Mercedes explain Hamilton front-wing damage in Austria
Mercedes have revealed that Lewis Hamilton damaged the device used to adjust his front wing during the Austrian Grand Prix, which necessitated a pit-stop for a time-costly nose change.
Hamilton was ahead of both Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen in 'net' positions until he had to stop for a front wing change, costing him a place to the Dutchman, and perhaps allowing Vettel the chance to overtake him for fourth place later in the race after a second stop.
The championship leader had also broken two front wing in practice over the unforgiving 'sausage' kerbs at the Red Bull Ring, with the incident in the race putting his car well off-balance, trackside chief Andrew Shovlin explained.
"He was running on the kerb at Turn 10 and the flap adjuster broke," Shovlin said in Mercedes' YouTube debrief.
"That's the thing we use to change the angle of the flaps on the left and right side of the wing, that changes how much downforce it produces and this is one of the main tools the drivers and the engineers use to balance the car, they are trying to put more load on the front.
"When it broke on that kerb, it drops down. It only drops by a few degrees but it means that he's got understeer then in all those fast corners."
Shovlin confirmed that Mercedes could have adjusted the other side of the front wing so that it matched the faulty half, although this would have lost too much performance, making a change necessary.
He added: "We were looking at the readings we were getting on that wing, trying to understand if there was the range to do it, just by adding more wing on the other side of the car and it was quite clear that wouldn't be enough.
"So that was then we had to take the pit stop, which is about an additional eight seconds, but overall that would have been quicker for the race as a whole, because he would of otherwise been slower by at least half a second a lap."
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