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.”