New audio reveals Hamilton’s Monaco strategy role

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

New audio of the messages on the Mercedes pit wall during the Monaco Grand Prix have shed further light on Lewis Hamilton’s role in the strategy which cost him victory in the race.

The messages, published on the official Formula One website, show how the Mercedes pit wall was thrown into confusion when first the Virtual Safety Car and then a full Safety Car was deployed in the wake of Max Verstappen’s crash on lap 64.

When the VSC was deployed Hamilton was told not to pit. But after the Safety Car came out, and following Hamilton’s warning that his tyre temperatures were low, the decision was taken for him to come in.

That call was reversed again, but for a second time Hamilton voiced the view that he should come in to change tyres, believing the drivers behind him would also pit. That prompted the final decision for him to pit.

The exchange also shows Mercedes’ difficulties were aggravated by the loss of their marshalling information system around the time Hamilton rejoined the circuit behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel – where he finished.

Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonIt seems Bonnington was in the middle of telling Hamilton he was in his ‘Safety Car window’ at the moment the Virtual Safety Car was deployed.
So just a reminder you are in your Safety Car… Virtual Safety Car. So look at your dash, look at the boards, keep positive, stay positive and you are staying out.
Peter BonningtonLewis Hamilton‘Staying positive’ refers to the time he is being shown on his dash.
So we are staying out and you are staying positive.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK Lewis a Safety Car has been deployed.
Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonAre you sure it’s the best thing to stay out? These tyres have lost all their temperature. Everyone’s going to be on [super-softs] now.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonNope, we will be boxing the end of the lap, so just stay positive. We are going to go up one-and-a-half turns for the [super-soft] tyre, unless you tell us different.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonJust give us pit confrirm.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK so we are now staying out, staying out. Just confirm on the radio.
Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonGuys, that’s not good. These tyres have lost all their temperature. Everyone is going to be on [super-softs] now.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK, copy copy, box box.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonSo cancel the brake magic. Caution on pit entry. RS modes. Cancel RS. Watch the line on pit exit.
Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonWhat’s happened, guys? Guys, what’s happened?
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK Lewis, so we got caught behind… So we’re just getting a look now, just having a look now. We’re just reviewing the video. So stick the brake warming on, let’s get some temperature into these brakes.
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK Lewis so we have lost the marshalling system so we may need to do something to override DRS.
Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonI’ve lost this race, haven’t I?
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonNot if they lose all their tyre temp. They’re on [soft] tyre, you’ve got very good [super-soft] on the car at the moment.
Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonHow many laps left?
Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonWe’ve got 13 laps remaining.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix

    Browse all 2015 Monaco Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    55 comments on “New audio reveals Hamilton’s Monaco strategy role”

    1. He thought others were stopping and insisted on it.
      But Ferrari never called the guys out of their box. They didn’t even tried to trick with Mercedes. The team at least should check it before believing in Hamilton on his cockpit, saying they would stop again.

      What a way to lose a race.

      1. -He thought others were stopping and insisted on it.

        I wonder why Peter or any other team higher-up did not cut in to tell Lewis that there was no plan at all to pit Nico. For the guy to repeat that line twice meant his worry wasn’t necessarily his tyres being cold, but it was him staying out as Peter was sugesting while ‘others’ pit and get new tyres. That was his worry hence the repetition.

        Agreed there wasn’t enough information available for Mercedes to make a decision, they at least had the information and knowledge that Nico- Hamilton’s primary challenger- was not pitting. And therefore should have relayed the message to him.
        ‘We don’t intend to pit Nico’ or ‘Nico is not coming in’. Simple and short.

        Mega blunder really.

        1. Peter probably dothe sent know what Rosberg is up to. Plus, don’t forget Mercedes thought they had the gap covered regardless, which was an error. To me, the blame goes both ways. Hamilton overrode his team twice, and the team wrong calculated the gap.

          1. He is a driver. He cannot drive into the pits without being called in. ‘He over rode the team twice’ is not a correct way of putting it. If he said, ‘No, I must pit’ then that is more like over-riding instruction. He only made an assumption which was false and should have been corrected.

