Mercedes officials have confirmed that the front wing damage on Lewis Hamilton’s W12 car made the car 0.6 seconds slower every lap.
The Emilia Romagna GP race started in one of the worst ways possible – he lost the lead and while being passed by Max Verstappen, the Mercedes driver hit the curbs and jumped several times. Quite naturally, he damaged his front wing, which impacted the car performance significantly. According to the team’s trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, the losses were quite big as the Briton lost up to 0.6 a lap at some point.
“Initially it was quite large. And the reason for that was because the footplate of the front wing hadn’t come away completely. It was dangling off and held on by the pressures tappings we use to measure the aero performance of those parts,” Shovlin said at the Mercedes’ race debrief.
“And while this was flapping around, it was causing a big loss, so around six-tenths of a second that was affecting him in the opening laps. Now eventually, that bit of the front wing fell off completely and that was quite good for Lewis; it halved the loss,” he added.
After the footplate finally disappeared, the car was quicker, but still was off the ideal pace.
“What we were seeing later on was a loss of two to three tenths, but that affected him throught the whole of the intermediate stint and in the early part of the stint on the medium tyres,” Shovlin commented.
In the end, the front wing was repaired during the red flag period and eventually the car performance came back to the needed level.
“Now happily, that was the only damage he’d sufferered and when we got the red flag, we were allowed to fix damage on the car so we could put on a new front wing and it was back to being normal,” Andrew Shovlin said in the conclusion.
Lewis Hamilton went on to finish 2nd in last Sunday’s Emilia Romagna GP.