Following his stroke of bad luck in Baku, Lewis Hamilton has revealed that his team has come up with a temporary solution to the ‘magic button’ issue that befell him.
It was an open goal, and he blew it… or rather he didn’t. But more of that later.
Following Lewis Hamilton‘s shock ‘incident’ at the restart of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which saw him head off down the escape road at Turn 1 rather than leading the field through the corner, it was revealed that it was all down to the so-called ‘magic button’ on the world champion’s steering wheel.
“We’re not actually allowed to talk to the drivers,” explained technology director, Mike Elliott, “so we can’t talk them through the settings they need to change. So as a result of that, we try and simplify things as much as we possibly can. We try and produce tools the drivers can use, that reduces the workload they have to go through because there’s a huge amount for them to do.
“One of the buttons we’ve got, what’s called brake magic, is a button that the drivers can press and that allows them to get heat into the brakes,” he continued.
“One of the big things it does is it moves the brake balance, so the proportion of the front brake energy to the rear brake energy all the way as far forward as we can get it. That allows us to put heat into the front brakes, and therefore heat into the rims and into the tyres.
“Lewis had done all of the right things, he’d got the car to the grid, he’d switched off the various buttons and settings he needed to switch off, switched on the ones he needed to switch on, and he was all set to start the race properly.
“He made a fantastic start, he got himself up alongside Perez, and as he and Perez were sort of shuffling position Lewis swerved. In the process of swerving, he just clipped the magic button.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t feel he had done it,” admitted Elliot, “so he had completely no awareness he was going to have a problem. At the point he then braked, which was the normal point for him to brake, he was in a position where he got all of the brake balance shifted forward. As a consequence, they locked, and from that point, there was nothing he could do but go wide.”
Talking to reporters at Paul Ricard today, Hamilton revealed that a temporary solution has been found.
“We’ve just put a shroud around it,” he revealed, “to make sure that I can’t accidentally touch it in future.
“That’s for the short term,” he added. “Obviously the wheel’s not so easy to change or to move buttons. We’ll look for a longer term solution.”
However, contrary to popular opinion, the world champion was keen to make clear that the Baku incident was not a mistake on his part, and certainly nothing to do with the title battle he faces with Max Verstappen.
“It definitely wasn’t any pressure from Max and I don’t even count it as a mistake,” he insisted. “I don’t feel any pressure, I feel pretty relaxed.
“You can’t always be perfect,” he added. “A mistake is when you often drive off the track through missing your braking point or hitting the wall.
“It was kind of an unforced error, really just something that we had that was sitting there that could have happened at any point. It unfortunately bit us pretty hard but you learn from the experience.”
Check out our Thursday gallery from Paul Ricard, here.