Mercedes believe that a trip over kerbs at Albert Park was responsible for causing the floor damage suffered by Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix. Pole-sitter Hamilton was jumped off the line by team-mate Valtteri Bottas and then failed to hang onto the Finn's coat-tails as he romped to victory.
Hamilton took his sixth consecutive Melbourne pole, and eighth overall, but failed to convert it into Sunday success for a fourth year in a row.
Soon after the race, Mercedes confirmed that the 'tyre seal' at the left-rear area of Hamilton's floor had been broken, which the team believes explains the reigning champion's off-colour performance.
"On inspection of Lewis's car after the race, we noticed some damage over what we call the tyre seal area," Vowles said in Mercedes' 'Pure Pitwall' debrief.
"We saw the broken carbon just in front of that rear tyre on that floor region. That area is quite sensitive aerodynamically, both for downforce and also for balance of the car, and we believe we sustained it during the race while riding over some kerbs.
"Lewis already had a very long stint on that Medium tyre after covering off the threat from Vettel's undercut, so he was already having to manage those tyres quite significantly, hindering his progress through the race.
"That floor damage wouldn't have helped.
"It would have caused the rear to be more unstable than it normally would be, and he did a fantastic job bringing that car to the end of the race."
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