Lewis Hamilton rues Mercedes error that cost Australian Grand Prix win

• Vettel wins after taking advantage of virtual-safety-car situation
• Mercedes data told Hamilton not to open greater lead

Lewis Hamilton said he would prefer to trust his racer’s instinct rather than instruction from his Mercedes team after they admitted it was likely a software error cost him victory in the opening grand prix of the season in Australia.

Hamilton was passed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel when the German took a pit stop after the virtual safety car had been deployed. Mercedes had not advised Hamilton to open up a greater lead since their data said the gap he held was sufficient. But that information proved incorrect.

“Definitely,” was Hamilton’s reply when asked if he would prefer to use his intuition over computer analysis. “Today it is such a team effort but when you are relying on so much data, so much technology to come out with the strategy or whatever, I wish it was more in my hands. I feel like I was driving as good as ever today.”

The four-times world champion was adamant that had he known a greater advantage was needed to ensure Vettel could not pass him during a stop under the VSC, he could have achieved it. “In the race I had extra tools. I could have been further ahead by the first pit stop. There were so many things we could have done. But if you think you are doing it by the book and the limits, then there is nothing you can do.”

Hamilton pushed hard to catch Vettel in the second half of the race but with passing exceptionally hard at Albert Park he could do little and ultimately chose to accept second place to conserve his engine. The teams are allowed to use only three before incurring grid penalties and Hamilton criticised the restraints this places on the drivers.

“That goes against my spirt of racing. I want to race right down to the line. I am fit enough, I felt good. But the way the sport is set up with three engines you have to think about that and back off. So it’s probably not exciting for the fans.”


Giles Richards in Melbourne

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Lewis Hamilton calls for changes to revitalise Monaco Grand Prix
An uneventful race was won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton believes ‘it definitely is a three-way fight’ for the title

Giles Richards

28, May, 2018 @1:12 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton wins fifth Formula One world title at Mexico Grand Prix
The champion is 19 wins behind Schumacher’s record of 91 grand prix victories and Hamilton has indicated he has no intention of easing off his quest for more honours

Giles Richards

28, Oct, 2018 @8:52 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton wins Russian Grand Prix but is unhappy with team orders
Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix after Mercedes’ team orders enabled him to pass Valtteri Bottas and extend his lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 50 points

Giles Richards

30, Sep, 2018 @1:19 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton bolsters F1 title lead with victory in Hungarian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton extended his F1 drivers’ championship lead with victory at the Hungardian Grand Prix, beating Sebastian Vettel with Kimi Räikkönen third

Giles Richards at the Hungaroring

29, Jul, 2018 @3:01 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton fastest in US Grand Prix practice as Sebastian Vettel is punished
Drivers experienced grip problems in what Lewis Hamilton called ‘up and down’ weather at an Austin track where the Mercedes driver can win his fifth F1 title on Sunday

Tom Dart at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin

19, Oct, 2018 @10:45 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton set to ride wave and chase records at British Grand Prix | Giles Richards
If the four-times world champion wins for the sixth time at Silverstone on Sunday he would set new marks for total and consecutive victories in his home race

Giles Richards at Silverstone

06, Jul, 2018 @9:30 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix to stretch lead in F1 title race
Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, to extend his lead in the F1 drivers’ title race

Giles Richards at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

13, May, 2018 @3:22 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore Grand Prix to extend lead in F1 title race
Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix with a strong run from pole to increase his world championship lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 40 points

Giles Richards

16, Sep, 2018 @2:29 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton under pressure to close gap on Ferrari at Chinese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes were having to fine-tune their focus to meet Ferrari’s threat at the F1 Chinese Grand Prix

Giles Richards

13, Apr, 2018 @1:51 PM

Article image
Lewis Hamilton unhappy with Mercedes tactics at US Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton admitted regrets over his team’s tyre strategy after his third-place finish at the US Grand Prix prolonged his title chase for at least another week

Tom Dart at Circuit of the Americas

21, Oct, 2018 @11:12 PM