FORLORN FIGURE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (right) was visibly disappointed by not winning the 2015 Monaco GP. Team mate Nico Rosberg took the controversial win. Image: AFP / Boris Horvat
LONDON, England – Mercedes Formula 1 will be in full gremlin-hunting mode when it regroups at its factory today (May 26 2015) after committing one of the sport's biggest strategic blunders at the 2015 Monaco GP.
The team won the race for the third year in a row withNico Rosberg but the headlines were all about how it blew a surefire victory for Lewis Hamilton.
CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD DEALT BIG BLOW
Hamilton had the race under control until the pace car was deployed some 14 laps from the end and he was called in for a needless pit stop while his rivals stayed out.
He finished third after earlier leading Rosberg by more than 20sec – a lifetime in F1 terms – and his overall championship lead over his team mate was halved to 10 points.
Read: Team tells stunned Hamilton: 'We're sorry!'
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said an extensive debrief had been carried out already with about 100 personnel from the factory, engine side and trackside operations on Sunday (May 24) evening.
The Austrian told journalists: "We discussed it in an overview and we’ll get back together on Tuesday morning to analyse it. By then we will know where we had a gremlin in the system.”
Hamilton, excused from the post-race debriefing and usual team media duties in Monaco, was unlikely to attend after struggling to comprehend what had happened.
Others were equally mystified: former F1 driver David Coulthard was among those saying the driver was badly let down.
MERC CAUGHT OUT BY VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR
Wolff said the decision to declare a 'virtual safety car', a development since the 2014 season, followed by a real pace car and Hamilton complaining about the state of his tyres had caught out the team.
It was apparently thought that Hamilton had enough time to pit and rejoin the race in the lead but the figures were wrong; the initial reason was said to be unreliable GPS readings around the winding street circuit.
Wolff said: "The system, showing us a clear possibility of a free stop, was wrong by a couple of seconds. In hindsight, if you look at it from a common-sense standpoint, there is a very different logic."
Wolff would not say who made the call to pit and added that the team would not play the blame game anyway. "I rate that guy and his group just as highly as I did before the race. He was dragged in by a decision, fooled by the numbers.
"There is no doubt what happened. We had a problem in our data tools and those data tools have won us many great races."
Mercedes AMG F1 used their Twitter account to put across more of Wolff's comments regarding the saga: