Lewis Hamilton admitted the Monaco Grand Prix was one of disappointment for both himself and his Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, with the reigning World Champion finishing a lowly seventh and losing the lead in the Drivers’ Championship to Max Verstappen.
After a relatively poor Qualifying effort, Hamilton was unable to better seventh, the same place he started, despite both Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas retiring ahead of him.
Hamilton was unable to pass Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Pierre Gasly throughout the race, and he then lost positions to both Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez during the pit stops.
“Congratulations to Max and his team, they did a better job today,” said Hamilton. “For our team, it’s through our losses and our mistakes that we always grow stronger.
“This has definitely been a poor weekend overall in terms of our performance, but this team has shown time and time again, how we come back fighting. There’s no finger pointing, we win and we lose together – we just need to find our feet and stay cool, we have 18 races left and there’s a long way to go in this fight.”
Hamilton says there will be a lot of work put in by everyone to ensure a repeat of their Monaco problems do not resurface in the future, and he believes that come the Azerbaijan Grand Prix next time out, he’ll be back fighting at the front of the field.
“We’ll be working hard because we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said. “There’s no reason why we should be performing like this on any weekend with all the experience we have together as a team.
“We’ll have some good discussions internally, it’s painful to learn these lessons but we’ve done it many times before.”
“Our pit stops haven’t been our strongest point this year” – Valtteri Bottas
Team-mate Bottas appeared to have the measure of Hamilton throughout the weekend in Monaco, and the Finn was on course for a podium finish before a wheel nut malfunction during his pit stop ended his afternoon.
Bottas was keeping tabs with eventual race winner Verstappen when he pitted, only for his wheel nut to stick to his axle. The mechanics tried hard to release the tyre but to no avail, with the team only able to get it off back at the factory a few days later.
Frustratingly for the Finn, Bottas saw his race fall apart in the pit lane, and even though he felt a win may not have been possible because of Verstappen’s pace, he definitely felt it was a possibility to score a podium finish.
“Sitting in the car at the pit stop, I knew it was a slow one and I was calculating Sainz getting past, then Norris, and when it got to 30 seconds, I couldn’t believe it,” said Bottas. “It’s obviously hugely disappointing and we need to learn so it never happens again.
“It was bad luck from my side and as a team, it will be a priority for us to improve our pit stops moving forward. Our pit stops haven’t been our strongest point this year – there’s no one to blame, as a team we just need to be better.
“Between lap 15 and 20, it was a good margin between Max and I but when Max started to lift his pace, I noticed my front left started to give up more than his and I lost some ground. There was a gap when I stopped and perhaps it would have been difficult to fight for the win, even though we would have fought hard, but second place should have been possible today.”
Bottas says the team will go through what happened in Monaco that saw his promising race come to an end, before moving on and turning their focus to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“We’ll have a meeting to go through the race in detail on Tuesday, to understand what I could do better and what we can do better, then we’ll move on and get ready for Baku,” said the Finn.