Lewis Hamilton has expressed his frustration at only being able to recover to fifth place in the European Grand Prix after steering wheel setting issues left him down on power for much of the race.
Forced to fight back from tenth on the grid after a crash in qualifying, Hamilton made a bright start to claw his way up to fifth position following the first wave of pit-stops, but would be hindered by a lack of deployment on his Mercedes thereafter.
Limiting his power output, Hamilton steadily fell away from fourth place Sergio Perez ahead as he went back-and-forth with the Mercedes team on the radio in an effort to fix the problem. With this year's clampdown on radio communications preventing his engineer from telling him how to solve his issue, Hamilton spent two-thirds of the race attempting to do it himself without advice.
Eventually succeeding, an immediate fastest lap signalled his intentions with eight laps remaining, but with Perez well clear and engine life a concern for Hamilton after other technical problems in 2016, the decision was taken to settle for fifth place.
“It's like being a sitting duck. It's not cool, but just the way it is,” he said. “I got my power back all of a sudden, so I just turned the engine down after that because I was 13 seconds ahead and 14 seconds behind. And also I have fewer engines than Nico. So I just turned the engine down – I was, like, I am going to save it. There is nothing I can do to close the gap in 7 laps.”
Indeed, with the benefit of full power, Hamilton – now 24 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in the standings again - feels he demonstrated he was quickest around the Baku City Circuit.
“I was quickest,” he added. “The guys said now you are quickest, and I was like s**t, of course I am quickest.
“I have a lot of engine problems this year. So definitely not feeling confident for the future, but I have got a lot of races ahead, and the last two races were great.
“Yesterday [in qualifying] was a bad day for me, and today was a bad day. But I am going to go and find out what the problem was. Hopefully it was not me. But if it was, then I will rectify that.”
Mercedes has also confirmed that race winner Rosberg suffered a similar problems on his car, but was able to rectify it sooner.
Follow @OllieBarstow on Twitter