Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2015

Mercedes answers fans on Hamilton’s Monaco strategy error and rubbishes conspiracy claims

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2015Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff responded to fans’ questions about the team’s Monaco Grand Prix strategy which cost Lewis Hamilton a likely victory in the race.

Wolff shed new light on how the disputed decision was taken and rubbished suggestions that the team had deliberately spoiled Hamilton’s race.

Here’s a selection of what Wolff had to say.

Why was the decision to pit Hamilton made in the first place?
“We believed we could make a free stop to cover risk of cars behind on the super-soft. Unfortunately our data was wrong.”

Was there input from Hamilton on whether to stop or not? The post-race interview appeared to suggest there was.
“We told him to stay out and Lewis said “not good” and that the tyres had lost temperature.

“We had one second to react and, combined with our wrong timing data, we made the mistake of calling him in.”

Track position is king so why oh why did anyone think pitting Lewis was a good idea?
“Under the Safety Car you need a 12 second gap to maintain position. Our system showed us that we had that gap.”

Did you not think you should have told Hamilton that Rosberg and Vettel had not pitted? that would have calmed him.
“Vettel still had an opportunity to stop as he had not caught the Safety Car.”

Why didn’t you tell Rosberg to back off to into the first corner when Hamilton was coming out to get him past Vettel?
“Because the Sporting Regulations say you cannot drive “unnecessarily slowly” behind the Safety Car.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2015Did the [Virtual Safety Car] have an impact on the mis-judgement?
“No. The decision was made one lap later.”

Why were the guys in the pit lane if there was no intention to pit thus bluffing your team mate?
“You put the guys out sometimes to cover a potential late call.”

Do you need to take a more human approach to strategy as everyone watching Monaco knew you made wrong call before you.
“You need the right balance between data and gut feeling. Our tools told us we had the gap but they were wrong.”

Do you think that sometimes you can have too many people involved in the decision process, hence the confusion?
“We have a strict radio protocol and structure how our decisions are made. This is how we’ve won so many races.”

Why doesn’t Lewis and Nico have their own strategist? Surely the team would get on even better with their own?
“Last year proved that we allow our drivers to have a fair and equal fight. Having one strategist allows this.”

If Hamilton passed Vettel would you have asked Rosberg to let Hamilton pass?
“Very good question. It would have been a very tough call to make.”

What were your key findings in the debriefs since and how will you look to improve strategically for the next races?
“Improve software, better communication and a spice more common sense.”

“Just to make one thing clear, we’re right in the middle of this and just as frustrated about our mistake as many of you! This is our life, we eat, breathe, sleep F1.”

Was Rosberg a bit sheepish in the debrief after? Bet he couldn’t believe his luck!
Nico showed great sportsmanship and said to the team he could feel their frustration.

Can you ever rebuild total trust with Hamilton and the team, after Monaco debacle, lost him the win?
“Trust is a key value within our team. One race doesn’t tip that over.”

Did anyone [lose] their job on Sunday?
“Absolutely not. We’re a world championship team and we are not playing a blame game based on a single race.”

Are you happy with the way the team has handled the aftermath of the situation on Sunday?
“We’re not happy about the situation itself & therefore there was no such thing as happiness about that incident.”

Was that deliberate mistake to make the race towards championship interesting?
“Would we ever do this to the guy leading the championship with Ferrari a real threat to us? Answer: No.”

How do Mercedes AMG feel about the rumours that Hamilton was purposely to have a three-time winner on the team?
“Whoever would start such rumours needs their head examined.”

Are you bored of your “fans” asking stupid questions about “sabotage” when it was clearly just a wrong decision in the heat of the race?
“Criticism is OK but we have no respect for dumb comments or abuse.”

Good intentions aside, how do you manage the conflict of interests within the team? Do you understand fans’ concern?
“When two drivers fight for the championship, there is intense competition. We manage it transparently with them.”

lf Hamilton now loses the championship by 10 points or less how will this look/be dealt with?
“It would not look good but this is motor racing. Lewis has our 100% support.”

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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156 comments on “Mercedes answers fans on Hamilton’s Monaco strategy error and rubbishes conspiracy claims”

  1. Credit has to be given to Mercedes here. They’ve not had the best weekend, but within 3 days they have presented their views at a senior level to the fans on all levels. I personally just see this as a mistake (Human error), but Mercedes want to explain themselves.

    People want F1 to be more accessible. I think Mercedes are leading the way at the moment..

    1. Period. ;)

    2. Agreed. A very good damage limitation (not meant negatively in any way).
      Time to move on

    3. Toto Wolff is doing a great job for Mercedes, for his team, for the fans and for F1. It is easy to appear to be a great leader when you have so much success. The true measure comes when there is adversity and controversy. He has handled an extremely difficult situation on many levels directly, honestly and head on. Secrecy and procrastination tend to fuel rumors and conspiracy theories. He has put out the fire with simple direct answers. I really respect him and how he dealt with this.He is a credit to his team and to the sport.

      1. @bullmello
        You know, that is a great point that we’ve been overlooking here. How often do you see the folks at the top mishandle a situation. Toto got out in front of this in stark contrast to say…Ron Dennis and Alonso’s wreck in testing this year. And he’s been steady in his messaging, took blame as a team and been the calm that deflected much of the storm.

      2. Do you think that sometimes you can have too many people involved in the decision process, hence the confusion?
        “We have a strict radio protocol and structure how our decisions are made. This is how we’ve won so many races.”

        Whilst Toto is doing a great job being quite transparent and honest with the media and fans I cant help but disagree with some of his answers, mainly the answer Iv’e highlighted.
        Mercedes have “won so many races” since the start of last year quite simply because of their huge speed advantage to the rest of the field.
        I cannot recall a race during this period where there have gained places or one a race due to cunning strategy. Red Bull have done this in Hungary and Spa of last year where they still had to think very quickly on their feet in order to win those races.
        Ferrari have done the same this year at multiple races, Malaysia and Bahrain. Winning a race and gaining a place due to quick thinking and taking a slight gamble.

        Im certain Hamilton could have won the Hungarian Grand Prix last year had the Mercedes team brought him in for a final pitstop 1 lap before Rosberg whilst Lewis was ahead.
        Another occasion was pitting Hamilton whilst he was in front of Vettel in Malaysia losing him what could have been a win.

        My point being I cant recall a race in the past 18 months whereby Mercedes, chief strategist or their strategy-by-committee team have made a call that has gained their drivers any positions without it being down to the raw pace of the W05/06.

        1. To the final point you make: They have not been sufficiently tested to justify a conclusion here

    4. I agree that credit should be given to Mercedes for standing out front and taking the slings and arrows from the media and fans.
      But come on. We need better software! You don’t have software that gives you the tire temps of your cars? Lewis says his tire temps are bad, hey they’re the same as Nico’s so stay out, simple. It’s Monaco so in reality he was only battling Nico and were the team really going to let Nico try to get by in Monaco and risk both cars?
      In my opinion they where either trying to be cute or they panicked.

      1. We need better tyres.

      2. As Hamilton was driving slowly behind the SC by that time, its quite possible that his temperatures were significantly further down @velocityboy. Monaco is not great for telemetry because the buildings, landscape and the tunnel tend to mess with both that and with the GPS signal.

        1. @bascb – there is no reliable GPS signal for the Monaco GP. There are 20 “on-track sensors” – so it seems that the car position information is an educated guess in between the sensors, particularly inaccurate when under a safety car or double-yellows and speeds vary unusually.
          (I’ve just tried to verify this info but cannot find anything to back it up – I think it was verbal info during BBC coverage of the Monaco GP).
          Interestingly, I did find some references to how inaccurate GPS can be and how “slow” it is to update (20 times a second is slow in F1). I read that “optical sensors” are preferred for high accuracy and high frequency speed testing – but again, there wasn’t a lot of explanation.
          I wonder if any of the F1 Fanatics know about F1-style geolocation sensing?

