Hamilton says Austria failures brought Mercedes closer

Image by Steve Etherington/LAT

Hamilton says Austria failures brought Mercedes closer

Formula 1

Hamilton says Austria failures brought Mercedes closer


Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes is a tighter unit for the failures it suffered at the Austrian Grand Prix as both cars failed to finish.

Mercedes locked out the front row and was running in first and second with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas respectively in the opening laps on Sunday when Bottas retired with a loss of hydraulic pressure. The team then failed to pit Hamilton under the resulting Virtual Safety Car — costing him the lead — before the Briton also stopped on track with a fuel pump issue, but Hamilton says solutions were quickly found.

“Obviously, we know it was a difficult weekend and of course we have all wished it wasn’t the way it was but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” Hamilton said. “Honestly, the spirit within the team is stronger than it’s ever been.

“These experiences we’ve been having and how we’ve been handling them, have really united us more than any other year. There’s a great energy within team. So, while it was a painful experience, it actually brought us closer. I think it made us stronger.

“I think coming here there’s been some fixes already — immediately after the race, as soon as they got the car back, I think that evening there was a fix that was designed and put into test mode. So, the team was super on it and I’m confident we’ve done everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Having addressed the reliability concerns, Hamilton also says he retains full faith in the Mercedes strategy team despite its mistake in Austria, and is confident it won’t prove costly in the title race.

“I think if you look at the season, it’s been like that for other teams — I think all teams. If you look at Ferrari, they’ve lost points, I’m pretty sure the Red Bulls have lost points. The amount of pressure, the amount of simulations that go on, the information… there are a lot of tough calls for each team to make.

“Some of them for sure are easier than others. Maybe the easier one sometimes… it could be one weekend the easier one is the wrong decision and vice versa. That’s just how it is. I hope it’s not a title decider, but, as I said, I can’t predict what’s going to happen. All I know is that we are constantly getting better and improving.

“What I can say is that I really do feel like I have the best strategist team behind me. I mean, look at how many wins I’ve had within this team. We’ve had far, far more success than we’ve had failures and nobody is perfect. It’s just the way the sport is. There is no way to be perfect. It would probably be boring if that was the case.”
-Chris Medland