Hamilton’s strategy splits opinion on the Monaco GP

2015 Monaco Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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Lewis Hamilton’s race-losing pit stop shaped much of the reaction to the Monaco Grand Prix.

For some, this moment instantly transformed a processional race into pure drama, and gave us the spectacle of Hamilton fighting to recover his lost lead. Others – particularly those who assumed Hamilton hadn’t had a say in the decision – felt Mercedes’ blunder had robber the race of its deserving winner.

There were other high points during the race – Max Verstappen’s overtaking and Daniel Ricciardo’s scrap with Kimi Raikkonen. But there’s no doubting what was the biggest story of the grand prix.

Mercedes’ strategy

Hamilton’s pit stop under the Safety Car, which came out after the Verstappen-Romain Grosjean, decided the grand prix. And it took a while to get the action going again once the Safety Car appeared.

Obviously it’s never nice to see the driver who spent most of the race at the front lose the race for something not his fault. It leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth, BUT the last ten laps had my heart pounding, and there was some other enjoyable fights further down the field.

Boring, processional and a win handed by pit wall. Yuck.

I’m sure if it wasn’t for the Safety Car having to let past the back markers, Hamilton could have got Vettel. I hope that rule is changed in the future. It made it incredibly frustrating to watch.
Marc connell (@Marc512)

Monaco’s ‘magic’

Is Monaco a ‘special case’ where we shouldn’t expect riveting racing – or should we think of it as a race like any other?

You have to watch this one in a different frame of mind, just marvelling at the challenge of the track. But I think every good Monaco race needs to include some sort of dramatic twist, whether you like what it is or not. This one had it.

Pathetic parade, as usual with Monaco. Then a fake finish because of a Safety Car with no chance for any passing. Almost any other track and at least the safety car would have led to some interesting passes in the last couple of laps.

The best highlight for me is when Grosjean defend himself from Verstappen taking advantage of Vettel blue flag, and Verstappen passing Bottas on Vettel blue flag again.

If you expect watch football to see twenty goals, you’re going to be let down. If you watch F1, you must acknowledge that Monaco will always, always have less overtaking than any other track. I was entertained until the pit stops, which luckily came late in the race, but from then on I knew nothing else was going to happen. We saw less passes than in previos years as well. Verstappen was brilliant to watch, but in the end only made two moves. His crash was unfortunate, but Mercedes’ pit error gave the race a thrilling but undeserved ending.

The TV show

Uniquely, Monaco does not use Formula One Management’s television director, and several thought the footage was not up to its usual quality as a result.

One more thing, the local director is just not up to the job. There are some things I enjoy, like more onboard shots and replays in normal speed with natural sound, but in general the coverage simply isn’t logical. FOM has a director that does this on a bi-weekly basis, I do not understand why Monaco is too stubborn to let him take over.

It was so stupid at times. Especially at the end when DR and LH were so close that the feed cut to Rosberg’s cam and there was nothing to see. How stupid. Although I know it was a fluke but the director got the perfect shot Verstappens clash with Grosjean somehow.

I particularly liked ‘has Hamilton come out in front of Rosberg? Here they come…” and the director cuts to the onboard from Vestappen’s car being craned away so you couldn’t see the one exciting thing that happened in the race!

History repeating

Nico Rosberg admitted he got lucky with his win – but he’s far from the only driver to do so in Monaco:

Boring race, great final part.

Quite reminiscent of 1992 race, when Mansell decided to make a late pitstop and Williams totally botched it. So Senna, who was trailing behind miles behind, got the lead and held on to it despite Mansell was all over him like crazy during final laps (unlike Hamilton who didn’t put any pressure on Vettel despite having tremendous car and tyre advantage).

And I don’t recall people calling that race fixed and Senna an undeserved winner.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

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54 comments on “Hamilton’s strategy splits opinion on the Monaco GP”

  1. Alex (@alex-the-god)
    1st June 2015, 11:41

    I fell asleep at about the half way mark, yawn F1 is so boring

    1. @alex-the-god Check out MotoGP

      1. Yeah, Moto GP is SO great. Loved it yesterday from Mugello.

        It is wonderfully simple. They wave a flag and then have a race. No DRS, no clown tyres, no pitstops. All passing done on track, and lots of it.

