‘Moral victor’ Hamilton wins Driver of the Weekend

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was widely considered the ‘moral victor’ of the Monaco Grand Prix after a late strategy error cost him victory in a race he had been leading by almost 20 seconds.

Hamilton led the entire race up comfortably until the point when he and the team made a misjudged call to pit under the safety car for a fresh set of tyres.

However Hamilton only received a little more than a third of your votes, with Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and others earning credit for notable performance at one of F1’s toughest tracks.

However, despite the strategical error, Hamilton received 37.3% of the vote to place him at the top of the rankings.

Lewis Hamilton’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend

Hamilton arrived in Monaco having failed to lead a single lap around the principality since his 2008 victory, and showing every indication that he would put that right.

He started well, topping both Thursday practice sessions, though come Saturday he seemed to have lost his way a little. In qualifying Rosberg piled on the pressure, heading Q1 and Q2, and it seemed he might deny Hamilton for the third year in a row. But Hamilton, running before Rosberg on the track to avoid any chance of a repeat of last year’s controversy, put pole beyond his team mate’s reach by over three tenths of a second.

As is usually the case in Monaco, a clean start all but paved the way to a Hamilton victory, especially as he quickly pulled clear of Rosberg in traffic. With 15 laps to go it looked like it was all over, however the appearance of the safety car turned the race on its head. To the astonishment of many, the number 44 Mercedes appeared in the pits, and rejoined the track behind Rosberg and the pursuing Sebastian Vettel.

The incident split views: Had Mercedes ruined Hamilton’s race? They were quick to apologise to their driver afterwards. Did Hamilton deserve a portion of the blame for the strategy? He admitted he made a case for switching to super-soft tyres when the Safety Car came out.

It was the first time in seven years a driver had failed to win the Monaco Grand Prix after starting on pole position – but 37.3% of you decided Hamilton was your Driver of the Weekend.

This is a no-brainer. If it wasn’t for Verstappen’s crash, Hamilton was probably going to score a ‘grand chelem’, 20 seconds ahead his team mate, after an easy pole on Saturday, leading every lap and always with a pace impossible for anyone else. This was masterclass drive from Hamilton and he totally deserves to be Driver of the Weekend.

There is no way a driver who gifts the lead and win of a race to his championship rival is Driver of the Weekend! Doesn’t matter what the circumstances (and Hamilton was as culpable in instigating the stop as anyone).

I don’t think Hamilton deserves it. I would have voted for him had the whole incident not happened because he was truly dominant – and would have voted for him had he passed at least Vettel after the pit stop. But as he failed to overtake the Ferrari with the old softs on a new super-soft (I know this is Monaco, but still), I don’t think he should be Driver of the Weekend.

Ludicrous to down-rate Lewis because he couldn’t pass Vettel with new tyres. In race trim, Vettel was not losing anything to Rosberg’s Mercedes. Hamilton’s gap at the front showed how much pace he individually had, but the list of champion drivers who could not pass other champion drivers around Monaco despite new tyres and faster cars is a long and distinguished one. It doesn’t diminish Hamilton’s performance one bit.

@Girts had a unique take on the matter:

Hamilton was actually so good he lost the race – if his advantage had not been so big before that stop, Mercedes would have not tried to make it work.

Monaco winners and losers

Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to star over the Monaco weekend. Two other drivers both had very different races and results, yet ended up separated by just 0.2% of the vote in second and third place.

Sergio Perez had undoubtedly his best performance of the season to start and finish seventh – behind only the significantly faster Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull cars – and also put his highly-rated team mate Nico Hulkenberg in the shade. Perez took 13.4% of the vote.

Perez has my vote. I´m pretty sure the Force India wasn´t the fourth-quickest car, so seventh in qualifying and race is overachieving throughout the weekend.

Verstappen may have instigated Hamilton’s dilemma with his crash – for which he carries a five-place grid penalty into this weekend’s race – but he impressed as well, taking 13.2% of the vote.

He began by setting the second fastest time in first practice, then reached Q3 and missed eighth place by just a few hundredths of a second. He passed Pastor Maldonado early on, but a slow stop threatened to ruin his race. However he cunningly made use of the blue flags by sticking to the rear of front runner Vettel to slip past his tema mate and Valterri Bottas, before that crash.

I voted Verstappen, because he showed great pace and nice overtaking.

However @come-on-kubica suggested we should give more credit to the first driver to win at Monaco from somewhere other than pole since 2008.

