Jenson Button reveals what ‘we’ve heard’ about the Mercedes front wing decision

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton ran the old Mercedes front wing in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton ran the old Mercedes front wing in Monaco

Although Lewis Hamilton blamed his Monaco qualifying defeat to George Russell on the latter receiving Mercedes’ new front wing, Jenson Button says it was a “decision between them” with Hamilton not wanting to risk running the wing in qualifying.

Hamilton qualified in seventh place for the Monaco Grand Prix, two places behind Russell with the team-mates separated by 0.08s.

Mercedes team-mates ‘made the decision between them’

Hamilton put the deficit down to his team-mate running Mercedes’ new front wing with the Brackley squad only having one wing ready in time for the Monaco Grand Prix.

“I anticipated it would be difficult to outqualify George because he has the upgraded component, but it’s just great to see that we are bringing upgrades,” he said after qualifying.

“I already know automatically that I’m going to lose two-tenths going into qualifying. That’s definitely frustrating.”

The soon-to-be-former Mercedes driver then added: “I don’t anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying particularly this year, but we’ve just got to just keep pushing and the races are strong.”

Asked why that was, he replied with a smile: “We’ll see.”

But while Hamilton’s comments could be seen to imply favouritism towards Russell, 2009 World Champion Button says as far as he’s heard, both drivers were offered the wing and Hamilton said no.

“From what we’ve heard,” Button told Sky F1, “they made the decision between them for who was going to use the front wing.

“He didn’t want to go from qualifying, and possibly damage it, and then have to start at the back with a new front wing for the race which is a different component.”

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‘New territory’ for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

However, if there is a hint of favouritism in the mix given that Hamilton is leaving Mercedes at the end of the season to join Ferrari, former W Series racer Naomi Schiff says that’s something the Briton will have to adjust to.

“Lewis alluded to it there that he [Russell] does have new component on his car which I think is quite an interesting factor,” she said.

“Lewis has been the No. 1 driver at that team for many, many years, he’s the most successful driver in Formula 1 at the moment.

“The psychology behind becoming the driver who is not favoured must be new territory for Lewis that he’s probably not used to.

“I think that’s probably a tough pill to swallow, although I am sure he is understanding of the situation.

“But we have to say George, hats off, not just because he has that component on the car but he didn’t have a smooth run through practice, issues with the car, he didn’t get quite as many laps as the others so to bounce back is a great job done.”

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirmed both drivers will have the upgraded wing at the next race in Canada, saying: “We’ll have that on both cars for the next race in Montreal.”

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