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GP Week : Issue 221
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was quick to hold up his hand and take responsibility for the strategic blunder that cost lewis Hamilton victory in Monaco. With a healthy lead, fresher tyres and track advantage Mercedes decision to pit Hamilton under the final safety car turned the race on its head. It also cost the team a 1-2 finish as the reigning world champion emerged from the pits behind Sebastian Vettel in third. All the fresh tyres in the world are no match for track position around Monaco. "This is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here," Wolff said post-race. In the panic caused by the safety car, Wolff admitted the Mercedes pit wall simply got it wrong. “We thought we had the gap for Lewis to take fresh tyres and come back out in the lead behind the safety car, ahead of Nico and covering off any risk of another competitor taking fresh tires. “But the calculation was incorrect and he came out in third place. It was our decision to call him in and our mistake, pure and simple. In these situations a driver trusts his team. “Lewis had driven flawlessly until then and really delivered a perfect weekend, with a stunning pole lap and a masterful race. There’s nothing more to say other than to highlight the grace with which he handled the situation. He was a leader and a true sportsman this afternoon." It's the second time a pit wall error has cost a Mercedes driver victory this season. In Malaysia the team was so busy trying to keep its drivers happy that it gifted the win to Ferrari by not running the optimum strategy. The result in Monaco also closed Hamilton's championship lead to just 10 points after six races. Just two races ago it was beginning to look like the Englishman might simply walk away to his third championship. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MONACO PARTNERS: mercedes' sorry story