Mercedes explains what led to Hamilton / Russell Sprint Shootout incident

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes’ Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott says: “We’ll review the footage, we’ll review the radio communications and we will see what learnings we can extract.”

The Belgian Grand Prix Sprint Shootout did not go the way Mercedes had hoped, with Lewis Hamilton qualifying in P7 and George Russell in P10.

To make things worse, Lewis had an opportunity to fight for pole, but his final SQ3 lap was essentially ruined because George did not move for him quickly enough.

Mercedes’ Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott explains why the incident happened.

“In order to explain that, I think I first need to explain how difficult it is to get right in the first place,” Elliott said.

“When you’ve got a track that is drying it is nearly always the case the quickest lap is going to be the very last lap of the run.

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“And so your first laps are about getting a banker lap in and then as you get to the end of the session you want to be at the right place so you are just about crossing the line at the end of the session with your tyres in the right window.

“So, we are pretty much heading towards that but what we could see was in the last corners, so in 18 and 19, where you get to open the lap there was a lot of queuing, a lot of cars there, and so we were worried about getting over the line before the session ended.

“And we were asking our drivers to speed up, they thought they had less time available than they really did and as a result of that we ended up with our two cars too close together.

“As it happened, I think a number of cars were disadvantaged. A number of the cars were far too close together, so we weren’t the only ones that were struggling.

“Unfortunately for us, our two drivers tripping over each other pretty much meant that we didn’t get the laps that we wanted and therefore didn’t get the sprint qualifying result we really hoped for.”

Elliott added the team will review the whole situation, to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

“As always we’ll go back, we’ll review the footage, we’ll review the radio communications and we will see what learnings we can extract, work out how we can improve for the future,” he added.

“I am definitely sure there are some learnings we can extract from this weekend,” the Briton concluded.

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