Wolff sorry for wrong strategy call on Hamilton

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for making him lose a nearly certain victory at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Hamilton looked set for an easy win, but a late pitstop decided otherwise.

Having led the race from lap 1 to 70, a safety car situation triggered Mercedes to pit Hamilton, thinking his advantage was big enough to rejoin the track ahead of the field. It didn't prove right however, with the Brit returning to the track in third place, behind Rosberg and Vettel.

It proved to be an incredibly costly mistake for Hamilton, who saw victory slip through his hands. Mercedes similarly threw away a certain 1-2 podium finish.

Team principal Toto Wolff proved happy for Nico Rosberg for his victory, but apologised to Lewis.

"We must apologise to Lewis", Wolff said. "We win and we lose together and what I am proud of in this team is that we take collective responsibility. But this is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here.

"What happened? In simple terms, we got our numbers wrong. We thought we had the gap for Lewis to take fresh tyres and come back out in the lead behind the Safety Car, ahead of Nico and covering off any risk of another competitor taking fresh tyres. But the calculation was incorrect and he came out in third place. It was our decision to call him in and our mistake, pure and simple; in these situations, a driver trusts his team. Lewis had driven flawlessly until then and really delivered a perfect weekend, with a stunning pole lap and a masterful race. There's nothing more to say other than to highlight the grace with which he handled the situation; he was a leader and a true sportsman this afternoon."

Hamilton indeed proved a team player, at least in public, stating he doesn't blame the team for the costly mistake.

"I can't express the way I feel at the moment. I saw the team out in the pit-lane on one of the screens and thought Nico was pitting. I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same. This is a race that's been close to my heart for years and it's special to me, so I really wanted to win. The team have been brilliant all year, so I don't blame them. We'll analyse and work out what went wrong, but we'll do that collectively and try to improve for the future. I always say to my team and my fans, we win and we lose together. You live to fight another day."