to get into this position, and they deserve this. We have work to do, but this is a hugely positive step for us.”

McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso’s race started well.

He made a strong start to jump from 13th to 11th, but was given a five-second penalty, which he took at his pit-stop, for clashing with Nico Hulkenberg as the pair turned into Mirabeau on lap one.

Alonso was the first driver to start on Primes, and his pace looked strong at the start of the race.

However, his afternoon came to an end after 41 laps with an as-yet-unspecified overheating issue.

Alonso said: “At the start, I don’t think I deserved the penalty [for the incident with Hulkenberg]. At that particular moment, I don’t know what else I could have done.

“Most significantly, it’s a pity we couldn’t finish the race today. The car started to upshift in a really strange way on the lap before I stopped.

“Then, on the first corner, I had no braking. The car stayed in neutral and I couldn’t put it in gear.

“That’s frustrating because we could have had both cars in the point for the first time this season.

“We need to keep improving the car to ensure these sorts of things don’t happen again.

“Still, having these problems this year is good, because it means we won’t repeat them next year.”


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