Mercedes explains Hamilton VSC strategy mistake

Valtteri Bottas

GETTYHamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas has been incredibly unfortunate in recent races

"We chose to leave Lewis on track for one lap, because we thought it would take longer to clear the vehicle from its position, and be able to react to what the cars behind us did on the following lap", said Wolff.

This was just enough for him to wind up ahead of the championship leading Briton by 0.029 seconds with their team-mates Finns Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen taking third and fourth places.

This also means that Sebastian Vettel now reclaims the championship lead with one point from Lewis Hamilton. "We had the right auto, today, some points were a little bit hard, but it was a good day for the team". The team's fifth major error in only nine rounds this year left Hamilton in no-man's land.

Lewis Hamilton lost the lead when Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke down to cause a virtual safety auto (VSC) and his own race ended with a late engine failure.

Hamilton was rightly fuming on the radio at this stage as chief strategist James Vowles took complete ownership of the error saying on radio: "This is James, I have thrown away the win today".

A loss of fuel pressure then forced Hamilton to retire, creating Mercedes' first double-DNF since 2016 as Bottas had earlier exited the race with a hydraulic problem.

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History repeated itself for Hamilton as another strategy mistake cost him a potential victory at the season-opening Australian GP in March. Everyone is going to be feeling the pain.

"I needed to catch up with the points, today was a very good day for me, and I hope we can continue like this". "Passing is possible. I'm sorry". We had a hydraulic leak that was to the steering of Valtteri and we had a drop in fuel pressure on Lewis's auto which was linked to the fuel system. But then to have two different faults is very unusual.

"[Ferrari] were pretty close at one point, but I really wasn't thinking I was going to lose it to Ferrari", he admitted.

"We will try and analyse and figure out how we can improve".

"I had to fight with the Renaults and the Haas at the beginning of the race and I lost a little bit of ground".

"It's nothing to do with the reliability of the engine as far as we can see", he said.

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There's also a little rain in the forecast, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms late Monday afternoon . The risk of thunderstorms on Monday is low , however there is a slight chance on Tuesday .

"We could all have done a better job this weekend".

It is the first time Red Bull have won their home meeting and Verstappen, 20, ran his race to perfection, running with exemplary control, pace and skill while managing his tyres, where others were hampered by blistering.

"We've just discussed it, and what I think happened was we were running one and two and controlling the race, and suddenly you see your second auto stopping", he recalled.

"The only ones who didn't have the tyre problems were the Ferraris, but all others suffered from heavy blistering and that was definitely not something that we expected", said Wolff.

'We have to come back strong and the hard days are the ones where you learn the most but you have to stay positive'. When asked about the events of lap one and Verstappen's move, he replied: "I think there was a lot happening on the first lap".

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