Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Hamilton’s bodywork damage cost him up to 0.7s per lap – Mercedes

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes estimate the damage Lewis Hamilton’s car sustained during yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix cost him as much as seven tenths of a second per lap.

Following Hamilton’s first pit stop race engineer Peter Bonnington told him: “We may have picked up some damage to the rear-left aero surfaces.”

“Yeah, the rear doesn’t feel good at all,” Hamilton replied.

The team believe Hamilton incurred the bodywork damage shortly before he made his first pit stop at turn 10. “There’s a pretty aggressive kerb,” team principal Toto Wolff explained. “But we didn’t see that there was a driving mistake, it was pretty much the load that occured and we need to analyse why that was.”

Mercedes intended Hamilton to complete the race with a single pit stop, but it soon became clear the damage he had suffered meant that wouldn’t be possible. “There was quite a loss in performance, and that meant he was pushing the tyres in a direction that wouldn’t have made it to the end, probably,” said Wolff. Mercedes brought him in for a second pit stop for fresh tyres and to adjust his balance to compensate for the damage.

The team’s head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin described how much Hamilton lost as a result of the damage. “The downforce loss was around six or seven tenths but as it was all from the rear, the balance become difficult and we were damaging the rears with sliding.”

Hamilton believes he would “easily” have finished second without the damage, a view Shovlin backed in an interview after yesterday’s race. “We had damage on Lewis’ car with some deterioration of some of the aero bits on the rear cake tin and that cost him a lot of performance, which ultimately was what dropped him from second to fourth.”

“So overall, a bit frustrating really, both from a performance point of view and and the fact that we need to keep the car in one piece,” Shovlin added.

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2021 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...

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44 comments on “Hamilton’s bodywork damage cost him up to 0.7s per lap – Mercedes”

  1. He didnt loose his entire frontwing

    1. The front wing works to guide airflow, and indeed w/o it he loses waaay more, basically that would have been immediate pitstop needed @cdfemke, but if the stuff it is still guiding air towards is partly not there to work with the air, that order of time loss might well occur.

  2. So so funny how Mercedes and Lewis are always exaggerating impact on lap times. Red Bull rear wing would be 0.6 per lap in Baku, Hamilton’s damage 0.7 per lap in Austria – yeah right.

    Say anything to avoid Lewis look like a struggler, yes there was own caused damage but impact is probably just 0.2-0.3 per lap. The gap between Bottas and Hamilton is mainly caused by Lewis eating his tyres and needing an extra pitstop.

    1. Every time Sir LH is struggling there is some magic damage that costs him half a second. It amazes me how apologetic his team is every time he does not come first.

      1. Yep, reminding me of the McLaren days, when he was slower than Button in 2011 it was always this mysterious chassis problem that nobody detected.
        It was also a slow puncture in Japan when in reality he’d cooked his tyres.

        1. @Oliver You are lying dude. Hamilton was still ahead of Button at Spa until Kobayashi crashed Lewis out the race and after Lewis little cared, considering hebhad personal issues going on. Explain how McLaren ruined Hamilton’s race in Hungary and Silverstone for example. I can smell you anti Hamilton bias from all the way here.

          1. I suggest you and your dummy mate go and watch the 2011 season again, in the second half of the season Button owned Hamilton in pace, especially towards the back end of the season. Whilst you’re at it watch the Japanese GP where slow Button passed Hamilton on track who made up the excuse of a slow puncture. 😂

        2. Excuse me?
          What rubbish are you smoking?

          Exactly how many more races did J Button win in 2011? I’ll help. None.
          How many times did Button out qualify LH? I will help… go on you can guess.
          Who else other than the Red Bulls put a car on pole in 2011? No one. Not a single other driver except the Bulls got pole in 2011 Well, other than LH of course.

          And just for clarity he won three races in his very worst year…

          Slower than button… hmmm, I think not.

          1. Button won no races in 2011, you are the gift that keeps on giving…..

          2. None??? @drgraham
            This one comes to mind.
            https://youtu.be/t9zgL7iyNDs

    2. @jelle-van-der-meer Yeah and must immediately be declared to not be a driving mistake of course..

