Lewis Hamilton says that he felt like “a sitting duck” during Sunday’s European Grand Prix after an engine setting issue left him down on power for much of the race.
Hamilton started the race with his car in an incorrect mode, but was unable to get guidance from his Mercedes team on how to remedy the issue due to the new radio rules introduced for 2016 that ban in-car help.
Hamilton asked repeatedly which switch he needed to use and even considered guessing what to change before Mercedes advised him not to.
By the time the Briton had fixed the issue, he was 13 seconds adrift of Sergio Perez in fourth place, so opted to turn down his engine and settle for P5.
Mercedes confirmed that Hamilton had started the race in the wrong setting due to a configuration ons his steering wheel not working properly.
Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Hamilton made his frustration clear after seeing Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s championship lead grow once again to 24 points.
“It’s like being a sitting duck. It’s not cool but that’s the way it is,” Hamilton said.
“I was quickest. The guys said now you’re quickest, I’ve got my power back.
“I turned the engine down after that. I had 13 [seconds to the car] ahead and 14 behind, and I have less engines compared to Nico.”
Hamilton is already close to receiving a grid penalty as a result of excessive power unit component use so far this season.
“I’ve had a lot of engine problems this year, so not feeling too confident for future,” Hamilton admitted.
“But the last two races were great. Yesterday was a bad day for me, today perhaps bad for the team.
“Hopefully it wasn’t me. If it was, I’ll rectify that.”