    5. ColdFly F1 (@)
      26th May 2015, 21:39

      I’m impressed as well. Very good public damage control.

    6. I LOL’ed at the suggestion that Ferrari are a “real threat” to Mercedes in this championship. Mercedes have an 84-point lead in the constructors’ championship after just six races, and a 28-point lead in the drivers’ championship — and that’s even *after* you consider the rare rookie mistake from Mercedes.

      Merc could, quite literally, let one or other driver sit the next three races out and they’d still be leading the constructors’ championship by nine points when he returned. And even in the drivers’ championship, they could let Lewis skip a weekend and return with a three point lead. And that’s after less than a third of the season has gone by.

      It’s hilarious that we’re still pretending that there’s any real challenge here. Mercedes have already sealed this championship, just as they did last year. We knew that would be the case before the year started, and it was pretty obvious to anybody paying much attention that they’d win this year even before *last* year started, barring a significant change of the rules or the most spectacular act of god.

      1. @gweilo8888

        I LOL’ed at the suggestion that Ferrari are a “real threat” to Mercedes in this championship. Mercedes have an 84-point lead in the constructors’ championship after just six races, and a 28-point lead in the drivers’ championship — and that’s even *after* you consider the rare rookie mistake from Mercedes.

        28 points is about 11 points in old money, and considering that Vettel appears to have #1 status at Ferrari (which Hamilton doesn’t have), this is far from over. Many drivers in the past have made a comeback from far greater deficiencies than 11 points.

        If Ferrari can get on terms with Mercedes, then Vettel will win the WDC, not necessarily because he is a better driver, but because Ferrari’s pitwall is far superior to that of Mercedes.

        We saw that in Malaysia. The only race of the season where Ferrari was equally fast as Mercedes. Result? Merc got schooled on strategy alone.

        1. “Vettel appears to have #1 status at Ferrari (which Hamilton doesn’t have)”
          LOL you are funny!

          1. Well, he’s effectively #2-ing himself by being off the pace whenever it counts.

        2. Since when did you follow F1? 3 year deal worth 90 million and he’s no.2? His fans are just as fragile and so overly sensitive like little girls, lol.

          1. Karthik Mohan
            27th May 2015, 3:11

            @JohnBT… And do you happen to realize that there is another thing called driver equality? Which clearly isn’t present at ferrari? Never has and never will. That’s what Kingshark meant by saying Hamilton didn’t have the number one status like vettel does. Talk about being sensitive little girls!

          2. @ Karthik:
            That’s nonsense. There are good examples for equal treatment at Ferrari in recent years. In 2006, Massa was allowed to finish ahead of Schumacher on a few occasions. In 2007, Räikkönen and Massa were racing freely until the team awarded Räikkönen #1 status after the Italian GP because he was slightly ahead in the battle, and because this was their only chance to get the title.
            Same situation in 2008, when Räikkönen was allowed to race freely against Massa at least as late as the Belgian GP. Team orders were applied exactly once, during the Chinese GP. It is true that Räikkönen was nowhere to be seen during the second half of the 2008 season, but that wasn’t Ferrari’s fault. They would’ve loved him to steal points from Hamilton, just like Massa stole quite a few points from the McLarens in 2007, but he was too far off the pace.
            In 2009, there was free racing again between Massa and Räikkönen until the former was injured. After that, neither Badoer nor Fisichella were close enough to Räikkönen to tell if they would’ve had equal treatment.
            From 2010 to at least 2012, there were quite a few instances of obvious #2 treatment for Massa, I’ll give you that.
            In 2014, there was not a single trace of evidence that both drivers weren’t treated equally. Which isn’t surprising, given the fact that Ferrari weren’t competitive and thus had no reason to put all their eggs in one basket. Alonso and Räikkönen were allowed to race freely, even though they seldom met on the track.
            This year, again no sign of inequal treatment. The Bahrain GP provides enough evidence by itself to come to this conclusion.

            Also, I would like you to answer me one question:
            How could Ferrari benefit from preventing one of their drivers from making the most of his car’s potential? I fail to see how anyone at Ferrari could rejoice at the sight of Räikkönen finishing behind a Williams or the odd Red Bull.

          3. @nase

            That’s nonsense. There are good examples for equal treatment at Ferrari in recent years. In 2006, Massa was allowed to finish ahead of Schumacher on a few occasions.

            Oh yes, the only times Massa was allowed to finish ahead of Schumacher was Turkey (where Schumi got stuck behind Alonso, so it was within the teams’ best interest for Massa to win), and Brazil (where Schumi got a puncture). When things didn’t go wrong for Schumacher, Massa moved over for him on more than one occasion (Indianapolis, Japan).

            In 2007, Räikkönen and Massa were racing freely until the team awarded Räikkönen #1 status after the Italian GP because he was slightly ahead in the battle, and because this was their only chance to get the title.

            And Raikkonen was ahead by only 5 points when Ferrari decided to give him #1 status, we’re only 6 races into the season and Vettel already has a much bigger gap than that over Raikkonen. Hence, Vettel is probably already #1 driver.

            In 2009, there was free racing again between Massa and Räikkönen until the former was injured.

            That’s because when neither of your drivers are anywhere near Brawn or in the WDC battle, giving anyone a #1 status is rather pointless.

            @hotbottoms

            What makes you think so? I’m pretty sure that if Räikkönen felt like he wasn’t getting equal treatment, he’d say so.

            If Ferrari come close enough to Mercedes in performance, Raikkonen will be used as #2 gunner just like he was in 2008. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t get equal equipment, but rather that Vettel will be the primary focus of the team.

            @gweilo8888

            Name a single driver who has made a comeback despite a huge engine performance deficit that the regulations prevent rivals from addressing.

            Apart from the fact that Ferrari don’t have an engine performance deficit at all, let alone a huge one.
            http://www.grandprixtimes.com/news/display/10206

            Ferrari are almost always as fast or faster than Mercedes down the straights this year. The real difference between the two lies in aero, certainly not something that can’t be fixed.

        3. How did we come to the conclusion that Vettel is #1? He is the #1 driver based on pace since he has beaten Kimi in all qualifying sessions and races barring the Bahrain one.

          But if Ferrari manage to catch up to Mercedes and if they want to do something credible this season other than finishing best of the rest, it is better to back Vettel as he seems to be able to do the job in qualifying and the race as well as compared to Kimi turning it up only in the races.

        4. @kingshark

          Vettel appears to have #1 status at Ferrari (which Hamilton doesn’t have)

          What makes you think so? I’m pretty sure that if Räikkönen felt like he wasn’t getting equal treatment, he’d say so.

          1. In fact, that’s a no-brainer. Why on earth would Ferrari slow Räikkönen down? They’re rich enough to equip both cars with the best parts available. They’re fighting for P2 in the costructors’ championship and trying to beat Mercedes as often as possible.
            Giving one driver a worse car wouldn’t help them in any way. They need their two cars to be as fast as possible, because that way, they can gather many points and, in a situation like 2007, use team orders to give one of their drivers more points for the championship while the other driver finishes just behind him to take away as many points as possible from everyone else.

            In short: Just like in 2014, Räikkönen isn’t being disadvantaged by his team, because there is not a single reason on earth for Ferrari to do so. If he’s consistently losing out to Vettel, it’s because his perfomance is mediocre at best.

        5. Whether or not he is #1, he deserves it on merit. So does Hamilton.

          Let’s be honest Mercedes don’t have to worry about that anyway as Rosberg is clearly #2 anyway.

