Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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The Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says there was no ‘mistake’ from the team after Lewis Hamilton’s poorly-timed pit stop cost him three positions in the race, claiming they just didn’t have enough in the tank to make it work.
Mercedes’ whole race came undone at around lap 33 of the Monaco Grand Prix as Hamilton pitted for hard tyres earlier than the rest of the field, in the hope of slotting back out behind the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.
Ultimately the move didn’t work, and Hamilton was forced back behind the Frenchman, before Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin somehow managed to overcut them both – leaving Hamilton fuming on the team radio afterwards.
And not only was it a disastrous race for Hamilton, who has now lost the lead at the top of the driver’s standings, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas had to retire from the race after running second behind the Red bull of Max Verstappen, surrendering the lead in the Constructors’ Championship too.
“We lacked the pace all weekend, it’s as simple as that,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
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“The pit stop failure that we had is something that we need to understand, because we completely machined the wheel nut, and with Lewis, we just didn’t have the pace in the car.”
And speaking of Hamilton’s pit stop, the Austrian was clear to point out it was not an error from the team.
“The undercut looked like the only feasible way of clearing Gasly with the tyre warm up, and just to look at the gap before, one and half seconds was sufficient for him to stay ahead,” explained Wolff.
“There wasn’t any mistake, the pitstop was okay, but it just wasn’t enough.
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Verstappen and Red Bull have taken the lead in both championships; Verstappen now four points clear of Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career, and Red Bull topping the Constructors’ for the first time since 2013.
Mercedes were on the backfoot all weekend, and Wolff admitted coming into the race that they would happily take a third and seventh place finish to keep scoring consistent points in the title fight.
But with just nine points scored in Monaco thanks to Hamilton’s fastest lap, Wolff admitted there would be no celebration in Monaco tonight.
“I would have rather taken third and seventh than only seventh, but you have to take it on the chin,” he continued.
“Today we lost a couple of points, a few points, this is a long championship and it’s going to swing either way, and at the end we will see in Abu Dhabi who is going to have their nose ahead, and that’s it.
“This time there is going to be no party, I am going home and I’m going to look at the data and watch the race again, and have a pizza.”
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