Lewis Hamilton explained how a Mercedes set-up tweak resulted in a handling inconsistency, which caused him to repeatedly break track limits early on in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was the first of seven drivers to receive a penalty for going beyond the track limits during the race today.
Before the race started, Hamilton stated he tried to improve the rear end balance of his front wing by reducing the flap angle, but he ended up with a lot of understeer in the closing laps.
“We took out a lot of front wing, we knew we had a really bad rear end here so we took out a lot of front wing to try and keep that balance so that we could do a long run, go long,” said Hamilton after the race.
“And we massively under-egged it. I was, like, almost full lock around the last two corners. Going into turn 10, it was just sliding and I couldn’t do anything about it.”
At the initial setup, the crew changed the front wing configuration to improve the car’s balance.
“Through the stops we then added a lot of wing,” the seven time world champion added. “The car started to slowly come back to at least getting around and staying on-track.”
Most drivers who went beyond track limits throughout the race received warnings. To stop such a high number of penalties, according to Hamilton, the Red Bull Ring needs to be redesigned.
“I think they need to probably find a new solution for this track,” he said. “Years ago when we didn’t have track limits thing the track was much more enjoyable to drive.
“It’s strange to be driving and have to have to almost comment on the car ahead because that’s what the team have asked you to do.
“I think they did it in Austin a couple of years ago. That’s not racing, right.”
Hamilton reported plenty of his rivals, including Lando Norris, for veering too far off course once he started getting warnings.
“He was going off so much, it was insane,” said Hamilton. “As soon as he got past me he went off like at least 10 times and so did Perez.
“Perez would go off turn nine, turn 10 and he didn’t get a penalty. So obviously they should just be able to go off and none of us get a penalty.”
The team’s boss Toto Wolff had to speak to Hamilton twice on the radio because Hamilton’s messages regarding track limits were becoming too persistent.
Hamilton: “That’s Lando off, nine and 10… Norris off again turn 10 mate…Has anyone else got a penalty?”
Wolff: “Lewis, they’re all going to get penalties in front of you. Keep going.”
Hamilton: “I’ve seen that car [Norris] make turn one once… Is there a reason why the stewards haven’t given those penalties yet?”
Bonnington: “They are still dishing out warnings and penalties.”
Wolff: “Lewis the car is bad, we know. Please drive it.”