        1. To all those that have to sit through todays “artifical” show with the DRS and Fragile Parelli tires, have a look what F1 “used” to be!

          yes, passing without DRS, and 100% all out “on it”.


          will this day ever come again? that is the big question

          1. whoa, those 10 minutes were probably the best racing I have seen in ages!! Thanx alot. I cannot even imagine such racing today where drivers change places again and again, not with that gimmicky DRS.

          2. That race almost brought tears my eyes. No driving to delta, preservation or conservation. Just pure racing, dicing and fighting for position from lap 1! How on earth did we get to where we are today? It all began with the stupid DRS and nonsense Pirelli tyres. Real sad!

          3. How is that any different from for instance any of the battles that Ricciardo and Alonso were fighting out last season. Or when Alonso caught Vettel napping in that Silverstone race and it took Vettel several laps to get his position back.

            Besides, that 2002 clip showed probably the only overtake in the whole season …

          4. Good One…. Good Racing…. Thanks

            That reminds me of 2005 and 2006 San marino GP.

            Although no Overtaking it was good one….

          5. 14 laps of hard racing and ” the tyres are now up to optimum operating temperature ”
            What’s different now ?

          6. True, it’s good racing, but also remember that Schumacher pulled away at 2-2.5 seconds a lap after he cleared Montoya.

        2. MotoGP is unfortunately a little too contrived and whilst it may appear to be exciting, in reality some of the top guys are essentially in different classes due to weird DORMA Regs.

          1. your oppinion is contrived to me. you do not appreciated the skill require to lean at bike at 60% at 250kmh. f1 is far more contrived with the gap from even first to 2nd fastest, let alone first to 10th.

          2. @baron I agree.

            For me, MotoGP is in a worse situation than F1, but nobody is saying everything and is trying to be positive about it.

          3. I realise there is some fiddling with the rules in order to allow teams other than Honda and Yamaha to compete but the racing is great and you don’t have to know anything to enjoy it.
            A couple of factors to consider;
            1.Faster than F1 350kmh in a straight line.
            2. 1 mistake = no points today.
            3. No pitstops, all passes made on the track.

          4. @HoHum:
            1. Ricciardo clocked 362 km/h last year
            2. Well, you can make mistakes. Riders miss apexes, go off-track and rejoin, Rossi had quite a scare on Sunday (being nearly knocked off) but could continue as well. MotoGP also have traction control which is an advantage over F1. But yeah, in the end four wheels are still more forgiving than two.
            3. Well, Bridgestone have shown in the past that they could make tyres so durable that they basically could last for a whole race… but I don’t exactly think that was a good thing. :)

      2. Alex (@alex-the-god)
        1st June 2015, 14:02

        I love Moto GP go 46 :)

    2. Don’t associate me with this man!

    3. So, we have quickly forgotten about some of the good racing that we saw last year? Ham-Ros in Bahrain, Alo-Vet in Silverstone, Ricciardo and Alo/Vet in many races.

      This year, the cars have unfortunately fallen into categories. Mercedes >>Ferrari>>Williams>RB>STR,Lotus>FI etc. Once the field is bunched up a bit, normal services will resume.

      I don’t know about others, Verstappen’s overtaking kept me intrigued as did Mercedes pit wall :)

      1. But those battles could have been so much better with 2002 tyres.

    4. F1 is so boring yet you watched the race and came on an F1 forum to tell us

  2. Michael Brown
    1st June 2015, 11:51

    It did make the race more interesting, because Hamikton had to try and overtake the cars in front, instead of pulling away while Rosberg and Vettel held their positions to save their tires.

  3. Didin’t have time to comment on Rate the Race, but for me the first half was decent with the strategies and the “fights” we had at the front instead of the midfield, qnd then in came the Verstappen action until the crash. The last laps were good but obviously this race will be remembered again for the controversy from the winner, for the second year in a row.

