Russell and Hamilton collided at close to 200mph on the flat-out pit straight at the end of Q2 in Barcelona as both attempted to start a lap. 

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The incident caused damage to Hamilton’s front wing but the seven-time world champion was able to take part in Q3, while Russell failed to progress. 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted after qualifying that the unnecessary collision made the team look “silly” and put it down to “miscommunications” between the pit wall and the drivers. 

Speaking in the team’s post-race debrief video, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirmed Mercedes are in the process of investigating the incident. 

“Put simply, the drivers were trying to find a car finishing a lap in order to get a slingshot starting the lap themselves,” Shovlin explained. 

“So that would give them more straight line speed, you can find around a tenth, maybe a little bit more on the straight.  That car that was finishing peels in and they can then conduct the rest of their lap in clear air. 

“Now, the issue, put very simply, was that George and Lewis both tried to pick up Sainz as that slingshot. 

“Lewis got on to the back of him around Turn 10, as he then came around to start the lap, George was waiting because he knew that Sainz was coming, not realising that Lewis was just behind.

“Now, at the race track in Barcelona, we were very keen to make sure we focused on the race itself, not to worry about what went wrong in qualifying. 

“But now that we are back at the factory, we will sit down and we will look at how we need to change our communication to make sure that we don’t confuse the drivers by not giving them the whole picture.”

Russell and Mercedes received a “formal warning” from the Spanish Grand Prix stewards for the collision.