After starting the race with an obvious speed advantage over the rest of the field in Montreal, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team saw Lewis Hamilton retire after a rear brake failure, while Nico Rosberg limped home in second place after managing a power-loss issue that affected both cars around the half distance mark of the race.
Rosberg admitted the whole race was a tough day at the office, especially after the fight with Hamilton and the reduction of power from his power unit’s MGU-K. He felt comfortable holding off the Force India of Sergio Perez with the reduced power, but was powerless to hold back the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo three laps from the end.
“That was a big battle all the way through today,” said Rosberg. “I had a tough start but I was able to defend in the first few corners and fight against Lewis. The race went smoothly for a while then both cars suddenly lost the MGU-K system and a lot of power, which was really tough. Then I lost some time in the second pit stop, which let Lewis jump me and I was struggling to cool the rear brakes down so it was all happening.
“Towards the end of the race, I tried to defend against Sergio which was fine but Daniel was too fast on the straights with much more power than I had available and he was able to get past. With so much going on, I had to ask my engineer where I finished at the end as I thought I was probably about fifth or sixth. I was so happy to hear that I was in P2! They are important points for me in the championship, so it was a tough but ultimately good day.”
Team-mate Hamilton put up a good fight for the race lead and suffered the same issue as Rosberg a lap before the German. He eventually was forced to retire from the race with a rear brake issue that occurred the lap after he made his second pit stop.
“I did the best that I could out there today and felt like I was having a strong race but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day,” admitted a disappointed Hamilton. “Montreal has been a good track for me so to come here and not finish is disappointing but there are plenty more races ahead of us this season so let’s hope for better fortune.
“There was nothing I could do about our issues really. We were managing the loss of power but as soon as I finally made the jump on Nico in the second pit stop, my brakes failed going into turn 10. It’s great for the team that Nico was able to hold on and get second place today but it’s tough for me. That’s two DNFs now this season and now I have to try and recover the points gap again. But these are learning experiences: we’ll learn as a team and get stronger.”
Executive Director (Business) Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton for the mechanical issues that saw his race end early, but also praised Rosberg for the outstanding effort of getting the car home with the problems his car also endured.
“First of all, I must say I feel very sorry for Lewis,” said Wolff. “His retirement was not his fault in any way and it is something the team has to take on the chin. Both drivers were doing a great job up to the point when the MGU-K failed. That also led to the brake failure that forced Lewis to retire after the second pit stop.
“Nico did a sensational job to get the car home and it was a fantastic piece of damage limitation given how much power he was giving away to the other cars. Now we will stick together as a team, analyse and understand what happened, and come out of this situation even stronger.”
Technical Executive Director Paddy Lowe believed another 1-2 finish was on the cards as both drivers were easily faster than the rest of the field before suffering their power unit issues just after mid-distance. He explained that an issue with the high-voltage Control Electronics caused both cars to lose the hybrid power that affected the straight-line speed of the two Mercedes.
“We knew this would be a very tough race and so it proved,” said Lowe. “We were able to run at a good level of performance at the beginning of the race. We then experienced a near-simultaneous failure of the MGU-K on both cars just after half distance, which was apparently caused by an issue in the high-voltage Control Electronics which manage the MGU-K. This meant both cars lost hybrid power from this point onwards and, without the additional braking force of the MGU-K, this also put a much higher load on the rear brakes.
“Lewis then suffered a complete rear brake failure after his second pit stop, which was a consequence of the MGU-K fault. Nico was not affected in the same way and managed incredibly to maintain position from lap 37 to lap 67, making up time in the first and second sectors in order to defend in sector three, when he was considerably down on power. This was achievable against the Force India but not the Red Bull after Ricciardo finally passed Perez. It is disappointing to see our run of race wins and 1-2 finishes come to an end.”