    1. you mean the controversy of second place for second year in a year – last year he claimed first place cheated in qualitying -which rosberg did not, and this year he ruined his race by pitting under safety car.

  4. It didn’t add anything for me, because half-way through the first lap it was clear Lewis couldn’t pass Seb. It’s a stupid place to have a race. BTW he didn’t make a strategy call he queried it, Mr Clickbait ;)

    1. @lockup I guess that makes you, er, bait then!

      1. lol yes @baron I fell into the trap :(

    2. @lockup I’ve never said otherwise, and had you read this article or the others I have already written on the subject you would know that’s not my view of the situation. Just because you chose to interpret the headline in this very specific and narrow way doesn’t mean that’s what I was trying to do.

      It never even occured to me someone might, though it’s never a surprise to be reminded that some people operate on a hair-trigger when they spy an opportunity to claim offence and complain.

      1. Well it’s changed now @keithcollantine, what I was commenting on was Stefan’s line on the front page which initially said “Lewis Hamilton’s strategy call…”

        So yes I did and do know that’s not your view. It was Stefan I was giving a nudge to, and whether because of me or some other reason he’s changed it now. Maybe he meant ‘The strategy call FOR Lewis Hamilton’ and has since realised it read the wrong way.

        1. @lockup I need to clarify there’s been a mistake here – the article was written by me, not Stefan. But to be clear, whoever has written an article, I take responsibility for everything which appears on F1 Fanatic.

          And yes it was intended to be understood as ‘the strategy call for Hamilton’, not one he made personally himself, a distinction I don’t see anyone else having difficulty with.

      2. Matt Cobley
        1st June 2015, 22:11

        You just wrote a two paragraph response to a sentence not even aimed your way. But I guess it’s never a surprise to be reminded that some people operate on a hair-trigger when they spy an opportunity to claim offence and complain.

        1. I strive to be accurate and fair. The implication that I purposefully misconstrued events in order to get people to visit the site was inaccurate as I explained.

          Call that ‘claiming offence’ if you like. But I work hard and I take pride in what I create, and I have little time for those who are only interested in cheap points-scoring jibes.

          1. lockup (@)
            2nd June 2015, 8:13

            It was just a little nudge with a wink @keithcollantine, and it wasn’t about the article it was about its strapline on the front page, which did change from its initial misleading form AFTER I made my reference to it.

            I am sorry my light-hearted prod came across as something more serious, though I think the fact that you changed it demonstrates I had a point at the time. I phrased it carelessly and inappropriately, I see. Let me clear I have enormous respect for what you do, and I know it takes a lot of work.

  5. Like many F1 races, it’s either feast or famine. Monaco 2015 for me was somewhere in between. As for the Hamilton farrago, my call is 50/50 responsibility but with the future hope that please please drivers, trust your gut instincts and experience!

  6. made the race! At least the 4-5 laps after the restart.
    I’m not worried about such events preventing the best driver-car combination wining the title; history shows us we the best won for more than 20 years now;
    so every time something like this happens or a driver starts the race out of place i welcome it; Monaco is supposed to be boring; like Alonso said the race is usually over on Saturday.

  7. Even if Hamilton suggested pitting, the strategy team should have advises against by warning that no one else was pitting. They forgot that ‘position is king’ in the drama of the moment, and the ‘moment’ is what they get paid for! Lewis was blameless.

  8. ColdFly F1 (@)
    1st June 2015, 14:07

    taking into account that some 10% gave this race a 1, that means that the more objective fans rated it an average 6.2!
    That’s probably correct (IMO).

    1. +1!! I think some fans forget F1 isn’t always an thrilling race from start to finish! It never has been. Yes there are some great ones we never forget, but in a season with 20’ish races we never have a full specular season.

    2. You could argue that a lot of others gave the race a 10 or a 9 because Hamilton lost this one so dramatically, no?

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        1st June 2015, 14:46

        @gdewilde, of course.
        Just wanted to make a point (as @key75 said) that it is ‘Rate the Race’ not ‘Rate if my Favourite Driver Won’.