It’s got to be Rosberg, he managed to win from second in Monaco.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

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64 comments on “‘Moral victor’ Hamilton wins Driver of the Weekend”

  1. Just looking at the results, has any race winner ever finished lower on DOTW poll, than Rosberg ?

  2. Is it the first time a driver is in the DotW top 3 despite crashing heavily in the wall after ruining the race of another driver?

    1. … and taking 5 grid places penalty and two points on his superlicence?

      1. Hard to believe so many people voted him above Hamilton. Apparently questioning the order to stay out is a worse misdemeanour than an at-fault collision. Weird.

        1. Hamilton lost 2 places because he made a mistake.
          Verstappen had RG lift early, almost a brake test…

          1. ridiculous denial really. but i’m not surprised, fans generally adopt the demeanor of the driver. look at hamilton alonso etc fans, they talk and think like their favorite driver apparently. so i’m not surprised verstappen fans keep insisting grosjean break tested him.

          2. Grosjean did. Not. Brake. Early.

            Repeatedly denied by the team and by video evidence. Get over it.

          3. Very early… Only 5 meters later than the lap before… *facepalm*

          4. He braked later, by lifting early, same difference.

          5. Neither of those statements are true.

          6. Verstappen had RG lift early, almost a brake test…

            Jeezees, please tell me this is a joke….

          7. petebaldwin (@)
            2nd June 2015, 16:04

            Wrong with both points. Well done.

          8. I’m sorry, this whole “brake checking” thing is ridiculous. There’s this giant red light on the back of every F1 car that lights up when the torque sensor starts going negative– effectively, it’s a brake light, but it reacts to the MGU-K absorbing energy (ie, braking) whether the driver’s foot is on the brake or not.

            Verstappen got overly agressive when Grosjean’s tires were going off, and shouldn’t have been where he was.

            It was a rookie mistake. He’ll get better. Eventually, he’ll just *know* when the guy in front is about to brake, and anticipate it.

        2. How Max can even be considered for the DotW for me is a mistery.

          1. Because (again) he was the only one racing instead of just following the car in front.

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            2nd June 2015, 16:05

            I can see why – the move didn’t work and he ended up with no points but he (almost single-handedly) made the entire Grand Prix something I’m not disappointed I sat through.

          3. Because those suggesting such have not spent any time racing – its as simple as that. There are no brake lights and the guy in front is entitled to anything he likes to ensure he stays there. All this “brake testing” crap is quite simply ridiculous in that it is a term taken on by people with no racing experience or those that have want an excuse for controversy or why the run up the back of someone!

            Get out there and experience racing for yourself before making such judgements. Only then will you realise that Max was fixated on getting past, missed his braking mark and had nowhere to go. Its something you can see in any series in any country and is simply down to excitement and a fundamental lack of experience. The lad has speed, reads all these “how great he is at overtaking” comments and forgets that sometimes it simply does not work and that you will either run into the wall.. or your competitor…

            Maturity… and boy does he need it. Imagine this was LH over the years. We would never hear the end of it. At least the only time he has done it was when someone was parked at the end of the pitlane!

          4. So basically what you guys are saying is that the guy who ended up smashed against a wall and took another driver out of the race must have been something good.
            Max has the speed and, it seems to me, the killer instinct to perform well in F1. But what he did in Monaco was ridiculous.
            Driver of the weeked? Wow…

          5. Its something you can see in any series in any country and is simply down to excitement and a fundamental lack of experience. […]Maturity… and boy does he need it.

            I do agree that when a driver makes a mistake that costs himself and an innocent other driver the chance of any points, like Max did, he shouldn´t be voted DotW on that very weekend.

            However, I do clearly remember Senna, with the experience of 3 championships, doing the same mistake and taking out Mansell at Adelaide 92. Schumacher made that kind of mistake half a dozen times throughout his career, and even after he had 7 titles and more than 200GPs experience. So this kind of mistake happening isn´t really making Max stand out as particularly immature or bad.

  3. Christ, I can’t really believe Hamilton was voted as the winner.

    He did not put a foot wrong during the whole weekend right up until lap 64, true, but then it was he who actually inquiried into the possiblity of having a pit stop and throwing victory away from himself. Yes, it’s not his job to know the tricks of race strategy, and so the team should have told him plain and simple to stay out, but – and this is as big a ‘but’ as Johnny Herbert’s during the Sky coverages – the team would never pitted him, if he didn’t suggest having the stop in the first place.

    In other words, yes, most of the responsibility rests on the team’s shoulders, but there could be no denial that Hamilton had a share in influencing the eventual outcome, which is quite a bit higher than 0%.

