LEWIS HAMILTON had a day to forget at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he blew a golden opportunity to regain the lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
After title rival Max Verstappen crashed out with just FOUR laps to go, Hamilton suffered the same agonising fate when the race resumed.
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Verstappen was on the verge of winning the race when his left rear tyre gave way and sent him flying into the wall.
The 23-year, unscathed by the crash, got out of his Red Bull and kicked the faulty tyre in frustration before storming off.
The race was stopped two laps later due to debris on the track, giving Hamilton – then second behind Sergio Perez – a golden opportunity to regain the lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
The 36-year-old Brit was even in with a chance of winning the GP as he resumed alongside Perez on the front row.
And for a brief moment, it appeared he’d overtaken the Mexican in the Red Bull as his Mercedes pulled out in front at the restart.
But Hamilton locked up and flew off the track, making a mistake that could cost him dearly later in the season.
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With just two laps remaining in the race, the seven-time world champ did not have enough time to recover as Perez claimed his second career win.
Hamilton appeared to blame the mistake on a magic button, asking his team: “Did I leave the magic on? I could have sworn I turned that off.”
Aston Martin were also celebrating as Sebastian Vettel finished in second to claim his first podium for his new team.
And Pierre Gasly took home the third podium of his F1 career by holding off a late surge from Charles Leclerc, who had started on pole.
Hamilton remains four points behind leader Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the French GP – the seventh race of the season.