Mercedes' F1 weekend turns from ideal to painful in 1 hour

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that the team's failure to react in time to the virtual safety vehicle deployed in the opening stages of the race cost Lewis Hamilton a chance to win the Austrian Grand Prix despite the British driver later retiring from the race.

He's now second in the standings - a point behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who finished third in a race won by Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

That's quite a list to work through in the few days before practice for the British Grand Prix starts on Friday. "The situation is very hard this year - we are fighting, six cars, and that is just a tough situation".

"We think both of the failures that we had were confined to the items that failed and they're both things that can be replaced without having to break into the sealed areas of the w vehicle that attract sporting penalties", he said.

Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the race after his team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered an hydraulics failure and pulled over.

"You do sometimes hear James [Vowles on the radio], and it's normally under unusual circumstances when we have a message that's either subtle or hard and we need to get a message to the driver without the intermediary of the race engineer", Allison explained via the team's YouTube channel.

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It was the first session since qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix in which Vettel had out-performed fellow four-time champion Hamilton in their yo-yo scrap this year.

Vowles spoke to Lewis Hamilton over the team radio, in an exchange heard by millions of television viewers worldwide, during the race after a tactical error dropped the Briton from first to fourth when a virtual safety auto was deployed. "You can decide to stay out, but the guys on the pit wall - you have to put 100 per cent faith in them".

"I had plenty of people coming to see me before the start and saying, 'This was going to be a walk in the park, 1-2, you have the quickest auto'. All you can see is the guy in front and the guy behind".

While chief strategist James Vowles took to team radio to apologize to Hamilton for the error, Wolff says nothing needs to change despite also missing out on race victory in Australia due to a strategy software issue.

"I have every confidence in my team that we will be able to bounce back", Hamilton said.

"I don't know what makes him (Hamilton) tick.but it seems a fairly freakish thing for somebody to feel they need to throw themselves under the bus to motivate a driver to go from fourth back into the lead". It is what it is. "We can't throw away points, so we will have to find a bullet-proof method going forward".

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