Fernando Alonso, Alpine, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Hamilton suffered 45G impact with ground after Alonso collision

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Mercedes have revealed Lewis Hamilton hit the ground with a force of 45G following his opening-lap contact with Fernando Alonso at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was trying to pass Alonso around the outside of Les Combes having slipstreamed his rival down the Kemmel Straight.

As he turned in to the corner, Hamilton’s rear-right wheel went over the top of Alonso’s front-left and it pitched all but the front-left wheel of Hamilton’s car high into the air before he landed on all four wheels again and drove on until he had to retire the car later in the lap.

Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director James Vowles explained the true scale of the crash in a video issued by the team.

“It was a large, large impact,” he said. “It was measured at 45G on the [safety data recorder] in the car which is very big on a vertical load,” he said.

“He will be okay, he will be back in Zandvoort fighting. I think primarily for him he is frustrated, frustrated that he had a very fast race car and a podium was possible. But he, like all of us, are here to fight and continue moving forward.

The team is still investigating the extent of the damage to Hamilton’s car and power unit.

“There is enough photos floating around the internet to show just how high the car was and how it landed and the impact was large,” Vowles added.

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“What we noticed almost immediately after the impact on the ground was a loss of coolant. You can actually see on the onboard of Alonso that coolant really just flying out towards him and then you started to see temperatures rise fairly quickly and that was the primary reason for stopping him on track.

“It will now take a few days to review all the components. Clearly there is going to be overloads to the suspension components and gearboxes and we need to make sure to understand the full extent of what’s required before Zandvoort.”

The hit was not easy on Hamilton either, who was summoned to the circuit medical centre but initially refused to go and was given a formal warning by the race stewards. He said he “nearly broke my back” in the impact.

Pictures: Hamilton’s collision with Alonso at Spa

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...

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28 comments on “Hamilton suffered 45G impact with ground after Alonso collision”

  1. 90 minutes of porpoising for 15 seconds nearly brought the man down, so I imagine a bump at 45G probably hurt him a lot.

    Kind of weird he didn’t allow them to take him to the medical center, though.

    1. 15 seconds a lap*

    2. Who knows what they would have found on him.

    3. 60% of the time it works 100% of the time

    4. oh the inconsistencies, the moral posturing, the pretensions… That’s Lewis. I’m sure he’ll have some fan-baiting explanation to share in Holland when he’s inevitably asked about it

      1. Don’t bother waiting.

        Make something up now– you’re good at it.

        1. Don’t be offended. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Why is it always so dramatic when saying anything that isn’t praise for Lewis? The man is a bit of a prima donna. That doesn’t detract from his accomplishments or talent.

      2. I’m not a LH fan. I’m not really an F1 driver fan in general (they tend to be a bit, well, what one has to be to have got there in the first place).

        But, really, he owned the mistake. I’m cool to just leave it at that. It is a sport on the edge, and mistakes happen. If drivers own it, instead of doing the normal excuse thing, I’m all for that.

        I’m not reading any deeper into than that. On purpose. And I think it is better that way. It is a sport. A game. (and, yeah, I empathize with your response, and expected worse from him myself, but I was wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong).

  2. What is not clear is why they didn’t deploy the medical car to pick him up, given that they knew what about the 45g load….

    1. Bet that his “T6” will bother him when he reaches 60 y.o.a.

  3. Wait, so the gravitational pull brought him back down to the ground 45 times faster than the earth is capable of or has my stupidity reached intergalactic proportions?

    1. It was the sudden deceleration when 1G brought him back to earth.
      So not the ‘gravitational pull’, but the rigidness of track vs car.

    2. The latter, unfortunately :)

      It’s not the speed that kills you. It’s the sudden stop at the end.

    3. Just jump of a building and let us know which one it was.

    4. The car has downforce generated by the wings and floor. The reverse lift was what contributed to the high G load.

    5. Ballistically speaking, he hit the ground at the same velocity he took off with.

      Add to that a very sudden stop by a very unyielding track, and that’s a pretty high deceleration load.

      Since 1G is 9.8 meters/second^2, I’m not sure he decelerated from 1500 km/h to zero instantly, however.

      1. Since 1G is 9.8 meters/second^2, I’m not sure he decelerated from 1500 km/h to zero instantly, however.

        Now, now, that’s just bad math. And we can’t have that.

  4. Not surprised though. Alonso pulled 25g in the 2013 Abu Dhabi GP when he slightly jumped over a curb when he was racing JEV. Hamilton’s car impact seemed more violent, 45g is scary. What was surprising is the FIA who were so concerned about drivers’ safety to the point that they forced a mid-season rule change didn’t bother to force Hamilton to follow the medical procedure.

    The incident was hard enough to set off the FIA-mandated g-force alarm, which means a mandatory medical check-up for the driver. The stewards issued a warning to Hamilton and by their own admission he wasn’t the only driver to have done so this season. Is it that hard to tell drivers that if they fail a mandatory medical check they will get their licence suspended ?

    1. I’m sorry but how would you force him to go to the medical centre?

    2. LH would have known that the impact was significant and exceeded the FIA limits. On that basis there could be several things happen ….
      The medics could potentially have stopped him driving in the next race.
      He could get a grid penalty for exceeding the G limit
      The team could get some form of penalty for the G limit
      It is interesting that various teams were sending radio instructions to drivers to modify how they took curbs (Ferrari) or to avoid bumps on the track (McLaren). So far there has only been rumblings of the FIA issuing penalties for bouncing or porpoising loads, but haven’t heard of any specifics, time penalties, fines or other.

    3. What was more surprising is, why didn’t FIA deploy the medical car to pick up Lewis and he had to walk to the pits.

  5. Amazing how close it was to Verstappen’s 51g Silverstone crash from last year. It’s difficult to comprehend how a car travelling 150mph into a tire barrier has almost the same force as a car free falling 7ft and impacting the ground at a fraction of that speed. Makes me curious what the force reduction a tecpro barrier has vs a tire barrier.

  6. Dangerous 2022 rules strike again, its worrying to see the car become more airborne similar to zhous crash mainly due to the 18 inch wheels and stiffer sidewalls not being as forgiving as the ballon era tyres.

    1. B.S. The angle of contact and speed at that moment caused the lift-off. Previous years the suspension would have broken taking a lot of energy out of the equation. The stiffer suspension and heavier cars mandated the increased strength of suspension parts.
      The stiff suspension and especially the low ride height caused the sudden deceleration. Previous years tires might’ve taken a bit more energy initially, but without breaking the suspension arms, the car would’ve jumped about the same amount, and the car would’ve bottomed out at the track just as much in 2021.

  7. Would gravel have improved things, instead of greenwashed-sportswashed-blue tarmac?

    1. Sure, but gravel in that run-off would cause other dangers (flipping cars that miss the corner over and making the track unsuitable for motorcycles to name two). This crash is a bit of a freak-accident and you can’t prevent everything

    2. I don’t think there has ever been gravel at les combes. It was grass with a tarmac access road through the middle of it before they paved all of it.

  8. Maybe leaving more room in the corner could have prevented this.

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