Lewis Hamilton lost more time due to car damage in the last race in Austria than it seemed based on initial estimates which led to the loss of the podium, the Mercedes team confirmed after a more detailed analysis. Hamilton held second place when in lap 29 he crossed wide over the exit curbs in the ninth and tenth corners, damaged the aerodynamic parts at the rear end of the car, and lost a lot of rear downforces, causing him to lose speed and spent more rear tires.
Hamilton damaged one of the wing profiles on the inside of the rear wheels, which have been shortened in width this year to reduce downforce, and chief track operations engineer Andrew Shovlin says it’s a pretty important part of the aerodynamic package.
“It’s one of those hidden parts that generates quite a lot of performance,” Shovlin said. "It's generally a very sensitive area. We measure the pressure at that point and we can use that to calculate performance.
It is estimated that there is a loss of about 30 to 40 points of aerodynamic pressure, which is equivalent to six to seven-tenths of a second per lap. " "So that's a pretty significant drawback."
Until the 29th lap, after overtaking Norris at McLaren, Hamilton kept to some extent the pace of Verstappen's times per lap, but after the 29th lap, his lag began to grow significantly and was overtaken by both Bottas and Norris.
“Lewis had a lot of overhaul during that period, and if the rear end slips the tires overheat and wear out faster. It’s the vicious circle that cost Lewis second place. In the end, we decided on a new set of tires to reach the finish line.
” “At first, when we identified the problem on Lewis’ car, we could only see that his times had stabilized. But we soon realized that it would be impossible to defend ourselves against Lando Norris. ” “We were worried that Valtteri, who was in the middle of this fight, and then Lando would overtake Lewis.
But when we saw that Lando was so close to Valtteri that it was a risk for him, we decided to switch places. ” “We decided to let Lewis release Valtteri, and then Lando later overtook Lewis. But like I said, when we realized the extent of the damage, it was pretty clear that it would be almost impossible to keep third place. ”