        6. Name a single driver who has made a comeback despite a huge engine performance deficit that the regulations prevent rivals from addressing.

          You can’t, because there isn’t one.

      2. Just look at the amount of points Vettel raked in in the second part of the season in 2012 and you must admit, that while Mercedes currently looks unbeatable, its far too early to count on it for sure @gweilo8888

        1. No, I must not. I knew before last year’s season even started that Merc had won it. I knew the same this year.

          Tell you what, I’ll do you a deal. If anybody other than Merc wins either championship, I promise to come back here and eat major humble pie — but you have to promise to do the same should Merc win both championships. Deal?

          Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  2. I think Nico handled an awkward situation really well. Lewis is understandably disappointed but he still comes off as childish in a lot of his comments / actions.

    1. What did Hamilton do after this incident that you could describe as childish?! I thought he was incredibly restrained and totally sportsmanlike. I don’t see how anyone could criticise any comment or action after the race, let alone call his actions childish!

      1. Hamilton didn’t show up for the team photo though.

      2. Normally you say something congratulating the team podiums, Nico’s win, stick around for the team picture, etc. Lewis barely did any of that. He gets snappy on the radio when he realized the race is lost. Same thing happened in Monaco last year. He stopped responding, said there was an “issue” with his eye.

        1. He congratulated both of them, and said how good a job the team had done this year on the podium. In the wake of the event how can you say this was anything other than dignified.

          Good grief…

        2. @smartrip This is completely different to simply losing a race because you didn’t do enough job. In Spain, Hamilton did everything you described like attending the team photograph etc., he wasn’t grumpy or anything – because he knew he didn’t do the job in qualifying and therefore he didn’t feel like it was taken away from him, he just wasn’t good enough on the day.

          Monaco was completely different and absolutely heartbreaking for him, a) because it’s Monaco and b) because of the circumstances of how he lost. I don’t think you can really understand how much this meant to him, considering the prestige of Monaco and how special he considers the race, since his idol Senna had so much success there. Hamilton has never really had much success there despite how much it means to him, so winning a race here would be very important to him. He talked of how he had spent hours studying how to be better here before the race. He did everything right, great practice and qualifying, dominated the race. Then something as trivial as this takes it away from him.

          Have you ever had that deflated feeling where something so horrible has happened you can barely stand and just want to sit down and be alone with your thoughts? I imagine that’s how Hamilton felt when he was slowly getting out of his car. I was actually very impressed with how he didn’t seem angry at the team or anything, didn’t make any foolish comments, he just repressed his pain and actually complimented the team on the good job they had done so far in the year. He also congratulated Nico on the podium. He was very mature in his post-race interviews as well. Honestly, as a Hamilton fan I felt absolutely horrible over 24 hours after the race had finished, and I imagine he felt even worse. I imagine all he will have wanted to do after the race finished will have been to go back to his apartment and do some soul-searching. This was so much more significant than just losing at some Tilkedrome because you messed up qualifying or something.

          1. @polo I understand what you’re saying and no doubt Hamilton lost the race. But again he’s not the first guy to lose a race towards the end or because of strategy. He should be upset but he’s a professional, and in any case, if it was 100% he would win the race what were the other guys doing racing? Everyone up to Stevens and Merhi start the race in the hope of being the first guy to take the chequered flag. In Monaco, Lewis was on pole and led the race for 64/78laps but unfortunately wasn’t the first guy across the line.

          2. @polo – spot on. I’m amazed that people complain about a driver having emotions, then complain about drivers being inaccessible or disinterested.
            Hamilton took a really big hit. When he parked at Portier, he was probably crying (I would have been) or at least gathering his thoughts, putting on some emotional armour. He did well. Rosberg was pretty decent about it too. I don’t think anyone came out of this badly.

      3. I’d like an answer to this as well.

        1. Driving over the 3rd place sign wasn’t very nice. Also his body language, especially right after he left his car, it was like a four year old. The good news was that he got himself together just before the ceremony.

          1. Drivers hit those signs all the time. Also please don’t pretend that you can read and understand body language, because even if you’re a highly experienced and qualified psychologist, all your training and experience is gone out the window as soon as you start dealing with an athlete directly after an event. Unless you specifically treat top end athletes, and if you do have such a prestigeous job, may I remind you what you learnt in your first year at uni: You can’t understand what is going on in the head by the body language until you have had at least a month treating that person, ideally as an inpatient (1). You certainly can’t do it from watching a video (2).

            (1) Mental Health Nursing an evidence based approach – Newell, Gournay – 2000
            (2) Clinician’s guide to mind over mood – Padesky, Greenberger – 1995

      4. Are you visually impaired? sorry if I’ve insulted you.
        But he’s a damn good driver, no doubt about it.

      5. @bobwhosaysni
        – Trying to overtake behind the Safety Car
        – stopping on the lap of honour for no reason
        – driving over his stop sign in front of the podium
        – walking away from the champagne ceremony

        Those are examples of childish behaviour.

        On the other hand, his answers to interviewers after that were flawless, balanced and mature. So it seems that he had to let off some steam before getting a hold of himself again.

        1. Wasn’t that Rosberg the first one?

          1. @john-h
            No, that was Hamilton. When he came out of the pits, he crossed the crucial second safety car line behind Vettel and spent the following “straight” (the climb towards the Casino) trying to overtake the Ferrari.

    2. I could not disagree with you more. Lewis didn’t blame the team or refuse to shake anyone’s hand or go running to the press and say they intentionally did something wrong or say they were incompetent.

      If you’re looking for Lewis to smile and hand out cigars after losing a race he damn well earned a win in, then you’re delusional. If you think THAT kind of personality could win world championships then you’re truly off in your own world. It takes aggressive, relentless, driven people to be the best.

      The sweet platitudes are for people making posters or trying to win a beauty contest.

      1. I’m not saying he should be happy, just respectful. I think he, especially, gets away with some not-so gracious because everyone says “oh he’s just competitive”. If the tables were turned, Nico would be called “spoiled”.
        Being a world champion and being gracious in defeat are not mutually exclusive. If you think they are then perhaps your standards for beiong a world champion are lower than they should be…

        1. @smartrip
          I shouldn’t have come off as so snarky, sorry about that. But I think it’s unfair to criticize Lewis on this occasion. There have been plenty of times in his career where I’ve openly winced when Lewis did or said something. But this was a truck kick in the balls and he handled it as well as he could in my opinion.
          He IS a very competitive person and that’s how you win in a sport like F1. As my father (who was hyper competitive I must admit) liked to say: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”.

          1. @daved – You didn’t sound snarky to me. Just sayin’.

        2. I think Nico handled an awkward situation really well. Lewis is understandably disappointed but he still comes off as childish in a lot of his comments / actions.

          I’m not saying he should be happy, just respectful.

          With all due respect, Lewis went to the podium, shock Nico’s hand, praised the team who had just lost him the race, in interviews after the race he wouldn’t pin the blame on the team alone, he put himself in the decision, he stayed positive in his words even if he couldn’t with his face. However because he didn’t small and laugh he came of childish, and that he should act respectful.

          With this in mind, Can you tell me how celebrating the win as Nico crossed the line, how screaming with joy on the team radio and celebrating a race win as he did in Spain is anything close to respectful given how he won the race?

          If Nico wants to do that the fine, more power to him. But if you want to judge Hamilton’s actions then you should be prepared to judge Nico’s in the same way, which I find odd because you seem to be of the opinion that Nico handled an awkward situation really well.

