Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 25 2015, Page 24

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 25, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C6 C 6 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, MONDAY, MAY 25, 2015 MONACO GRAND PRIX winnipegfreepress. com M ONACO — An ill- judged gamble by Mercedes cost Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton his fourth win of the season, gifting his teammate and rival Nico Rosberg a third straight win at the Monaco Grand Prix and putting him firmly back in the title race. Formula One’s showcase race passes by the famed Monte Carlo casino, where big fortunes have been won and lost on its famed tables over the decades. But Rosberg could never have imagined hitting the jackpot in such a way, as Hamilton was suddenly called back to the pits for a tire change shortly after a crash involving teenager Max Verstappen led to a safety car being deployed. It was an astonishing mistake from F1’ s ultra- dominant team, with Hamilton more than 15 seconds ahead at that point. It led to an apology from Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff, who seemed more baffled than convincing, as he explained the decision was based on a technological data feed rather than any strategy. “ I don’t think there has ever been a more bittersweet feeling than this one. We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time,” Wolff said. “ This is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here. What happened? In simple terms, we got our numbers wrong.” Hamilton did not look happy, walking slowly and despondently out of his car with his head down. “ I can’t really express the way I feel at the moment, so I won’t even attempt to,” Hamilton said. The two- time champion had good cause to feel angry. Rosberg, who won the Spanish GP two weeks ago, is now just 10 points behind after securing back- to- back wins for the first time in his career. Four- time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is less of a threat, but the Ferrari driver finished second to close the gap on Hamilton to 28 points heading into the Canadian GP in two weeks’ time. Hamilton looked set to take his 37th career win after leading from the start, until the 17- year- old Verstappen rammed his Toro Rosso into Romain Grosjean’s Lotus as he tried to overtake on the right. That meant a safety car had to come out at the start of the 64th lap, at which point Hamilton was called in to change to quicker and softer tires. After the change, he suddenly found himself behind both Rosberg and Vettel. Hamilton then had only a few laps to try and get past them — on the most difficult track to overtake on F1. Asked how he will respond, a dejected- looking Hamilton said: “ Come back to win the next one.” Rosberg, who coincidentally launched his title bid at exactly the same stage last year, was modest in victory. “ I know that I got lucky today, so I’ll just enjoy the moment now,” the German said. “ Lewis was a bit stronger today.” Russian driver Daniil Kvyat finished fourth for Red Bull’s best result this season, while former champion Jenson Button finally earned McLaren its first points of the campaign by coming eighth. But teammate Fernando Alonso retired for the second straight race. As well as securing his 10th career win, Rosberg became the first driver since Ayrton Senna to win Monaco three straight times. The others to do it were Frenchman Alain Prost and Briton Graham Hill. But, happy as he was, Rosberg reached out to Hamilton. “ For sure it is an awful feeling,” the German driver Rosberg said. Verstappen — who had never driven on Monaco’s sinewy street circuit before — tried to pass Grosjean but found no room and went spinning off. Verstappen was handed a two- point penalty and a five- place grid penalty for the next race — although the daring teen blamed Grosjean for braking too early. There was plenty of reason for Hamilton to cast blame, and the Briton angrily snapped over the radio: “ Please stop talking to me, please” as the race was drawing to a close. — The Associated Press To Nico, with love, Lewis Unnecessary pit stop gifts Rosberg Monaco Grand Prix LUCA BRUNO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS It was that kind of day for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who lost first place after a baffling decision by his team to call him into the pits. By Jerome Pugmire ‘ I don’t think there has ever been a more bittersweet feeling than this one. We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time’ — Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes motorsports MONACO — Teenage driver Max Verstappen is making a name for himself in his first Formula One season for Toro Rosso with aggressive driving and a love of overtaking. However, the 17- year- old’s performance at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix will be remembered for a late crash as he tried to squeeze past French driver Romain Grosjean. It led to a safety car coming out when Lewis Hamilton was well in the lead. Hamilton finished third after his team miscalculated by calling him to the pits for a tire change and he came back out behind Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, who won. Although it looked like a reckless overtaking attempt from Verstappen, he insists Grosjean made a mistake by braking at the wrong moment. “ I braked in the same spot like the lap before but he clearly ( broke) 10- 15 metres earlier. When it is that close, you have no room,” Verstappen said. “ He caught me by surprise. By then it is too late because you don’t expect someone to brake that early.” Grosjean, who has angered some drivers in the past with risky overtaking moves of his own, clearly blamed Verstappen and said “ that was stupid” over his race radio moments after the crash. He finished the race in 12th place, and out of the points. Verstappen, the son of Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen who competed in over 100 GPs, was unharmed as he climbed out of his car. Moments later, his mangled Toro Rosso was taken off the track by a crane with both of the front wheels dangling down and hanging by a thread. All eyes will be on Verstappen at the Canadian GP in two weeks’ time, where he will start with a fiveplace grid penalty after stewards reviewed the incident and decided he was to blame. They also docked him two points. — The Associated Press BORIS HORVAT / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had a substantial lead on teammate Nico Rosberg when he was called into the pit. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany sprays crew members with champagne after winning the Grand Prix of Monaco Sunday. GERO BRELOER / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Teenage driver takes heat for crash LUCA BRUNO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The end of Sunday’s race was all a blur to Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who practically won by default when teammate Lewis Hamilton was shockingly pulled off the track with only a few laps remaining. C_ 06_ May- 25- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C6 5/ 24/ 15 7: 03: 26 PM

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