Lewis Hamilton fumes at Mercedes chiefs as double Monaco cock-up hands Max Verstappen championship top spot

LEWIS HAMILTON blasted his Mercedes team as they made a double-cock up in Monaco as Max Verstappen shot to the top of the championship.

The Brit, 36, was a virtual spectator in seventh place as the brilliant Verstappen crossed the line to take his first win – and podium – in Monte Carlo.


In an added insult to the world champion, he had to see his pal Serena Williams hand over the winner’s trophy to Verstappen, as Red Bull also replaced Mercedes at the top of the constructors’ championship.

Hamilton was livid with his team after they called him in early on lap 30 for a pitstop; a gamble that backfired, as he failed to leapfrog and finished behind Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez.

He fumed over the radio in a series of frantic messages, saying: “How am I still behind him [Gasly], man?

"'What has just happened guys, we have lost two places. I don’t understand. I saved the tyres so I could go longer and you stopped me early.'”

He then added: “The pitstop cost me three places. I don’t really have a reaction to it.

"We do our talking in the background and will come out of it stronger.

“We have under performed all weekend from the get-go and we must now put all our focus on to the next race.”

When asked how he could fare in Baku for the Azerbaijan GP, he said: “I would be guessing but it is another one we could easily struggle at.”

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Mercedes’ strategic boffins were hailed for their last-second call in the Spanish GP to bring in Hamilton for tyres that allowed him to hunt down Verstappen and win.

But this time their pitstop call was ultimately the wrong decision and boss Toto Wolff wants to find out why.

He said: “The undercut looked like the only way of clearing Gasly.

"The outlap was good, the pitstop was OK, but it was not enough. You have to take it on the chin.”

Hamilton did set a new Monaco track record to earn a championship bonus point  but he is now four points behind his rival.

But there was an even bigger problem for Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, who was forced out of the race when a wheel nut got stuck on his car when he made his pitstop.

Mercedes say the 'the wheel nut machined onto the axle and couldn’t be removed', bringing an end to the Finn’s race when he was in second-place.

But that did not trouble Verstappen, who held his nerve to cross the line comfortably ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen, who lives in Monaco, said: “It is so special to win here. It is a lot of laps and you have to keep your focus.

“You always want to win this GP and I remember when I was little, I wanted to win it. It is a long season but a great way to continue.”

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Meanwhile, Brit Lando Norris is up to third in the championship after a brilliant drive to finish in third place.

The Brit is having an outstanding season for McLaren and has just signed a new three-year deal with the team worth around £6million a season.

He said: “It's always a dream to be on the podium here in Monaco. It's extra special.

“I didn't think it was going to happen. A bit of luck, I want to say some good driving, and a good car all weekend."

And Ferrari will investigate the cause of the problem that denied Charles Leclerc from starting his home race having taken pole the previous day.

Leclerc, who crashed in qualifying after taking pole, was told his car was OK by the team only for him to discover a driveshaft problem.

He said: “We will have an investigation after the race but it was very very difficult to take.

"I am getting used to this race. I have never finished a race here!”

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