          I’m not a crazy blinkers on conspiracy raving fan boy of Hamiltons, I simply appreciate his skills in a car and what he stands for as a person and I can completely understand that some people aren’t fans of Hamilton’s, and I can also completely understand that some people will have different feelings towards how the race was won, But I honestly have to try to understand given the actions that happened after the race and given the circumstances of the race result how you form the opinion that Hamilton was childish and needed to act more respectful yet Nico handled the situation well?

          I should also add, the time I see Hamilton, or any other driver on the grid that I support and respect to be ok and happy with losing then that’s the day they lose that support and respect because it means that don’t care, they have given up and that’s not the type of racing driver I want to support.

      2. Come on, be realistic. We’ve seen other drivers take things both worse and also better. Lewis hammed it up a bit, but that’s a reflection of him wearing his heart on his sleeve. But some of his mannerisms are, as he said, childish.

        1. You call it childish, i call it being a winner, winners exsist to win. and dont cover up their feelings when they lose, espeically in the manner Hamilton did.

          What about when Senna got out and walked home? What about when Schumacher stormed down the pitlane to punch Coulthard? Winners have the same traits. You just chose to single out Hamilton because you dislike him.

          Simple.

          1. Exactly. People seem to keep forgetting this quote:

            Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.
            – Vince Lombardi

            People might call people like Senna, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel childish because they act all grumpy when they lose a race, but it’s precisely because they hate losing so much that they win so often.

      3. it’s strange he didn’t considering he was so fast to the media last year to blame Rosberg of intentionaly making a mistake :)

        1. I think Nico either had nothing to lose so drove recklessly at best OR he did intentionally make a mistake at worst to block Lewis so I can understand Lewis going ballistic about it last year. But that was against a person he truly felt had cheated him.

          This was a mistake by the team and he handled it as well as he could under the circumstances.

      4. I’m not a Hamilton supporter per se, but I thought he handled this as well as anyone possibly could under the circumstances. Considering what he went through having a sure win taken away I thought he showed maturity and level headedness even though he was understandably disappointed. My estimation of him as a driver has always been high. As a person subjected to a difficult situation, I thought he demonstrated very good character.

        1. I’ve seen an awful lot of drivers (including Hamilton himself) have “sure wins” taken away from them through no fault of their own. I’ve very rarely if ever seen the outpouring of sympathy and indignation on behalf of such drivers which I’m seeing for LH in this current situation.

    3. You are joking, right?

      Every person i’ve talk to about the race since sunday cannot believe how Rosberg celebrated that win, no ones really talked about conspiracys, no ones even really talked much about the big mistake. Just mostly about how Rosberg, having been demolished by someone in the same car, gets gifted a win, and screams on the radio ‘YEAAAHHH MONACOOO WOOOHOOO’ and is all smiles on the podium. A true winner and honest competitor would have had more concern about how slow he was, and would have maybe felt a twinge of embarrasment on the podium.

      Lewis acting childish? What where you watching? He behaved like a real champion, shaking Nicos hand and saying it was a collective team fault.

      Honestly i wonder how some people come to such conclusions.

      1. I’m a Hamilton fan and even I think that’s a bit harsh on Rosberg. He won a race that’s important to him – where he grew up, surrounded by people and places he knows well (he’s not by any stretch of the imagination a German). Of course he was happy. He drove a good race but was outgunned by his team-mate, yet still won it – Result! Happiness! You don’t think about the politics during the adrenaline rush over the line.
        (I can’t believe I’m defending Rosberg…)

      2. I think I agree with this. I remember when Ross gave the team order in 2013, and Hamilton felt embarrassed on the podium ahead of rosberg. Not the same the other way around, but then I guess that’s why I support one driver and not the other one when it comes down to it. I think Hamilton underneath all the gold necklaces and that is actually a decent character.

    4. I get impatient with this ‘childish’ slur that some people like to toss around. What does it mean? Generally it means the poster has some unpleasant agenda and is struggling to find anything genuine to hang some disparagement on, and reckons they’ve found something hard to rebut because it’s so nebulous.

      Hamilton’s behaviour was exemplary. Didn’t blame anyone, in fact shared the blame pretty generously, congratulated Nico and Seb, and said his only response would be to come back in Canada.

      The team have behaved pretty well too. They and Lewis are a bit of a mutual appreciation society at the moment.

    5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th May 2015, 20:46

      @smarttrip crazy stuff! Are you sure you’re not Merc’s chief strategist?:-)

    6. I don’t know what you were watching but Lewis came off far better, much more professional. He was calm and humble in the post-race interviews when he had every right to lash out at his team. Nico on the other hand over-celebrated a win he didn’t deserve and maintained his inappropriate smug smile throughout despite the fact that his team had suffered one of the biggest embarrassments in F1 history. The guy seems to lack social skills or something, his behaviour is often very inappropriate.

      1. I agree with those who say LH’s reaction was understandable. Sure some of his post race actions like stopping the car out on the track etc were slightly unusual, but then this loss was grossly unusual. He did absolutely fine while dealing with no doubt extremely heavy shoulders and a lot of questions he wanted answered.

        And I think NR did fine too. If he celebrated with what in some people’s opinion was too much enthusiasm, don’t forget this is racing and anything can happen, and a win due to someone else’s mechanical woes is still a win too…that’s racing…that’s the game. We all know those kinds of wins do not elevate drivers into the category amongst the Greats, they just are what they are. NR acknowledged his luck, and we all know that was LH’s race. Yet he came third through no fault or action on NR’s part. NR won Monaco for a third time in a row. Of course he is going to be happy, but if anyone thinks he was overly enthusiastic, imagine how he would have reacted had he lead the whole race or passed LH for the win. NR was quite reserved relative to how he would have acted with a hard earned win.

    7. @smartrip – Hardly fair of you. First thing Lewis did on the podium was to shake Nico’s hand. He continued in this vein in all post-race interviews. Where the team is concerned, he sounded a conciliatory rather than culpability-baiting note and graciously shared the blame. Ultimately, final calls on strategy are no made from a cockpit unless the pit is somehow devoid of all telemetry for a sustained period of time. Lewis should not be expected to be jovial after losing what looked like a comfortable win. He handled the rest with the mature dignity of a champion and leader. Considering his petulant behaviour and less than measured, team-poisoning words under much less trying circumstances in the past, Lewis should be commended for maturing before our very eyes. New Lewis is effectively zen compared to old Lewis and therein lies the foundation for multiple championships going forward.

  3. HydrogenKnight
    26th May 2015, 19:37

    This whole situation seems like they were following software direction’s, and unfortunately the VSC to SC switch messed up the gap calculations. In the heat of the moment no one had the common sense to say “Hey maybe the software is wrong?”. I guess F1’s strategy software is akin to our spellcheck overreliance.

    All in all I believe the blame is on Hamilton as the man in the cockpit. He has final say if the car goes into the pits. He got flustered at the end, wanting to ensure his by the book win and paid the price. He should of hunkered down, and raced his race till the checkered flag. The tire “cliff” is nowhere near last years dramatic dropoff, and if there’s one track where you can nurse a podium on worn tires its Monaco. His nerves got the better of him, and caused a chain reaction resulting in a bad strategy call.

    1. Nonsense. All Lewis can do is report the state of his tyres, which he did. He doesn’t know what his competitors are doing, he was out of sight. He couldn’t see the pit lane and had no access to timing data. It is the team’s responsibility to weigh the condition of his tyres against the importance of keeping track position. It’s why they spend millions transporting computers and engineers around the world, and in this regard they failed utterly.

  4. What is it about our genetic makeup that causes us to love a conspiracy theory so much? I’m not saying they don’t exist at times, but we see them the way some people see Jesus in their pancake batter. Give it a rest.

