Lewis Hamilton had a wild F1 Azerbaijan GP, where he almost had a win to retake the lead but for dramas, as Toto Wolff adds on the misery.
Hamilton and Mercedes expected a difficult F1 Azerbaijan GP and it was like that for most part of the weekend, especially on the one lap pace. The red flag in qualifying helped them on the Brit’s side, as he ended up a surprise second, ahead of his main rival.
In the race too, Hamilton fended off the Red Bull pressure early on, but for a slower pit stop, which allowed not just Max Verstappen but also Sergio Perez to get buy. The Brit was in a chase and a late opportunity was presented to him with Dutchman’s crash.
Even though Perez was the leader, a standing re-start gave Hamilton an edge, but he binned it, after pressing a ‘magic button’ at the wrong time. That small error cost him, not only a potential victory, but most certainly a podium finish while Verstappen didn’t score.
Eventually, the drivers’ standings remains as it was in Monaco, with a four points advantage for Verstappen over Hamilton. While emotions ran high when the incidents happened, but post race, both seemed a bit relieved that neither didn’t score to keep the table same.
For Hamilton, he explained the ‘magic button’ problem for him, which was his error, as he ruled out the smoke from the brakes as a reason. “I’m not entirely sure but I hit some sort of switch that caused only the front brakes to work. The smoke wasn’t the problem, it was just, there’s a button we have to help keep the front brakes up.
“As Perez pulled over, I reacted and accidentally latched on the switch and just locked up and went straight on,” summed up Hamilton, who added that he did not think much about the tyre failures that his F1 rivals had. Post-race, Pirelli revealed that the Brit had a 6-7cm cut on his left-rear too – which we saw the photo of as well.
“I wasn’t really thinking too much about it to be honest,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t have enough information, so I didn’t know if it was tyre failure or debris. You just can’t let that sort of stuff get in your mind.”
Wolff, meanwhile, put it down to a finger issue as Hamilton pressed the button at the wrong time. The Austrian noted that without the problem, he would have certainly cleared Perez, as he had the Mexican there. “It can’t be called a mistake,” he said. “It was just that when Sergio came over, we have the same procedure.
“He touched the button and the brake balance changed, it went all the way forward and that’s why the car didn’t stop. The hot tyres and or smoking was not the problem. It was more of his finger problem. The magic, is, where you can change the brake balance. But I don’t know how much the brake balance was changed.
“I haven’t got the information yet. Because I wasn’t with engineers. Regarding the move, I think he had the position. I think the move was totally okay on the inside. It was just that the brakes were not there, or were not set to the right position and that is why he missed the breaking point. I think that was a perfect start and the perfect move the beginning,” summed up Wolff.
Here’s the video of Lewis Hamilton going off: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-azerbaijan-grand-prix-restart-drama-as-hamilton-goes-off-at-turn-1.1701827518233799215.html
Here’s Max Verstappen and Pirelli on tyre blowout
Here’s how F1 Azerbaijan GP panned out