MONACO GRAND PRIX SAFETY CAR

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark knew what it was like not to win at Monaco, to take the pole at Monaco, to lead and then to run into se­ri­ous trou­ble. Lewis Hamil­ton has not felt that agony. His win in 2008 will al­ways be a pal­lia­tive for the trau­mas that would fol­low.

Un­til 2015. If you’d drawn up a list be­fore that year’s race un­der the head­ing of “rea­sons why Lewis Hamil­ton will again not win at Monaco” you would never in a mil­lion years have con­sid­ered “screw-up on the ra­dio; bad call for tyres” as an op­tion.

Yet that is what hap­pened. Quick­est in two of the three prac­tice ses­sions and on pole for the first time at Monaco – by the mar­gin of nearly half a sec­ond – Lewis fi­nally looked to be in with a chance.

Un­til the ad­vent of the Safety Car. Lap 65, with only 13 to go. On the big TV screen near the swim­ming pool, Lewis thought he saw the Mercedes crew in the pit­lane, ready for Nico (he as­sumed); in the tem­po­rary of­fice above the pits, the

Mercedes strat­egy team cal­cu­lated the time. Yes, came the an­swer: there was just enough room for Lewis to stop for fresh tyres with­out los­ing the lead.

Wrong on both counts. Lewis was a vic­tim of Too Much In­for­ma­tion. He uniquely stopped for tyres and thus lost not only the win to Nico but also sec­ond place to Seb Vet­tel. Had there been no TV screens, you mused – had there been no ra­dio – then Lewis would have won the Monaco GP.

The lat­est mak­ing of Lewis came even as the strains of Das Deutsch­landlied filled the Royal Box. The Mercedes team im­me­di­ately ad­mit­ted their er­ror; Lewis im­me­di­ately fo­cused on Canada.

His Mon­tréal vic­tory, two weeks later, on the back of what hap­pened in the Prin­ci­pal­ity, was per­haps his best of the year, and epit­o­mises the fa­mous quote by Al­dous Hux­ley: “Ex­pe­ri­ence is not what hap­pens to a man; it is what a man does with what hap­pens to him.”

MONACO MIS­TAKE

MON­TRÉAL TRI­UMPH

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