    It was a stupid call with lots of circumstances leading up to it. The main thing is to have SOMEONE that is not so caught up with the minutia of all the data floating in and out that can stand above it all and say: “Hey, we’re in front at Monaco with only a few laps after the Safety Car leaves, there is ALWAYS something that can go wrong with a pit stop…NO, stay out!”.

    What the hell is so hard about that? These guys get paid MILLIONS to do that…is a common sense check so much to ask?

    1. “Jesus in the pancake batter” is explained easily enough. Humans are predisposed to interpret random patterns of light and shadow as faces. I imagine it’s related to some period in our evolutionary history when we had to evade predators. In that context, false positives (imagining something is a predator when it isn’t) are better than false negatives (missing the fact that a predator is right there and it’s going to eat you!) This is probably why people are so willing to see patterns when they aren’t necessarily there, and hence a predisposition towards “conspiracy” over the usually more compelling explanations of “coincidence” or “cock-up.”

      Clearly the Mercedes decision to pit Hamilton was the last of those. Even if their timings hadn’t been off, a wheel nut could have got stuck or the engine stalled … a baffling call, but plausible enough without having to dig out the tinfoil hats.

      1. Great point about the evolutionary advantage. I’m sure it’s something along those lines for the “face in the pancake batter”. And I’m sure there is something similar about seeing negatives (i.e. conspiracy) in things when they’re not really there. After all, when you’re walking through the jungle/savannah/snow fields/whatever and you get a false positive, that is much less dangerous than a false negative!

        So, in conclusion…we’re predisposed to act like morons at times and it takes a lot of effort to override that impulse.

    2. What you are talking about is the “spice of common sense” Toto mentions. You need to be operating with a general sense of the scale or weight of risks, so that decisions can be made quickly, when necessary, without looking at any “data.” A spice of common sense would have immediately in mind all the things that could go wrong in a stop, as you say (driver overshooting the box, wheel gun failure, stalling, clutch failure, delayed by cars pulling out, hit by a car pulling out, etc, etc.), and implicitly compare to the advantage (hot tires on a track where you cannot pass a car even several seconds slower). You also need to take into account (i.e., know how to discount) the reliability of your own “data.” There is no possible way to weigh this up and say, let’s stop. This is an operational problem for Mercedes to address. It’s not just a matter of, we did the right thing because we followed the data we had.

  5. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    26th May 2015, 19:43

    Lewis shouldn’t have pitted. Schumacher would never have pitted in that situation for example. Hamilton just isn’t a “true great”.

    1. Lewis thought that Nico and Seb had pitted because he saw the Merc crew standing in the pits on the big screen. Quick, you’re driving around the streets of Monaco trying to win a race and you’re 100 meters from pit in…quick, make the call!!!

      Schumacher made mistakes too. Lewis thought the other’s had come in so he was concerned and wanted to react. The team had the facts and should have told him nobody he was competing with had come in.

      1. He gave the team information that made the call to pit desirable. Why is that, “just a mistake” but the teams error was not?

        1. You hear drivers all the time telling the team things like “My tyres are terrible” and the teams respond with “so is everyone else’s, keep going”.

          Lewis was giving information that drivers are expected to give. The team has that information plus all the track information plus a better view of all the other team’s strategies. It is their job to tell Lewis these things.

          Lewis could not have known whether or not Nico or Seb were pitting and he saw the Merc crews out on the big screen so he had every reason to be worried. And NO, he could not know whether Nico came in or not because as Toto said in the interview later:
          ‘Did you not think you should have told Hamilton that Rosberg and Vettel had not pitted? that would have calmed him.
          “Vettel still had an opportunity to stop as he had not caught the Safety Car.” ‘
          From this article: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/05/26/mercedes-answers-fans-on-hamiltons-monaco-strategy-error-and-rubbishes-conspiracy-claims/

          If it was possible that Seb could have come in to pit still…do you think that Lewis could know whether or not Nico could have come in as well? They were far enough back that Lewis couldn’t see them.
          Lewis was reacting to his perception that Nico went in and that his own tyres were bad and he told them about his tyres.

      2. but in reality, something doesn’t add up….he knew Rosberg was behind him, right? obviously, because he was leading and nico was second…so when could have Rosberg pitted, when Lewis pited imediately when SC was deployed- Why did he think Rosberg pitted before him? He could only have done it if Lewis passed the pitlane drive in in the first SC lap, so Lewis would pit the next lap round. And if Rosberg and Vettel pitted the lap before Lewis, Lewis would have exited the pits behind both Nico and Seb anyway, so the order would be the same it was like this…and since the SC eliminated the gaps, he would have exited the pits even further back, behind others too… I think Mercedes put its mechanics out to try and fool Ferrari, but they only fooled Lewis, who only saw his mechanics there and dowe in to the pits in panic, without realy thinking.

        1. He did not see Nico in his mirrors and they were at that moment quite behind. And LH saw the Merc. pit crew outside.
          How can Merc fool ferrari when Vettel was right behind Nico? Strange logic.

          1. If Vettel sees Rosberg pit in front of him Vettel should stay out himself and gain track position, so Rosberg can’t possibly pit.
            If Rosberg stays out, then Vettel might go to super softs, but Hamilton surely has nothing to worry about having Rosberg as a buffer behind him…

    2. LOL.

      You don’t get it do you?

      As far as Hamilton and Merc where concerned, Hamilton had enough of a gap to make a FREE pit stop. It was not a risk to them. Yes he didn’t need to pit, but to have some fresh super softs on at the end, while Vettel still has the potential to make a pit behind him, seemed logical.

      1. Lots can go wrong in a pit stop as we know from experience. Nothing’s for free.

    3. Sorry, but thats impossible to say. Schumacher had the luxury of strong tyres, meaning had he been in that situation there would have been no reason to pit. In his time with Mercedes he was never leading a race at Monaco with the same lead, so we’ll never know what he would or wouldn’t have done..

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        26th May 2015, 20:16

        Schumacher didn’t have “strong tyres” for more than a few years. People only seem to recall 2002 & 2004 as though all his cars were the class of the field, but that’s not the case.. he was class of the field for almost 20 years though. Leagues ahead of Hamilton.

        1. Hamilton has won in cars which are far from being the class of the field, he’s also won a race in every season in F1 and has shown his speed against several different team mates, most impressively Alonso as a rookie. I don’t understand why you’re trying to put down how good Hamilton is based on one pitstop. The Hamilton/Schumacher Vs Rosberg stats show that its Hamilton who’s in a different league. Everyone can paint the stats to suit their own opinion. Just because you say it doesn’t make it fact.

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            26th May 2015, 21:46

            Schumacher in his prime would have destroyed Hamilton and Rosberg, especially in subpar cars. Michael was in a world of his own. I think the closest of the current drivers to Schumi of old, is max verstappen.

          2. @peppermint – what are you on? Max Verstappen close to Schumi? He’s only competed in 6 GPs and has retired from 4 of them. Good grief.

        2. You mean when he wasn’t ramming competitors off the road, or parking his car on the track in qualifying? Yeah, class all over, was Schumacher..

          1. Good answer. MazdaChris. I wonder how “literal” Peppermint-Lemon meant by “destroying” opponents. Hi did shunt with Damon Hill and Villeneuve ON PUROPOSE. He tried really hard to put Barrichello on the wall in Hungary. As you said, he was the Reason for Rascasse for Dummies book when he parked his Ferrari there to prevent Alonso from having a shot at the pole.

            This discussion here is about Mercedes and their professionalism in doing “crisis management” after the blunder in Monaco, last Sunday.

            I am surprised that people come here to talk about Schumi. As Toto mentioned, some fans should have their heads examined.

