Formula One champions Mercedes were to be in full gremlin-hunting mode when they regroup at their factory yesterday after committing one of the sport’s biggest strategic blunders at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Although they won Sunday’s showcase race for the third year in a row with Germany’s Nico Rosberg, the headlines were all about how the dominant team blew a surefire victory for Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton had the race under control until the safety car was deployed about 14 laps from the end and the Briton was called in for a needless pitstop while rivals stayed out.
The world champion finished third, his overall lead over Rosberg halved to 10 points.
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said an extensive debrief had been carried out already involving about 100 personnel from the factory, engine side and trackside operations on Sunday evening.
“We discussed it in an overview and we get back together on Tuesday morning to analyze it and by then we will know where we had a gremlin in the system,” the Austrian told reporters.
Hamilton, who was excused the post-race debrief and usual team media duties in Monaco, is unlikely to attend after struggling to comprehend what had happened.
Others were equally mystified, with former racer David Coulthard among those saying the driver was badly let down.
Wolff said the decision to declare a “virtual safety car,” a new development since last season, followed by a real safety car and Hamilton complaining about the state of his tires had caught the team out.
They thought he had enough time to pit and rejoin the race in the lead, but the figures were wrong, seemingly misled by unreliable GPS readings around the winding street circuit.
“The system, showing us a clear possibility of a free stop, was wrong by a couple of seconds,” Wolff said. “In hindsight, if you look at it from a common sense standpoint, there is a very different logic.”
Wolff would not say who made the call to pit and added Mercedes would not play the blame game anyway.
“I rate that guy and his group just as highly as I did before the race. He was dragged in by a decision, fooled by the numbers,” the boss said. “There is no doubt what happened. We had a problem in our data tools and those data tools have won us many great races.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there