            In my opinion, he has no blame. Not that I blame anyone, unlike many people here who just want to throw blame around. He did what he was supposed to do which is question pit strategy and it was the duty of the team to feed him with more info as is usually the case when any driver questions team strategy.

            It is entirely different when a driver goes ahead and does as he pleases no matter the info from the team. That is ‘over-riding’ of instruction. In this case Hmilton was not fed the most critical of info which is Nico is pitting rather he was called in.

            1. Sometimes questioning things especially from people in higher positions also means stating the opposite. In other words, Lewis wants to be a team lead and when he ‘questioned’ the decision it implied his disagreement and the fact that the other option is plain better. I’ve seen it in the corporate world and that’ how I read it here as well. Also, his team thought they had the gap regardless due to system error. And why should the directors tell him Nico is not pitting? I don’t like Nick, but each driver-team pair should be on their own. Lewis should know what Nick is doing only based on what he and his team see on the track, the rest should be assumptions.

    2. OK Lewis so we have lost the marshalling system so we may need to do something to override DRS.

      That’s strange. May have something to do with the telemetry loss I mentioned earlier.

    3. The biggest mistake from Mercedes side was not telling Lewis the other car behind ( Rosberg ) is not pitting ( as he has thought ). It´s naive to think that Vettel, in case he pitted, would pass both Mercedes in Monaco on track. It piling up nicely for Mercedes after what we saw in the second practise. :D Nevertheless I hope the tractor hasn´t made any damage to the rear of the car.

      1. not possible to tell ham about ros strategy banned radio info

        1. No they can, as they did for Nico in spain, advised him that Lewis still had one more stop to make. Plus even if that was the case they could have simply said “No the weather is good”

      2. In fairness, they thought he had enough time to pit and get out even if Nico didn’t pit.

    4. Why didn’t Peter Bonnington insist Lewis to staying out?
      Was that contract delay all about? A driver privileges to overridden team order?

      1. But he (Bonnington) did that… THREE TIMES!

        Did you read the transcript ?

        1. -But he (Bonnington) did that… THREE TIMES!

          I think you did not understand his comment. Even if Peter told Hamilton 10 times to stay out and Hamilton kept saying everyone will pit and be on better tyres the onus is on Peter to say Nico is not pitting, at the very least. Simple.

          As you alluded that he told Hamilton three times, but the final call to pit him came from Peter or whoever else. He did not drive into the pits on his own. He was called in. So it doesn’t matter how many times he was told to stay out.

        2. But he (Bonnington) did that… THREE TIMES!

          Yup. That’s the proof that Lewis had a right to ignore team order, @elio.

      2. “Lewis, you’re staying out”; “Lewis, you’re staying out”; “Lewis, you’re staying out”; *sigh* “Toto, your star driver thinks he knows strategy better than us.”

    5. It doesn’t change anything. There is no new information.
      Mercedes simply didn’t tell him that no one were stopping, and again, a thing that was utterly easy to do since they were NOT stopping Rosberg. Ridiculous mistake.

      1. Keep in mind that they were under the belief that he could stop and stay out ahead even if they didn’t stop.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        6th June 2015, 9:16

        @edmarques – not true.
        Many other cars did stop.
        Mercedes did not know if Vettel was going to stop (even when Hamilton entered the pit Ferrari was still 12 secs behind; enough to have a coffee and bring the pit crew out).

        1. It doesn’t matter the other cars.
          If Rosber wasn’t stoping they should have told Hamilton to don’t.

    6. So let me see…

      Bonnington told Hamilton “We are staying out” THREE TIMES. Then he asked for Hamilton’s confirmation TWICE, then Hamilton said “not good” and, right away, Bonnington says: “Ok. Copy, copy (copy = means “understood what you said / I see what you mean”) box, box.

      What more is needed to realise that Hamilton actually played a big part on his own defeat at Monte Carlo ?

      1. How don’t you realise that it all could have been avoided if the team simply told Lewis not to worry because those behind him hadn’t actually pitted, thats where the problem lies.

