MERCEDES have admitted they messed up Lewis Hamilton’s race strategy at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The defending F1 champ finished in a disappointing seventh and would have probably placed two places higher if the team made the right call.
Hamilton made a nightmare start to his race weekend in Monaco, qualifying in a below-par seventh.
Overtaking is notoriously difficult at the Circuit de Monaco, placing extra emphasis on starting positions.
The 36-year-old was handed a reprieve when Charles Leclerc, who had qualified on pole, was forced to retire due to a gearbox issue and team-mate Valtteri Bottas quit the race after a faulty pit stop.
But Hamilton dropped two places back when Mercedes called him in for a tactical pit, allowing Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel to jump ahead.
And with title rival Max Verstappen winning the GP, the Brit now finds himself four points behind the 23-year-old in the Drivers’ Championship.
The seven-time world champion demanded answers from his team after the disappointing race and technical director James Allison has responded, admitting fault.
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According to GP Fans, Allison said: “I can understand why he is unhappy because effectively we lost a chunk of places with the strategy call we made.
“You come up to the stop, your options are undercut to try and get ahead of the person who is blocking you, or go longer than the person and overcut them.
“It’s always a finely balanced call and we picked the wrong one of those two options.
“Lewis still had some rubber left on the tyre for what would have been a few decent laps but the chances are Gasly probably wouldn’t have stopped any time soon and our fear was that he was simply going to just stay out there as a road blocker forever.
“We had a window behind where we could do an attempted undercut and unfortunately we weren’t able to get enough lap time in our out lap to get past Gasly on the track when he subsequently made his stop to protect against it.
“Then Gasly’s pace after the stop was so slow that that effectively allowed Vettel, and in turn Perez, to leapfrog the pair of us.”
Hamilton’s Monaco result shouldn’t cause him too much worry at this early stage in the campaign, winning three of the first five races.
But Mercedes will need to ensure poor race weekends are few and far between, with Verstappen’s team Red Bull now leading the Constructors’ Championship.