It is not every day that Mercedes get it wrong but Nico Rosberg reckons they did just that at the Dutch GP, blaming Lewis Hamilton’s defeat in part on a “garbled” Pete Bonnington.
Although Max Verstappen went into the Zandvoort race with a pole position advantage, Mercedes had two cars up the front of the grid and could play the numbers game against the Red Bull driver.
Hamilton and Mercedes tried to set the play on Sunday, the Brit the first of the leading trio into the pits.
Second time around it was again Hamilton who was again the first to stop as Mercedes again tried to go for the undercut. The timing of that stop didn’t work out, Hamilton rejoining surrounded by traffic.
“Why would you pit me into these guys, man?” he asked the team on the radio.
Hamilton finished second behind Verstappen, losing the lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Speaking to Sky F1 after the race, he added: “I definitely think that wasn’t our best strategy.
” I just think we stopped too early in that second part, and it had just been a point where we [went] through traffic, I lost a good second from them, and I needed time to close that gap up before we did a stop.
“And then I came out behind traffic, so I couldn’t actually implement, and I don’t know how they didn’t see that.”
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Former Mercedes driver Rosberg has laid the blame on race engineer Bonnington.
“What I also found really bad today was the comments from Bono to Lewis,” he told Sky F1, “so garbled and not clear and should he push now or not or what is he doing?
“That as a driver frustrated me like hell because I am like ‘Come on, we are out there, we don’t know what is going on. Give us clear guidance – push now or take it a little easy’.
“That was below par from Bono today.”
The 2016 World Champion, though, reckons even if Hamilton had gone for a longer it would not have changed the outcome.
“No it wouldn’t,” he said. “It was Max’s race but it could have been a closer fight. The way they did it there was just no chance. It was a bit strange to see.
“Also, Lewis, he was really fast as well. It was not really true what he was saying, that Max was on a different planet.
“They have had a couple of moments. Not the usual high level of strategy that I have seen this year so something has gone on.
“I think there is going to be some big discussions. Lewis even gave a low blow saying ‘I don’t know what they were thinking’.”