Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Hamilton says damage cost him an “easy second” in Austria

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says he “would have been an easy second” in the Austrian Grand Prix were it not for car damage, but doesn’t know how it occurred.

Hamilton started from fourth place at the Red Bull Ring, and moved up to third when Sergio Perez ran into the gravel while battling with Lando Norris.

He passed Norris before the end of his first stint, but claimed during his second that his Mercedes was damaged as he lost two positions and pitted for a second time. On the same strategy as race winner Max Verstappen, Hamilton finished 46.452 seconds behind.

“I already said before the race that it would be very hard to beat Max of course. But obviously it’s frustrating to lose so much downforce in the rear of the car and not be able to hold on to second place,” said Hamilton. “A lot of points lost today.

“I wasn’t going over the kerbs any more than anyone else, so I have no idea where it happened, but there’s a lot of damage.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
Finishing three positions behind Verstappen, while the Red Bull driver also claimed fastest lap, means 32 points now separates them at the top of the standings.

Hamilton was convinced he would have been second, and close enough to deny Verstappen the chance to make a second stop to go for fastest lap, without his damage.

“I would have been second. I was in second when all of a sudden it broke. So it would have been an easy second generally, but obviously not able to to catch those guys ahead.

“We’re miles away from them, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. We need all hands on deck, which I know they already are. And they’ve brought a lot of upgrades clearly over these past few races, and we haven’t bought any. So we’ve got to bring some, find as much performance as possible, otherwise this will be the result in most of them.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Austrian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Hamilton says damage cost him an “easy second” in Austria”

  1. We know where was the damage? No one spoted anything wrong with the car except that he melted his tyre’s.

    1. Floor and rear part of the floor. He pitted for new tyres to ensure that he would not lose any further positions or to go for the fastest lap. Damaged car greatly increases tyre wear.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        4th July 2021, 17:06

        Or so they claim.

        At this point with all the smoke Wolff has been blowing, It wouldn’t even surprise me if it are mere excuses for their absolute sheds of performances. They have to blame something and if the donkey in the back of the McLaren breezes past them, they can’t blame it on Honda or Red Bull alone.

        1. Yes, even the independents and F1 technical press are saying no spikes in load data on Hams car. So its clear many up and down the pit lane, including a number of competitors, are in on this cover up to protect Hams reputation. Looking forward to more of your insightful revelations.

    2. How could he melted his tyres during second stint? Are you quoting someone? If anything he should have had troubles in first stint when he was constantly close to Norris – yet he did just fine.

      During second stint he was running in clear air & started losing early on, so your tyre “theory” is just shot in the dark.

      1. Coventry Climax
        5th July 2021, 1:37

        A little flashlight in the dark for you, @Kotrba: In the lap after his last tyre change, Hamilton briefly had fastest lap. That surely suggests that the tyres before that stop weren’t all too great anymore? That also makes me wonder when and where the alledged damage was picked up, but it must have been after that last stop. The funny thing is, he had already started to trail behind before his last stop.

        1. Something was clearly wrong with the car as he went from passing and leaving Norris behind to being caught by both Norris and Bottas and then not being able to fight for fastest lap after changing tires. You don’t go from comfortably second to struggling for 4th for no reason.

    3. The damage occured because he was trying so hard to fight Norris.

  2. Post-race inspections will reveal what happened to the car, of course – but it’s a bit odd to see someone as experienced as Hamilton not know where he sustained ‘a lot of damage’.

    1. “But obviously it’s frustrating to lose so much downforce in the rear of the car and not be able to hold on to second place,” said Hamilton. “A lot of points lost today.

      “I wasn’t going over the kerbs any more than anyone else, so I have no idea where it happened, but there’s a lot of damage.”

      I think he knows, but not where (on track) he could had damaged his car.

      1. Yet another mistake by Hamilton which damaged his car yet he won’t admit it. He is out of sorts.
        RBR has to keep the pedal to the metal and not let up as momentum can turn on a dime.

        1. So Vestappen was out of sorts when his tire failed in Baku? It’s strange how when something fails for anyone else it’s just bad luck but for Hamilton it’s all his fault and he should admit how bad he actually is.

          1. No Verstappen wasn’t out of sorts in Baku.

            Hamilton demolished his floor going wide and over the kerbs, how is that not his fault?

            How is it Verstappens fault if the tire explodes just like that?

  3. petebaldwin (@)
    4th July 2021, 17:24

    They said on commentary that he had gone wide and run over one of the sausage kerbs. I saw a replay of him going all over the sausage kerbs at turn 1 but was not sure if that was after the damage or not.

