F1 front wing damage cost Hamilton 0.4s of performance

Lewis Hamilton lost around four-tenths of performance per lap due to the damage sustained to his front wing in Formula 1’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, according to Mercedes. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 front wing
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 front wing
© xpbimages.com

The seven-time world champion was involved in a controversial clash with title rival Max Verstappen on lap 37 of Sunday’s race when he ran into the back of the Red Bull driver on the approach to Turn 27. 

Verstappen appeared to be slowing down to forfeit the lead as ordered by his Red Bull team after he had gained an unfair lasting advantage by passing Hamilton off-track at Turn 1.

The apparent confusion resulted in contact that damaged Hamilton’s car after the Briton had already lost minor parts of his front wing in a clash with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine at the second restart. 

“It was going up and up,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said of the damage.

“So we started off with probably only about a tenth or two after he got sandwiched and Esteban ran over it. 

“After [the clash with] Max we lost the whole side of it, so we’re getting nearer four-tenths of performance.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 - broken front wing.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 - broken front wing.
© xpbimages.com

Hamilton went on to win the incident-filled race ahead of Verstappen to set up a winner-takes-all championship showdown in Abu Dhabi next weekend. 

Despite the damage he had suffered to his front wing, Hamilton was still able to set a succession of fastest laps in the closing stages to snatch the bonus point. 

Asked how Hamilton had managed it, Shovlin replied: “He’s very determined. 

“At the time, we were very much in two minds. We were seeing others struggling with tyres, we could see the wing was most definitely not guaranteed to stay on the car after the evening it had had. 

“It’s a difficult decision between going for the point that might put Lewis level, or do you play it safe? 

“Ultimately Lewis was the one who took the decision and he was probably aided by the fact he can’t actually see the front wing. 

“If he was watching the TV like we were he may have thought better of it.”

Read More