After a poor start, Lewis and Nico dropped from the front row to third and fourth behind the Ferraris. Lewis then dropped back to tenth after running wide while attempting to pass his team-mate. The appearance of the Safety Car on lap 42 brought the field back together, with both Silver Arrows taking the opportunity to pit. Lewis served a drive through penalty on lap 54 after contact with Daniel Ricciardo on lap 49. Further contact with Ricciardo saw Nico suffer a puncture, forcing an extra pit stop on lap 64. MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS now lead Ferrari by 147 in the Constructors’ Championship. Lewis now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 21 points from Nico.
Lewis Hamilton: That was a very tough afternoon. The team did everything right and the car clearly had the pace – I just had a very bad day at the office. It was one of the worst races I think I’ve had and I don’t really have any explanation for it at the moment. All I can do is apologise to the team and work hard to make amends at the next race. My start wasn’t ideal and the Ferraris were really quick off the line, so suddenly I was under attack from both sides. It was tight with Nico later in the lap where I locked up and went off, then of course there was the incident with Daniel. It wasn’t deliberate but it was my fault. He took a tight line around the outside and I just lost grip, ran out of road and understeered into him. That meant a drive through which dropped me right back again after all that work to make it back through. From there I just had to tell myself to calm down and not give up so I could fight back for some points. You could see in that phase that the pace of the car was really strong and the pace was really there all weekend . I just made too many mistakes today. In the end, it’s damage limitation in terms of points for the Championship so I just need to take the positives into the summer and bounce back in Spa.
Nico Rosberg: I had a decent start, if not the best. But I still didn’t have a great balance on the option tyre so the Ferraris were pulling away quite quickly at the beginning. It went better on the prime and the race was going well for me until lap 64. Racing is very tough sometimes. It’s an awful feeling to lose it at the end. For me, the incident with Daniel was pretty clear. I was on the ideal line, he braked too late and went wide. I then stayed on the racing line, so it was my corner, but he still had his front wing there and hit me and I got a puncture. That destroyed my race, which is a real shame as I could have gained a lot of points on Lewis. At the moment I’m not looking forward to the summer break. I just want to be back in the car and racing again tomorrow.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: We had more incidents in today’s race than we’ve had in the entire season so far – it was an afternoon for getting a few more grey hairs! First of all, many congratulations to Ferrari; not only was it a well-deserved win but it has been a difficult week for the entire team, having lost Jules, and I am sure this victory has a very special meaning for everybody in Maranello. On our side, we had two bad starts – and then things went from bad to worse. Lewis ran off track on lap one, then came the incident with Ricciardo, the nose change and the drive-through – and somehow still managed to get back to P6. As for Nico, he didn’t have the pace to match the Ferraris in the first stint but was running strongly for a podium finish. When the Virtual Safety Car came out, it was close for him to get into the pits – but he managed it. However, the default set of tyres was the prime, as we still had around 30 laps to go in the race under normal conditions – and that was the only set we were able to fit to the car in time. In hindsight, the option tyre would have been ideal to attack Sebastian, who was forced to run the prime – but hindsight is a wonderful thing. He nevertheless did a great job to salvage P8 and score a few more points today. For us, this was a really frustrating day and it just goes to show that our success so far this year has been the result of fantastic attention to detail and teamwork, getting everything right to deliver the results we have had. Now we need to analyse the race and learn our lessons, then recharge the batteries and come back fighting in Spa.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): Not a great day, quite obviously. It began with two rather mediocre race starts. With Lewis, we suspect it was an overheating clutch after the second formation lap. And for Nico, it looked like there was just very little grip from his grid position. We apologise to both drivers for not being able to give them the platform for the start they needed. That put both drivers behind the Ferraris and Lewis then lost further position attempting to pass Nico later on the first lap. So, at that point it was already looking like a difficult afternoon with one driver in third and the other back in tenth. We persevered with our race strategy to attempt to get both cars onto the podium and perhaps even the top step – but it soon became clear that Ferrari were very quick here today and we didn’t have enough of a pace advantage to make that happen. There were then a number of events including minor collisions and penalties which eventually consigned us to sixth and eighth. A bad day without doubt – but as they say, you can’t win them all and it’s still points on the board.
Source: Daimler AG