During the late race restart at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton accidentally knocked the “brake magic” button on his steering wheel, which caused a lock-up that led to him going into the runoff area.
This happened after Max Verstappen suffered a tyre puncture, which caused the race to be red flagged. At the French Grand Prix Thursday press conference, Hamilton was asked if his “mistake” was caused by pressure from Verstappen.
“Well, Max wasn’t in the race at the time, so it definitely wasn’t the pressure from Max,” the Briton said.
“I don’t even count it as a mistake. You can’t always be perfect [but] a mistake is where you drive off the track through missing your braking point or hitting the wall.
“But it was an unforced error, really something we had that was sitting there that could have happened at any point and it unfortunately bit us pretty hard.
“But we learned from the experience and we move forwards.”
After the incident Mercedes said they will try to prevent this type of error from occurring in the future by making changes to its steering wheel.
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Hamilton was asked if the button’s position was moved from the back of the steering wheel, for the French Grand Prix.
“We haven’t moved it, we’ve just put a shroud around it just to make sure that you can’t accidentally touch it in future, but that’s for the short-term.
“Obviously the wheel’s not so easy to change or to move buttons on, because it’s all designed, so we’ll look for a longer-term solution probably in the future.”
After two catastrophic results in Monaco and Baku, Lewis is looking forward to returning to a more conventional Formula 1 track.
“The last two [races] have definitely been really difficult for us on the whole as a team. You have to take the rough with the smooth and it’s definitely been challenging, but we’ve learnt a lot.
“But I’m definitely looking forward to getting back onto a track we probably won’t be as affected at with tyre temps for example. It has been good for us in the past here but I anticipate a tough weekend, naturally.
“Obviously the Red Bulls have shown some serious pace over the previous races, as well as on the more conventional tracks like Barcelona,” concluded the seven-time champion.