It was a challenging qualifying session for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team with two accidents in Q3 – but encouraging pace bodes well for this weekend’s racing.
Continuing the progress seen in Silverstone, the W13 showed competitive single-lap performance today with both drivers in Spielberg.
Lewis Hamilton was on course to improve his lap time in Q3 when a snap on the entry to Turn Seven saw him lose the rear end and crash.
Following the red flag for Lewis’s accident, George Russell was on course to improve his time when he lost the rear end of the car on entry to Turn Ten, after it was unsettled on the Turn Nine exit kerb.
Although neither starting position reflects the car’s full potential, and there is much work ahead to rebuild both machines, the team is optimistic they can deliver strong pace in both the Sprint and Grand Prix.
‘I think that was our best qualifying session of the year in terms of pure pace – and the worst in terms of the outcome. Racing can be like that sometimes. I could have been P4 this afternoon and I was one tenth up on my lap, and absolutely went for it because I thought there was a chance of P3. I’m feeling fine physically – but I’m concerned about the car. I hope we can recover it. In terms of performance, there are positive signs. We have brought some things to the car, and the interpretation of some rules has probably been in our favour, too. Lewis was doing a phenomenal job and absolutely flying today. Maybe I went a bit the wrong direction on set-up for qualifying; but hopefully that will be good for the race. Ordinarily we have better race pace than single lap, so hopefully tomorrow, we can make up for today.’
‘I’m incredibly disappointed in myself ultimately and so sorry to the team. Everyone worked so hard to put the car together -and I never like to bring it back damaged. I don’t have an answer right now to what happened. I lost the back end in Turn Seven and that was that. I was encouraged to see our performance, though. I think we were fighting for a top three start – and we weren’t expecting to be that close. That’s a huge positive for the team. I’m starting quite far back, and I’m not sure what’s possible from there. We have the Sprint tomorrow as well as the race on Sunday; hopefully tomorrow I can make up for some lost time.’
‘A frustrating finish to what was looking like a decent qualifying session. The car has been working well and first practice was busy and productive. The balance was pretty good through that session which is useful with only one hour before qualifying to sort out the setup. We’d tweaked the balance a bit going into qualifying and were putting some solid laps in when both drivers had moments and ended up in the wall. We’ve got our work cut out trying to get the cars onto the grid tomorrow. We are still assessing the extent of it but both accidents caused damage to several of the same components on each car, which makes it quite difficult from a spares point of view. We’ll do what we can to make sure that both cars are competing. If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it’s that the Sprint gives us some opportunity to make it further up the grid ahead of the main race. We’ll be working hard towards that objective.’