Stewart joins Hamilton critics
British motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart added his voice on Monday to the rising chorus of seasoned observers who believe Lewis Hamilton was wrong to criticise the stewards following Sunday's tempestuous Monaco Grand Prix.
Stewart, a triple world champion and widely regarded as one of Formula One's greatest ambassadors, offered the opinion that Hamilton was in the wrong in both of the collisions that created his problems.
He added that Hamilton should learn from the lessons of Monte Carlo and instead of delivering controversial outbursts during television interviews would be well advised to listen carefully to what the stewards say.
"When you are a driver, you don't see it from the other side. They get all the angles. They get the videos," said Stewart. "And they can sit up there and get all the replays. So they analyse it even better than the man in the cockpit. If there is a degree of unfairness, and it is really obvious, then you appeal, and you make suggestions to the governing body of what might be done better to ensure that there is no penalty or loss to the person involved, but you also have still got to keep in mind that you are very exposed. Your own car is likely to be damaged in incidents in a big way and I actually said I thought there would be a question mark when they happened."
Hamilton collided with Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams during Sunday's race won by reigning world champion and runaway leader this year German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
The 26-year-old Briton, champion in 2008, was given a drive-through penalty for each offence, the second taken retrospectively as a 20-second time penalty after the race ended. Maldonado was knocked out of the race by the incidents, while Massa crashed into the barriers insiode the Tunnel after the collision with Hamilton at the Hairpin.
After seeing the stewards following the race, Hamilton told BBC television that he had been called before them five times in six races. He later re-visited the stewards to apologise and explain his remarks were delivered in the heat of the moment during a post-race rant when his emotions ran away with him.
"I think both incidents were questionable - and he was lucky to get off without any front wing damage in the final incident," said Stewart. "You make your own luck and you create your own situations, but the key is that you should not put yourself in a position where the other driver can retaliate in a fashion that will be negative to you, or will be seen by the stewards as negative."
Vettel's victory, his first on the streets of the Mediterranean principality, lifted him into a 58-point lead in the drivers' championship ahead of Hamilton, the only driver this season to beat Vettel.
His McLaren team selected a poor strategy during Saturday's qualifying - not sending the driver out to record an early 'banker' lap for a good grid position before Mexican rookie Sergio Perez crashed.
Thus Hamilton started from ninth on the grid and not pole, or at least the front row, as his form and speed in practice had indicated. This left him heavily disadvantaged at the start of the 78-lap race.
Furthermore, in the race, McLaren's pit crew was not ready for him when he came in for a pit stop - a basic error that added to his rising sense of injustice as his forecast role as race favourite was eroded by events beyond his control.