          2. I don’t mean my comment to detract from what Schumacher achieved, or how good he was as a driver. But I think we should avoid this revisionist way of looking at certain individuals. F1 has a serious problem with nostalgia, and rose tinted spectacles. Always looking to the past, always ready to bemoan whatever is current and to pretend like what went before was perfect. I saw those races, where Schumacher behaved like a dirty cheat. I also saw the ones where he utterly dominated the field and made it look like he was driving a different class of car – as indeed sometimes he was. The point is that Schumacher is a human being, like every person who has ever sat in a racing car, with all the fallibilities and failings that we’re all prone to. All drivers strive for perfection, but none will ever truly achieve it. But let’s stop trying to convince ourselves that everything about F1 now is rubbish – we should be celebrating how strong the field of drivers really is. For all the problems, and there are plenty of them, there are still some truly brilliant drivers on the track, and some truly mesmerising performances put on for our enjoyment. We’re lucky to have drivers like Hamilton and Alonso and Vettel, and plenty others besides. Because in 20 years time, those will be the ones about whom people will be saying “Driver X is pretty good, but he’ll never be a TRUE great like Hamilton or Vettel!” even as their records tumble.

        3. Ian Laidler (@)
          28th May 2015, 1:30

          Schumacher has retired, stop living in the past and move on, stop trying to compare yesterdays drivers with the current ones, different rules and different technology.

    4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th May 2015, 21:42

      In his seasons at Merc with Michael, Nico was very disrespectful of Michael and kept stressing how he had outscored him like a broken record. That’s when I personally came to dislike him and I had no personal interest in Schumacher. IMO, it’s questionable if Nico was better than Michael in their final season together.

      On the other hand, Nico has never passed Lewis in 3 years with a pass that stuck while Lewis has almost enough time to pit and come out ahead. Nico is very lucky – last year would have undone him mentally and professionally were it not for Lewis’ lack of reliability. That’s the only thing that kept him alive.

      This year he’s 5-1 in quali and 5-1 in races (giving Monaco to its rightful winner). Nico is really quick but he’s just discovering how quick Lewis is.

      1. There’s a pretty good way to stop somebody from stressing that they’re outscoring you: Don’t let them outscore you. Oh, wait: Michael couldn’t do that on equal terms any more.

        And frankly, if you’re willing to support somebody who was proven to have cheated on multiple occasions, you really shouldn’t be quibbling about their teammate being a bit boastful when they beat him. (Which frankly, I don’t remember him being — I remember him being pretty gracious as he usually is — but we’ll pretend he was boastful for argument’s sake.)

        Also, you’re delusional if you think it’s questionable whether Nico was better than Michael in their final season together. Nico outscored Michael by 93-49 points (89%), scored one win to Michael’s none, scored a first and second to Michael’s solitary third place, and retired the car only three times to Michael’s seven. He also bested Michael in qualifying, with an average of 9th place against Michael’s average of 10th place.

        It was, like all three of their seasons together, a rout for Nico against his much-hyped but by then significantly over-the-hill teammate.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          27th May 2015, 1:25

          I just watched 1-2 interviews. Are you basing their season off Wikipedia? Schumacher was hunting for podiums and wins – not for points. He was very unlucky and he did push too hard on a few occasions. I don’t think Shumi was comfortable in P7 or P6 while Nico of course was because he could beat Shumi that way and that’s the best he could do at the time. I’m sure in retrospect Shumi would not have returned to F1 and had he, he would have played the point game instead. But it’s not about Shumi.

          As for Nico, he 10-2 and 10 points away instead of 27 down… His luck almost matches his skill

    5. Lewis shouldn’t have pitted. Schumacher would never have pitted in that situation for example. Hamilton just isn’t a “true great”.

      “Well, this escalated quickly.” :D

    6. money (@carlos-danger)
      27th May 2015, 0:36

      The fact that you feel the need to post that tells me all that I need to know. Are you afraid of something sir?

    7. Michael Schumacher is the greatest cheater of all time! At least Hamilton doesn’t cheat so much.

      1. Ian Laidler (@)
        28th May 2015, 1:32

        AT LAST, someone has said it, yes Schumacher was a tremendous talent but also the biggest cheat of his era.

        1. Two words: Ayrton Senna.

  6. Metc has a dominate car and exceptional drivers. Reliability has gotten better, and the pit crew does a good job. Strategy is the weak link.

    Malaysia they were caught of guard. Then this embarrassment. Neither is acceptable, just an understandable bad car. I agree with others who say their great team has allowed them to win with subpar strategy.

    I hope they make changes. Watching a great team fail like this is agonizing.

  7. If Hamilton passed Vettel would you have asked Rosberg to let Hamilton pass?
    “Very good question. It would have been a very tough call to make.”

    That would have been a huge quagmire for Mercedes; they were very lucky that Hamilton couldn’t overtake Vettel and thus that point became moot!

    1. Absolutely.

      1. 1)If Hamilton passed Vettel would you have asked Rosberg to let Hamilton pass?
        “Very good question. It would have been a very tough call to make.”
        2)Are you happy with the way the team has handled the aftermath of the situation on Sunday?
        “We’re not happy about the situation itself & therefore there was no such thing as happiness about that incident.”
        3)Was that deliberate mistake to make the race towards championship interesting?
        “Would we ever do this to the guy leading the championship with Ferrari a real threat to us? Answer: No.”

        Doesn’t answer any of them actually. 1st one is very interesting for Rosberg, 2nd is interesting for Mercedes, 3rd one is sensational for Formula 1!
        Is he saying without Ferrari a real threat to them, they would do such a deliberate mistake to make the championship interesting??? So since there was no one challenging them last year, were they doing that??
        Not that I even believe Ferrari are a threat to them right now….

    2. Being in Rosbergs shoes, I would have probably ignored it, even despite the backlash from fans. He can just say “if he wants to pass he can do it on track” and what can the team say to that

      1. @bascb Remember Hungary last year. Slightly different situation but also here Hamilton was ordered to let Rosberg past. He did not do it, if I remember that I’m pretty sure Rosberg would have too, if the case had presented itself.

        1. why would Rosberg “have to” move over and Hamilton was a hero for not giving up the position to help his team mate at the time eludes me there @xtwl.

          1. if I remember that I’m pretty sure Rosberg would have too

            @bascb – Rosberg would remember that case (Hungary) so he would not let him past in Monaco, which is the right thing to do if you ask me. Slight difference in ‘too’ and ‘to’.

          2. yes, the to/too, was a typo there @xtwl.
            So you are in agreement with me that Rosberg if asked to let Hamilton pass him, he would/could easily ignore that and tell the team that Lewis should do it himself if he could?

      2. That’s also a tough call: whatever he did in that situation some would have booed him:if he had let Hamilton go, Hamilton fans would be happy but others would have seen it as defeatist. After all even that blunder is part of sport, as a slow pit-stop because of stuck wheel-nut, mechanical defect, etc are. If he had hold station, it would have been a bad PR like Spa for him. On the other hand the swing of points between first and second place is 14 pts and he was already too far behind. so Vettel was so conveniently in between both for Nico and Mercedes :)

    3. @ifelix – So Merc could have gone from a 1-2 finish to a different 1-2 finish with the risk of a crash or worse? Like Toto said, it’s a very hard call.

  8. Obviously a disastrous call, but Mercedes have done themselves a huge credit with how they’ve handled the situation. They’re great sportsmen, I’d much rather F1 to be dominated by them than say… Red Bull.

  9. Mixed feelings about this Q&A with Mr Wolff. On the one hand, we fans complain a lot about teams and drivers being too distant, so here’s the response to the fans. On the other, I can’t help but feel that the Mercedes caved in to the hysterical and preposterous accusations from British media. And I’m not talking about The Sun or Daily Mail garbage, but even The Times called it ‘the biggest mistake in the history of Formula One’, no less (these guys must pretty new to this whole F1 thing).

