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Wolff: These things happen

NEWS STORY
09/06/2014

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff remains philosophical following a Canadian Grand Prix that saw his team lose 25 points.

For the second time this season, Lewis Hamilton was classed as a DNF, the Briton retiring with overheating brakes. In fact, the basic cause of the issue, a problem with the MGU-K was affecting both cars, but championship leader Nico Rosberg somehow managed to soldier on, albeit losing the lead to Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages of the race.

Putting a brave face on things as his team's winning streak came to an end, Wolff explained the problem.

"At almost exactly the same time on both cars, we had a failure of the MGU-K control system," he said. "Both drivers had the same power units, were racing at the same pace and running at the same temperatures. Those temperatures, around the power supply to the MGU-K in particular, were higher than expected. What we didn't expect is that it would have such a significant impact. The MGU-K shut down on both cars and unfortunately we couldn't reset it. We keep these things under constant observation and are aware of the points at which they should become critical. In this case, it was something we hadn't experienced before. We've been so diligent with this new technology, but then you have one small glitch that can shut down an entire system. These things can happen but it was extremely detrimental to our race. It's something we have to analyse, understand and rectify."

Explaining how Rosberg to continue whilst his teammate couldn't, a turn of events that sent some scurrying to message boards and social media, Wolff explained. "When you lose the electric motor you lose the braking power from that system, so the brakes were overheating quite significantly on both cars. We told the drivers to manage the brakes: to change the balance forwards and to be as careful as they could be. Both of them did exactly what was asked of them but these things are extremely marginal. Sitting in the pits, the temperatures were getting even higher as there was no cooling to help control the levels. Unfortunately for Lewis, when he left the pits his brakes started to go soft and then the pedal went straight to the floor at the final chicane. It was just as case of extremely bad luck for Lewis, while Nico was more fortunate."

All of which means that Rosberg now has a 22 point advantage over his teammate, something which is hardly likely to improve Hamilton's attitude especially considering events on Saturday when the German claimed pole position on a track said to be the Briton's own.

"We are sorry to have let Lewis down," said Wolff. "It's a real shame, particularly when the championship battle is as close as it is this year, but he's in good spirits. He's a fighter and I have no doubt that he will come back stronger than ever.

"There is still a long way to go with twelve races remaining - thirteen if you count the double points round - so his challenge is far from over. This race shows how quickly things can change, so I think it will go right down to the last race.

"As for Nico, he deserved the points he gained. He was managing a car that was severely handicapped compared to those around him, but managed to pull out a mega first sector where the power loss was not so influential for lap after lap. It was a great drive."

Referring to the incident prior to Hamilton's retirement, one of which saw Rosberg take to the run off area at the final chicane, a move subsequently repeated by his teammate, not to mention the German's slamming of the door at the start causing the second Mercedes losing out to Vettel, Wolff said: "In terms of the first, at the start, Lewis was better off the line than Nico and they were running side-by-side into Turn One. Nico was late on the brakes and ran deep into the corner, which meant Lewis had to back off and go onto the grass. In my view it was hard but fair racing.

"Then, later on, Nico came into the final chicane two car lengths in front of Lewis and emerged five ahead of him after locking his brakes and going straight on. The stewards could have given him a five second penalty or a warning and the second option was what they decided to do. He actually affected his own race, as he badly flat-spotted a tyre Lewis flagged it to us on the radio - which is totally normal - but it was a tricky situation to call and in the end we were all ok with the decision."

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