Hamilton: I didn’t do anything it just fixed itself
The European Grand Prix was expected to be an incident packed race, but in the end turned out to be more of a slog than anything else and hardly riveting entertainment, apart from the choice exchanges between Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes pit wall.
Starting from tenth on the grid the reigning F1 world champion admitted after qualifying that his would be a race of damage limitation. All appeared to be going to plan until midway in the race when technical gremlins surfaced affecting the ERS on his car.
With numerous settings to choose from on steering wheel – which is in fact a high tech computer – Hamilton was clearly stumped and at a loss as he tried to figure out what to do to resolve the issue.
Frustrated and irate the Briton let his feelings be known over the radio and after the race he was still unhappy. Although he finished fifth, he was probably good for a podium on the day.
Speaking to media after the race, Hamilton explained, “I had no idea, there were like 16 different engine positions and, in those engine positions, like 20 positions. I had no idea what problem I had, just low power. I didn’t do anything, it just fixed itself.”
“It was a shame I couldn’t race, I wanted to race. If I had been able to resolve the power situation, I might have been able to be a part of the show and maybe catch the guys ahead. It wasn’t to be and that is the way it is,” added the reigning world champion
There has been a clamp down on the type of messages that can be sent over the radio from the pit wall to a driver, which is not proving popular or easy to police. Many pundits have suggested that there should be a full radio ban or unlimited communication.
When asked about the radio restrictions, Hamilton replied, “I don’t see the benefit. The FIA have made Formula 1 so technical. There were probably 100 different switch positions it could have been, at least 100, 200. There was no way for me to know, no matter how much I study that.”
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff acknowledged, “We had a problem on both cars with configurations of some switches. Lewis’ problem came a bit earlier. Nico’s a couple of laps later, and there was a way of changing the switches on the dashboard which of course, by regulations, we are not allowed to communicate to the drivers.”
“This caused a bit of confusion and it took a while for Lewis’ car to re-set. Nico was in a little bit of a more fortunate situation in that he had done a switch change before.”
“Lewis was trying to figure out what it was and it took 12 laps and then the power came back, but obviously it was too late. The reason for the regulations is we want more unpredictability and we don’t want the drivers being driven from the pit wall.”
“We have a driver capable of being at the very front but he can’t figure the technology out himself so there are now two possibilities – you teach the technology, difficult, or you look at the regulations,” explained Wolff.