Lewis Hamilton took it upon himself to make the strategy call during the Monaco Grand Prix that made it possible for him to claim his first win of 2016, and the forty-fourth of his career, on Sunday.
His one-stop strategy, coupled by a slow pit stop for Daniel Ricciardo, allowed him to move to the front of the field, where he remained until the chequered flag to return to the top step of the podium for the first time since winning the World Championship in the United States last season.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver also benefited from being allowed through into second place by team-mate Nico Rosberg, who was struggling for pace in comparison to Hamilton, but the Briton feels happy that it was his call to the pit wall to not change to the intermediate tyre was the move that gave him the chance of victory.
“This might be the best place ever to have win number 44 – it’s been eight years since I won here!” said Hamilton. “What a special day… truly one of the hardest races I can ever remember having. To stay in the zone, not make any mistakes and come out on top is just unbelievable.
“It’s very unusual that I’m able to take any credit for a strategy decision – but when the team first asked me to box, I could see the track drying and my tyres still felt pretty good. So I told them all that and they said to stay out, which worked out great.
“I just carried on looking after the tyres – picking up the pace a bit when I saw what times people were starting to do on the intermediates as it dried out. I was matching their times at that stage so I thought “I could actually hold onto this until it’s dry”.
“Staying in that window was really tricky, though, as the first two sectors were almost dry. When I came out on the slicks it was like driving on ice. It was tough knowing how hard to push and we came out very close together.
“If he hadn’t had a bad stop I wouldn’t have been ahead. But these things happen for a reason – and today the reason was that 44th win.”