Mercedes apologise after telling Lewis Hamilton to pit during a safety-car period after he emerged in third place behind team mate Nico Rosberg who wins his third successive Monaco Grand Prix.
MONACO (MAY 24, 2015) (FOM) – Germany’s Nico Rosberg celebrated a surprise hat-trick of Monaco Grand Prix victories on Sunday (May 24) after Mercedes blew championship-leading team mate Lewis Hamilton’s chances with a needless pitstop.
The result, with double Formula One world champion Hamilton finishing third just when victory seemed assured, slashed Hamilton’s overall lead to 10 points after six of the season’s 19 races.
The Briton had led comfortably from pole position until Max Verstappen crashed his Toro Rosso car into the barrier.
First the track was placed under a ‘virtual safety car’ caution period, and then a real safety car took to the track with 14 laps to go.
During this time Hamilton had been told to pit for fresh tyres and he emerged to find both Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel of Germany, who had not pitted, behind the safety car in front of him.
Afterwards Hamilton’s engineer told him over team radio: “I am really sorry about that Lewis, mate. I am just going to have a word with pit wall,” referring to Mercedes F1’s managers arranged on the pit wall.
After the race the managers were seen in the office about their pit garage holding a lengthy discussion.
The safety car had been deployed after Dutch 17-year-old Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso smashed into the back of Frenchman Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and crashed heavily into the barriers while fighting for a possible 10th place.
Verstappen, who had provided some of the more exciting moments of a largely processional race, was unhurt although the front of his car penetrated the plastic wall at the Sainte Devote corner.
Rosberg’s victory was the German’s second in succession, after winning the previous round in Spain, and made him only the fourth driver to win three Monaco Grands Prix in a row. The others were Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
“Very very happy of course. But I know of course that it was just a lot of luck today. You know Lewis drove brilliantly and he would have also deserved the win for sure but you know that’s the way it is in racing and definitely very happy and going to make the most of it,” said the Monaco resident.
Vettel has had one race victory this season and been on the podium for all but one race. He is third in the championship and ready to benefit from any mistakes by Mercedes.
“We were there in the moment when it mattered. Obviously we were able to pip Lewis when he came out of the pits. I think it was pretty close but I was very confident that I was ahead,” he said afterwards. “P2 (second place) is great, great result for the team, thanks for the good work and it is good to be always there. I think we were closer in the race than in qualifying so hopefully we can keep up the trend.”
A very subdued Hamilton formally shook hands with Rosberg after the race, and spoke carefully after the race.
“That was not the easiest of races but you know the team has done an amazing job all year long and we win and lose together,” he said. “So I am just grateful for the job that I did and congratulations to Nico and Sebastian.”
Asked what was going through his mind after losing probably the most prestigious race in the F1 calendar, Hamilton said: “Come back to win the next one.”
Russian Daniil Kvyat was fourth for Red Bull with Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland finishing sixth for Ferrari.
Mexican Sergio Perez was seventh for Force India while Britain’s Jenson Button handed misfiring former champions McLaren their first points of the season with eighth place.
Brazilian Felipe Nasr was ninth for Sauber with Verstappen’s Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz taking the final point for Toro Rosso after starting in the pit lane.
Afterwards stewards decided that Verstappen had been to blame for his crash into Grosjean and awarded him a five-place penalty on the grid at the next race, in Canada.
Result from the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:49:18.420
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari +00:04.486
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 00:06.053
4. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull – Renault 00:11.965
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault 00:13.608
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:14.345
7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 00:15.013
8. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 00:16.063
9. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – Ferrari 00:23.626
10. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Renault 00:25.056
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 00:26.232
12. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Mercedes 00:28.415
13. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari 00:31.159
14. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 00:45.789
15. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
16. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia – Ferrari 2 laps
17. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia – Ferrari 2 laps
r. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – Renault 15 laps
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 36 laps
r. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus – Mercedes 70 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo,1:18.063, lap 74.
Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 126
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 116
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 98
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 60
5. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 42
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 39
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 35
8. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull 17
9. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 16
10. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 16
11. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 11
12. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 9
13. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 6
14. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 6
15. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 5
16. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 4
17. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 0
18. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia 0
19. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia 0
20. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 0
1. Mercedes 242
2. Ferrari 158
3. Williams-Mercedes 81
4. RedBull – Renault 52
5. Sauber – Ferrari 21
6. Force India – Mercedes 17
7. Lotus – Mercedes 16
8. Toro Rosso – Renault 15
9. McLaren 4
10. Marussia – Ferrari 0