The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team had a race to forget in Baku and for the first time in 54 races, defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton failed to score points after making a mistake on the restart of the race with two laps to go following a long red flag period. The seven-time champion locked up his brakes and running wide and rejoining the race in 15th place and speaking following the race he said:
An unfortunate day, a humbling experience and I’m so sorry for the team. We did a good job to be in the position we were in today, to be out of the top ten on Friday and come back was down to the hard work of the men and women in this team. When Checo came towards me after the restart, I turned the wheel and flicked a switch which shifts the brake balance and that caused me to lock up.
It’s one of the toughest moments I’ve had for a while – one moment we had all the points and the next we had none but for sure, we’ll regroup and come back.
It was a disappointing race for Valtteri Bottas who started the race from tenth and came home in 12th place and speaking following the race he said:
Today in the race I was lacking pace, as I have been all weekend and it’s difficult to understand why. One big issue is the tyre warm-up, particularly the front tyres. On the hard tyres, it took almost10 laps to warm up and on the restart, we were on the back foot with cold tyres. I was trying everything I could but something just wasn’t right with the car for me this weekend. We need to work hard to figure out why and move on quickly from this.
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff commented saying:
In Monaco and here we didn’t have a car that was competitive, full stop. We have underlying issues – we are not getting the car in a happy window for the tyres. We know the deficit and we know we have gaps which we simply have to overcome but I have no doubt, this a team which is so strong and so angry, and we are going to turn that anger into positive form and come back.
Chief engineer, Andrew Shovlin commented saying:
An extremely disappointing end to the weekend but that’s just how luck pans out sometimes; Max’s misfortune put us in that position in the first place. The bigger issue that we have to deal with is that in the last two races we haven’t been good enough. Not fast enough, we’ve made mistakes, we struggle to switch the tyres on and we’ve been on the back-foot through free practice. We know the level it takes to win championships and we’re not at that level right now so we need to re-group and come back performing the way we know that we can. We have the team, the car and the drivers to win this but we need to be tough and honest with ourselves over the next few days. We’ve had days like this before and each time we’ve come back strong and we’ll look do that in France.