    3. Yebbut @coldfly some people gave it 9’s and 10’s. Well the 8’s were a bit of a stretch too really. Surely those were voting the outcome too. One valid pass iirc, and that was with the help of blue flags. So I reckon the objective fans gave it a 4 :)

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        1st June 2015, 14:51

        @lockup, do not disagree (see above).

        On the ‘valid passing’ I counted 3:
        1. Verstappen on Maldonado (that is on his second attempt after damaging his nose);
        2. Verstappen on Sainz – trying out his ‘follow Vettel’ trick (no info if Sainz was instructed or not);
        3. Verstappen on Bottas – ‘follow Vettel’ trick to perfection.

        1. Hmmm, @coldfly didn’t Maldonado have a car problem? I don’t remember the Max on Carlos one I have to admit. If it was a blue flag one like on Bottas then I only rate it half, personally, compared with a racing pass. And maybe we should subtract the contact passes/attempts as being caused by trying to race on such a ridiculous circuit. So anyway as you’ll have gathered my opinion is firmly on the low side of the split :) Roll on Canada.

        2. @coldfly @lockup Yeah, Maldonado had severe brake problems at the time that caused him to retire shortly afterwards. And from what I remember that was the only pass in the race that didn’t involve Verstappen taking advantage of blue flags anyway.

          Seeing Hamilton not even able to get close to Vettel despite the car and tyre advantage (and considering he was around 0.3s a lap faster on the same tyre earlier in the race) makes me worried about the difficulty of following the car ahead this year. Something similar happened with HAM/VET and RAI/BOT in Spain, VET/BOT in Bahrain, and you could argue ROS/HAM in China as well.

          1. Clarification: When I said 0.3s a lap faster on the same tyre, I meant on the same tyre as Vettel was (aka equal tyres)

          2. Yep @polo looks like the higher nose has made following more difficult, coming on top of binning the wide front wing that was from the Overtaking Working Group, which they did istr the previous year.

      2. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
        1st June 2015, 19:54

        I rated it 8 not based on the outcome, but based on the pure drama of the mistake. Had Hamilton gone on to pass Vettel and contest the lead with Rosberg, it would have got a 9.

        I used the same rationale to rate Malaysia “Multi 21” 2013 a 9 – pure sporting drama. At the time I felt Vettel had been very naughty, but it made for great entertainment during and immediately after the race. The same goes here.

    4. +1

  9. it was a pretty crap race, for die hard fans that follow the personalities and every race (ie 5%) this race was more interesting because of hamiltons failure. but for the rest wanting to see a “race” – it was a dismall event. monaco has often been boring but atleast cars used to be faster and with amazing sound.

  10. I think Verstappen trailing Vettel to overtake was not very gentleman.

  11. I’d like to throw in all hats available to myself into the ring for “get rid of the Monaco director” because honestly it looked like amateur hour, qualifying was actually even worse. There were multiple instances of cameras clearly not being ready and making major movements in ways that told you they had no idea they were on. Or else the camera crews were also extremely lacking in skill/experience.

  12. The first 3/4 of the race was pretty boring apart from Rosberg and Vettel following each other, the undercut that didn’t work and Verstappens overtakes under blue flags. The rest of the race was dramatic to say the least. It went from Hamilton winning to Rosberg claiming an unprecedented 3 wins in a row at Monaco

    1. Tommy Scragend
      1st June 2015, 22:14

      Rosberg claiming an unprecedented 3 wins in a row at Monaco

      Unprecedented? What about Senna’s five wins in a row between 1989 and 1993?

      (Should have been seven in a row had he not binned it at Portier in ’88)

      1. Should have been seven in a row had he not binned it at Portier in ’88

        hm, well, but as Manule mentions in his highlighted comment on rating the race, Senna won it as much deserved in 1992 as Rosberg did this year. So it would have been only 4 in a row and then another one anyway

  13. Watched the race, until the pit incident and then felt slightly ill. Fast-forwarded from there…
    Did I mention I was folding laundry as I watched the race? Had to do something to entertain myself.

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