JUNE 4, 2015
Hamilton trust damaged by Mercedes gaffe
Two respected pundits think the relationship between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was damaged by the Monaco strategy gaffe.
After an extra pitstop cost Hamilton a sure victory in the Principality, team boss Toto Wolff apologised but said both sides would be able to move on.
"Trust is a key value within our team," he said. "One race doesn't tip that over."
Two pundits, however, are not so sure.
"The next time Mercedes come over the radio and tell Lewis Hamilton to come into the pits, expect him to be a little more than wary in his response," former long-time McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard, now a commentator for British television, told the Telegraph newspaper.
"It will be extremely tricky to manage," he predicted. "An instruction from the team does not necessarily have to be obeyed, but if as a driver you start doubting every call then the fundamentals of how formula one works start to break down."
And Marc Surer, a former Swiss F1 driver now involved with the German broadcaster Sky, thinks there are already signs of distrust between Hamilton and Mercedes.
Indeed, he thinks the very fact Hamilton initially questioned the wisdom of keeping his used tyres on for the closing laps in Monaco was precisely what led to the ill-fated pitstop.
Hamilton, therefore, "shares responsibility" for the gaffe, Surer told Sky.
And he explained: "As we have heard in several radio messages, Lewis has frequently doubted instructions given by the team.
"So I think that the problems now will be even a bit bigger than they were before."
Surer said Monaco proved that Mercedes is missing the input of a respected and trusted figure like Ross Brawn.
"Yes. In such situations, Ross Brawn was always good at relying more on intuition than computers.
"And Hamilton never once doubted the decisions of the team" when Brawn was in charge of strategy, Surer added. "Now, the level of mistrust has grown."