He then slowed and commenced the lap back to the pitlane at little more than walking pace, still saying nothing at all. Curiously, there was no motivational message or any comment from Toto Wolff, just at the time that you would think Hamilton needed some support.
In the absence of any interjection from the boss, a few corners into the lap a somewhat hesitant Bonnington said: “Well done this weekend mate. Some real positives to come out of it. Err… yeah, obviously disappointed, but we’ll bounce back from this one, no sweat.”
Hamilton still said nothing as he cruised around. He stretched out that lap from taking the flag to stopping in parc ferme to a remarkable 4min 20sec – arriving a full minute after Mazepin.
Having switched off his power unit he remained in the car for another minute, looking straight ahead, still in total silence. It was only after Bonnington eventually told him to change a steering wheel setting “if you’re still sat in there” that Hamilton finally said in a strained, gentle voice, “Did I have the magic on?”
“Ah yeah bud, just knocked that on,” said Bonnington. “We’ll have a look at it in a bit.”
After a long pause Hamilton added: “I could have sworn I turned it off.”
“Yeah you did, but knocked it on with the upshift,” his engineer replied. “We’ll have a chat later.”
Finally, after sitting in the car for a full two minutes, Lewis popped his belts and began the process of climbing out.
So what is the relevance of all this? Only that it provides a little insight into the powerful emotions that must have been coursing through Hamilton as he tried to process what has just happened, and the potential impact on his World Championship challenge.
He knew that one way or another, he’d made a mistake – Bonnington at least confirmed that a fluke nudge from his gloved hand, rather than a procedural lapse on his part.