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Formula 1

Mercedes: Qualifying crashes made Austrian GP “very difficult”

2022 Austrian Grand Prix, Friday - Steve Etherington. Credits: Mercedes.

Mike Elliott admitted that the crashes Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had in Austrian GP qualifying made the weekend more challenging for them.

Both Hamilton and Russell crashed their cars during the final segment of the Austrian GP qualifying. It forced Mercedes to do a lot of work on the cars, including the replacement of Hamilton’s chassis, in order to be ready for FP2 and the Sprint. Elliott revealed that the accidents affected Mercedes’ race weekend.

“When you crash two cars, it’s always going to make for a very difficult weekend from then onwards,” the Mercedes technical director said in the team’s post-Austrian GP video.

“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, and on Lewis’ car we also damaged the front wing and [suffered] some cosmetic damage to the chassis.

“[It was] damage that we can repair, but not repair over a weekend.

“That meant completely rebuilding Lewis’ 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.

“It also meant we were compromised on George’s rear wing.

“We only had one complete spare rear wing that we chose to fit to Lewis’ 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.

“Having rebuilt the cars, we also had to dial in the set-up again.

“You’ve got very limited time in FP2 to do that, and that was always going to be another compromise.”

Elliott added that both drivers had to avoid getting damage during the Sprint, otherwise Mercedes risked to miss Sunday’s race.

“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.”

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