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Hamilton had puncture on slow down lap

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh revealed to autosport.com that Lewis Hamilton was lucky to finish the Monaco Grand Prix, let alone win it, after the team discovered that the Briton had a puncture on the slow down lap

Hamilton, who became the first English winner of the Monaco Grand Prix since Graham Hill 39 years ago, collected a right-rear puncture early in the race when he hit the wall at Tabac.

But while Whitmarsh admitted there was superficial damage to the McLaren in the first incident, he suggested that Nico Rosberg's crash at the Swimming Pool complex could have ruined Hamilton's chances of victory.

"We had a look, there was a bit of floor damage, we checked and when a tyre comes in flailing. We checked it and structurally it was fine," Whitmarsh told autosport.com.

"But he had a puncture on the slow down lap as well. We were lucky in that regard. It was a right rear puncture....probably from debris from Nico's accident."

Hamilton could consider himself luckier considering the race was two laps shorter than scheduled.

Whitmarsh paid tribute to the McLaren team for their strategy calls, which he said were the key to Hamilton's victory.

McLaren switched the 23-year-old's fuel strategy when he pitted with his first puncture on lap six, allowing Hamilton to produce a long and fast middle-stint, which turned the race in his favour.

"The key was having the right strategy, making the right calls and keeping out of the Armco, but at the time to make decisions, we made the right decisions," he said. "It was good, and Lewis - apart from that minor mistake, and remember other people made much bigger mistakes - was key to it as well.

Whitmarsh added: "It was fantastic in very, very difficult conditions, we made the right calls at the right time, the strategy was good throughout the race and Lewis was blinding through most of it."

Whitmarsh also revealed that the stall that forced Heikki Kovalainen to start from the pitlane was not the Finn's fault.

"It was a software glitch that robbed him of control of the clutch before the start, so we had to reset that, so he was very, very unlucky and did a fantastic job," he said.

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