Lauda says Mercedes F1 team over-reacted with Hamilton in Monaco

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda railed against his own Formula 1 team for making "a huge mistake" that robbed Lewis Hamilton of victory in the Monaco Grand Prix

Lauda says Mercedes F1 team over-reacted with Hamilton in Monaco

Hamilton was cruising to the chequered flag after leading for the first 64 laps of the race until an accident involving Toro Rosso teenager Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean in his Lotus turned the blue-riband event on its head.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff conceded his strategists blundered by calling in Hamilton for a pit stop to take on a set of fresh super-soft tyres - a decision Lauda branded an over-reaction to feedback Hamilton gave on the radio.

How did Mercedes get it so wrong?

It resulted in the reigning champion emerging behind team-mate Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari, with no way past and having to settle for third.

"It was heartbreaking for Lewis, for me and everybody in the team," Lauda told AUTOSPORT.

"Lewis did say he was not happy with the tyres, but then we over-reacted by bringing him in, which was a mistake.

"It was completely unnecessary, a huge mistake because this is Monaco where you cannot pass.

"I apologised to him and his team because we ended up destroying his race."

Hamilton, who last week agreed a new three-year deal with Mercedes, was disconsolate and at a loss post-race to understand what had unfolded.

On the slow-down lap Hamilton even parked his car at Portier, the corner closest to his apartment home, and paused for several moments before opting to continue back to parc ferme and a solemn podium celebration.

It revived memories of his hero Ayrton Senna who crashed at Portier in the 1988 race around the streets of the Principality after dominating from pole, with the Brazilian so incensed he left his stricken car and returned to his apartment.

Wolff has no doubt that after taking time to reflect, Hamilton will bounce back at the next race in Canada early next month.

"He has such mental strength and he is on a roll," said Wolff of Hamilton, who still holds a 10-point lead over Rosberg in the drivers' championship.

"It must be very sore to lose that run because it was his to win, but I have no doubt he will recover as quickly as he has always done."

Wolff, though, has dismissed any possibility of Mercedes atoning for their error by 'fixing' a future result for Hamilton.

Suggested to Wolff he might speak to Rosberg, he added: "You would want me do this and then start to play PlayStation. No, we're not doing this."

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