Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery admits even he was surprised to see Mercedes attempt to pit Lewis Hamilton late on during the Monaco Grand Prix.
With the safety car deployed due to a crash for Max Verstappen, Hamilton opted to switch his soft tyres for a set of supersofts for the final laps of the race, with Mercedes saying it was concerned about an attack from Sebastian Vettel if he also switched to supersoft tyres.
As it transpired, both Nico Rosberg and Vettel stayed out, with the soft tyre taking a few laps to warm up again before being able to hold off Hamilton’s challenge and leave him third overall.
Despite dropping tyre temperatures, Hembery says he didn’t see the benefit of Hamilton pitting from the lead.
“I was as surprised as everyone else to see the final pit stop that decided the outcome of the race,” Hembery said.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 24, 2015
“But that shouldn’t take anything away from the great job that Lewis Hamilton did throughout the entire weekend.
“It just goes to show that it’s never over until the chequered flag falls in Formula One: a fact that Nico Rosberg clearly appreciated!
“The long safety car period at the end of the race obviously made maintaining tyre temperatures important at the re-start.
“In the end, we saw a spectacular finish, with the one-stop strategy that we predicted for the race used by the vast majority of competitors.”
Paddock reaction from the Monaco Grand Prix where Nico Rosberg held off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to lift the title for a third time.
LEWIS HAMILTON: I can’t express the way I feel at the moment. I saw the team out in the pit-lane on one of the screens and thought Nico was pitting. I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same. This is a race that’s been close to my heart for years and it’s special to me, so I really wanted to win. The team have been brilliant all year, so I don’t blame them. We’ll analyse and work out what went wrong, but we’ll do that collectively and try to improve for the future. I always say to my team and my fans, we win and we lose together. You live to fight another day.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 21, 2015
NICO ROSBERG: That was my luckiest experience in racing so far. What a crazy race. I was surprised when I saw no one else behind the safety car than me. I didn’t know what was happening in that moment. Until the safety car Lewis has done a perfect job, he was better than me over the weekend, so he definitely deserved the win. I know how horrible he must feel now. For sure I also feel happy to win again here in Monaco. It’s always so special, and one part of me will celebrate that victory today. A win is a win.
KIMI RAIKKONEN: I was following my normal line when Ricciardo hit my rear tire and pushed me wide, regaining the position. It’s not very clear what you are allowed to do, it’s really odd but there’s nothing we can do.
DANIEL RICCIARDO: I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.
Hey guys didnt get around to this much on the weekend. Monaco is so busy but so much fun also. The race was pretty awesome at the end had a
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) May 25, 2015
chance to make something happen. Was eyeing that podium but seb & lewis just had enough pace. Good fun nonetheless. Hope everyone enjoyed!
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) May 25, 2015
SEBASTIAN VETTEL: We took everything we could and it is nice to end up in second place. I tried to be aggressive on the start, but I couldn’t get the second position straight away. We had a good pace and we put the Mercedes under pressure, closing the gap on the pit stop and not letting them get away at any point, but obviously it was not enough.
NICO HULKENBERG: My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando [Alonso] more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up. I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. My race was already compromised then.
SERGIO PEREZ: As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun.
— Sahara Force India (@ForceIndiaF1) May 24, 2015
FERNANDO ALONSO: At the start, I don’t think I deserved the penalty [for the incident with Hulkenberg]. At that particular moment, I don’t know what else I could have done.
Most significantly, it’s a pity we couldn’t finish the race today. The car started to upshift in a really strange way on the lap before I stopped; then, on the first corner, I had no braking. The car stayed in neutral and I couldn’t put it in gear.
We need to keep improving the car to ensure these sorts of things don’t happen again. Still, having these problems this year is good, because it means we won’t repeat them next year.
First points of the season for us with Jenson! Impressive the progress of the team so far! A lot to do, but very proud! #StepByStep
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) May 24, 2015
DANIIL KYVAT: We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster Supersoft tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.
MARCUS ERICSSON: Finishing 13th is disappointing, but starting from 17th we knew that it was going to be a difficult race. We need to analyse the data to get a better understanding. Then we can learn from it and do better next time. In general the balance of the car felt good, and I think at some points during the race the pace was quite strong.
FELIPE NASR: It was a great race, and I am happy to have scored points again. It is an amazing feeling being rewarded after such a difficult weekend. It was an exhausting race, as I did my best to extract the most out of the car. The team did a very good job by choosing the correct strategy and calling me in for the pit stops at the right times. The points are for everyone in the team.
MAX VERSTAPPEN: I was feeling very good in the car! Unfortunately, we had a slow first pit-stop, so we lost some positions and had to fight my way forward. I got very close to Grosjean while fighting for the final point’s position and I ended up in the barriers. It was quite a big crash, but I’m feeling fine.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 24, 2015
FELIPE MASSA: It was a very frustrating day and a race to forget for us. My race was effectively over in Turn 1, with another car pushing me over and I was left with a lot of damage to my tyre and front wing. The car has not had its usual performance all weekend but we know that we are heading to tracks in Canada and Austria that suit our car and we should be back fighting towards the front.
VALTTERI BOTTAS: This has been a tough weekend that ended in an even tougher race. We tried everything to try and get some points but with the pace we had it wasn’t possible today. There are not too many positives from the weekend but plenty we can learn from as to why we struggled. We know we still have a good car and go to races in the next few weeks where we should be able to demonstrate our true performance.
No points today. Very tough weekend for us. Main thing is we learn from this and come back stronger in next race! #77 pic.twitter.com/ArsBMbM0vc
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) May 24, 2015
Daniel Ricciardo says his contact with Kimi Raikkonen was normal in order to make an overtaking move in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Running sixth behind Raikkonen following a late pit stop for supersoft tyres, Ricciardo tapped the left rear of the Ferrari heading in to Mirabeau, sending Raikkonen wide and allowing the Red Bull through. Raikkonen complained over the radio that the move was “not very nice” but the stewards cleared Ricciardo after an investigation and the Australian says it was good for the sport he wasn’t penalised.
“It was a good race today and a good result for the team,” Ricciardo said. “I had some fun in the last few laps trying to get close to [Lewis] Hamilton and [Sebastian] Vettel to fight for a podium position. I knew we were in a position to attack in the end which made it exciting I think. The team worked well, Dany [Kvyat] let me past to have a crack at the podium and I gave back the place on the last lap when I couldn’t get past Hamilton.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 24, 2015
“I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.”
With Kvyat eventually finishing fourth – one place ahead of Ricciardo – the Russian is delighted with his best ever F1 result.
“I am happy with today’s race, it was my best finish in Formula One and it was a great result for the team to finish fourth and fifth,” Kvyat said. “I had a good start and was able to control my race from then on.
“We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster Supersoft tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.”