      2. and he acknowledged it with the words “I’ve lost this race, haven’t I?” Emphasis “I” not “we”

        1. You got that right.

          1. It’s really interesting, before the races, drivers (maybe except Ham) talk about themselves in 1st person plural. Like a team, our side of garage mentality maybe. But especially in situations where they are criticized. Or not in the best of situations. Under certain circumstances that changes though….

        2. Thats how I saw it the first time I heard Hamilton say that line too @frasier. And the information that has come out since then only confirms that Hamilton did play an important role in the decision.

          I think it is good when a driver does actively engage in strategy (in the past I often thought Hamilton relied too much on his team there instead of questioning their plans). Off course sometimes you get it wrong, sometimes you get it perfect. Its still the team winning (or not) together.

          1. Sorry but NO. The guy in both his clearly says that his worry is the others on supersoft(and mostly the guy behind him, Rosberg).
            Yet the team play dumb and do not inform him that Rosberg was not pitting.
            Maybe they thought there was no reason to tell him because they believed he could get in and out without losing first place but still it’s their mistake.
            Simply put the team failed giving him correct communication of the facts and let him think that he needed to defend against the guy behind when there was no need.

            Trying to blasme Hamilton who clearly stated what his worry was about and therefore the team knew very well that his worry was irrelevant is ridicules.
            It may seem like they told him to come in after he said “no good” but they actually simply changed there minds anyway no matter if he was gonna say “no good” or not since they knew his “no good” is irrelevant since he was worrying getting attack by a guy in supersofts and they had no intention of changing Rosberg’s tyres that was behind him.

    7. so TWICE the team told Lewis to stay out, and on the second time he insisted “that’s not cool”.

      Yeah, Lewis doesn’t have ANY responsibility in the decision. /sarc

      Engineers can be too cryptic at times, and often don’t give straight answers (I’m thinking Bonnington in Spain needing Lewis to ask him 3 times or so whether it was impossible to catch Nico), but Lewis and Bonnington and the team haven’t seen it necessary to improve their communications, and that bit them hard this time.

      I can imagine of Bonnington told Lewis to stay out, Lewis may have just come in anyway.

      Regardless of what Hamilton’s fans think, Lewis should think hard about how he can improve in this area with the team (as the “team leader” he likes to say he is, and from what he says about always “finding areas he can improve”).

      1. So TWICE Hamilton told them that his reasoning was about the car behind being on supersofts and TWICE they failed to inform him about it so he can be in a position to take the correct decision.
        They left him in the dark so they can just decide by themselves. Hamilton has no blame at all.

        Enough with your silly claims.

    8. As the previous comments doesn’t seem to hit on it, the new piece of info is that even the team second guessed itself once before Hamilton raised his concerns – although Hamilton didn’t know about this, the first change of mind from the team came about the same time as he first suggested to pit.

      I do wonder why on Earth the team thought about pitting at all when they didn’t see any Ferrari mechanic out of the box… Lewis taking wrong conclusions from the TV screens (i. e. that Rosberg has pitted) is one thing, he’s driven 64 laps before and may have been a bit deconcentrated. But the team falling asleep on the pit wall!? Utter nonsense.

      1. The team operated under an incorrect assumption that regardless, they had the gap covered. Hence the engineer going way then another every few seconds.

        1. I know they thought so. But they didn’t go back and forth every few seconds. They just had one more U-turn than what we earlier thought they had.

          In all honesty, it isn’t that significant, I think. It would be, if they communicated with Lewis THEIR wish to box earlier than Lewis suggested it to them. It would then take every responsibility off of Hamilton – not that he has a lot, I think the team was more at fault than the driver as it is, but still, I think Hamilton has had his share in influencing the outcome.

    9. Team error. Driver, pit wall and software.

    10. I can see why there was confusion. He was told they were boxing at the end of the lap, so he then assumed Rosberg had already stopped. Lack of information from both sides.

