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Unnecessary pit stop: This is how Mercedes gave away Hamilton's victory

An unnecessary pit stop
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B at 3:28 pm local time, the Monaco GP was a sleeping pill. Then the world's most famous street race once again lived up to its reputation as PS roulette. For 62 rounds, Lewis Hamilton had played cat and mouse with his pursuers. Max Verstappen's accident, the safety car and a miscalculation in the Mercedes control center deprived him of the victory he deserved.

Premiere for virtual safety car

Verstappen's crash triggered the premiere of virtual safety Cars out. It was invented by Jules Bianchi after the accident to protect the marshals at work. What is the abbreviation VSC? A neutralization without a safety car. Everyone has to drive at the same pace. The so-called safety car delta time. It is around 130 percent of the average racing speed. This will freeze the race until the marshals have cleared the scene of the accident.

But then something happened that will probably curse Lewis Hamilton 100 more times. The accident warning light in the Toro Rosso came on. It does this automatically when the delay exceeds 15 g. In the race control, this warning signal immediately triggers the order to the doctor's car to go out onto the track. And so a real safety car is mandatory. 'This procedure is stipulated in the regulations,' explained FIA race director Charlie Whiting. Less than a minute passed between the VSC signal and the deployment of the real safety car.

First of all, the virtual safety car seemed to consolidate Hamilton's position. The distances are frozen. so no reason to panic. In fact, the front runner won 6.6 seconds between the 63rd and 64th laps on Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel. On lap 64, Hamilton's lead increased from 19.1 to 25.7 seconds. This is due to the fact that he only saw the VSC signal in the area of ​​the Portier curve, while his opponents had to cover almost the entire lap at a reduced pace.

The significantly increased advantage led the Mercedes strategists in the crazy. They thought they saw the gap, to get the front runner into the pits for a second tire change without giving up the lead. Hamilton's radio message that his tires had already suffered badly and would dramatically lose temperature behind the safety car may also have increased the pressure on the pit wall to do something. Everything else would have been better.

Vettel's lead over Kvyat too narrow

Hamilton wasn't even surprised when the radio message reached him 50 meters before the pit entrance to come to the pit immediately. He believed that the pit stop was due to the fear that Rosberg and Vettel would do just that and then still challenge him in the finale with fresh, soft tires on the old hard tires.

If the Mercedes command center ever should have thought so, then he made two mistakes. Ferrari would never have called Vettel for a second stop in the pits. The lead of 17.3 seconds over Daniil Kvyat was too narrow for that. The Mercedes strategists should have read this on their strategy programs. In addition, the most important thing in Monte Carlo is the position in the race. You don't give it up 14 laps before the end. Even with a tire advantage, it is impossible to overtake the vehicle in front in Monte Carlo. Hamilton would have easily driven the race home with his old-fashioned tires. Just like in 1992 Ayrton Senna saved himself from the storming Nigel Mansell, although he could drive four seconds faster per lap.

Hamilton's bad luck was that the safety car was already waiting for him. It caught him in the tobacco curve. Bernd Mayländer drove slower than the Safety Car delta time. And so the lead shrank again. By exactly four seconds. According to the strategy algorithm, Hamilton should have had a cushion of 3.5 seconds to keep the lead. 'Even with an average pit stop,' interjected team boss Toto Wolff.

Fortunately, the Ferrari has a long nose

Hamilton could hardly believe his eyes when he saw him at the Rosberg pit exit Nose saw and Vettel's Ferrari to his left. Since Vettel drove the racing line, he was the decisive meter ahead. 'It paid off that our car has such a long nose,' joked Vettel. But how could the computer based on GPS data be so wrong? He had to realize that Hamilton was being stopped by Mayländer's Mercedes AMG GT? 'We don't have a real GPS here in town,' Wolff explained.

That is not entirely correct. In fact, the GPS does not get its signal from the satellite in the canyons. 'The teams make do with a replacement system,' explained Charlie Whiting. 'They are based on our 20 induction loops around the course. The positions in between are extrapolated based on the last speeds.'

Software was wrong

It can now happen that the software the signal got a bit too late by how much Hamilton's speed behind the SafetyCar decreased compared to Rosberg and Vettel. Wolff put it this way: 'Delta time was frozen for a while.' It was the lapse that made the difference in the race. Wolff admitted: 'Logic would probably have said to leave Lewis outside. But we go by data. And they winAlways. Even if we were let down by them this time. '

Hamilton saw the award ceremony and the press conference with a petrified face.' I didn't even have to exert myself. If I had wanted to, I would have been twice as far in the lead. 'He saved reproaches:' We win and lose together. After what I had seen on one of the big screens, I assumed that Nico and Sebastian were in the pits and therefore had fresher tires than me. So I wasn't surprised when the call came for a pit stop. '

The team management apologized to the driver for the mistake. Little consolation for someone who won Monaco for the second time after 2008 and his World Championship - Wanted to extend my lead, instead suddenly losing ten points to Rosberg. 'I can't say how I feel. I don't even want to try. '


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