Austrian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has been licking his wounds since retiring from the race at the Red Bull Ring, having led the race in its early stages.
Hamilton made a great start from P2 to snatch the lead from Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1. Opening up a lead of 2.5 over the opening 10 laps, Bottas’ retirement from P2 resulting in the Virtual Safety Car conditions being deployed. While Red Bull & Ferrari opted to come in and change tyres, Hamilton didn’t due to a strategic error made by his team. When he pitted 10 laps later, he resumed down in P4 and with little chance of regaining the lead due to tyre blistering.
Hamilton remained down in P4 for the remainder of the race, briefly dropping to P5 after a late race contingency pitstop for a fresh set of SuperSofts. He had got back past Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo when the Mercedes suffered a drop in fuel pressure and Hamilton was forced out of the race.
“The car has been great all weekend,” he said. “We were the quickest, but to have two different faults on each car, which is very unusual, we really can’t throw away points
“I’ve just lost a Grand Prix, lost 25 points and fell back again behind Sebastian. It was a tough day.
“We could all have done a better job this weekend. It is really rare that we have these DNF and it is really incredibly unusual for us to have two in one weekend as well
“But, we have to take positives of this weekend, which is that ultimately we were quickest and should have won. We will work on it and we will try to come back stronger next weekend.”
Hamilton now lies P2 in the Driver’s Championship, just a solitary point behind Sebastian Vettel. With both cars retiring, Merc’s Andrew Shovlin said that there are ‘no excuses’ for the team’s poor performance in every area bar outright pace: “We weren’t reliable enough, we didn’t make the right strategy call, our starts weren’t good enough and we didn’t manage the tyres as well as we could have done.”
“We have a lot to improve by Silverstone and we need to put all our focus into remedying our weaknesses today. This is one of the hardest days at the race track that we have faced as a team but it’s not the only difficult day that we have ever had. We know how to fix problems and we’ve always returned stronger than before.”
“We have a few days to regroup and resolve these issues before Silverstone, where we will be looking to perform at the level we know we are capable of. “