A tough end to what looked like being a promising day for you, Lewis. Talk us through it?
It was a bit of a rollercoaster weekend for me. A tough start on Friday morning but improvement during the afternoon, then a great result on Saturday but an early finish on Sunday. On the positive side, the car clearly has great pace as Nico demonstrated. He did a great job out there and I’m really pleased for the team that we were able to get one car home and at the front of the field.
What was the problem?
We had a problem with the Power Unit. One of the cylinders in the engine was not firing, so I was driving on five cylinders even on the warm-up lap. I noticed something didn’t feel right and the start confirmed it. When I went to pull away there was much less power than you would usually expect and people were just streaming past. I stayed out initially as the car was still running, so I thought perhaps we could figure it out. But in the end it was the right decision to retire. It’s unfortunate but that’s racing.
How frustrating is it to start the season on such a note?
I’m pretty relaxed about it. I did everything I could and the team did everything they could so it’s nobody’s fault. It’s something we’ll learn from and it’s better to have it happen now than at the end of the season. We’ve achieved a lot already just by being on the grid and being competitive. Of course, when I think about all the long days and nights put in by the team back at both factories, to have one small hiccup prove so costly is tough. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Do you see this as a blow to your Championship hopes even at this early stage?
It’s too early to say how much of an impact these things will have so I’m staying positive. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s a long way to go yet. We’ll recover from this and I’m looking forward to bouncing back at one of our home races in Malaysia.