Mercedes’ strategy director James Vowles has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton’s car took a shocking 45G vertical hit in his collision with Fernando Alonso in last Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The two long-term rivals came to blows as Hamilton attempted a first-lap overtake at Les Combes, which resulted in his Mercedes car taking flight.
He had looked to get past his Alpine counterpart into second early in the race but had to retire within seconds due to the after-effects of the crash. After the race, won by Max Verstappen from P14, Hamilton blamed himself for the incident in response to being labelled an ‘idiot’ who ‘only knows how to drive at the front’ by Alonso.
Despite revealing the impact almost broke his back, the 37-year-old received a formal warning from race stewards for initially refusing to visit the medical centre – mandatory after activating your car’s medical light. And it’s no surprise he was roughed up after Vowles ran through the data collected about the extent of his crash.
In a Q&A team debrief at Spa-Francorchamps, Vowles explained Hamilton’s crash was measured at a whopping 45G, but the seven-time world champion would be in action in this weekend’s Netherlands Grand Prix. He said: “It was a large, large impact. It was measured at 45G on the SDR (safety data recorder) in the car, which is very big on a vertical load.
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“He will be OK. He will be back in Zandvoort fighting. It will now take a few days to review all the components. Clearly, there are going to be overloads to the suspension components and gearboxes, and we need to make sure to understand the full extent of what’s required before Zandvoort.”
There have unsurprisingly also been concerns about the condition of Hamilton’s power unit and gearbox at the start of a triple-header of F1 race weekends. He could face a grid penalty if there is damage ahead of Zandvoort – a track notoriously difficult on which to overtake.
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