Lewis Hamilton explains ‘I told you guys’ message to Mercedes at Monaco GP

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton coming out of the Monaco tunnel

Lewis Hamilton exits the tunnel in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton has refuted suggestions he wasn’t happy with Mercedes’ tyre call at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, saying his “I told you” message was simply that there’d be an incident on the opening lap.

Lewis Hamilton lined up seventh on the grid at the Monte Carlo street circuit, was seventh as the red flag came out for Sergio Perez’s horror crash, seventh at the restart and seventh at the end of the 78-lap Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton ‘wanted’ to start on the hard Pirellis

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

But while it was an extremely uneventful race from lap 3 at the restart to lap 78 at the finish, lap 1 was anything but.

Perez brought out the red flags when he was clipped by Kevin Magnussen, pitching him nose-first into the Armco barrier with such force the barrier was dented.

By the time Perez’s Red Bull came to a halt it had suffered severe damage to all four corners, but thankfully he was not injured.

Magnussen and his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg were also out of the race while further up the field Esteban Ocon lunged on Pierre Gasly and effectively ended his race.

Hamilton issued an “I told you guys” to his Mercedes race engineer Peter Bonnington as he made his way back to the pit lane under a red flag.

That meant a free tyre change for every one of the remaining drivers with Hamilton swapping his hard Pirellis for a set of mediums in his mandatory tyre change.

That led to speculation that the Briton wasn’t happy about starting on the hard tyres given he potentially had 75 laps to cover on the mediums.

Hamilton quashed that in his post-race media briefing, revealing he “wanted” to start on the hard tyres.

“Well, I think it was going to be long either way whichever tyre you were on, but I wanted to start on the hard,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“I felt that something was going to happen at the beginning of the race and normally that would create an opportunity to switch over to the hards and go away to the end.

“But I think at the end of the day everyone drove so slow that every tyre made it to the end so it didn’t make any difference.”

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👉 Monaco Grand Prix conclusions: Charles Leclerc breakthrough, Kevin Magnussen ban and more

His team boss Toto Wolff also weighed in on that decision to start on the hard tyres as the crash, which gave everyone a free pit stop, negated arguably the biggest – perhaps the only – strategy play in Monaco.

“The moment the crash happened it was clear that we were really on the back foot,” Wolff rued. “Fundamentally I don’t think there is a lot you can change in Monaco. You pretty much end where you start.”

Hamilton did just that, P7 to P7, while George Russell started fifth and finished fifth.

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