Lewis Hamilton has called on his Mercedes Formula 1 team to find a “bulletproof” strategy fix, adding it “can’t afford to throw away points” like in the Austrian Grand Prix. 

A quick start enabled Hamilton to snatch the lead from teammate Valtteri Bottas on the run to Turn 1, but Mercedes’ decision to leave the Briton out on track while his main rivals all pitted during an early Virtual Safety Var period proved costly. 

He ultimately rejoined in fourth following his pit stop, prompting chief strategist James Vowles to come over team radio and apologise to Hamilton for the mistake which he said “threw away” a potential win. 

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Hamilton had to make a second stop when his rear tyres blistered, before a loss of fuel pressure caused him to retire, following on from Bottas’ own retirement when he encountered an hydraulic issue earlier in the race. 

“I’m not going to lie, all areas we are going to have to work on,” Hamilton told Channel 4. “The car has been great all weekend, we were the quickest. To have two different faults on each car is very unusual.

“We really can’t afford to throw away points. We’ve got to find a bulletproof method to move forward for strategy because if our car was still going it was an easy win for us, we were comfortably ahead.”

It marked Mercedes first double DNF since the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, while it was just the second occasion it has lost both cars due to mechanical failures in a race during the V6 hybrid era.

Hamilton had held a 14-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship heading into the weekend, and looked in prime position to extend his advantage further as he surged into an early lead, with the Ferrari driver only sixth on the grid after a penalty. 

But as it turned out, a third place finish means it is Vettel who heads into next weekend’s British Grand Prix as the championship leader by a single point. 

“[It’s] an unfortunate day. Everyone is the team is really feeling the pain today but we’ve had such great reliability for so many years,” Hamilton said. “As painful as it is - and we are perfectionists - but we really have to take the rough with the smooth. 

“This is definitely the worst weekend for us I can remember for a long, long time. I have every confidence in my team that we’ll be able to bounce back.

“There is nothing we can do about it, all we can do is move forward,” he added. "I’m looking forward to getting back in the car and trying to understand what the problem is. 

“I think we’ve got the car to be quick [at Silverstone] but a lot of points lost today. I know the guys will be working hard to rectify it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

 

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