Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton ‘feels a chunk of the blame’ as Mercedes give detailed mistake explanation

Mercedes have released a detailed explanation of Lewis Hamilton’s huge mistake at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which saw him slip from second place down to 16th with just two laps to spare. The Brit got off to a great start following a restart to the race, getting the inside track on leader Sergio Perez, but he then drove off the circuit.

Hamilton came home in 15th place meaning the Silver Arrows secured no points for the first time this season as Valtteri Bottas crossed the chequered line 12th.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton came under fire for veering off the track in a rare mistake.

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott has moved to explain exactly what went wrong for the 36-year-old, who remains four points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.

“At the start, at the beginning of the race we are not actually allowed to talk to the drivers,” Elliott explained.

“So, we can’t talk them through the settings they need to change. So, as a result of that we try and simplify things as much as we possibly can. We try to produce tools the drivers can use, that reduces the workload they have to go through because there is a huge amount for them to do.

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“One of the buttons we’ve got, it’s called ‘brake magic’, to be honest, I don’t know why we call it ‘brake magic’, is a button that the drivers can press and that allows them to get heat into the brakes.

“One of the big things it does is it moves the brake balance, so the proportion of the front brake energy to the rear brake energy all the way as far forward as we can get it and that allows us to put heat into the front brakes and therefore heat into the rims and into the tyres.

“So, Lewis had done all the right things, he got the car to the grid, he switched off the various buttons and settings he needed to switch off, switched on the ones he needed to switch on, it was all set to start the race properly.

“He made a fantastic start, he got himself up alongside Perez and as he and Perez were sort of shuffling position Lewis swerved and in the process of swerving he just clipped the magic button and unfortunately he didn’t feel he had done it.

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“So, he had completely no awareness he was going to have a problem.

The point he then braked, which was the normal point for him to brake, he was in the position where he got all of the brake balance shifted forward, which put all of the load through the front tyres and as a consequence they locked and from that point there was nothing that he could do than go wide.”

Hamilton admitted his fault in the aftermath and also during private Mercedes talks.

“I know speaking to Lewis yesterday that Lewis sort of feels a chunk of blame for that, but the reality is Lewis makes so few mistakes and that’s what really sets him apart from some of the other drivers,” Elliott added.

“It’s our duty to try and give him a car where it’s more difficult for him to make mistakes.

“We need to take our share of that, look at how we can improve that and that’s something we will put in place for the next race.”


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