      1. You are right. It was a lapse in information that is to blame.

    11. If you listen to audio, pay attention to this part:
      PB:”OK so we are now staying out, staying out. Just confirm on the radio.”
      LH:”Guys, that’s not good. These tyres have lost all their temperature. Everyone is going to be on [super-softs] now.”
      It is possible that his engineer didn’t even care much for what Hamilton thought about other people’s tyres, because he says “guys, that’s not good” part in a way implying tyres are in really really bad shape. Team’s mistake with calculation of course. I’m curious though, did Lewis mention he also got stuck behind SC?

    12. Who cares? He’s gonna win most of the races this season anyway. He’ll win the championship for sure. Bor-ing.

    13. For me, that unfortunately appears to be Peter Bonnington’s fault for not correcting Lewis on the fact that a) Ferrari were not pitting and b) that they had no intention to pit Nico. Lewis was under a false premise, because of course, he is submarined inside a racing car with no access to information. If that is indeed the full transcript, then it is really quite shocking that Bono failed to correct Lewis on that fundamental truth. The fact that it is in the past does not change the fact that, on this basis, it was an utterly shocking collapse of team procedure.

      1. Completely agree with you. Why didn’t Bonnington take the two seconds to alleviate Hamilton’s concerns by telling him they weren’t pitting his team mate and it didn’t look like Vettel was pitting either? That one sentence would have saved a lot of grief I think. Even then the fact that Mercedes appeared to change their minds until the last second shows how much confusion there must have been on that pitwall.

        1. This a problem Lewis always has with engineers. Engineers like not telling detailed story to their driver and just telling him what they believe he should know. Lewis hates that. He wants to know what is going on because he likes taking some decisions but they try to stop him by not telling him. It’s bloody annoying.

    14. Great to see this new info, gives a lot of insight of the confusion that broke out.

    15. This doesn’t actually say anything we didn’t already know, The team made the call to stay out, Hamilton questioned this because he thought the guys behind were pitting (which the team didn’t correct even though they knew Rosberg wasn’t) and they made the call to pit with the wrong timing calculation.

      Other than that it really is time to move on, a new day a new race, some new story to talk about.

      1. It tells us something clearly though. And that is that Lewis wrong assumption about the two guys behind him pitting wasn’t simply an assumption that let to misunderstanding because Lewis expressed that assumption twice to them and they failed to inform him despite knowing he assumed wrong.
        If he had failed to express that assumption you can blame him too but in the end he did expressed it therefore they weren’t really influenced by anything he said because they knew he was operating under wrong assumptions.

    16. While this is all true, IMO, the 4.1 second stop also played a big part.. the green light didn’t come on quick enough, so Hamilton gave up a big gap to the passing Sauber. Seeing how close he was behind Vettel at pit exit, that 0.5 seconds plus would have made all the difference. If Hamilton came out 2nd, that’s a big call for the team to make either way..

    17. You win some, you lose some. We all need to get over it, like Lewis is trying to.

    18. “Moving on.” Too late now. Releasing them now shows there is some kind of ulterior motive involved. Call me a cynic but it would seem there is a campaign to label this as Hamilton’s fault despite evidence showing the team dropped the ball. Or maybe the FOM and journalists are just trying to milk it.

      The transcript clearly shows the team was indecisive about what to do and the only reason Hamilton wanted to come in hinged on whether or not his competitors had pitted. Something that can only be confirmed or refuted by team. That doesn’t seem to be getting across to some people.

      New audio reveals Hamilton’s Monaco strategy role

      I’m sure you’re not insinuating anything by that title.

      1. @sudd I was surprised FOM chose to release this. And the manner in which they did – the video animation – struck me as rather strange. To me it seems almost taunting.

        However if they’re going to start giving us more in-depth radio excerpts I’m all in favour – it can only help enhance our understanding of what goes on during races.

        I don’t know what you’re referring to about the title – perhaps my reply to the next comment will shed some light.

    19. People saying the team told Hamilton to stay out twice. Yeah? Yeah, Lewis always said twice ‘everyone else will now be on supersofts’.

      If they simply said no Lewis, no one else has pitted, Lewis would have been relaxed about staying out, knowing he had track position over rivals on the same cold tyres.

      This article changes nothing. Still an error from the team for not seeing the race infront of their eyes. Lewis has a very narrow perspective on the race through his visor, and gave the team accurate information on how his tyres where behaving. Simple.

      More click bate articles from information we got from other F1 news outlets days ago.

      1. More click bate

        Ah, the usual knee-jerk complaint about click ‘bait’. Of course it’s nothing of the sort. As I always say, the day I resort to clickbait is the day you’ll find galleries of pit babes and half a dozen articles about Kimi Raikkonen on the home page.

        I believed this was worthwhile because new information was published about an incident about which there has been a considerable amount of information from readers.

        Yes, Hamilton did play a role in Mercedes’ strategy at Monaco. That has never been in dispute he admitted as much moments after the race. What was not known before was the extent of his involvement. The messages above gives us greater insight into this than we had before. Indeed, it appears to be a verbatim recording of the discussions over a period of more than a lap, which is something we very rarely get to hear in such detail.

        And contrary to your claim it was not first published “days ago”, as can clearly be seen from the link in the second paragraph.

        1. It is the very definition of click bait. This ‘new’ information gives us nothing new, it gives us no more insight into what we had already, it adds a couple of sentences of the same information, in that his team repeated to stay out, and Hamilton repeating his tyres where going cold.

          The title of this article only serves to get people clicking on it in thinking that Lewis had more to do with the loss than he actually did. Hence, click bait.

          This ‘new’ information was only released to provoke reaction heading into Canada, nothing more.

          1. The fact you’re trying to move on from pretending the information is ‘days’ old – which as I have clearly demonstrated is not true – to arguing some other point shows this is yet more knee-jerk ‘clickbait’ finger-pointing.

            Just because you don’t like what you read doesn’t make it ‘clickbait’. The headline is entirely accurate: the audio is new and it does reveal more about Hamilton’s role in the strategy discussion – for example we now know he argued for the tyre change not once but twice, and we can see how often they went back and forth.

            1. First of all, this information IS days old, there is nothing NEW is this ‘new’ information that we didn’t already get from FOM on the 28th of May, i don’t know about you, but thats days old to me. Pay attention at the 2 minute mark –

              Secondly, its got nothing to do with the content and what i like, its got everything to do with news outlets spinning non-information for the soul purpose of getting more clicks. Of course the title of this article is factually correct, but don’t pretend like you don’t know what you’re doing.

            2. Many of the messages above had not been released in any form prior to the day this article was published on – for proof of which see here and here. I’ve just given you two examples of the new information contained within it.

              As I have said throughout, I published this in good faith because I believed it advanced our understanding of a story of interest. You seem determined to ignore what I have to say so you can persist in your conviction that I am only motivated by getting people to come to the site. May I suggest that as you have such a low opinion of me, it makes little sense for you to visit the site in the first place?

              Because, as I have said all along, I’m not doing this ‘just for the clicks’ – not yours, and not anyone else’s.

            3. “Many of the messages above had not been released in any form prior to the day this article was published on – for proof of which see here and here. I’ve just given you two examples of the new information contained within it.”

              Yes, that is true Keith, that’s not the point i’m making, and you know its not, what i’m saying is there is no new real insight in this ‘new’ release from FOM days prior to the Canadian GP, yes factually speaking there is a couple of new sentences, but they add nothing of substance that we already didn’t know before. The team shows more doubt and confusion over what to do, Hamilton reiterates his concerns about cold tyres, somehow this is worthy of a new article? The cynic in me tells me that by putting ‘Hamilton’ and ‘role to play’ in the same sentence is a tactical move by those who know make money from clicks.

              This info was released by FOM to drum up interest before the up coming GP, nothing more, nothing less.

              PS. This is a great F1 news site, i come here all the time, you do a great job, the odd article or post isn’t enough for me to disregard all the other positives.

          2. If you’re so disappointed then you should ask for your money back…

    20. looking back at the monaco gp now, it seems like both the team and hamilton are to blaim for the choice to pit – BUT from their point of view at the time, it actually made sense to pit him considering he looked to have enough advantage to come out ahead again, and both the team and Hamilton obviously thought Vettel would pit also for the softer tires. it was a mistake, lets get on with it.

    Comments are closed.