Hamilton and Russell dramatically collided at close to 200mph on the main straight near the end of the second part of qualifying in Barcelona. 

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With both drivers starting flying laps, Hamilton looked to overtake his teammate with a huge slipstream, but Russell inadvertently closed the door.

That forced Hamilton to take evasive action as he put his wheels on the grass, but the pair still made contact which damaged the seven-time world champion’s front wing.

Hamilton was able to progress to Q3 and eventually qualified fifth, while Russell was eliminated in 12th. 

Wolff downplayed the coming together as a “trivial incident that just looked silly” but admitted it “shouldn’t happen”. 

“Team-mates should never collide and even with another car you shouldn’t collide in qualifying,” Wolff said. 

“It’s always unfortunate circumstances that can potentially penalise both cars.

“This is a team effort and something in our communications we need to review after that incident, to avoid it in the future.”

Hamilton, who revealed he had spoken to Russell and shaken his hand, explained he was expecting his teammate to pit and then thought the younger Briton was offering him a tow. 

“Everyone was starting [their laps at full speed] from Turn 12, so when I came out of Turn 12 there was no one ahead,” Hamilton said. 

“I got on the gas, started to pick up the pace. Came out of 13 and George looked like he was going into the pitlane and kept going and suddenly he cut back across.

“It was a bit confusing because I didn’t even know he was there.

“So I was then [following] him just in case he was giving me a tow, he started moving to the right, so I was like ‘oh he’s giving me a tow’, and went to the left.

“It was a misunderstanding.”

Russell insisted he did not see Hamilton but agreed the clash was the result of a miscommunication.. 

“It’s nothing that necessarily I, the driver, did wrong, just within the team, it shouldn’t happen and the communication can be better given towards us,” he concluded. 

Russell and Mercedes were given a "formal warning" by the stewards following an investigation into the incident.