Other teams have expressed surprise at McLaren’s tactics, as Monaco is famous for throwing up incidents. For that reason most teams planned two Q3 runs of two laps each in case a run or a first lap was compromised.
The Englishman had been in the hunt for pole position, having set the fastest time in both the Q1 and Q2 sessions ahead of eventual pole sitter Sebastian Vettel.
But McLaren took the gamble on only sending him out only once on what was to be a three lap run. The first lap he came across Felipe Massa and the second was ongoing when Sergio Perez crashed.
With two and half minutes on the clock at the end, he went out to try to set a time but having sat at the end of the pit lane for a while his brakes and tyres had lost temperature and then like all drivers he found that the track had lost grip. He made a mistake at the braking point for the chicane, where Perez had crashed, and missed the chicane out.
A stewards’ statement this evening reads, “Deletion of the lap time 1:15.280 set at 15.37:44 in Q3, for “cutting a chicane.”
Hamilton looked very down when he came to speak to us in the TV pen after qualifying. His voice was quiet as he said, “The engineers advised we should do one stint at the end of Q3.
“I didn’t contest it, I think you always have to have a balanced view with the engineers, but I didn’t take into account – and I know the engineers didn’t – that in Monaco you can’t take risks and leave it right to the end, you have to get out and get a banker [lap] in, like everyone else did. With racing experience, you would assume most people would have that, but other things were going on and we didn’t have that.
“After the restart in Q3, I had no temperature in my tyres or my brakes, so I didn’t manage to pull a great lap together, “he added. “With hindsight, we probably should have put a banker in.
“I felt I’d been driving well all weekend and I had the pace to be on pole – I’m certain of that, in fact.”