Lewis Hamilton frustrated not to get chance to pre-empt Safety Car in Monaco GP
"When I was at McLaren, l would have been pulled in," says Lewis
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 26/05/14 1:53pm
Lewis Hamilton believes that had he still been driving for McLaren he would have been called in for an opportunistic pit-stop in anticipation of a Safety Car after Adrian Sutil crashed out midway through the Monaco GP.
Hamilton, who finished the race second behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, bitterly bemoaned the team's reluctance to call him in ahead of the race leader, complaining over his car-to-team radio: "What was the reason you didn't box me? I should have pitted, but I knew you wouldn't guys."
According to calculations made by Sky F1, almost 30 seconds elapsed between Hamilton passing the stricken Sauber of Sutil at the exit of the tunnel and reaching the pit entry.
"When I was at McLaren we had two strategists and the strategy from my strategist was to get the best overall result for me," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 afterwards.
"Unfortunately [at Mercedes] we have one overall strategist, and he's amazing, but unfortunately the role in the team is that he has to look out for the number one [driver in the race] and the guy in second has to come second. I knew from the get-go that I had a lesser opportunity to win the race and I needed a miracle to win at a track like this.
"An opportunity occurred where I could have come in. When I was at McLaren, l would have been pulled in on that lap and that may have given me the smallest advantage to get the jump over the Safety Car.
"But I'll work it out with the team. In these races, you need to grab every opportunity you can. The start was gone, I was closing up and then the [first] Safety Car came out and really after that there was no opportunity."
Having trailed Rosberg for most of the race by less than a second, Hamilton ultimately finished a distant in a second place after suffering a problem with his vision after a piece of debris became lodged in his eye.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted the race was effectively won by Rosberg once he had pitted ahead of Hamilton, but insisted the team acted fairly.
"The call is made by the car in front, that is the rule we have. A driver doesn't make the call himself," Wolff explained to Sky F1.
Following his victory, his second of the year, Rosberg has reclaimed the lead of the World Championship with the third-placed Fernando Alonso over sixty points adrift. Only once this season, in Australia where a mechanical failure caused Hamilton to retire on the third lap, have Mercedes failed to score a one-two result and Wolff is adamant that the team will continue to let their two drivers race each other despite the escalating antagonism between them.
"The battle is getting more exciting," said Wolff. "We owe it to the fans to let them race because this is what the sport is about even if [it causes] a bit more stress for the team."