Mercedes reveals how Quali crashes compromised their weekend

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes’ Technical Director Mike Elliott reveals the extent of damage done to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s cars after their Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying crashes.

Although the W13 was showing promise during the Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ultimately crashed into the barriers causing great damage to their cars.

The team managed to fix and rebuild the cars in time for Saturday’s second free practice, but they had to make some compromises.

“When you crash two cars it’s always going to make for a very difficult weekend from then onwards,” Elliott said.

“We’ve done quite a lot of damage to the cars so, we’ve broken both floors, we’ve broken both rear wings, we damaged quite a lot of suspension, on Lewis’s car we also damaged the front wing and done some cosmetic damage to the chassis.

“So, damage that we can repair but not repair over a weekend. That meant completely rebuilding Lewis’s car from scratch and it meant also trying to build one floor out of two.

“We had one complete spare we could fit and we had to get the best out of the two crashed floors to build another and it also meant we were compromised on George’s rear wing because we only had one complete spare rear wing.

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“We chose to fit [that] to Lewis’s car because he was going to have to come through the field which meant that George had to fit a rear wing which was probably not the ideal level of downforce, it was a bit too much downforce for that circuit.”

The Briton then explained how Mercedes had to keep in mind during Sprint Qualifying that more damage done to their cars would prevent them from competing in the main race on Sunday.

“Having rebuilt the cars we also had to dial in the setup again. You’ve got very limited time in FP2 to do that and that was always going to be another compromise.

“Then finally having damaged two cars as badly as we did on Friday the drivers are now in a position where if we damage them in the sprint race we may well be in a position where we couldn’t race on Sunday.

“So, all of that has to be factored in and all of that sort of compromises your weekend,” Elliott concluded.

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