    1. The broadcasted one was after the damage.

    2. It was at turn 10. Pieces just dropped off. Wasn’t that the same place Max had odd and infrequent issues last week? Some sort of weird oscillation?

    3. The turn 1 was already with the damage, but of course could have made it even worse.

  4. Maybe just another excuse to save face, more like he tried a radical new set-up and ate through his tyres in the process.

    Hamilton is really starting to look very average now he’s not in the best car by a mile.

    1. If that would be the case why he had no pace even after the stop? He could not even claim provisional FLap (both Sainz & Verstappen (on used tyres) were quicker still.

      1. True, felt like damage that persisted post tyre change, so unrelated to the tyres.

        1. I am sure Mercedes will release some calculation of the damage/downforce loss in coming days. Some wont believe it anyway – because Mercedes.

          I mean it could still be considered “driver error” but it depends on where the damage happened – if Lewis was very wide on some kerb & or whether he was just unlucky. The way drivers run across kerbs there I incline to the latter, but I am a fan so a bit biased there. :)

          1. Coventry Climax
            5th July 2021, 1:41

            “because Mercedes”. Correct. That’s the general result of telling so much ‘brown goo’ all the time, that people start to doubt you.

    2. Hehehehe yeh.. just lucked in to 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 titles! 98 wins and 100PPs! The incredulity of this Lewis Hamilton guy to assume he is anything other than an “average driver” is just beyond belief!! 🤦‍♂️
      👍 for Max again today. Showing dominance again. Well done Max

      1. You still don’t get it, you put any driver in the best car with a sub-par teammate and you will dominate the sport, let’s not pretend Rosberg and Bottas are in the elite.

        1. Is Perez?

      2. Cristiano Ferreira
        4th July 2021, 21:49

        Guess you really like some Hamilton sperm DeamR.

        Stop sucking him and join his “Still I Whine” club. At least it’s less embarassing than your constant sucking.

        1. Coventry Climax
          5th July 2021, 1:46

          Ever thought of buying new glasses? I think you misread and consequently misinterpreted DeanR’s comment.
          Before you so vehemently respond, and in such wording, you’d best make sure it actually is what you think he’s saying.

        2. Whooooooooooa!
          Oh please!

  5. Maybe a bit unlucky to sustain so much damage for something most cars were likely doing, but then dropped back the positions he lucked into at the start, so it evened out.

    1. It’s not unlucky – his car is nor more fragile than the rest. He damaged the car by running the curbs.

    2. Coventry Climax
      5th July 2021, 1:49

      The others, those he said did the same, did not suffer the same problems though, so there must be some difference somewhere.

      1. True, it could well be that Mercedes had a very low car to regain some of the floor ground effect that’s been one of their main weapons for years.

  6. Also very curious with the conflicting messages from Mercedes following this with the ‘no overtake, Ok overtake’ to Bottas, but I guess we’ll not hear anything about it on this site..

    1. I think it’s very simple @balue: the pit wall thought Hamilton was fast enough to preserve second place, and then they saw Norris flying, threatening to overtake both cars. So they change their mind to save points in the WCC. I don’t see any complicated explanation here.

      1. @x303 But they knew full well the speeds so something else happened in that lap to change their minds

  7. Probably if he kept off the kerbs a bit more he’d have had less damage?

    It’s choices at the end of the day, either use the kerbs aggressively to lap quickly, or leave a margin and protect the car.

    Obviously he was working very hard to keep up with Lando, Mercedes looked very average behind the McLaren.

    1. Coventry Climax
      5th July 2021, 1:52

      It’s the same PU, surely that’s food for thought with Mercedes? Or maybe McLaren too, have a too flexing wing, too fast pistops and illegal updates?

  8. Its easy to expect at a minimum of an easy second place when your team mate is told not to race you (except if you are struggling and they are being threatened by being overtaken themselves).

    1. Coventry Climax
      5th July 2021, 1:56

      I just wish Bottas would stick up the third finger of either hand to mr Wolff, and ignore these pitwall orders. He’s very likely out of the Merc’s seat anyway, in the near future. Would do his career good to show the world he still has both his family jewels in his pants, for a change. The original Bottas 1.0, so to speak.

      1. It’s really uncomfortable to watch Bottas’ body language lately. The way he’s letting himself be used is really getting to him (and us). Made even worse by balking sometimes but then still allowing the reigns to be put on. I hope he’s replaced as 2 more years of this will be too much.

  9. Reading into comments about the damage Hamilton picked up from somewhere is strange, it’s like people forget that cars fail occasionally. It’s especially strange seeing instances like this are always exclusively Hamilton’s fault but if it happens to someone else it’s just bad luck.

Comments are closed.