Hamilton aims to bounce back from Monaco

The defending world champion dominated much of the weekend and had left the rest of the field trailing in his wake, before certain victory evaporated.

Hamilton aims to bounce back from Monaco

It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.

This much-quoted line cobbled together by Spinal Tap duo David St Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel could easily have been applied to the decision to pit Lewis Hamilton from the lead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The defending world champion had dominated much of the weekend and had left the rest of the field, including Mercedes team-mate and nearest title challenger Nico Rosberg, trailing in his wake.

But a big shunt for the attacking, if not slightly petulant, Max Verstappen at Saint Devote brought out a late safety car – with a number of cars taking the chance to move on to fresher tyres to finish the race.

Hamilton, having built a 20-second lead, was one of them but – fatally for the Briton – neither second-placed Rosberg or the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel followed suit and he pulled out behind the German pair as the safety car remained at the head of the field.

That left Hamilton having to admit defeat as a certain victory evaporated into a place on the final podium step.

But the 30-year-old needs praising for keeping his emotions in check.

Often one for a post-race rant and even known to throwing his toys out of his cockpit, Hamilton was humble, albeit with a fair look of rejection on his face.

Now it is about responding, nipping Rosberg’s back-to-back race wins in the bud before the German becomes a true thorn in the side of a man chasing a third drivers’ championship to emulate his hero Ayrton Senna.

And Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should prove the best place for Hamilton to do so – with only Michael Schumacher enjoying more victories on Ile Notre-Dame.

Last year’s race should have ended in yet another Mercedes one-two but near-simultaneous issues to both cars saw Hamilton retire and Rosberg powerless to prevent Daniel Ricciardo passing him in the closing stages as the Red Bull man took his maiden grand prix victory.

As it has proved in the past, that race was one of the most entertaining of the season and the sport, currently undergoing a major overhaul in time for 2017 in a quest to win back dwindling audiences, could do with another North American shot in the arm.

But Hamilton would happily lead from the front, take away any issues like those that marred him last time out in Monaco or 12 months ago in Montreal and re-establish his deserved dominance on the 2015 championship.

***

Bernie Ecclestone has called for the F1 Strategy Group to be disbanded and wants a more streamlined way of making changes to the spectacle of the sport he so powerfully oversees.

With Ecclestone’s Formula One Management, FIA – the sport’s governing body, and the Strategy Group all having their own interests, it does appear to be a tangled way of trying to implement the changes many feel are needed.

The differing messages on the return of refuelling, wider front wings and a change in tyres suggests there is still not a smooth path ahead to apply the fixes that F1 apparently requires.

The individual teams in particular will be looking after their own interests and the last thing the sport needs at this stage is to start airing any dirty laundry in public – Ecclestone wants to give them the rules and regulations and if they are not keen, they walk away. At least this means there is no grey area.

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