Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Hamilton was taking corners 10kph quicker when he crashed – Wolff

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s crashes in yesterday’s qualifying session show the Mercedes is still “tricky to drive” despite its more competitive showing in Austria, says team principal Toto Wolff.

Both drivers ended yesterday’s Q3 session in the barriers after spinning off. Hamilton had increased his apex speed in the quick corners at the middle of the lap when the car got away from him in turn seven, Wolff explained.

“The car is still tricky to drive and now that we can actually fight for front positions I’m really happy to see that they attack,” he said. “Lewis, the corner before, was carrying 10kph more speed and made turn six. Then he carried 10kph more speed into seven and didn’t make the corner.”

Russell’s crash was similar, said Wolff. “You saw that he was up on his delta time and that was a particular strength of his previous runs and it went too far.

“Whether there was wind or any other conditions, I think the summary is the car is tricky to drive but it’s faster now and for me that’s absolutely okay.”

Wolff believes the two drivers would have been close to the fight for pole position yesterday. “The lap, the last few corners that Lewis attacked were the fastest overall.

“Would we have fought for pole position? I’m not sure but we would have been maybe within a tenth, a tenth and a half of the front runners.

“That’s on a circuit where our car really wasn’t happy before. So that’s improvement. And I’d rather have two cars in the wall fighting for pole than a car that is P8 and drives Steady Eddie.”

The crashes left “a lot of damage” to the team’s cars, which Wolff said they are still assessing the extent of.

“We have two floors, two [gear]boxes that we need to check, the rear wing, bits and pieces. Yesterday in the garage in the early evening it looked like somebody dropped a Lego car on the floor. The mechanics are doing great work.”

The damage will have “cost cap implications”, he added, “but the biggest is the mechanics have to work around the clock. So we hope we can have a good car for the sprint race to put us in a good position for tomorrow.”

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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4 comments on “Hamilton was taking corners 10kph quicker when he crashed – Wolff”

  1. Looking for the limit is all well and good, but you have to get the banker in first. It’s a short lap so there’s time for three runs if necessary; No need to go Banzai that early.

  2. I did notice on the onboard of the crash, he took turn 7 in 7th gear… That is absolute madness compared to last year. Even though higher gears provide more stability, he was carrying way too much speed than the car’s capability, and with one of the strongest tailwinds during the session, he was bound to lose the car. Cars this year appear to be matching or faster in the high speed corners than 2021 cars. But they are 6 tenths slower in the first sector. Are they losing six tenths in just one corner?

  3. I’ve never heard so many excuses for a crash before – not from Lewis or Mercedes so much but from the British media and then from fans who parrot wheat they hear.

    Sky can’t stop talking about wind! It’s mentioned every few seconds on their coverage.

    Now Toto is admitting he went 10kph faster than he had before so clearly, he just pushed it too far and span off. Driver mistakes happen. It’s ok to view it as a mistake rather than having to make excuses….

  4. Having a different race engineer very likely played a part too.

    My Guess is Hamilton was told he’s loosing time in the corners and tried to make that delta, without the rear wing to support the corner at those speeds.

    Its all about setup, when these sprint weekends doesn’t leave you as much time as you’re use to. Mercedes
    gambled for track position on speed downs the straights, over speed on the few corners of this track, and lost that gamble.

    The next race should be very different, that said this race weekend isn’t over yet….

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