The big topic after Sunday’s inaugural F1 race in Baku was the controversial limitations on radio traffic between driver and pitwall.
As his points comeback faltered on the streets of Azerbaijan, world champion Lewis Hamilton let his frustration show as he grappled with an engine setting problem that Mercedes engineers could not help him fix.
“In the end it was only a switch that was in the wrong position,” boss Toto Wolff told German media. “And at 350kph, it is not so easy to realise what the problem is.”
While Mercedes officials said winner Nico Rosberg’s similar problem was easier to resolve, the team confirmed that the German also grappled with the issue but quickly fixed it.
“I felt the power loss and looked at my steering wheel. I thought about it briefly and then realised what it must be,” Rosberg confirmed.
The situation raised suggestions that Hamilton’s party lifestyle was finally catching up with him versus the apparently far more studious Rosberg.
But Hamilton insisted: “There was no way for me to know what was wrong, no matter how much I had studied it. I was looking at the steering wheel most of the time, which is dangerous.
“The rule needs to be looked at again,” he insisted.
The Briton is referring to F1’s clampdown on radio communications, after a perception had emerged that engineers were doing as much driving in the complex ‘power unit’ era as the actual drivers.
On this issue, Hamilton has plenty of allies, including Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda.
But Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel also agrees, calling the clampdown “a joke”, and Fernando Alonso was similarly scathing.
“Stupid,” agreed Kimi Raikkonen, who also struggled to fix a problem without the help of the pitwall on Sunday.