Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes apologise after Monaco GP error

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Monaco
Strategic error costs Hamilton win

Mercedes apologised to Lewis Hamilton for what they admitted was the strategic error that cost him victory in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton was leading when he was called in for fresh tyres during a late safety car period, dropping him to third.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: "The answer is we got the maths wrong.

Hamilton distraught after pit error

"That one goes on the team and I apologise. He's a great leader and a great driver. I am sure he will understand sometimes we make errors."

The mistake handed victory to Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg and also cost Hamilton a position to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

It cut the world champion's advantage in the championship over Rosberg to 10 points.

Hamilton was visibly distraught afterwards, but refused to blame the team for the error.

After crossing the finish line, Hamilton slowed to a stop at the Portier corner - which faces out to the Mediterranean Sea - seemingly to gather his thoughts.

He then completed the lap and drew up to the podium, where he knocked over his 'third place' parking board with the front of his Mercedes.

Wolff said the error was made because of concerns that the tyres on the Mercedes were losing temperature and that they might be vulnerable in the event Vettel stopped under the safety car for fresh tyres.

The decision was made more difficult, he said, because the GPS tracking system that shows the positions of all the cars on track was not available in Monaco.

"We thought we had a gap which we didn't have when the safety car came out and Lewis was behind the safety car and the calculation was simply wrong.

Hamilton plays down Mercedes mistake

"We expected to have a couple of seconds more."

Wolff refused to say who had made the final decision to pit Hamilton, who exited the pits almost side by side with Vettel, but had to cede position because the Ferrari got to the designated marker line fractionally ahead.

"It was the team's decision," Wolff said. "We are all in this together, we make decisions together and it is not one person to blame and we win and lose together and that is clear.

"From a common sense overview, disregarding the data I agree it looks like a risk. But we have to follow the data; that is how the sport works. But the simple answer is the numbers were wrong."

Full race results

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel cheekily declared he was "very happy" with his second place
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton was not subtle in hiding his emotions but sportingly congratulated his team-mate
Nico Rosberg crosses the finish line
Hamilton was leading comfortably in Monaco before the team decided to pit him in the closing stages of the race
The Briton returned from the pits behind team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel

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