Hamilton Error Gives Rosberg Third Monaco Win


There has been always a famous saying in life to where “It is not over until it is over.”

This might have been on the mind of Lewis Hamilton Sunday afternoon at the Grand Prix of Monaco, as the Briton and current world champion led the race in the principality for 63 of the 78 laps, until an accident brought out a safety car which his team ordered him to pit. Unfortunately, it was the wrong decision which gave teammate Nico Rosberg his third victory in a row at this prestigious event. Sebastian Vettel was second, while Hamilton had to settle for a less than acceptable third. Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 10 points after six rounds of the championship.

“I’m very, very happy, of course, but I know also it was a lot of luck today,” Rosberg said. “Lewis drove brilliantly and he would have also deserved the win for sure. But that’s the way it is in racing and definitely extremely happy and going to make the most of it. But at the same time, I know that I got lucky today. I’ll enjoy the moment now but I need to work hard because Lewis was a little bit stronger this weekend. I need to work hard for the next race for sure.”

The start was clean and Hamilton took full advantage of it by using all the rubber he could to achieve a sizeable lead. The Briton jumped out in front, by even before the opening lap ended, Nico Hulkenberg was tapped by Fernando Alonso at Mirabeau. Both drivers continued as the only threat on the track was from their local yellow. Along with Hulkenberg and Alonso, Felipe Massa got his Williams involved as well, damaging his front wing, and the Brazilian had to pit for repairs. Officials believed that Alonso was the cause of this incident and gave him a five second penalty, which he served on his first pit stop. The Spaniard eventually did not last much longer in the race, retiring on lap 43 with a gearbox issue.

Hamilton dominated the opening laps, with a 3.1 second lead on lap 10. By the 44th lap, the world champion had a huge gap of 9.2 seconds. However, what was what seemed like a start to finish victory in the race, turned to disappointment as Max Verstappen ran into the right rear tire of Romain Grosjean after the Frenchman slowed onto the approach of St.Devote. The 17 year old then launched into the barriers at that turn at high speeds. Although the incident had Verstappen escaped unhurt, but it made the safety car deploy on lap 65 and when it did, Hamilton came in by team orders to change tires. Unfortunately, the top two drivers, Rosberg and Vettel did not go into the pits, and the former took the lead for the first time in the race.

“To be honest it happened so fast I didn’t really know what was going on.” Said Hamilton. “It was a good race up until then. I can’t really express the way I feel at the moment so I won’t even attempt to. You rely on your team and I saw a screen and it looked like the team was out, so I thought Nico (Rosberg) had pitted. Obviously I couldn’t see the guys behind so I thought the guys behind were pitting.

“When the team said to stay out I said that these tires were going to drop in temperature and what I was assuming was these guys would be on options, and I was on the harder tire, so they said to pit. So without thinking I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same.”

Even with the safety car off the circuit on lap 71, Hamilton was stunned that the strategy backfired and even all attempts failed to get back to the front, the Briton had to settle for third. Rosberg won the race by 4.4 seconds, to be only the second person in formula one history to win the race three times.

Red Bull drivers Dani Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo had their best finishes of fourth and fifth, respectively, while Kimi Raikkonen took sixth in his Ferrari. Sergio Perez was seventh in his best finish this season for Force India, while Jenson Button recorded an eighth in his first point finish in the McLaren Honda. Felipe Nasr in the Sauber and Carlos Sainz Jr. in the Toro Rosso completed the top ten.

Although Hamilton was called into the pits during the safety period, Rosberg was unsure if he was going to.

“I have no idea, sorry”. He said. “As always we’re in the car and it’s very difficult to judge what decisions are being made and stuff like that. Of course it was extremely difficult to do the restart with those hard tires being very cold. But it worked out and I’m ecstatic.”