Mercedes exonerated Lewis Hamilton for the "rookie error" late in the Brazilian Grand Prix which kickstarted a chain of events which would see the Formula 1 world champion miss out on a podium at Interlagos.
Hamilton struggled for answers in a battle with Max Verstappen throughout the race and the Dutchman looked to have sealed things when he took advantage of Valtteri Bottas' retirement to fit fresh tyres and then pass Hamilton after the subsequent safety car was called in.
Bernd Maylander was soon back on-track as the Ferraris collided, however time was running out and a clear-up operation meant track position was key, but Hamilton pitted after a conversation with race engineer Pete Bonington – who had told him he would lose a spot from third.
In fact, Hamilton lost two, dropping to fourth behind Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon. The Toro Rosso was easily passed, but Hamilton clipped Albon – pitching the Thai driver into a spin which cost him a podium and earning a penalty which left him seventh.
Technical director James Allison said: "Having not had the shiniest of races to that point, we then just did something plain dumb, which was - we thought we were exchanging a place for fresh rubber with enough laps left to get that place back properly and then have a go for the lead.
"That was just factually incorrect because we were exchanging two places, we hadn't factored [in] Gasly and secondly with the amount of debris on the track, there was just a lot more laps taken up by the safety car than we'd anticipated.
"And that was just, I think, that your rookie error of a not quite quick enough car on the day and trying to stretch too far for victory. It wasn't on, we just made a mistake.
"This was entirely our fault, because we saw what we thought was a fleeting opportunity. It was not at all clear to us that it was the right thing to do. But there was a possibility.
"We thought, well, let's give Lewis a chance to give his view, which we shouldn't have done because we didn't give him the right information."
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