The seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton plummeted from what appeared set to be the lead of the restarted race to 15th place after accidentally reactivating a button on the rear of his car’s steering wheel, which is referred to as ‘brake magic’ at Mercedes, which changes brake bias settings and is used to heat the front tyres.
Accidentally, Hamilton had locked the car’s brakes as a result and went straight on down the Turn One escape road, with the pack streaming through the corner behind him as he dropped out of the points.
While explaining in detail what had happened in their latest post-race debrief video, the Mercedes technology director Mike Elliott revealed that Lewis Hamilton had put the W12 into all the correct settings as usual for the start before knocking the ‘magic’ button when Sergio Perez moved right to try and defend the lead.
“Lewis had done all the right things, he got the car to the grid, he switched off the various buttons and settings he needed to switch off, switched on the ones he needed to switch on, it was all set to start the race properly,” said Elliott.
“He made a fantastic start, he got himself up alongside Perez and as he and Perez were sort of shuffling position Lewis swerved and in the process of swerving he just clipped the magic button and unfortunately he didn’t feel he had done it. So, he had completely no awareness he was going to have a problem.
“The point he then braked, which was the normal point for him to brake, he was in the position where he got all of the brake balance shifted forward, which put all of the load through the front tyres and as a consequence they locked and from that point there was nothing that he could do than go wide.”