Why the Mercedes Formula 1 Cars Failed at the Monaco Grand Prix

While the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team is used to dominating on the track, this week was a bit different. The ever-present Mercedes cars not only missed out on the podium, but one of the vehicles didn’t even finish the race. This is an unusual scenario for two cars that are generally running at 110% every race. What happened with the pair of W12 vehicles this weekend?

A bad day for the Mercedes Formula 1 team

A Mercedes Formula 1 car on the track
Mercedes Formula 1 cars at the Monaco Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton of Team Mercedes-AMG Petronas | Hasan Bratic/picture alliance via Getty Images

Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton drive for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. While the cars are known as the fastest on the track, this Monaco Grand Prix did not go quite as well. According to Formula 1, this was the first time since 2017 that there was not a win for Mercedes.

So what exactly happened? When Bottas made a pit stop, the crew was unable to remove the front-right tire. Apparently, it was stuck to the axel and could not be removed. By the time the crew figured out the issue, it was impossible to fix. The car was otherwise in good shape but had to be retired.

While Charles Leclerc came in first during qualifying in his Ferrari, it could not start for the race. After crashing his car, there was an issue with the driveshaft. There was also an issue with the gearbox. Due to this, his first-place start did not happen. In turn, Hamilton moved up a spot and started in sixth place.

Lewis Hamilton could not keep up in the W12 car

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It is rare that Hamilton ever starts beyond the first, second, or third positions. Toto Wolff said that the team lacked pace all weekend. The speedy cars were unusually slow, even with Hamilton behind the wheel. The pressure was on by having a slow start for qualifying and losing Bottas early into the race. To be fair, Bottas sat in third place before the rogue tire cost him the race.

“Yes, I’d rather have taken third and seventh than only seventh but you have to take it on the chin. Today we lost a couple of points, a few points. This is a long championship, it’s going to swing either way and at the end we’ll see in Abu Dhabi who’s going to have their nose ahead – and that’s it.”

Toto Wolff | Formula 1

When the team decided to bring Hamilton in early on lap 29 to get ahead of Pierre Gasly, that also did not work. Even though the AlphaTauri car is not the fastest, it managed to stay ahead of Hamilton in the Mercedes. Additionally, Hamilton ended up being Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin and Sergio Perez in the Red Bull Racing car.

Max Verstappen stayed at the top of the field for most of the race in his Red Bull Racing car. He managed to keep his lead and stay in the first place to win the Monaco Grand Prix.

Where do the teams stand for the championship?

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Right now, Mercedes is behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructor Championship rankings. Verstappen currently has 105 points to Hamilton’s 101. The Red Bull team has 149 points overall while Mercedes has 148 points.

Mercedes will fix Bottas’ car quickly before the next race in Abu Dhabi. Although Hamilton’s car was fine, it just wasn’t fast enough to keep up. The team will do behind-the-scenes work on the car, and the team will undoubtedly focus on strategy for the next race.

Even with the fastest car on the track, the Mercedes vehicles failed to deliver in Monaco.