After dominating at the Hungaroring on Friday and Saturday, the Hungarian Grand Prix did not go at all to plan for the championship leader Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.
A slow start from pole position saw him drop to fourth at the first corner, and a trip through the gravel trap later after locking up his front wheels behind team-mate Nico Rosberg on the opening lap meant he fell all the way down to tenth.
He had recovered back up into fourth by the time the safety car was deployed to clear the debris from the circuit from Nico Hulkenberg’s crashed Force India, but on the restart clashed with Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, breaking his front wing and earning himself a drive-through penalty.
Despite the additional trips to the pit lane to replace the front wing and take his penalty, Hamilton was able to climb back into sixth position at the chequered flag, but felt the whole afternoon was tough for him, with the Briton not blaming anyone else but himself.
“That was a very tough afternoon,” said Hamilton. “The team did everything right and the car clearly had the pace – I just had a very bad day at the office.
“It was one of the worst races I think I’ve had and I don’t really have any explanation for it at the moment. All I can do is apologise to the team and work hard to make amends at the next race.
“My start wasn’t ideal and the Ferraris were really quick off the line, so suddenly I was under attack from both sides. It was tight with Nico later in the lap where I locked up and went off, then of course there was the incident with Daniel.
“It wasn’t deliberate but it was my fault. He took a tight line around the outside and I just lost grip, ran out of road and under-steered into him. That meant a drive through which dropped me right back again after all that work to make it back through.
“From there I just had to tell myself to calm down and not give up so I could fight back for some points. You could see in that phase that the pace of the car was really strong and the pace was really there all weekend.
“I just made too many mistakes today. In the end, it’s damage limitation in terms of points for the Championship so I just need to take the positives into the summer and bounce back in Spa.”