• Australian GP

Frustrated Hamilton left with nothing

ESPN Staff
March 16, 2014 « Mercedes drivers free to race - Wolff | Vettel - 'It's going to be a long season' »
Lewis Hamilton during his brief race © Getty Images

After taking pole on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton had every reason to think this might be his weekend, but as it turned out his race was over within two laps.

It was clear from his start he was in trouble and he quickly fell back through the field. After a brief exchange with his team he cruised into the pits and that was that.

"As soon as I left the lane I had a lot less power than I usually have," he said. "They asked me to come in, but I said 'no, no, I can keep going', but I then had to come in.

"I think of all the work that has gone in from the guys in the factory and all the days and nights stressing. We looked so strong but to then have a hiccup is tough for everyone, but we will bounce back."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes' technical director, said the team knew there was an issue before the start. "The engine wasn't running on all cylinders. We knew that on the formation lap. Lewis didn't know but we thought we'd see how the pace was."

"He was very unlucky because being on pole he deserved to have a great race too," said Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff. "It's a bit of a shame starting the season with a DNF but this is motor racing, this is how it goes.

"We didn't understand whether the cylinder actually failed or whether it was a misfire or an electronic problem. At the beginning it seemed quite obvious that we needed to retire to protect the engine and then it was not very clear. Retiring the car was a safety measure."

He said that Hamilton had taken the disappointment well. "He's in good spirits. With 18 more races to go there are going to be many more DNFs of other drivers and that's why he's OK."

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