      1. The damage was a driver mistake, he should be driving on the track.
        Lewis quite often goes outside track limits lap after lap, certainly with curbs you run the risk of damage. So YES the damage was caused by the driver, nothing else.

      2. I’m with balue I think this is their point.

    3. Do you watch the races before spouting none sense @jelle-van-der-meer ?

      Hamilton is always much stronger in terms of tyre wear than Bottas. He had no problems last weekend too at the exact same track. You admit that there was damage and as know more than the Mercedes formula 1 racing team, you would also know that a loss in downforce would cause the car to move around more. And what happens when a car moves around more? You guessed it, increased tyre wear… The car damage was clear when even after the stop Hamilton struggled to match Bottas on fresh tyres.

    4. @jelle-van-der-meer You are another toxic Dutch Verstappen supporter who thinks he knows better than Mercedes engineers. Red Bull and your Max are only infront because the FIA changed the 2021 in their favor and nothing else. Max supporters are the most toxic at the moment, no equal.

      1. Rules changes will come and go regardless…apart from the cars there’s also the impact of the drivers in the championship, Lewis poor performances in Imola, Monaco, Baku…his loos in the France piut lane and being beaten by his team mate in both quali and races 1 out of 3 races doesn’t help his situation. Lewis and his fans only talk about the RBR car…..not the driver.

        Recent rule changes regarding simplyfying front and rear wings did have a bigger impact on RBR…. it goes to show the impact of rules changes can be quite random

    5. @jelle-van-der-meer Well Red Bull quickly changed their rear wing for Baku, so we will never know how much it could have been.

      Hamilton goes from being 3 tenths a lap faster than Bottas before damaging his wing to being around 3 tenths slower. So why do you feel the exaggerated the impact?

      1. Of course they changed their wing for Baku, just as Mercedes did.
        Try to follow F1, it’s a nice sport if you know how it works.

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    5th July 2021, 9:08

    Really makes you think what a shed that Haas car is this year

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    5th July 2021, 10:22

    Bottas was told not to go over the kerb at turn 10 (which he hadn’t been doing) but based on what seemed to cause Hamilton damage. Bottas was told around lap 36 – half way through the race. If say Hamilton lost 0.7 seconds per lap, that is over 20 seconds. After Hamilton pitted and at the end of the race, he was only just under 30 seconds behind Bottas. As 3rd was out of the question then, he only needed to push hard for fastest lap and that was it. I think I agree with @jelle-van-der-meer. It likely will only have been 0.2 – 0.3 seconds – and it was his own fault.

    Mercedes especially do seem to go over the top regarding the amount of time they lose due to damage at times. Emilia Romagna with Bottas last year for example. Mercedes said that piece of Vettel’s car cost Bottas around 0.8 seconds per lap. If it did, then without it, he should realisticly have been 40+ seconds in the lead before russell crashed out causing the safety car on lap 51. Bottas was actually 22 seconds behind Hamilton at that stage and even if say you did around 50 laps worth of losing 0.8 seconds, that is 40 seconds which would still put him in he lead by nearly 20 seconds. I believe Bottas lost the win that race, but it won’t have been a dominant win as the time loss Mercedes give suggests.

    1. @thegianthogweed This time the Mercedes estimate seems legit. The damage must have occurred at or around the first round of pit stops, as Hamilton was barely any faster after his stop on fresh tires, unlike Bottas for example, who was a second a lap faster. After his second stop, Hamilton’s pace improves by around a second per lap (as expected), but after just 3 fast laps he stops pushing it seems and he is about as slow as before his stop. 0.7 seconds a lap times 40 laps equates to 28 seconds, which is about the time he lost to Verstappen in the second half of the race (his deficit grew from around 10 to 45 seconds at the finish, and he wasn’t really pushing at the end of the race, but neither was Verstappen).

      1. Steven Van Langendonck
        5th July 2021, 12:17

        Between lap 20 and 30 before his 1st pitstop’ but after he passed Lando he lost about 2,5 – 3 seconds or 0,25 s per lap.
        That didn’t increase to about a second per lap. Between lap 40 and lap 50 he lost 4 seconds or 0,4 s per lap (while Bottas lost only 3 seconds). Now it is probably true that his tire wear was higher because he was compensating. But still 0,2 to 0,3 s per lap seems more reasonable..

