Niki Lauda admitted he was less than impressed with Lewis Hamilton’s performance in Baku qualifying.
The reigning world champion dominated the entire weekend on F1’s spectacular new street circuit until Saturday afternoon, which was strewn with errors until he smacked into a wall that leaves him tenth on the grid.
“Just an off day,” Hamilton said.
After a sluggish start to 2016, the Briton had shown he was back on track with wins in Monaco and Canada but team chairman Niki Lauda indicated that is no excuse for Baku.
“It is important that you drive with less risk and take the pole,” he is quoted by the German broadcaster RTL. “Just as Nico (Rosberg) did.”
Lauda, a triple world champion, denied that a technical problem was to blame for Hamilton’s scrappy driving.
“I looked him in the eye and he told me he is aware of his guilt. We all make mistakes,” Lauda said.
He added: “What I don’t understand is that he made two mistakes and still had this crash.”
Now, Lauda said it is once again now important that Hamilton turns down the risk and survives the hectic first lap of Sunday’s race.
“We saw what can happen in GP2,” he said, referring to a calamitous support race on Saturday that saw only 10 cars finish.
Lauda said he is expecting the European grand prix to be particularly long.
“With no safety car the race lasts 1 hour 51,” he revealed. “There are only three cranes, exactly where they are not needed.
“So I believe that after two hours, the race will be over.”