LONDON (REUTERS) – Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton should not have blamed himself for an error that denied him a 90th career victory at last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes said on Wednesday (Sept 9).
The six-time world champion entered a closed pit lane at Monza after Kevin Magnussen’s Haas was stranded nearby, a mistake that changed the race.
Hamilton, who had led from pole, finished seventh after a penalty dropped him to last place and AlphaTauri’s French driver Pierre Gasly took a shock win instead.
The Briton told reporters he had not seen electronic warning boards but Mercedes said that was to be expected.
Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said Hamilton, who leads teammate Valtteri Bottas by 47 points after eight races, had not been best placed to spot something that should have been picked up by the team.
“The team takes responsibility for it. We’ll put systems in place to make sure we don’t do this again,” he said.
“He (Hamilton) will always want to improve and to put it right himself and that was probably why he took the blame for this but really we need to put it on our shoulders.”
Mercedes strategy director James Vowles said the closed pit-lane message came 11 seconds after the safety car was deployed. Hamilton, comfortably ahead, entered the pit lane 10 seconds later.
He said the key message was not noticed by the team, who had only seconds to react, until it was too late.
“We can hear from other team radio that it took them about 10 seconds to notice it as well,” said Vowles.
“And that 10 seconds was the crucial period where because Lewis was so far in the lead of the race he was just able to come in.”
Vowles said Mercedes would make software changes to ensure critical messages were seen faster.