Mercedes explains Lewis Hamilton’s Austrian GP damage

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton finished the Austrian Grand Prix in P4, mostly due to his car sustaining damage while he was going to over a sausage kerb.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said after the race that the damage might have cost the Briton 30 points of downforce, and now Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin gives more details.

“The bit that got damaged is some of the winglets that sit on the rear uprights, so the carbon work there, it’s quite intricate aerodynamic parts that generate an awful lot of the performance on the car actually,” the Briton said in Mercedes’ Austrian Grand Prix debrief.

“It is a very sensitive area and we are measuring the pressures in those areas and from that, we can calculate the performance.

“Now, the estimates were around 30 to 40 points of downforce. That translates to around six or seven-tenths of a second per lap, so quite a substantial amount.”

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Shovlin goes on to explain that the damage also brought increased tyre wear that forced the team to pit the Briton for the second time.

“It all came off the rear axle so Lewis had a lot of oversteer on that stint, the backend of the car is sliding around, it’s heating the tyres and wearing the tyres.

“That problem starts to compound itself with higher rates of degradation, so ultimately it cost Lewis the P2 position.

“It also meant that we decided to stop for another set of tyres just to make sure he could get to the end,” concluded Shovlin.

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