Lewis Hamilton Magic Button – What Happened to his Brakes in Azerbaijan

lewis hamilton magic button

It was going to be an epic ending to an eventful Grand Prix in Azerbaijan in 2021. However, with two laps to the chequered flag, the standing restart turned out to be worst for Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver. It turns out that a Lewis Hamilton magic button was the reason.

When the lights went green during the restart, Hamilton was alongside Sergio Perez, and he even seemed to pass him before Turn 1.

Instead of turning, Car No. 44 went straight ahead. You could almost sense the shock across the entire world for those who were watching these final moments.

What really happened to Lewis Hamilton at the restart of Azerbaijan Grand Prix this year?

Lewis Hamilton Magic Button Fails Him in Azerbaijan – 2021.

While it is very rare to see Lewis Hamilton making mistakes, he did one that proved too costly to him.

After the race, it became clear that Hamilton had touch the brake ‘magic’ button by mistake. This was as he tried to avoid coming into contact with Sergio Perez of Red Bull.

It is this Lewis Hamilton magic button that denied him a chance to extend driver’s championship lead over Max Verstappen.

In tight championship fights, it is this kind of a mistake that prove very costly. It is too early to see if this will be an instance that will deny Hamilton the 8th driver’s championship in 2021.

What is the Magic Brake Switch in Formula One

This incident might have made you wonder what a magic button in F1 is, and what role it plays in racing.

One of the roles the magic button in F1 plays is in generating tyre temperatures during formation laps, preparation laps in practice and qualifying.

The magic button also works when behind a safety car. This was the case with Lewis Hamilton when he lined up for the standing restart of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this year.

In a nutshell, the magic button in F1 helps in heating up the brakes faster by changing the hybrid regeneration and brake bias setting pushing it forward.

If you look back through the last few years, talk of this “magic button” has always been there.

From a team radio conversation between Peter Bonnington and Lewis Hamilton during the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix and Hamilton being told to “cancel the brake magic” to George Russell discussing it after the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

“I went long because they’ve also got a magic button which moves the brake balance forwards, and what you do for the safety car. And it was such a late call that I forgot to turn it off,” Russell explained after his one-off Mercedes outing last season.

How the Magic Button Works in F1

As you are learning, the magic button in F1 plays a significant role. It can also be cause for a disastrous results to a driver as Hamilton learned.

You might be wondering, why was the Hamilton’s magic button tampered with before the standing start?

He simply did not even realize that the magic button in his car was turned on.

“I had no idea I’d even touched it,” Hamilton explained after the race.

What Lewis Hamilton’s Mistake in Azerbaijan Means in 2021.

To fully understand what the Turn 1 mistake by Lewis Hamilton in Baku means, you need to put it into context.

Lewis rarely makes mistakes. While he took responsibility for clipping the magic button during up shifts, you can clearly see this was not a deliberate mistake.

It makes you wonder how the results would have been had he not made that mistake. Well, you and I will never know. We can only speculate.

It is a very sobering reality, especially as the mistake has brought an end to Hamilton’s 54-race scoring streak. The last time Lewis failed to score any points in a race was when he retired from the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

This was the first time Lewis finished a race without any points since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.

It is crazy to think about such statistics. They also prove that the 7th world champion is human, and he can make mistakes too.

As for these magic button in F1 toggles, they are actually a really commonly used part of an F1 steering wheel.

Mercedes give their settings the nickname the ‘magic button’ for the preset toggles but each team will probably have their own settings for when the toggle is switched on or off.

What happened to Lewis Hamilton Brakes

The mistake that Lewis Hamilton made on Turn 1 at Azerbaijan Grand Prix can be attributed to brakes.

As Hamilton explained, he accidentally hit the brake magic button which basically turned off the rear brakes on his Mercedes at the restart.

This left him with no grip and he took the escape action at Turn 1.

I was as shocked as very many other fans who watched this race.

Who won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2021

The winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2021 turned out to be Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. He was very happy to complete the last lap and for the win.

It is possible the winner would have been Lewis Hamilton had he avoided the Turn 1 magic button mistake.  I hold this view because by the time they got to Turn 1 after the restart, Hamilton seemed to be ahead of Perez.

Sebastian Vettel was second, with Peirre Gasly taking the third podium position.

Sergio Perez took the lead position from Max Verstappen, who crashed out of the Azerbaijan race due to a tyre burst.

Lewis Hamilton finished 15th. This is his worst performance in 2021 season so far.


In conclusion, motor racing has ups and downs. The 2021 F1 race in Azerbaijan is one good example of how things can go wrong.

First it was Max, who missed on a chance to extend his championship lead over Hamilton.

After his crash, it was the turn for Lewis to extend take back the championship lead. Even with a P2 finish, he would have been 14 points ahead of Verstappen.

It was never to be. Lewis Hamilton clip on the magic button was all it took.