Coulthard: Monaco mistake could make Hamilton think twice in future races

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Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard believes that Mercedes’ mistake which cost Lewis Hamilton victory in last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix could make the British driver think twice before following the team’s orders in the future.

Hamilton had been poised to clinch his second victory around the streets of Monaco before Mercedes opted to pit him under a late safety car, believing that he would retain the lead of the race such was the size of his advantage.

However, the Briton emerged back out on track in third place behind Mercedes teammate and eventual winner Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a miscalculation by the team’s pit wall.

Writing in his column for The Telegraph, Coulthard – a veteran of 247 grands prix and now a TV pundit – said that Hamilton’s trust in Mercedes may have been hurt by the incident.

“The next time Mercedes come over the radio and tell Lewis Hamilton to come into the pits, expect him to be a little more than wary in his response – and quite rightly so,” Coulthard said.

“The decision which cost him the Monaco Grand Prix – one which even with plenty of reflection I cannot see any sense in – will dent his confidence in the team. How could it not?

“It will be extremely tricky to manage. An instruction from the team does not necessarily have to be obeyed, but if as a driver you start doubting every call then the fundamentals of how F1 works start to break down.”

Coulthard was full of praise for Hamilton’s attitude in the wake of the defeat, though, commending the Briton for being so mature on the podium and after the race.

“The Lewis of 2011 for example would have in all probability lashed out at the team,” Coulthard said. “It might have made great headlines, but here was a professional sportsman, who is paid a lot of money, being the absolute professional.

“Even after what could almost be described as a tragedy – as Nico Rosberg pretty much acknowledged, the wrong man won – Lewis showed how much he has matured.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III