Mercedes had a contingency plan to put Esteban Ocon into Lewis Hamilton’s car at the German Grand Prix after the five-time Formula 1 world champion was hit by illness.

Hamilton reported to his team that he felt unwell on Saturday morning at Hockenheim, but took part in final practice and went on to claim a commanding pole position in Germany ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and teammate Valtteri Bottas.

But Mercedes had prepared for a “worst-case scenario” outcome by arranging for reserve and test driver Ocon to travel from the UK to Germany and take over driving duties from Hamilton if required. 

"I wasn't feeling good this morning, bit of a sore throat,” Hamilton explained after qualifying. "So, we prepped just in case I wasn't going to be able to do the session.

"I did the practice and we were prepared to be able to put the second driver [Ocon] in, that was the worst case scenario. [But] we got through good.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff addressed the situation in his post-qualifying media call, adding: “He said he wasn’t feeling great, I think there’s a flu going around the paddock.

“It was clear that Esteban was coming from the UK to make sure that if it was going worse that we were prepared, no more.”

 

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