Monaco GP: Mercedes error costs Hamilton victory

    Published On May 24, 2015 11:07:00 PM

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    A pitstop blunder by Mercedes robbed Lewis Hamilton of a guaranteed victory in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    A pitstop blunder by Mercedes robbed Lewis Hamilton of a guaranteed victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, handing the win on a platter to Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    For 64 of the 78 laps the race around the tight, twisty streets of the Principality was processional, with reigning champion Hamilton unruffled from the moment the five red lights disappeared to signal the start.

    But then Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen careered into the rear-right wheel of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean at Sainte Devote, immediately turning the grand prix on its head.

    What followed from Mercedes was unnecessary, for although the safety car was ultimately brought into play - after the 'virtual safety car' sign was displayed for the first time in F1 but soon withdrawn - Hamilton had a 21-second lead at that stage.

    Hamilton was then called in by Mercedes to take on a set of super-soft compound tyres, yet as he emerged back on track, Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastien Vettel passed him.

    From a virtually impregnable position Mercedes had contrived to deny Hamilton what should have been the 37th win of his F1 career.

    Despite being on much faster rubber over the final eight laps after the withdrawal of the safety car, Hamilton could find no way past Vettel, never mind find himself in a position to catch Rosberg.

    It was an astonishing end to an otherwise relatively unremarkable race, with lap one naturally frenetic, particularly through the opening turn at Ste Devote.

    Come the sweep through Mirabeau double world champion Fernando Alonso was involved in a collision with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, sending the German into a barrier, resulting in the loss of his front wing.

    The incident forced the stewards into an immediate investigation, with the blame pinned on McLaren star Alonso as he was handed a five-second time penalty.

    Such was Alonso's pace, however, throughout the opening 30 laps that by the time he pitted to take on a set of soft tyres, switching from the opening stint super-softs, the additional penalty proved redundant.

    Alonso, though, did not last too long after his stop, pulling his car off track at Ste Devote with a gearbox issue caused by rising temperatures a day after an MGU-H problem brought an early end to the Spaniard's qualifying session.

    Behind the leading trio Daniil Kvyat scored the highest finish of his career with fourth, followed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

    Kvyat was ordered to let Ricciardo through in the closing stages, but the Red Bulls swapped back on the final lap once it became clear that Ricciardo could not make any progress against Hamilton.

    Force India's Sergio Perez clinched seventh, Force India's best result of the year, with Jenson Button claiming McLaren's first points this season with eighth.

    Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz in the second Toro Rosso completed the top 10.

    In a wretched race for Williams, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa - who suffered a lap-one puncture - were 14th and 15th.

    RESULT

    PosDriverCarLapsGap
    1Nico RosbergMercedes781h49m18.420s
    2Sebastian VettelFerrari784.486s
    3Lewis HamiltonMercedes786.053s
    4Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault7811.965s
    5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault7813.608s
    6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari7814.345s
    7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes7815.013s
    8Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda7816.063s
    9Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari7823.626s
    10Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault7825.056s
    11Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes7826.232s
    12Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes7828.415s
    13Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari7831.159s
    14Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes7845.789s
    15Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes771 Lap
    16Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari762 Laps
    17Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari762 Laps
    -Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault62Collision
    -Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda41Gearbox
    -Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes5Brakes

    STANDINGS

    PosDriverPoints
    1Lewis Hamilton126
    2Nico Rosberg116
    3Sebastian Vettel98
    4Kimi Raikkonen60
    5Valtteri Bottas42
    6Felipe Massa39
    7Daniel Ricciardo35
    8Daniil Kvyat17
    9Felipe Nasr16
    10Romain Grosjean16
    11Sergio Perez11
    12Carlos Sainz9
    13Nico Hulkenberg6
    14Max Verstappen6
    15Marcus Ericsson5
    16Jenson Button4
    17Fernando Alonso0
    18Roberto Merhi0
    19Will Stevens0
    20Pastor Maldonado0
    PosConstructorPoints
    1Mercedes242
    2Ferrari158
    3Williams/Mercedes81
    4Red Bull/Renault52
    5Sauber/Ferrari21
    6Force India/Mercedes17
    7Lotus/Mercedes16
    8Toro Rosso/Renault15
    9McLaren/Honda4
    10Marussia/Ferrari0
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