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Second formation lap kills clutch: Massa steals victory from Hamilton

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Second formation round kills clutch
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E A lot of things have to happen for Mercedes to win a Grand Prix loses. The constellation before the Hungarian GP was as good as it could be for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The two Silver Arrows started together from the front row. After two corners they were in 3rd and 4th place. As in Silverstone, a bad start had invited the competition to overtake. In England it was Williams, in Hungary Ferrari.

Does Mercedes have a starting problem?

The question arises: Does Mercedes have a starting problem? 'We don't do it on purpose. That much is certain,' regretted one engineer. 'But you can see it that way. Our starts are not constant enough. We recently had problems with the calibration of the clutch.' Often a small irregularity is enough to mess up the complicated interplay of forces at the start.

Team boss Toto Wolff reveals what threw Hamilton off track. 'The second lap of formation destroyed the clutch calibration. It got way too hot and therefore slipped.' Clever observers will say: Felipe Massa stole the victory from Hamilton. It was the Brazilian who caused the first attempt to start to be aborted. He wasn't in his starting box correctly.

Hamilton makes too many mistakes

Hamilton was also in the race fastest man on the track. When the best in training was finally able to drive freely, he took off winner Sebastian Vettel between three and eight tenths. But the world champion had a pitch-black day. One lined up one mistake after the other. Already on the starting lap he collided with his teammate Nico Rosberg, sled through the gravel bed of the chicane and crashed into 10th place. After that, the number 44 Mercedes was missing part of the front wing. The total downforce sank by one percent.

Halfway through the Grand Prix, things were looking pretty good again for the four-time Hungarian winner. Hamilton was fourth behind the two Ferrari and Nico Rosberg. But then the world championship leader ran away again at the restart after the SafetyCar phase. When Daniel Ricciardo attacked with the advantage of the softer tires, Hamilton pushed the Red Bull off the track and damaged the front wing even more.

The attack on Ricciardo was promptly punished by the race management. Hamiltonfirst had to pick up a new front wing and then once more punctually through the box. He spent a total of 2.07 minutes in the pit lane with six stops. Hamilton showed insight even during the race. He apologized over the radio to his team for the many blackouts.

At that moment, Hamilton believed that he would go home without any championship points. But then there was a crash further up the field and the five-time season winner buttoned his way up one after the other with his soft tires. In the end, he was rewarded with 8 points for sixth place. And he crossed the finish line in front of Rosberg.

12 seconds time for the tire choice

The idea of ​​the German is a riddle for everyone on the team. His Mercedes understeer also in the race. Exactly what Rosberg feared. Well, he had lost the entire Friday practice session because his mechanic had incorrectly installed the springs on the front axle. But in the third practice session the car felt pretty good again. Until it showed unusual quirks in the qualification and could not be cured again. 'We still don't know what was wrong with Nico's car,' said Wolff.

The choice of tires at the second pit stop was definitely wrong. Rosberg had switched from soft to medium at the first stop. Actually everyone expected that the World Cup runner-up would get the soft soles again for the final. To everyone's surprise, the Mercedes mechanics used the harder rubber compound again. There is a curious reason for that.

When Nico Hülkenberg's accident triggered a virtual safety car phase, Rosberg was right at the pit entrance. The command post reacted with lightning speed, but scored an own goal. 'Until Nico was standing in front of the garage, we had exactly 12 seconds to prepare the tires. But there was only one set of the tough set there,' explained the strategists. To practice self-criticism right away. 'We have to rethink this process if something like this happens again.'

For nine laps, Rosberg was the championship leader. He was in second place, Hamilton outside the points. Vettel in front of him, Ricciardo behind him. But then the second Mercedes collided with the Red Bull driver, who had a trump card in his hand with the soft tires. This time with serious consequences. Rosberg's left rear tire was slit. By the time he limped back to the pits, he lost eight places.

Even if Rosberg was eighth, it was a defeat. Instead of making up for points on his teammate, he dropped another 4 points. It was a new experience for Mercedes. For the first time since 2013, no Silver Arrow landed on the podium. 'If you add up our many incidents, we got away with a black eye,' said the team boss. One was happy about the Mercedes defeat. 'BernieEcclestone came to our motorhome after the race to say thank you, 'joked Wolff.

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