Hamilton was left fuming after a mistake by teammate Nico Rosberg during qualifying meant that the German driver had inadvertently given himself pole position. The yellow flags shown to denote his off at Mirabeau meant that the drivers behind Rosberg could not improve their lap times.
Although the stewards deemed it to have been an innocent mistake, Hamilton was convinced that it was deliberate. For the rest of the weekend, relations in the Mercedes garage were cold, with the Briton not congratulating Rosberg on his second consecutive Monaco GP victory.
Surtees – the only driver to be world champion on two and four wheels – expressed his dismay over Hamilton’s behaviour in his column for Motor Sport Magazine.
“I have no doubt about Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability, but I didn’t like what I saw and heard from Monaco,” he explained. “I can understand the frustration that Lewis must have felt in not having that opportunity on the last lap of qualifying to get pole.
“But I think his reaction to his teammate and team was wrong.”
Like the stewards, Surtees believes that there was nothing sinister behind the mistake, and that Lewis should have cut Nico some slack. He also believes that the Briton’s comments about Rosberg’s upbringing – intended to rattle him – actually had the opposite effect.
“Considering the speed that Nico Rosberg had been able to exit Casino, and the way the road down to Mirabeau moves the car around, and the fact that having decided to abort the corner he went to the end of the slip road, I would have given him the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
“Lewis had said earlier that he had more motivation than Nico to win the world championship because of his upbringing in a flat in Stevenage, where incidentally I used to lodge when starting my career racing the Norton, as against Nico growing up in Monaco.
“If Nico wasn’t already inspired to win his first world championship then Lewis certainly would have provided some material for him to dig even deeper.”
Surtees is certainly not the only figure to lend his support to Rosberg, with Derek Warwick, the FIA steward who ruled in Monaco, telling Hamilton that he should “man up” and accept the decision.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic.