Lewis Hamilton might have inadvertently cost Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas second place at the Monaco Grand Prix, by slightly compromising the team's double-stack pit-stop during the race. Hamilton and Bottas ran first and second when a safety car prompted a round of pit-stops, but the Finn ended the race third.
Following Hamilton into the pits, Bottas had Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel on his tail and was bumped into the wall by the Dutchman as Red Bull made a rapid stop, ultimately causing a puncture on Bottas' car and forcing him to pit again.
The team have revealed that Bottas' stop was delayed marginally by Hamilton, perhaps enough to ensure he could not get back out ahead of Verstappen, who was given a penalty for the unsafe release and dropped to fourth place after following Hamilton home on-track.
"If you can stop under a safety car in Monaco, it really is the best of all worlds," strategy director James Vowles said in the team's debrief video.
"From lap 11 we knew we could take the tyres to the end of the race - we believed the medium, but the hard would've easily made it as well and our competitors Vettel and Verstappen knew this too.
"That's why they came in. When you come in for a double-stack safety car [stop], what's really important is making a gap between your cars, so that the first car can be serviced in the pitlane and the second one can slot straight in. And Valtteri did that perfectly on track.
"Lewis had his pitstop, drove out, and you would've seen Valtteri came straight back in again. And now it's a straight race between Vettel, Verstappen and Valtteri for a pitstop.
"Unfortunately as Lewis left, he clipped one of the guns and it took just a few seconds for them to reset properly and the cost to us was a couple of tenths. That's it, but that's all you need.
"We had a couple of tenths loss on Valtteri's pit stop, Red Bull had a very, very good pit stop, one of the best of the year for them, and those extremes meant that as the cars went out and were in the pit lane, Verstappen came alongside, hit the left-hand side of Valtteri's car, pushing the right-hand side into the wall and damaging that front-right wheel.
"After a few corners, when Valtteri was back out on track, it became evident that we had a problem and we were starting to lose pressure.
"We had to react then and there to bring Valtteri straight back in. If we waited any longer, Valtteri would've been last. We brought Valtteri back in the pit lane, fitted the hard tyre, which was the best of the tyres [but] not known at the time, and then he re-joined back in P4."
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