We’ll come back stronger in Ja­pan, vows Mercedes boss

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

MERCEDES are “beating them­selves up” about Lewis Hamilton’s dra­matic Malaysian Grand Prix en­gine fail­ure on Oc­to­ber 2 but have vowed to come back stronger in Ja­pan this week­end.

Team prin­ci­pal Toto Wolff was al­most lost for words af­ter leader Hamilton’s en­gine ex­ploded 15 laps from vic­tory at the Sepang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit.

“It’s hard to know how to sum up a day like to­day,” Wolff said. “I just have no words for what hap­pened to Lewis. We feel his pain.”

Hamilton was close to tears af­ter the dra­matic re­tire­ment dealt a se­vere blow to his chances of win­ning a third driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship in a row, as his team­mate Nico Ros­berg fin­ished third to ex­tend his cham­pi­onship lead to 23 points.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the race, won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Hamilton lashed out at his team, ac­cus­ing them of favour­ing their Ger­man driver Ros­berg.

“My ques­tion is to Mercedes: We have so many en­gines made for driv­ers, but mine are the only ones fail­ing this year,” 31-year-old Hamilton told BBC ra­dio.

Wolff ad­mit­ted he did not have the an­swer. “This is a me­chan­i­cal sport, with so much tech­nol­ogy, but some­times you get blind­sided by sit­u­a­tions with no ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion,” he said. “It’s a freaky co­in­ci­dence.

“Our guys will get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened and learn from it. But I want to fo­cus on how Lewis re­sponded in the af­ter­math. We let him down to­day and we are beating up our­selves about it.”

Hamilton’s emo­tional out­burst, said Wolff, was in the heat of the mo­ment. But he praised his driver for af­ter­ward mak­ing peace with the team and re­fo­cus­ing on the next race on Oc­to­ber 9.

“What Lewis said, it’s com­pletely un­der­stand­able. But he came back to the garage and shook the hand of ev­ery team mem­ber.”

“One of the great­est qual­i­ties of our group is how we come back from de­feat even stronger than be­fore. We will do that again now, in time for Ja­pan next week­end.”

Mercedes tech­ni­cal chief Paddy Lowe was more forth­right in de­scrib­ing what had be­fallen Hamilton.

“The word is ‘bol­locks’ re­ally,” said Lowe. “This is one of the more dif­fi­cult races of the year and we ap­proached the week­end know­ing it would be tough to get a top re­sult. And so it tran­spired.

“Lewis was well on track to se­cure the win. We’re all ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated for him.”

Lowe re­futed any talk of con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

“One thing we had made a pri­or­ity was to en­sure an equal com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the driv­ers,” Lowe said. “Un­for­tu­nately, we have failed in that ob­jec­tive to­day in bru­tal fash­ion.

“We will go away and an­a­lyse what hap­pened to­day, aim­ing to ar­rive in Ja­pan pre­pared to bounce back in the best way we can.” –

Photo: AFP

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team driver Lewis Hamilton’s car burst into flames from the rear with 15 laps to go dur­ing the For­mula One Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on Oc­to­ber 2.

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