No­body’s fault but mine


Hamil­ton was left to rue a start-line er­ror that gifted Ros­berg a win and put him back in the ti­tle fight

“No­body is to blame,” in­sisted Mercedes’ Toto Wolff when pressed as to what might have caused Lewis Hamil­ton to start so badly at the Ital­ian GP. Lewis dropped from pole to sixth, and then spent the next 53 laps play­ing catch-up to his team-mate, for an even­tual sec­ond place.

It was, added Toto, no one’s ‘fault’ – be­cause nger-point­ing in an op­er­a­tion as fraught and frag­ile as a high-ying F1 team is the start of ‘things go­ing down­hill’. But there had been an er­ror in the start-line pro­ce­dure – one that could be traced back to the driver – so while Lewis Hamil­ton was not ‘to blame’, noth­ing but a nger-fum­ble caused him to be slow away.

Not that Lewis was quite able to ad­mit to fail­ing, as he elab­o­rated on the ‘in­con­sis­ten­cies’ of Mercedes’ clutch sys­tem and how, be­fore a rule change for 2016, an en­gage­ment tar­get would have been set by en­gi­neers, for driv­ers to hit. Now, re­spon­si­bil­ity for nd­ing that launch sweet-spot is down to driv­ers alone.

“I lost at the start,” Hamil­ton reected. “I knew my en­gi­neers would be wor­ried and ner­vous about how the start went, so that’s why I tried to put their minds at ease [with a ra­dio mes­sage ex­plain­ing there hadn’t been a tech­ni­cal fail­ure].

“After that I don’t re­mem­ber what hap­pened,” he con­tin­ued. “I did the se­quence ex­actly the same and just saw lots of cars com­ing past. In the mo­ment, you’re just think­ing about get­ting back to where you started. I could see Nico pulling away and I know from ex­pe­ri­ence here that the chances of the win de­crease lap by lap, sec­ond by sec­ond. Still, we live to ght an­other day.”

If it felt some­what un­just that the man who had bossed qual­i­fy­ing with a vir­tu­oso pole­set­ting dis­play should be so harshly pe­nalised for an er­ror of se­quence, rather than a fail­ure of skill, that only un­der­lined once again that Nico

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