Lewis Hamilton unhappy after Mercedes blunder costs him in Austria

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2018

The auto has been great all weekend - we were the quickest - but to have two different faults on each vehicle, which is very unusual, we really can't throw away points. It's just that the situation is very complex, we are fighting [between] six cars and it's just a tough situation. "I am not going to be able to pass these guys". Leading the race comfortably from pole, Hamilton had already made his one pit stop under normal racing conditions and was running second on the road to Vettel, who had yet to stop and was running an extended opening stint.

Wolff, who is from Austria, said that the team were caught out by how quickly Bottas' vehicle was recovered, and that by the time the VSC period was over, it was too late to bring in Hamilton.

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was second in both, at 0.127 and 0.176 slower respectively.

In contrast to Mercedes, Verstappen benefitted from Red Bull's incisive call to double-stack both he and Ricciardo in the pits under the VSC in Austria - brought out to clear away the stricken Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas - just as they had done in China.

For Hamilton it was his first retirement for 34 races, says Sky Sports, and he is now one point behind Vettel in the title race.

"Position on the grid is proving to be more and more crucial because it is harder for us to overtake", Hamilton, 33, said.

"We had an hydraulic leak linked to the steering on Valtteri's vehicle, and we had a drop in fuel pressure on Lewis's auto which was linked to the fuel system".

Mercedes had half a lap to react and while others came in for fresh tyres, Hamilton stayed out. Past year I had severe blistering on the rear left tyre which could potentially be an issue again as it is going to be warmer again this Sunday. We were comfortably ahead but we will work on it and will try to re-evaluate to come back stronger for the next race.

Vandoorne was one of a number of drivers whose final attempt was compromised by yellow flags in the middle sector, with Leclerc's Sauber causing one by a visit through the Turn 4 gravel trap, although his first sector time was down on his personal best having also complained about traffic.

Moments later, Hamilton was back on the radio again. "No I didn't, you did". 'It needed guts to come out and speak in front of millions of people and say it was my mistake'.

Away from the track, Hamilton has insisted his new-found pop career will not get in the way of his championship bid. "It's been a decent track for us in the past, so I don't see why it should be any different now", he told reporters after the French win. "With just the strategic mistake, we could still have got P4 or P5".

"We've got to find a bulletproof method to move forward for strategy". We wanted to recover the maximum points that we could, and at that stage we were all in pain about the mistake that we'd made.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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