    That means he contributed to the mistake that resulted in him losing a race that was virtually won by that point, an error that had colossal consequencies and thus I cannot fathom a scenario in which he would deserve this DotW win.

    1. That means he contributed to the mistake

      No it doesn’t @atticus-2. The mistake was about timing, not tyres, and so he made no contribution to it.

      1. Please, enlighten me, @lockup. (Because I cannot follow you based on that half-a-thought reply, frankly.)

        1. Your logic is flawed @atticus-2. Just because Hamilton had an influence doesn’t mean he was at fault. The old primes WERE going to be cold and dead on the restart, as Nico and Seb confirmed. That is all Hamilton contributed, and it was entirely correct.

          Nobody ever meant to lose places over the tyres. That was entirely a calculation error, and it was not Lewis’ error, it was 100% the team’s.

        2. Well, then let me tell you that I consider your logic to be flawed as well – because you disregard certain cause and effect relationships. The old primes WERE going to be cold and dead on the restart, yes, and Hamilton contributed this much, BUT he also implied he wants them changed, which is a different thing. And it was this that set the chain of events, that led to him losing the lead, in motion.


          1. But @atticus-2 the fact that he set off the chain of events doesn’t mean he shares responsibility for someone else’s mistake.

            Only one of the causes of the event was an error. Not all the causes.

          2. @lockup

            Yes, obviously, he does not have to share the responsibility for what the team did (or rather did not do so well).

            But he does have to be responsible for a notion (wanting to pit) which did not point to the right direction at that time, whether or not he knew it didn’t.

            Which I’m sure he was internally, during their post-race debrief. I wonder what he did in the car, when he stopped at Portier (venting a bit of frustration out when he was still by himself?). Would be a good question during Thursday’s presser.

            (I’m changing the subject, because it’s quite obvious that we see things fundamentally differently and I see no further point in us trying to convince each other in our debate above. I hope you agree – this time. :))

      2. I often wonder how some people can hear a driver and his engineer giving suggestions back and forth, and then coming to the conclusion that the driver wanted to pit, when at no time during the race was it ever mentioned that the driver wanted to pit.

        1. I carefully worded my thoughts with “suggesting”, “implying”, “having a notion”, “pointing to”, etc. when I referred to Hamilton’s pit in radio. Anyone with half a brain can read between the lines and see that he was questioning his team’s initial stance of staying out.


          1. @atticus-2

            You’ll be glad to know I can read between the lines and agree with you. Physiologically he off set his team into risking a pit-stop which the team would have know was going to be relatively risky.
            I don’t understand how people see that a driver doesn’t communicate with his team and get that they are questioning a possible pitstop like lewis did.

            On your note of the Lewis stopping at that corner at the end of the race:
            Here’s my conclusion from it. He is so obsessed with trying to replicate Senna that I think he was considering replicating the moment when senna crashed there and sulked and didn’t contact the team for a little while.
            What are your thoughts?

          2. @gremlinwon Haha, no, I seriously think he just took a moment to collect himself, I don’t think Senna’s off there came to his mind.

            He must have felt extremely frustrated before and he may have shown something of it when he knocked the 3rd-place bollard down kinda roughly arriving back to the main straight, but once he got out of the car, he was admirably manned up and certainly behaved ‘like a champion’. He could have raged on and put all the blame on the team (like a lot of people do here), but he was fantastically calm and collected. That was wonderful to see and I think he may have laid the foundation of that display during that brief stoppage at Portier when he got over the things that happened.

            Thank you, by the way, regarding the strategy call, it feels good that I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. :)

          3. @atticus-2

            haha, I’m surprised how many people just blame the pitwall when its a team sport that includes the driver as part of the team.
            I agree as much as I hate to say it Hamilton striked me as being relatively mature (hitting the 3rd place sign brought that down a bit) about things going wrong for once, (if you didn’t notice I’m not a fan), however I still think he was trying to replicate Senna in some way.
            But I agree again he did act in such a way to Nico who won sensibly and probably increased the relations between his teammate which seem to be a little stressed to say the least recently.

          4. I’m debating what you said in your original statement that “if he didn’t suggest having the stop in the first place” which suggest to you that he demanded to pit, questioning the strategy is not the issue, it’s a communication issue, the team has all the data in front of them, but didn’t communicate to their driver what the opposition was doing that cost them the win.

          5. It didn’t sound like you did. And I didn’t say strategy or data was not an issue – in fact, I did say “it’s not [Hamilton’s] job to know the tricks of race strategy, and so the team should have told him plain and simple to stay out” and so “most of the responsibility rests on the team’s shoulders.”


