Although the pace of Mercedes’ car in Austrian Grand Prix first free practice and most of qualifying seemed very promising, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell didn’t manage to extract its full potential, as they both crashed into the barriers while on their Q3 flying laps.
Mercedes’ Mike Elliott says the crashes happened because the duo were pushing their cars to the limit.
“I think if you saw on Friday, we were encouraged by the pace we had,” Elliott said in Mercedes’ race debrief video.
“I think in qualifying we were going through the various qualifying sessions thinking, you know, that we had a strong chance to getting ourselves on the front row of the grid, a position we haven’t found ourselves in in recent races.
“That is possibly why we ended up with two accidents with both cars: the drivers were just trying to find that extra little bit in the car, trying to get ourselves onto that front row of the grid, the potential pace we believe we had in that car.
“While we want to be fighting at the front, we want to be the quickest car we possibly can be…
“In circuits like this I think that’s a good result for us and it shows that the bits we are bringing to the car are starting to make the step forward we want to make.
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“Hopefully we can keep making those steps forward and get ourselves into a position where we can compete at the front in every race.”
Elliott also revealed the mechanics actually managed to rebuilt Lewis’ car from scratch in three and a half hours.
“There is a huge amount of work that went into getting those cars ready,” he explained.
“In Lewis’s case he had done so much damage to the chassis, actually only cosmetic damage, but damage that we couldn’t fix in the field. We had to sort of build his car from scratch on Saturday morning.
“So, that car had to be built from nothing, fitting the engine, the gearbox, all the suspension, all of the sort of car systems that bolt around the chassis, all had to be put in place.
“The mechanics managed to do that in three and a half hours on Saturday morning, which is an amazing achievement, and all credit to them for actually getting us back out and into FP2.
“The advantage of getting out into FP2 is that you can actually make sure that the set-up on Lewis’s car was right, that the balance was right and that he was happy with the car in time for [the] Sprint,” Elliott concluded.