Mercedes Strategy Gaffe Gifts Rosberg Crucial Win In Title Battle

On the weekend he secures his three-year future in a family he’s been with all his racing career, Mercedes repaid Hamilton with a wooden spoon.

Reading into the chain of events one can piece together why Lewis was perhaps not as vocal or outspoken in criticising the team publicly. He did want to pit, but only because he thought Rosberg had already pitted along with Vettel after seeing images on the circuit TVs of the Mercedes pit crew out in force.

Safety_Car_Moanco_2015_F1WeekendsMercedes thought they had the gap to get Lewis out in front, but due to the unreliable telemetry it led to a miscalculation on the pitwall, which cost Mercedes what should’ve been an easy one-two finish. But even if Lewis wanted to pit, what circuit did they think they were at?

We’ve seen over the years how important it is to have track position around Monaco, so such a strategy was never going to work. Whichever excuse you use; whether it be the case of “getting the maths wrong” or “catching up to the safety car cost us time,” neither can sugar-coat what was a pretty significant strategical gaffe.

Vettel’s post-race comment “you won” was perhaps poignant of the situation. Rosberg was also generous in branding his win as ‘lucky’ and commemorating Lewis on his domination throughout the weekend. Lewis meanwhile played the team game, in what was a display of chracter that was distant from his antics here in 2011.

Other stories from the race include young Max Vestappen’s monumental shunt into the Sainte Devote barriers. After impressing everybody on the Thursday with the second best time in what had been his first 90-minute experience around the circuit, the 17 year-old left a pretty significant mark down at the first corner.

Vestappen_crash_Monaco_Sainte_Devote_2015_F1WeekendsWe were onboard his Toro Rosso as that took place, and I remember getting that sunken-heart feeling when the pair made contact. I thought it was going to be an airplane crash, but the momentum was low enough to keep him on the ground.

The stewards have deemed the crash was Vestappen’s fault, and whilst I don’t agree with the grid drop I do think it was a bit too “I’ve got nothing to lose” at a time when he probably could’ve avoided the incident. Grosjean had every right to brake early, but it was on the limit as to what constitutes as defending and brake-checking your opponent.

Elsewhere Williams had an abysmal weekend. I thought they were just running high fuel loads in Practice Three, but after seeing their pace in Qualifying and in the Race it just looked like they weren’t able to switch the tyres on. Massa was probably in for a good race had it not been for his first-lap contact with Maldonado – which we didn’t get to see thanks to Monaco’s useless TV direction. But it all looked like a 2013-spec version of their team rather than the new, reinvigorated outfit we’ve been used to for the past 18 months.

McLaren and Force India managed to score points this weekend for the first time in 2015. And yes you did just read that correctly. Despite Hulkenberg and Alonso having races to forget, both Perez and Button – two drivers names we’ve associated together before – managed to rack up some points after a dismal start to their seasons.

Finally Sebastien Vettel summed up my thoughts on the lack of grid girls in Sundays race. “Fuck. Am I supposed to park behind George or Dave?!?!”

We’re back for Canada in two weeks time for when F1 goes prime time.

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