    2. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd June 2015, 16:14

      @atticus-2 – You must have heard some pit radio that hasn’t been released yet…

      He did not put a foot wrong during the whole weekend right up until lap 64, true, but then it was he who actually inquiried into the possiblity of having a pit stop and throwing victory away from himself

      From my understanding, he didn’t enquire about the possibility of throwing the victory away, he enquired about the possibility of pitting and coming out in first place.

      Now, without going into the full intricacies of what data is available to Lewis Hamilton whilst sat in an F1 car driving around Monaco and what data is available to the team who have a whole team dedicated to analysing every aspect of what is happening in the race, I think we can probably agree that the team was best positioned to make the decision regarding whether Lewis should pit or not.

      When told to stay out, Lewis challenged this and stated he was worried the others may pit behind him and his tyres may struggle to get up to temperature. The team appeared to respond to this with “OK Lewis, pit now”

      Are you suggesting that Lewis knew he’d come out in 3rd but wanted to pit anyway? That’s the only way that this could be Lewis’ mistake….

      1. Eh… read this whole conversation above, read between the lines, etc. This conversation is all too futile – I’m sure you know how I meant things, it doesn’t take much to do so.

        It’s not hard to see how someone comes to a certain conclusion, I for one can certainly see how you guys did so, I just don’t agree with it.

        1. Fine… but the fact you seem to be completely at odds with everyone that has either raced under such conditions or has some degree of knowledge of how F1 works must either be worrying for you. Or you like ostriches… :)

          1. Just out of curiousity: who has raced under such conditions here?

    3. So making a poor strategy ‘suggestion’ during a safety car period undoes all the other good work he did, qualifying pole and dominating the race? The question is who was driver of the weekend, not strategist of the weekend.

      1. @george

        Yep, it does undo all the other good work he did, qualifying pole and dominating the race – well, not all, but a very huge chunk of it as it was a very costly mistake.

        And I’m not saying he’s the antichrist, not even that he drove badly.

        But I’m sure there were others, who have had a clean, most (more) fruitful weekend, e. g. Vettel. (No errors, beaten teammate in quali and race fair and square, even finished ahead of Hamilton – not even in the top 3.)

        1. *top 3 in DotW, that is.

        2. @atticus-2
          Well I agree in that regard, but with different reasoning. I chose Perez with Vettel a close second, because they both outperformed their equipment in my opinion. Having said that, if you take the winning margin from before the safety car, Vettel’s race doesn’t seem as impressive (more of a poor performance from Rosberg than a good one by Vettel).

          I suppose it boils down to how much say the driver actually has on strategy. We quite often hear Hamilton exasperatedly complaining about the tyres he’s been given at a pitstop, which suggests to me he just goes with what the team gives him in most circumstances. If the decision is out of his hands then you can’t blame him when it goes wrong.

    4. I am thinking at the moment that I will no longer participate in the DoTW survey. Did Nico R or Seb V put a foot wrong as is the popular term???? NO they did not and yes there were other drivers who did so as well….. So Lewis won DoTW because he along with his team made a bad decision and finished THIRD but otherwise he did perfect so therefore Lewis is DoTW! Lordy lordy give me a freaken!! So it seems to me that the DoTW survey is really a driver fan club statement saying my driver is better than your driver because I like my driver!!! When Nico R wins, some say yes he won, and yes he did everything perfect but he was supposed to or he was boring or some other klaptrap down grading his efforts……….. Thanks, Norris PS Yes I am a Nico R fan as well as a fan of Massa, Kimi, sometimes Seb V more since his humbling year, Dan Ric, Kyvat, Perez and? One more thing, I do not dislike Lewis but there are several drivers that I enjoy much more on the race track and they say more interesting things during the various interviews.

  4. I can see the argument for Hamilton winning driver of the weekend. Up until the last 12 laps he didn’t put a foot wrong, and arguably still didn’t put a foot wrong for the pitstop. I certainly thought he was the driver of the weekend – the improvements he made over previous years for qualifying, his approach and attitude – he wanted this win.

    But is moral victor really the correct description, especially when ‘we win as a team and we lose as a team’? It means that he deserved to win the race, and that the eventual victor was not derserving.

    Did Hamilton deserve to win the race? Yes, right up until the point he was pitted. From that moment on he no longer deserved to win the race as the pitstop turned out to be a huge misjudgement. It doesn’t matter who made the error, it was made and it was his car.

    So did Rosberg not deserve to win the race? Of course he deserved to. If you’re not in first the best you can be is second, and he was there to pick up the pieces when the car in front made the error.

