A cracked fibre optic cable was to blame for a complete shutdown of data and communication tools for the Mercedes F1 team during the Hungarian Grand Prix, which Lewis Hamilton says left him 'driving with a blindfold on'.

Mercedes lost access to its 'fantasy island' in the garage - the nerve centre of its data and communication - due to a local hardware issue, which couldn't be fixed until almost half of the race had been completed and coming after the pit-stop window, which was managed by pit boards instead.

"It's a local hardware issue," Toto Wolff revealed. We found a crack in our fibre optic cable that made us flatline.

"Our whole comms and data systems broke down. We didn't have any communications on the fantasy island, that's the middle thing we have, and on the pit wall.

"No radio comms, no data, no TV feed. We somehow managed to get it back occasionally, and that obviously penalised us. There was communication at times that you heard and there wasn't any communication. A difficult one.

The issues were felt most acutely by Hamilton who told the team when the radio came back online that he had more pace than he was able to show and that he could have extended his first stint to regain time.

"When you don't have the radio it's like driving with the blindfold on. You know your pace, but they don't know really how fast and hard you are pushing and how much faster you can go, your struggles, your weaknesses.

"You can't guide them on adjustments for the pitstop, you don't get the feedback of the times. We had the problem and there was nothing we could do about it. It obviously wasn't planned. I think we tried our best but of course after an experience like this we will regroup and find a better way to handle it in future, and I'm sure we'll do even better."

Hamilton finished fourth after gifting back his third place on the road to team-mate Valtteri Bottas as a 'thank you' the Finn for moving over earlier in the race to give the Briton a shot at challenging the Ferraris ahead.



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