Mercedes said Sunday a software glitch may have cost world champion Lewis Hamilton victory after Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari won the Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was in control of Sunday’s race until Romain Grosjean’s Haas stopped on track and officials imposed a Virtual Safety Car (VSC), which restricts the pace of the cars on track.
The VSC caused the field to slow while Vettel, who was leading courtesy of Hamilton’s earlier stop, was able to dive into the pits for fresh tyres and lose less time than under normal race conditions.
It meant Vettel (pictured) emerged from the pits marginally in front of a startled Hamilton and held on to his advantage to the chequered flag for his third Australian GP victory.
“What just happened guys?” Hamilton queried his Mercedes team over radio during the race. “Why didn’t you tell me Vettel was in the pits? “We thought we were safe, but there’s obviously something wrong,” the team replied. “Did I do anything wrong? Should I have gone faster?” Hamilton pressed further.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said an investigation would be needed to find out what happened.
“It’s very hard to take because we had the pace. For whatever reason, we need to find out, we lost the win,” Wolff told Sky F1. -AFP