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GP Week : Issue 210
The relaxed and genuine smile said it all. Yes, Lewis said the right things – shame for the team that Nico didn’t score, and all that – but you could see it in his face: the natural order of things has been restored; things are back to even; look out! Yup, Mr Grumpy of Season 2014 Part 1 has slipped quietly away – and the championship is once again all to play for. Across the garage, it was a bitterly disappointing night. From the moment they started the car in the garage to head out on the parade lap there was an issue, and there was no simple fix. Technical direc tor Paddy Lowe explained: "That was a bittersweet af ternoon for the team – a fantastic win for Lewis tempered by disappointment at the technical problem with Nico's car. “A lthough we have not yet fully understood the causes, Nico suffered an electronic problem within his steering column. This manifested itself on his laps to the grid and we changed the steering wheel on the grid in the hope this might resolve the issue. “But it became clear as soon as he started the race that only his gear change paddles were working. This meant he had no control over the clutch, or the many different func tions he manages from the steering wheel. Among other things, he had significantly reduced energy deployment, which meant he couldn't pass even the slower cars he encountered. “At the pit stop, the car became stuck in neutral and we decided to retire because we judged that the mechanism required to restart would have been too dangerous. I can only of fer my commiserations and apologies to Nico. “On the other side of the garage, Lewis delivered a fantastic per formance. The pace was strong and our tyre endurance bet ter than that of our competitors. We were backed into a corner by the Safety Car at the mid-point of the race, when others decided to go to the end on the prime tyre. But we s tuck to our guns, made the right strategy call to stay out and Lewis did the rest. “We had hoped to pull the full pit- stop gap over Vettel before Lewis made his final stop but the tyres didn't quite last long enough. That lef t Lewis with a lit tle work to do when he emerged from the pits, but he enjoyed a significant per formance advantage on fresh tyres and made a good pass into Turn 7. It was a very controlled drive and a hard- earned win." Bye bye Mr Grumpy 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SINGAPORE PARTNERS: