Lewis Hamilton turned brakes off with ‘magic’ button that led to Baku disaster
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Lewis Hamilton suffered a disaster at Sunday's Baku Grand Prix after pressing a "magic" button which switched off his brakes and sent him from first to last place at the opening corner.
The reigning world champion's chances of replacing Max Verstappen, who lost control of his Red Bull car and crashed into a wall on lap 47, at the top of the championship went up in smoke when he made a rare mistake at the very start of the race.
After accidentally pressing what he later referred to as a "magic" button, Hamilton knocked out his brakes and was therefore unable to turn at the first corner, instead drifting straight on off-track and falling to the bottom of the leaderboard.
Just before that nightmare moment he had warned his team that Sunday's race was "a marathon and not a sprint".
Hamilton, who apologised to his team over the radio, eventually pulled up in 15th place – meaning his 54-race run of finishing in the points has come to an end.
He then asked his team: "Did I have the magic on?", to which his race engineer replied: "Yeah, it looks like it was knocked back on".
The Mercedes star then said: "I could have sworn I switched it off."
The switch in question is designed to heat up tyres and brakes while drivers are making their way to the grid.
Hamilton later conceded that he knocked it when battling with race-winner Sergio Perez as he approached the first corner of the race.
"It was a humbling experience when we had worked so hard," he said.
"At the restart when Checo moved over, I clipped the switch and it switched the brakes off and I went straight on.
"It is very hard to take and I am very sorry to the men and women in the team, who worked so hard but we will come back. I had no idea it had touched the button."
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Nevertheless, when asked how they would get over the error, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "We have four or five hours on a plane and we will drink!
"[Hamilton] doesn't make any mistakes and that is what you need to remember. This is a team that is so strong and angry and we have to turn that into a positive."
READ MORE:Lewis Hamilton's grovelling apology to Mercedes team after fatal error at Azerbaijan GP
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- Lewis Hamilton
- Formula One
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