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Mercedes to adjust ‘magic brake button’ after Lewis Hamilton blunder at Azerbaijan GP restart

Lewis Hamilton brakes at Azerbaijan GP restart
Photo: Daimler Media

Mercedes is going to come up with a different procedure for their ‘magic brake procedure’ to prevent the system from being activated accidentally. During the restart of the Azerbaijan GP, ​​Lewis Hamilton went straight ahead and lost valuable points in the battle for the championship.

The now world famous button to activate the magic brake setting is located on the back of the steering wheel at Mercedes. Pushing that button shifts the brake balance for the most part to the front wheels, which is useful for getting heat into the brakes quickly, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott said in a video of the team on YouTube.

“One of the buttons we have, called ‘brake magic’, is a button that the riders can press to put heat into the brakes,” explains Elliott.

“One of the main things it does is shift the brake balance — the ratio between the energy of the front brakes and that of the rear brakes — as far forward as possible.”

“And that allows us to put heat into the front brakes and, consequently, into the rims and tires.”

During the formation lap Lewis Hamilton carried out the procedure as usual but something went wrong just after the start, a decisive moment in a situation under pressure.

“Lewis had done everything right, he had put the car on the grid, he switched off the different buttons and settings that he had to switch off, he switched on the one he had to switch on and he was all set to start the race right.”

“He made a great start, got next to Perez and as he and Perez switched positions, Lewis swerved and in that maneuver he hit the conscious button.”

“Unfortunately, he didn’t feel he had done it, so he didn’t realize he was going to have a problem.”

“The moment he braked, which was the normal point for him to brake, he was in a position where he had shifted all the braking balance forward. All the braking power was on the front tires and as a result they locked up, from then on he couldn’t do anything but move.”

Hamilton could hit himself in the head and took responsibility for his mistake, but Mercedes also hit mea culpa.

“I know, when I spoke to Lewis yesterday, I felt that part of him feels guilty,” Elliott said. “But the reality is that Lewis makes so very few mistakes and that’s what really sets him apart from some of the other drivers.”

“It is our duty to try and give him a car in which it is more difficult for him to make mistakes.”

“We have to take our share of the responsibility and see how we can improve that. That is something we will put into practice for the next race.”

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