    Mercedes should have ignored all this wailing and continued their business as usual. The whole sutiation was very clearly explained in the post race interviews and needed no further discussions. And yet they chose to answer to the moronic accusations from tabloids. This not only diminished the team, it also reeks of the favoritism. When last year before the final round of the championship Mercedes publicly announced that their top priority is total reliability for both cars so the championship would not be decided by a mechanical failure, and yet they gave Nico a faulty car, was there ever an outbreak like this? Did Lauda or Wolff publicly condemn that as ‘unacceptable’? Did they apologize to Nico and his fans and called for the emergency meeting to ensure that this would never ever happen? Did they release a PR statement saying that they did not sabotage Nico’s car? They didn’t? Why not? Because Rosberg somehow is a second-class team member? Or because German media is above such stupid accusations?

    All in all, by addressing conspiracy theories fueled by clearly nationality-biased sources, Mercedes has set a very bad precedent. From now on, it is very difficult to believe them when they claim they treat both drivers equally.

    1. I don’t think it’s fair to single out the media for blame. The hysterical conspiracy theory claptrap from some fans began before the chequered flag dropped.

  10. I have a feeling that this wouldn’t have been needed if roles were reversed. There seems to be a lot more Hamilton ‘fans’ wearing tin-foil hats than there are Rosberg fans of the same manner. In fact, the entire Q&A was not needed for 75% of the questions. Mercedes made an error. Simple as that. I was sick to death of the silly conspiracy theorists last year, and I don’t want to see them around yet again. Sky’s coverage certainly does not help it either.

    I must give them credit however for at least attempting to dig themselves out of this rather large hole.

    1. The Rosberg fans all seem to be talented and highly experienced psychologists. Either that or mud slingers.

    2. @craig-o – There are many, many more Hamilton fans than Rosberg fans, thus there will be more of the tin-foil-hatted variety. And almost everyone loves a conspiracy, it’s much easier than thinking or checking the facts.

  11. People let it go, it is only F1. Yes Mercedes and Hamilton screwed up. Because of that I thought it was a great race. Remember there are bigger things in life like war, drought, famine…
    F1 is just a distraction from the real world.

    1. Why are you spending your valuable time telling people to stop talking about something that you don’t want to talk about – you could have been inspiring an orphan from capetown or writing a message which will bring peace to the Ukraine.

      1. lol, so true

      2. haha so true

  12. The problem is that their tools, even if GPS based rather than just the sector based timings, couldn’t show the gap properly. They could only show the gap at a particular point on the track when Rosberg would also have passed this point. So the gap at the point where Rosberg was at the time when they had to take the finaly yes/no decision for Hamilton to pit, was probably significantly more than the 12 seconds needed. However, the gap would already have been shrinking for a few seconds at a rapid rate.

    They need to update their tool to take into account the difference between someone having caught up with the safety car, and someone only travelling to a SC delta.

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    26th May 2015, 21:44

    +1

    Criticism is OK but we have no respect for dumb comments

    1. Nicely said Toto.

  14. People are making a much bigger deal of this than it deserves, and it seems to be driven by the fact that Hamilton is involved.

    The fact is that strange things happen under safety cars rather frequently. I’ve seen many drivers get burned by them, which means many other drivers have benefited from “good luck”. At Hungary last year (another track where overtaking is difficult) the four front-runners (Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel, Alonso) had their race badly compromised by a safety car, something which greatly assisted Hamilton in climbing from a pit lane start to the podium. This stuff happens. Let’s move on already and stop acting stunned by what is, at the end of the day, a fairly mundane occurrence.

  15. Oh, boy… It took me this long to understand why Hamilton’s lead went up from 19s to 25s from the end of lap 63 to the end of lap 64…

    1. @atticus-2 Tell us! I haven’t figured it out yet.

      1. @mike-dee It has to do with the fact that the two car crossed the line at the end of lap 64 slower than at the end of lap 63.

        At the end of lap 63, at full speed the gap was 19s, but when you go slower you, by definition, need more time to cover the same distance. So the same distance now simply took Rosberg 25s to cover. That’s it. Simples.

  16. Why was the decision to pit Hamilton made in the first place?
    “We believed we could make a free stop to cover risk of cars behind on the super-soft. Unfortunately our data was wrong.”

    Did anyone else notice around mid-race that the Official F1 app suddenly stopped showing Hamilton’s position on the track and showed a message “Car 44 (Hamilton) telemetry stopped sending data.”

    Before I would further enrage the devoted conspiracy theorists, I will quickly say that the message added that “this does not affect timing.” So it was only Hamilton’s position on the virtual track layout that was gone, his timing data was still available – else Keith wouldn’t have been able to show us his lead for the remaining laps.

    Still, I’m just wondering if the issue had any knock-on effect on Mercedes’ live gap data – Toto just said the data of the gap they saw was not the real gap.

    1. @atticus-2 I’m not sure if it’s the same problem but i noticed something else on tge live broadcast. After the SC came in and Hamilton was racing Vettel they showed the graphic that has the speed and gear changes, somehow Hamiltons was stuck, it wasn’t changing.

  17. I am thinking whether this was a bigger blunder or timing of pitting Alonso in Abu Dhabi 2010? That one looked like a less obvious mistake, but nevertheless in essence a strategic error (covering for Webber and ignoring Vettel who proved to be the bigger threat) magnified with miscalculation of the window (Alonso getting stuck behind Petrov) with much more catastrophic consequences.

  18. Great that Mercedes took the time to answer these (burning) questions. Kudos to them!

  19. The last question isn’t right. Hamilton lost more then 10points! He should have gained 7points on Rosberg and lost 10 now, so it’s a 17points shift!

    1. Don’t worry, Lewis is so good he will win every race from Canada. Do you feel better? lol

  20. Track position is king so why oh why did anyone think pitting Lewis was a good idea?
    “Under the Safety Car you need a 12 second gap to maintain position. Our system showed us that we had that gap.”

    I assume Toto meant SC pit loss when the car that is not pitting drives to his delta time instead of right behind the SC, because otherwise he is still not getting it. Funny thing is, if we assume that he does indeed mean it for the situation when the other car drives to his delta, then the gaps simply don’t add up – Hamilton held a 25s margin, lost 11s when he caught the SC at Tabac, lost 12s in the pits, then he would still have had a 2s lead. (Which, interestingly, is about the same Toto said they thought Lewis would have after pitting.)

    The only logical explanation would be that when the other car drives to a delta, a pit loss is closer to what it is when there is a green flag run (which is about 19s).

    The other explanation is that Hamilton, in fact, did not have the 25s lead, but around the 19s he held at the end of lap 63 – incidentally, the gaps fit just well with this value (19-11-12=-4, about the margin by which he lost out at the pit exit).

  21. This weekend was very wrong to Hamilton.

  22. Huge credit to Toto and Mercedes for answering questions so quickly, publicly and honestly. However, one of them causes some confusion in my mind:

    If Hamilton passed Vettel would you have asked Rosberg to let Hamilton pass?
    “Very good question. It would have been a very tough call to make.”

    I don’t understand this. If the same situation took place but with a few more seconds available, and a wheel nut jammed or something else went wrong with the team in the pitstop, would the answer be the same? Of course it would not – there would be no question about letting the driver back.

    It raises the question that there’s a different policy in place for a botched pitstop compared to a botched strategy call. Both have the same net result but both could have different outcomes, with Toto admitting that one of them would give them cause to think very hard indeed.

    If they made the call then it would then put Rosberg in the position of villain or number two driver. Villain if he refused the order, and number two driver if he accepted it. After all, he’d have done nothing wrong.

