LEWIS Hamilton took another swipe at McLaren yesterday after slow pit-stops cost him a place on the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber held off a string of closely-following cars to become the sixth different winner from the opening six races – the first time this has happened at the start of a Formula One season.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg pushed the Australian right to the finish line yet was kept in second place, just three tenths of a second in front of Ferrari’s leading driver Fernando Alonso.
Both Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, who came in fourth, had earlier overtaken Hamilton due to pit-stops that were around half a second faster than Hamilton’s.
The English driver’s complaint over the stops was the latest rumbling of dissatisfaction between Hamilton and his team, as McLaren attempt to tie him down to a new £100m five-year contract.
“I don’t know how long my pit-stop was but I lost quite a lot of time,” said Hamilton, having complained to his team through the radio during the race. “I just wasn’t able to really keep up with Alonso, and Sebastian [Vettel] got me through his pit-stop, and then it didn’t seem possible to overtake.”
Hamilton had suffered from pit-stop errors twice already this season, in Malaysia and Bahrain, while a McLaren error with his fuel level in Spain saw him penalised and dumped to the back of the starting grid.
Hamilton also complained over his sluggish start to yesterday’s race and, more surprisingly, claimed that he had been hit on the head by items dropped from the side of the track.
“The guys hold the pit boards over the track and two or three slips fell out and hit me in the front of the helmet. I was like ‘guys this is getting ridiculous’ as they kept dropping them and dropping them,” Hamilton said.
“My start was one of the worst starts I’ve had in a long time. I was fortunate not to get caught up in the crash. We do thousands of starts, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Hamilton started third on the grid behind Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber in pole. Webber described his victory, Red Bull’s third straight win at Monaco, as the “most special” yet. “Of the three victories, this is probably the weakest car we’ve had so it’s brilliant for the team,” Webber said.
The UK’s Paul Di Resta picked up points for the fourth time this season, climbing from 14th on the grid to finish seventh. Yet fellow Brit Jenson Button endured a torrid time, trapped behind Heikki Kovalainen for most of the race before spinning off the track with just a couple of laps to go.
MONACO GRAND PRIX
1. M Webber (Red Bull) 1h46m06s
2. N Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:46:07
3. F Alonso (Ferrari) 1:46:07
4. S Vettel (Red Bull) 1:46:08
5. L Hamilton (McLaren) 1:46:11
6. F Massa (Ferrari) 1:46:12
7. P Di Resta (Force India) 1:46:48
8. N Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:46:49
1. F Alonso (Ferrari) 76 points
2. S Vettel (Red Bull) 73 points
3. M Webber (Red Bull) 73 points
4. L Hamilton (McLaren) 63 points
5. N Rosberg (Mercedes) 59 points
6. K Raikkonen (Lotus) 51 points
7. J Button (McLaren) 45 points
8. R Grosjean (Lotus) 35 points