Hamilton’s brakes were seen smoking heavily as he lined up on the grid in second place at the standing start restart when the race resumed following a lengthy red flag period.

The Mercedes driver got a great launch that enabled him to get ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez but Hamilton locked up and ran straight on at Turn 1. Having dropped to the rear of the field, Hamilton could only recover to 15th at the flag following a dramatic two-lap sprint to the finish.

Hamilton revealed after the race he had knocked the ‘magic’ toggle button by mistake. This is a setting that moves the brake balance forward and helps to generate tyre temperature, something that is normally used on formation laps or when running behind the Safety Car.

The seven-time world champion had been heard discussing the button over team radio with his race engineer Pete Bonnington after the race. Bonnington confirmed “the magic was on” at the restart, despite Hamilton turning it off as the grid formed up on the grid.

“Naturally, it’s quite a humbling experience to be honest,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“We’d worked so hard this weekend to come back from out of the top 10. It was looking so good.

“I’d put everything on the line, I’d fought as hard as I could today.

“On that restart I think when Checo moved over towards me I clipped a switch. It basically switches the brakes off, so I just went straight.

“I had no idea that I’d even touched it.

“It’s very hard to take,” he added. “But I’m mostly just really sorry to the men and women in the team who’ve worked so hard for these points. We will regroup and come back stronger.”

The mistake meant Hamilton missed the opportunity to retake the lead of the world championship from Max Verstappen, who retired after suffering a tyre failure while leading.

 

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