        1. Steven Van Langendonck
          5th July 2021, 12:19

          When I say ‘lost’ I mean lost to Max…

        2. There was quite some pace management in the race. Interestingly, Hamilton doesn’t speed up after he passed Norris, Norris’ pace just drops, probably as he started nursing his tires or saving fuel. Verstappen nurses his tires a lot after his stop, which explains why he doesn’t pull away faster from Hamilton. Verstappen only increases his pace when Hamilton pits again.

          Based on their first stint, it seems Hamilton would have finished around 10-15 seconds ahead of Bottas under normal conditions. Without the second stop he would have finished around 10 seconds behind (same if he could have maintained his pace after his second stop). So he lost 20-25 seconds in around 40 laps, which is over 0.5 seconds per lap.

    2. So you don’t mention that during the pit stop they rebalanced the car to compensate for the loss; or mention how much that was worth per lap in mitigation?

  5. I call rubbish, Hamilton is cracking under the pressure and is making a mistake every race now it seems. Just goes to show when he hasn’t got clearly the best car he’s starting to look very average.

    1. @Oliver21 Which driver so you actually support because all i see you do is complain about Hamilton, focus on your own driver instead of being toxic. People like you make this site toxic as hell

      1. Look who is talking, you are attacking anyone who says something bad about Hamilton.

        Oliver is 100% correct, Hamilton is cracking under pressure now that he finally no longer has a second per lap faster car.
        Hamilton’s mistakes are far more visible and have more impact because he no longer has the pace advantage to mask them.
        He struggled in Imola, Monaco, Baku and now again in Austria.

    2. Course he is…

      Sitting there with his 100 poles and 98 wins… I mean it’s ridiculous what possible chance has he got against….

      That kid with 10 wins and a half a dozen poles he has been racing and beating for five years must scare the pants off him!

      Don’t know how he can cope really…

      1. Ah the old stat comeback, facts are Hamilton has been in the best machinery for over half a decade, any top driver would have racked up those stats in the same car.

        1. Agree, oliver, “any top driver”, we’re not saying massa or barrichello or irvine or bottas could’ve done it, but certainly people like schumacher, senna, prost, fangio, ascari etc.

      2. Stats mean absolutely nothing! Do you really think vettel is better than alonso cause of having 4 titles? Is some of the current drivers, who I heard recently got more points than prost, better thanks to a higher scoring system? Is hamilton 4x better than fangio cause he has 4x more wins, while also having around double wins than fangio even started races? Fangio is unanimously considered one of the best ever, and I could go on with how meaningless they are when the impact of the car is so large and there are other variables too.

    3. It would be really nice if the nutters could stop leaving the woodwork and get into a proper discussion @oliver21

      1. So anyone who is not believing the BS that Mercedes has been throwing out there all season already is a nutter.
        Only last week both Hamilton and Toto flat out lied about no more upgrades.

        The only thing these days we here from Mercedes is false conspiracy theories about Red Bull car, engine, pit stops, wings etc. Hamilton during last week race on the radio “how much am I losing on the straights” only to try to get the FIA to focus on Honda Engine, same as his comments about the rear wing in Barcelona. The engineer replied 0.25 seconds on the straights – funny because that lap and the previous lap Hamilton lost more than 0.6 seconds per lap – so the straights don’t see to be the biggest problem.

    4. hehehehe loving it! Count sweety: 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 98 100

      Goodnight 👍🇬🇧

      1. Remember: Click the correct button next time you comment, punk!

        Bye-bye Dean Punk.

  6. Well curb jumping multiple times can do that to a car.

    1. Indeed erikje, just ask Verstappen. He did the same last year and also dropped back down the order.

      1. Only In your dimension that is :)

        1. But it’s good to see you acknowledge the mistakes made by Lewis.

      2. I don’t trust you.

    2. That happened in F3

  7. Not that good at math. Would .7 second per lap been enough to lap Max?

    Reply moderated
  8. The commentators mentioned it during the race yesterday, and this data shows it, too. Even after Hamilton had to come in for the unplanned 2nd pit stop, and went onto softs, he couldn’t keep up with Bottas on his worn hards. That took some pretty strong damage to do that.

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