After being just two laps away from taking an unlikely lead in the 2021 Driver’s Championship standings, an error on the restart caused heartbreak for Lewis Hamilton, who also saw his streak of 54 consecutive points finished abruptly ended.
The race was red-flagged after an accident for Verstappen on the main straight which provided the opportunity for a change of tyres and a two lap race for the finish once the action restarted.
Max Verstappen (105 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by four points from Hamilton (101) and Lando Norris in P3 (66), with Valtteri Bottas (47) in P6.
Red Bull (174 points) extended their lead over Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (148 points) to 26 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Heartbreak For Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton recorded a P15 finish after an accidental brake balance setting change caused him to lock brakes on Turn 1 when vying with Perez for the lead following a dramatic race restart with two laps to go.
‘An unfortunate day, a humbling experience and I’m so sorry for the team. We did a good job to be in the position we were in today, to be out of the top ten on Friday and come back was down to the hard work of the men and women in this team. When Checo came towards me after the restart, I turned the wheel and flicked a switch which shifts the brake balance and that caused me to lock up.
‘It’s one of the toughest moments I’ve had for a while – one moment we had all the points and the next we had none but for sure, we’ll regroup and come back,’ said Hamilton.
A Weekend To Forget For Valtteri Bottas
It was another weekend to forget for Valtteri Bottas, as the Finn couldn’t get the car working for him throughout the weekend, and had to settle for no points for his troubles.
‘Today in the race I was lacking pace, as I have been all weekend and it’s difficult to understand why. One big issue is the tyre warm-up, particularly the front tyres. On the hard tyres, it took almost10 laps to warm up and on the restart, we were on the back foot with cold tyres. I was trying everything I could but something just wasn’t right with the car for me this weekend. We need to work hard to figure out why and move on quickly from this,’ added Bottas.
The Hard Work Starts Now For Mercedes
For team boss Toto Wolff, a second disastrous weekend in a row means the hard work starts now as the team look to get their 2021 campaign back on track.
‘In Monaco and here we didn’t have a car that was competitive, full stop. We have underlying issues – we are not getting the car in a happy window for the tyres. We know the deficit and we know we have gaps which we simply have to overcome but I have no doubt, this a team which is so strong and so angry, and we are going to turn that anger into positive form and come back,’ concluded Wolff.