Lewis Hamilton says his hydraulic issue that ended his qualifying session early at the German Grand Prix happened before he ran wide and bounced over curbs.
Starting a flying lap at the end of Q1, Hamilton ran wide and was pictured bouncing heavily over the curbs as he rejoined the track, with his car becoming momentarily airborne. The world champion immediately slowed and was told to stop on track by his team, leaving him to start from 14th place. Having lost hydraulic pressure, Hamilton says the issue caused him to run wide rather than was the result of an error.
“The assumption that people have made is that the horrible bumps that I had later on were the cause of the failure, which is not the case,” Hamilton explained. “Everyone uses the exit curb at Turn 1, and when I got to the exit curb, the power steering failed — and when that happened, the steering got extremely heavy and pulled to the left.
“I thought that I’d had a tire failure, or a track-rod failure or something like that. But it wasn’t the case, it was the hydraulics. It forced me to take that exit road, and I was carrying a lot of speed so I couldn’t really slow down. Those bumps afterwards, it didn’t do anything to the car. It would be easy to assume that would be the case, but it wasn’t.”
When Hamilton got out of his car on the exit of Turn 10, he started pushing it back toward the pits but had more than a mile to go and had to accept his session was over.
“Honestly, I’ve been through a lot in my career. There’s been good and bad things happen along the way. Naturally you’re competitive and passionate — you can’t always act the way people expect you to act. Honestly when I got out of the car, it was painful, and the first thought in my mind was to try and get the car back to the garage at all costs, so get out and push it if you have to, that’s just me wanting to finish.
“But then I got back and my first thought is that we all feel the same pain in the team. I mean it when we say we win and we lose together. I can’t control what’s just happened. All I can control is what happens ahead of me, or try to shape and steer what is happening ahead of me.
“I got past it really quick, which is part of the growing process for all of us as humans, and I’m trying to put as much energy into doing the best job I can tomorrow. As you see in lots of different scenarios in my life, lots of different things can come if you put hard work and positive energy towards it. So that’s what I’m trying to find.”
With Daniel Ricciardo starting from the back of the grid due to a grid penalty but confident he can fight through the field, Hamilton is not expecting to have an easy time but says he will try to be aggressive.
“I think it’s not that easy, [even though] you have that massive long straight at the back, it’s not that easy to overtake here. It’s one of the hardest circuits, particularly following in the final sector. We do have the new DRS zones, so maybe that will help. The long DRS zone at the back, that might help, but it’s not an easy circuit.
“It’s not like Silverstone. Silverstone’s a great circuit because it’s quite open and wide and not as hard on the tires as it is here. But Daniel’s a super-optimistic person, which is great. That’s why he’s loved so much by so many, and that’s why he’s a great character in the field. I’ll try to share the same optimism.”