HOW IT ENDED IN MONACO: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg leads Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton - who led for most of the race - near the end of the 2015 Monaco F1 GP. Image: AP / Claude Paris
MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Even in
defeat, on the most famous Formula 1 circuit of them all, Lewis Hamilton
revived memories of his great hero and serial Monaco winner Ayrton Senna.
On his deceleration lap, after certain victory had been cruelly snatched from his grasp by a pit-stop blunder,
the Briton stopped his Mercedes at the Portier corner before the tunnel entry.
CLOSE TO HOME
It might have been simply to collect
his thoughts before plunging into the media maelstrom down the road
while taking a moment's reflection with the shimmering Mediterranean stretching
away from him.
However, the corner was also the one
closest to his Monaco apartment.
Those of a different generation, and
in the know, will have recalled the 1988 Monaco race during which Senna crashed
his McLaren after early domination from pole.
So angry was the great Brazilian, whose
team mate Alain Prost won that day, with the mistake that he stormed straight
home and shut the door.
NO WAY BACK
Few would have blamed Hamilton, even
though he still finished on the podium, had he done the same after coming in
for a needless tyre-change while leading behind the pace car after a dominant
When he re-emerged, his lead had
gone and there was no way back - even on fresh tyres. He was third with team
mate Nico Rosberg becoming the first driver since Senna to win three Monaco GP’s
in a row.
The hurt was evident afterwards,
once Hamilton had finally parked at the finish, and he kept his answers short.
"I can't really express the way
I feel at the moment. I won't even attempt to," he said. "You rely on
the team. I saw a screen, it looked like the team was out and I thought Nico
had pitted. Obviously I couldn't see the guys behind so I thought the guys
behind were pitting.
"The team said to stay out. I
said "these tyres are going to drop in temperature", and what I was
assuming was that these guys (Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel) would be
on options and I was on the harder tyre. So, they said to pit.
"Without thinking I came in
with full confidence that the others had done the same."
'VERY SPECIAL RACE'
Senna won six times at Monaco - five of them consecutively. Hamilton has won only once.
"This is a race that has been
very special... close to my heart for many years… it was very important.
I didn't really have to push too much - I could have doubled the lead if I’d
needed it.”Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 series.