Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been summoned to the stewards after the Mercedes team mates collided on the straight during today’s qualifying session.
Hamilton drew alongside Russell on the left-hand side of his team mate on the main straight. Russell moved towards him, causing contact which damaged Hamilton’s front wing. Despite the impact, Hamilton gained a place in Q3 while Russell was eliminated.
Following the incident Russell complained on his radio that the team had warned him of Carlos Sainz Jnr nearby in the Ferrari but he hadn’t been away of another car nearby.
Hamilton said he was expecting his team mate to pit when he caught him before the lap, and was surprised he kept going.
“We were sent out at much different times,” Hamilton said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I was being given my time when I was on my out-lap.
“Everyone is starting [their laps] from turn 12. When I came out of turn 12 there was no one ahead so I got on the gas, I started to pick up the pace. I came around 13 and George looked like he was going into the pit lane. So I kept it going and then suddenly he cut back across, which was obviously a bit confusing. Because I didn’t even know he was [ahead], I think he had bailed out his first lap or something like that.”
When the pair arrived on the pit straight Hamilton assumed Russell was trying to help by giving him a slipstream on the straight, before they collided.
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“So then I was towing him and just in case he was giving me a tow, and he started to move to the right, so I was like ‘ah, he is giving me a tow’. So I went to the left and he started coming back across. So just a misunderstanding.”
Russell said the collision was “just a massive miscommunication.” The Mercedes cars were on different plans: Russell was doing an out-lap plus a lap to build temperatures before his flying run, while Hamilton was going straight into a timed lap.
“I was just looking ahead, trying to get a slipstream from from Carlos and next thing Lewis was there,” he said. “So we need to talk internally how that happened because between two team mates that should never happen.
“But nothing was either one’s fault. I think Lewis probably just didn’t know that I was starting on lap two.”
Russell is under investigation for potentially breaking article 2b of Chapter IV of Appendix L of the FIA International Sporting Code which states:
“Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried out on either the right or the left. A driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason. More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.
“However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.”
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