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Sport Mercedes owns up to 'dumb' error that cost Hamilton

07:26  18 november  2019
07:26  18 november  2019 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Monday, 18 November 2019 Mercedes owns up to ' dumb ' error that cost Hamilton | Sky Australia Health Lewis Hamilton wasn't likely to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, but he paid dearly for a staggering mistake from his team.

Lewis Hamilton 's Mercedes team have apologised to their star driver, who claimed he was robbed of an "easy" victory in Singapore following a strategy Mercedes ' chief strategist, James Vowles, moved to acknowledge that it was his faux pas which cost Hamilton the shot at a hat-trick of Singapore wins.

It was a wild Brazilian Grand Prix that saw Max Verstappen claim the eighth win of his career, but all the action was behind the Dutchman, with Pierre Gasly claiming an incredible second place and Lewis Hamilton penalised for costing Alex Albon his first podium.

  Mercedes owns up to 'dumb' error that cost Hamilton © Reuters Daniel Ricciaro's collision with Kevin Magnussen has been covered here, while Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc took each other out, in a move that will do nothing to ease tensions between the two drivers.

 Wide World of Sports looks back at one of the craziest races of the season.

 Ferrari war continues 

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Hamilton went off the circuit at Turn 4 during his first run and then failed to match the pace of the Ferraris in his second and final one. Wolff believes the mistake stopped Hamilton from fighting for pole. "Throughout qualifying we improved and I think we would have been in the fight for pole position

Mercedes data suggests that the engine mode error that hit Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the European Grand Prix was only costing them 0.2 Although Hamilton ’s pace fell away dramatically – and bounced back immediately as soon as the issue had been resolved – his bosses insist that the

Just when you think you've seen it all from Ferrari in 2019, a late race collision between Vettel and Leclerc eliminated both drivers.

The pair were fighting over fourth place on lap 66 when the incident happened on the run down to turn four. With Vettel on the right of the track and Leclerc on the left, Vettel appeared to move to the left, his left rear tyre making contact with Leclerc's right front.

That resulted in a broken suspension for Leclerc, and a puncture for Vettel which ripped off part of the rear wing and floor, leaving both drivers to watch the closing stages from the sidelines.

While each blamed the other, 1996 world champion Damon Hill was in doubt who was at fault.

"I honestly think that Seb tried to force his way through a bit. He had the run on Charles, but Charles held his ground, and then Seb moved over, but he hadn't got his car in the clear yet. I think he brought that on himself," Hill said on Sky Sports.

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Mercedes explain computer error that cost Lewis Hamilton Australian GP victory.

Lewis Hamilton said he was at fault for the error that cost him the lead in Sunday’s German Grand Prix and led him to finish ninth. Hamilton went off after Mercedes had put him on slick tyres just as the rain returned. He thought the tyre choice had been wrong but held his hands up to the error

"It's two guys who are not prepared to give an inch, that's what happened.

a truck that is driving down the road: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel took each other out of the Brazilian GP with just five laps remaining. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel took each other out of the Brazilian GP with just five laps remaining.

"I think you have to sit them both down and say 'listen guys you can't just behave like kids.'

"I don't normally say things like that, but you're just giving a massive cost to Ferrari with things like that."

Former driver Paul di Resta said the most surprising aspect was the fact that both cars were forced to retire.

"The unfortunate thing was it was the lightest of touches, and I don't know how they came off as bad as it did," di Resta said on Sky Sports.

"The cars just absolutely fell apart."

How this will impact the already frosty relationship between Vettel and Leclerc isn't immediately clear. The pair have clashed a number of times this season, although it's usually been more verbal than physical.

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A furious Lewis Hamilton last night called on Mercedes to provide a “bulletproof” response after the latest team blunder cost him victory in a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix and the lead in the drivers’ Vowles, 39, owned up to his error in front of the world as Mercedes attempted to settle Hamilton .

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Vettel, of course, has form in this area. The collision with Leclerc was remarkably similar to one he had with his then-Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in Turkey in 2010, the point at which Webber has acknowledged his relationship with the team began to deteriorate. Of course, the positions are reversed now, with Vettel the old head and Leclerc the young gun trying, and succeeding, in upsetting the status quo.

Not for the first time this season, team boss Mattia Binotto has plenty to think about before the next race. 