    I can understand that Toto wouldn’t want to rub salt into Hamilton’s wounds by giving an outright negative response, but his reply is nevertheless confusing. If I was Rosberg I’d want to know why. But, as it is, let’s hope everyone can move on. Hamilton’s ability to do so has been so much improved in the past 18 months that I’m sure he’ll have a strong race in Canada.

    1. I think his no-answer answer is perfect. Why belabor something that did not happen? That kind of question is just plain stupid and loaded to create additional controversy.

      I think Mercedes and Toto Wolf deserve recognition to be as transparent as possible after the fiasco on Sunday.

      I think Lewis should also be praised for handling it as maturely as he could. He knows he added to the confusion by answering back to the pits AFTER they told him NOT to come in. So, in the end, his cliche that we win as a team and we lose as a team is very appropriate for the occasion. He and the team were to blame for the mess. Toto tried to spare Lewis, but Lewis himself knows he has part of the blame for what happened. Deep down he knows that, despite the utter frustration and disappointment, he totally dominated the field last Sunday, which should give him extra confidence going forward and make the opponents wonder.

      1. RP (@slotopen)
        27th May 2015, 2:33

        Agreed.

        It is hard for me to decide, but it seems the sum of hamilton’s errors is greater than other drivers. qualifying at silverstone, tires in brazil, tires in china 2007, etc. In each case the team had the responsibility and information to make the right choice, but somehow blundered. Seems like in at least one case he would have made a better call.

        I wonder if there is a personality dynamic at play. Or maybe he has worse judgement than other drivers. But it just doesn’t seem similar errors hurt Rosberg or Vettel as often. I don’t know.

  23. pxcmerc (@)
    27th May 2015, 4:16

    There is no conspiracy, just the fact that Lewis’ only races were ruined by bad pitstops, poor preparation before fp1 and a blatantly bad call to pit. You can’t hide poor performance, the only question is not whether there is a conspiracy, the question is will Mercedes keep rubbishing Lewis’ chances at taking the title this year by offering him such poor reliability across the board.

    We all so how frequently Lewis Hamilton’s car reliability issues kept popping up in Qualifying last year, what is the problem at Mercedes? I hope Nico gets the same opportunities for slow pit stops and bad strategy this year. Equal Opportunity Merc, lets see it.

    1. pxcmerc (@)
      27th May 2015, 4:16

      *only races lost

  24. Do you think that sometimes you can have too many people involved in the decision process, hence the confusion?
    “We have a strict radio protocol and structure how our decisions are made. This is how we’ve won so many races.”

    It’s not like the 1 second faster car has anything to do with it right?

    1. Yeah, that one did it for me. “The reasons for our immense success are (1) radio protocols and (2) structures of decision making” hahahaha!

      1. @gdewilde Want to start a F1 team with me? All we need is a set of walkie-talkies and I’m the boss and you’re the driver. We’re solid in communications. You just go fast and I’ll tell you to go faster?

        1. @xtwl roger roger!

          1. @gdewilde box box box, strat 1 and box, or what do you think? I don’t know really.

  25. Looking at the performances so far and the fact that ferrari has some cathing up to do, Lewis can calm himself by saying that he is going to win the WDC because he will.

  26. Trenthamfolk (@)
    27th May 2015, 19:00

    This is an excellent Q&A, Thanks. I am pleased Mercedes are leading the way in terms of transparency and fairness, however, with regard the below…

    “Whoever would start such rumours needs their head examined.”

    I believe Mercede’s would be wise to acknowledge the misdemeanours of various F1 characters over the years: Top of my head, the blatant No’1 driver preference and team orders at Ferrari, particularly during the Schumacher years, examples like “Fernando is faster than you”, Schuey crashing into Hill on purpose to win the championship, upgrades taken off Webbers car and given to Vettel, and worst of all Mr Crash Gate himself, Falvio Briatore, who was there this weekend… The list is a big one. Dirty tricks and shady dealings have always been present in F1 and always will be.

    This kind of stuff has tarnished the sport, which is unfortunate. But where fans see smoke they expect fire! Mercedes making out these fans are mentally ill is childish and will do little to silence these uninformed detractors. It will only serve to strengthen their resolve which will impact negatively on their and their sponsors’ brands. This is what a lot of F1 is about, after all.

    1. @trenthamfolk So Senna was a saint and Prost didn’t indulge in any questionable behavior as well and what about Hamilton lying to the stewards and getting disqualified from the race as a result of it? In all the cases you mentioned, the lead driver has been benefitted by the actions.

      Hamilton being the current WDC and with a healthy lead, why would Mercedes want to conspire against him? If they wanted Rosberg to win the WDC, last year would have been easier to kill Hamilton’s chances considering they had a lot of reliability issues. Just leave a bung in the sidepod or have a slow pitstop etc, after all some believe the team is out to get him.

      Easy to screw up qualifying as well like it happened for Ricciardo this season. Just leave it in the wrong setting and Rosberg will win like he did last year from pole to finish line.

      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        28th May 2015, 11:40

        @evered7 Whoooah! Calm your jets… That’s not what I was saying… Neither did I mention Prost or Senna! Neither did I suggest that Mercedes are conspiring against Hamilton!

        The sport has had it’s dirty side in the past and regardless of this episode, Mercedes would do well to acknowledge that rather than suggesting people who point that out are mentally ill. Mud sticks.

        1. @trenthamfolk Considering that Mercedes weren’t involved in any of the aforementioned events, they wouldn’t need to acknowledge it at all. There is simply no precedent that they have played dirty.

          This argument simply assumes that all involved with F1 will cheat while it is usually innocent till proven guilty. So if someone has facts/proof that Mercedes indeed hatched a conspiracy to get Rosberg his third win, all they need to do is present it to FIA.

          Simply because we are behind keyboards and the anonymity of Internet protecting us, one cannot go about spouting accusations without a shred of proof. He has done his best to let both cars race even with a championship at stake. Hence his displeasure at being suggested so is clear.

          My apologies if I came a bit rude in my comments. Not my intention at all.

          1. Trenthamfolk (@)
            28th May 2015, 18:25

            All fair comments. Take cycling for example, the Lance Armstrong revelations have thrown the whole sport into suspicion. I can understand Mercedes annoyance, but they need to take it on the chin and be bigger than the accusers. Insulting them back doesn’t help.

            Also, we need to remember that the press love a good drama. It helps them sell newspapers. Still, it’s good we have plenty to talk about!

  27. If there’s any blame to be assigned i think it is shared; between Hamilton and his pit wall crew.
    There are two questions we must try to answer: why did he pit? and why did they let him pit?

    I think he pitted because they had the gap; but Lewis caught the SC and thus lost an extra 5-6 seconds which he did not have; the pit crew was not aware of this since they probably relied on there gadgets that gave them the info one sector old i assume. But Lewis knew he lost those seconds so even if they just decided on pitting he should have staid out. I only race on the PC but i abort/decide pitting at the last corner all the time because i see something happening in the race. And i’m no Lewis, he should be better at this.

    And for the second question why did the pit wall crew even considered pitting him; well because he asked to; and we need to keep in mind this was after Spain when he was kind-off outspokenly annoyed with them first for costing him the undercut and then for asking him to hold place behind Rosberg since it was “impossible” to catch and overtake him. He said afterwards he will make sure he won’t be told what to do again. This time the rebuffed pit crew let him have it his way; and they clearly shouldn’t have.

    But it’s not the last race of the season, he’s still ahead in the points so it shouldn’t matter so much. He won a championship once in the last corner of the last race because a certain Timo Glock was on slicks in the rain. That was something that really matter.

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