    If we’re going to trumpet losers as moral victors, how far should it be taken? Mistakes in the pits when leading? Crashes on track when leading? Rain when leading and being on the wrong place on the track to not pit quick enough? Was Mansell the moral victor when he couldn’t pass Senna all those years ago?

    Driver of the weekend – definitely. Head and shoulders above the rest.

    Moral victor – absolute nonsense. Something that can be called upon when the driver we think should have won didn’t, and we’d like someone else to blame for it.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      2nd June 2015, 14:10

      @gregkingston, yeah interesting way of looking at it.
      When the team makes the mistake you remain ‘moral victor’.
      But when the team does something good (like giving you a car 1sec better then any other car) it is disregarded.

    2. Shirbit Reats
      2nd June 2015, 14:21

      Completely agreed. These clickbait titles and articles do no good for this site.
      I wonder how many votes he would’ve gotten if he won the race in the boring processional Vettel-esque way without the Safety Car ever coming out.

      1. These clickbait titles and articles do no good for this site.

        You may not consider Hamilton a ‘moral victor’ but I think it’s clear from responses to the Driver of the Weekend poll, some of which are reproduced above, that others do.

        ‘Clickbait’ truly has become the knee-jerk term people go for when they see something they disagree with.

        1. Absolutely agree – although in fairness I think it is because of the attitudes generated by sites other than this fine one. They simply set up to cause such and obviously people respond.
          Its unfair given the quality of this site to suggest ‘sparking debate’ is the same.

        2. Neil (@neilosjames)
          2nd June 2015, 18:23

          @keithcollantine Maybe call the next one…

          “Lewis Hamilton was out for a Sunday drive… you won’t believe what happened next!

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd June 2015, 16:19

      @gregkingston – Absolutely 100% agree with that. If you’re looking at what Mercedes have done for Lewis (ie giving him a 50% chance of winning a WDC for 2 years running), you can accept one mistake.

      It does seem a bit odd to be slating a team that have absolutely blown the rest out of the water for the last year and a half! They made a mistake – so did every other team by not designing a package to compete with the Mercedes.!

      1. I’m just curious, when did Lewis blame the team for what happened in Monaco?

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    2nd June 2015, 14:12

    @keithcollantine, @bradley13, did you publish the Spanish DOTW results?

  6. Well, luck came to those who keep calm and keep his head cool.

  7. “Moral victor”…

    He lost in a completely legitimate way. People need to deal with it. Safety car and wrong strategy calls are part of the sport and are common enough that Hamilton’s loss doesn’t deserve a special treatment.
    Rosberg won and his victory is just as moral as Hamilton’s would be.
    Hamilton drove better, but he also lost through no fault of any outside factor. It was just him and his team. No one from the outside.

    1. Yes he lost – but the issue is everybody that dislikes the guy is attempting to blame him for the team issue seeking an opportunity to vent their petty little silliness.

      Here is a good idea – look back to the last time anyone in an equal car with equal tyres dragged out a 20s lead when no others had any mechanical issues or where on different strategies.

      Then argue he was not driver of the weekend…

      1. HAM’s part off the team as well for goodness’ sake – and part of the decision-to-pit-making team at that.

      2. Hamilton hasn’t been in an “equal” car for a long time though. His is far superior.

      3. Especially as you say drg, pulling out a lead of 20 sec. on his teammate, who has been referred to by same as the master of Monaco, was given a lesson by Lewis that day.

    2. Should have clarified – at Monaco

      Given he frequently has done such in recent years at other circuits…

  8. However @come-on-kubica suggested we should give more credit to the first driver to win at Monaco from somewhere other than pole since 2008.

    How ironic! That means since 2008 Lewis has been the first Monaco winner on the grid to have never won there from pole since…..ages ago! (And starting last race the first in ages to have taken both pole and victory there but never both in one weekend)

  9. This debate is interesting… I think Hamilton should be handicapped for having the better car and position.
    Hamilton is expected to win every time. However, you could argue that with a clearly superior car and pole position, it doesn’t require as much skill to hold the lead as the driver in the back. He’s in a worse car, fighting through traffic and dirty air, constantly needing to overtake, etc. Those guys at the back punch above their weight just to take a few spots.

  10. What!? Perez did way better than Lewis.

    Looks like some people only watch the front runners and forget the rest.

    1. I agree.

      Sergio Perez had undoubtedly his best performance of the season

      ‘Undoubtedly’? Have we forgotten Bahrain already?

      Perez is having a phenomenal season so far.

    2. Also agree. The fact that qualifying determines the grid actually makes life easier for the faster cars.

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