Hamilton “incredibly disappointed in myself”, has no answer for Q3 crash

Lewis Hamilton says he is “incredibly disappointed in myself” to have squandered a potential top-three grid spot for the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race by crashing out of qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

The seven-time world champion looked very competitive throughout qualifying and appeared to be in contention to mix it up with the Red Bull and Ferraris at the top of the timesheet before his Q3 accident. 

Hamilton lost control of his W13 through Turn 7 and ended up smashing into the barriers during his first proper flying lap of the final session, leaving his Mercedes with hefty damage. 

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The 37-year-old immediately apologised over the radio to Mercedes, who believed Hamilton was on for the top three heading up to his uncharacteristic crash. 

“I’m OK. It was a big hit but I’m OK,” said Hamilton, before adding: “I’m incredibly disappointed in myself, ultimately. 

“I’m so sorry to the team, everyone worked so hard to put this car together and I never like to damage it or bring it back damaged. 

“We were fighting for a top three I think, and I don’t have an answer - I just lost the back end in Turn 7 and that was that.”

After making encouraging progress at last weekend’s British Grand Prix, Mercedes were not expecting to take their new-found momentum into Austria and a venue they have struggled at in recent years. 

Yet Hamilton was less than 0.2s slower than pacesetter Charles Leclerc in Q2 and looked set to carry his impressive speed into the top-10 shootout before his session-ending accident.  

Hamilton will be looking to recover ground quickly from 10th on the grid during Saturday’s sprint, which will set the starting order for Sunday’s grand prix. 

“I am encouraged of course to see our performance, we were not expecting to be as close as that today so that’s a huge positive from the team,” said Hamilton. 

“But I’m really quite far back, so I don’t know what’s possible from there but we have a sprint race as well so I hope that tomorrow I can make up some lost time.”

Mercedes drivers ‘should not beat themselves up’ 

The damaged Mercedes AMG F1 W13 of George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, who crashed out of qualifying. Formula 1 World
The damaged Mercedes AMG F1 W13 of George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1,…

Remarkably, Hamilton’s teammate George Russell also crashed out in Q3. 

The Briton was the first driver out on track following Hamilton’s accident and immediately caused a second red flag when he spun off and rear-ended the barriers at the final corner. 

Russell is set to start fifth for the sprint after his initial Q3 run was not bettered when the session resumed. 

“We need to review the crash damage and there's nothing lucky or fortunate about making a mistake like that,” said Russell. 

“It could have been P4 - I was a tenth up on my lap and absolutely went for it because I thought there was an opportunity for third. As it turned out, probably not.

“We just need to see how much damage is done so sorry to the team and the guys in the garage.”

Russell added: “I’m not getting carried away, Lewis was doing a phenomenal job, he was absolutely flying today. 

“I think I probably went the wrong way with the set-up for qualifying but maybe in a good place for the race. I feel OK physically, I’m just a bit concerned about the car and if we can recover it.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 crashed out of qualifying. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Austrian Grand
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 crashed out of qualifying…

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insisted there is no reason for either Hamilton or Russell to “beat themselves up” for their respective crashes given the circumstances they find themselves in.

“These two should never beat themselves up for crashing out,” Wolff explained. "We have given them a car which wasn’t on par for 10 races in a row.

“Now we are starting to come to terms, we are able to drive in front, and it can happen that you just lose the car.

“I’d rather have a fast car and a qualifying like this, than not having the pace to be in the top four.”

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