Sebastian Vettel leads Charles Leclerc during the Brazilian Grand Prix. © Getty Sebastian Vettel leads Charles Leclerc during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton stripped of podium finish

Lewis Hamilton collected the trophy for third place, but a couple of hours later he had to give it back, after being penalised five seconds for colliding with Red Bull's Alex Albon on the second last lap.

It cost Red Bull a 1-2 finish, and robbed Albon of what would have been his first ever podium.

"Of course I never want to collide with anyone, I went up the inside of Albon, and naturally I take it on me because I was coming from behind," Hamilton said after the race.

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"He was doing a great job, so apologies to him."

a yellow and red toy car on a race track: Alex Albon was running second at the Brazilian Grand Prix before a collision with Lewis Hamilton. © Getty Alex Albon was running second at the Brazilian Grand Prix before a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

 Mercedes admit to 'impetuous' mistake

When the safety car came out for the crash between the two Ferrari drivers, there were five laps remaining, so it was a surprise to see Lewis Hamilton dive into the pits for fresh tyres.

Given the previous safety car, caused by the engine failure of Valtteri Bottas, had lasted six laps, it seemed optimistic to think that Hamilton would have an opportunity to regain the places he lost by changing tyres.

In the end, there were two racing laps after the safety car, and having dropped from second to fourth by coming into the pits, Hamilton was able to pass Pierre Gasly for third. But his collision with Alex Albon, and subsequent penalty, sent the world champion tumbling down the order.

Team radio confirmed the decision to pit was Hamilton's, however he'd been given incorrect information by the team.

"Let us know if you want tyres, you will lose one place," was the call from Hamilton's engineer Pete Bonnington.

Hamilton initially responded with: "You make the decision," before announcing "I'll come in, I'll come in," as he reached the pit entry.

After the race Mercedes boss James Allison was asked if the team had made the right call.

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"I wish I could give you a good answer to that, because the simple answer is we were just a bit impetuous," Allison told Sky Sports.

"We were not quick enough in this race to win in a commanding fashion, and we were reaching a bit at the end, and we paid a price for doing something that was too optimistic.

a close up of a camera: Lewis Hamilton in action during the Brazilian Grand Prix. © Getty Lewis Hamilton in action during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"We hoped there'd be more laps available, but hadn't anticipated the amount of debris on the track.

"First of all we miscalculated, we thought we'd lose one place behind the safety car but we lost two. We thought we'd have a quick pass of Albon and then have a go at Verstappen.

"We just did something plain dumb."

It was a rare strategy mistake from a team that is normally just about perfect, with the only saving grace coming from the fact that the championship has already been decided.

 First podiums for Gasly and Sainz

On a day when five of the six usual suspects struck trouble, a rare opportunity opened up for the midfield team to stand on the podium.

Gasly and Carlos Sainz took full advantage, with both recording the first podium finish of their careers.

The irony of Verstappen and Gasly finishing 1-2 wasn't lost on anyone, given the pair started as teammates back in Melbourne in March, before Gasly was demoted to the Toro Rosso team after a string of mediocre performances with Red Bull.

But with the pressure well and truly off driving for the midfield team, Gasly has turned in a number of strong drives in the second half of the season, such as those that first earned him the promotion to Red Bull.

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Pierre Gasly wearing a uniform: Pierre Gasly took the first podium of his career. © Getty Pierre Gasly took the first podium of his career.

Likewise Sainz has been impressive for McLaren this season, and his podium is a great reward for some top driving in 2019. An engine problem during qualifying here in Brazil meant he started the race from last, but once again he showed his talent in slicing his way through the field, giving McLaren its first podium finish since Melbourne in 2014.

 Alex Albon shows why Red Bull have re-signed him for 2020

Albon is only 23 years old and in his first season of Formula One, but the Brazilian Grand Prix made it clear why Red Bull are so keen on the English-born Thai racer.

Admittedly he was helped by the safety car, and his late race collision with Hamilton meant he left Brazil with nothing to show for his efforts, but it was his composure under pressure that was most impressive.

He put Vettel in his place when the German tried to make a move on lap 64, and he wasn't overawed battling with Hamilton at the end of the race. That's two drivers with 10 world titles between them, up against a rookie in the 20th race of his career.

As Martin Brundle pointed out in commentary, it was Albon's first experience running with the big boys, and he handled it well.

His post-race comments were just as measured, despite having his first ever podium stolen from him by Hamilton's clumsy attempt to pass on the second last lap. There were no recriminations from Albon, who vowed to come back better in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight.

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