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2018 F1

Hamilton’s angry radio exchange with Merc Strategist in Austrian GP

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Mercedes had dominated the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg since the Austrian Grand Prix returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 and that looked set to continue until a mysterious error.

When Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas retire from the race due to gearbox trouble on lap 14, front-runners Red Bull and Ferrari quickly brought in both drivers for fresh tires, but the Mercedes garage did not make the same call for Lewis Hamilton. By the time he pitted on Lap 25, he re-emerged ahead of Vettel but behind both Red Bulls and Raikkonen.

“That is totally on us, sorry,” an apologetic engineer told on team radio.

Hamilton had to pit again on Lap 53 and came out fifth behind Ricciardo but took that place back within a lap when the Red Bull’s engine failed to ensure no happy returns on Ricciardo’s 29th birthday. Hamilton ultimately lost power and bowed out to cap a disastrous day for Mercedes.

Racefans.net captured his radio exchanges with James Vowles and while the chief strategist deserves credit for owning up to his error, it made for some very awkward conversation with the British driver.

Hamilton: “Anything I should be aware of?”
Bonnington: “Nothing at the moment. Let’s just target Verstappen’s lap times.”
Bonnington: “VSC, Keep the delta positive.”

Bonnington: “OK Lewis it will be box at the end of this lap if we are still under VSC conditions.”
Hamilton: “Were we supposed to box that lap?”
Bonnington: “Negative, we weren’t. We were just waiting to see what everyone else did.”
Bonnington: “So VSC ending.”
Bonnington: “So staying out.”

Hamilton: “What the hell was that? How did we miss that? I’ve got no tyre left.”

Hamilton: “I’ve got no tyre left, these tyres.”
Vowles: “Lewis, It’s James. I understand. We’re still with you mate. It’s my mistake. But give us what you can. There will be opportunities later.”
Hamilton: “I can hear you guys.”

Hamilton: “Am I fourth now?”
Bonnington: “Affirm Lewis, yeah. Entirely on us that problem.”

Hamilton: “I wanted to say something but…”

Hamilton: “Just leave me to it, Bono.”

Bonnington: “OK Lewis go HPP 5 position 2.”
Hamilton: “Hesitation out of turn nine.”
Bonnington: “Copy.”

Hamilton: “I need this pack to f***ing charge up.”

Bonnington: “OK Lewis we are up at the rear limit on tyre temps.”
Bonnington: “We have seen signs of rear blistering on tyres ahead.”
Hamilton: “So you just want me to settle for fourth, yeah?”
Bonnington: “Affirm.”

Bonnington appears to have misheard him, and then corrects that his reply:

Bonnington: “Sorry, just want to settle in place until they recover.”
Bonnington: “Looks like Ricciardo has big blistering. You should be ablke to see it from where you are.”

Hamilton: “I’m not going to be able to pass these guys. We’ve just thrown away a win.”

Hamilton: “So I back off and now look what’s happening.”
Vowles: “Lewis it’s James. I have thrown the win away today but you have the potential opportunity to get back up. Just let the tyres cool. We trust in you and believe in you. I’m sorry.”
Hamilton: “I’ve got Vettel now on my tail.”

Vettel then passes Hamilton.

Hamilton: “Well, there you go.”

Hamilton: “I’ve got blistering too.”

Hamilton: ”These tyres aren’t going to last at this pace.”

Hamilton: “My rear tyre is de-laminating more and more.”
Bonnington: “OK copy.”

Hamilton: “Is Ricciardo catching us?”
Bonnington: “Ricciardo 8.7 last lap he is hitting a bit of traffic.”
Bonnington: “Ricciardo 1.4 inside our pit window.”

Hamilton: “I don’t know what to say to you guys. These rears are not going to bloody last.”
Bonnington: “OK, we’re on it.”

Bonnington: “Lewis 12 laps to go, Vettel is 22 seconds up the road, we need to think about consolidating.”
Hamilton: “So we turn down?”
Bonnington: “Affirm, that’s my suggestion.”

Hamilton: “How many points am I going to lose?”
Bonnington: “At current pace it will be three points.”

Hamilton: “I’ve lost power.”
Bonnington: “Stop, stop.”

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