Hamilton wasn’t worried about the DAS protest

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton black Mercedes W11 kerbs.jpg

Lewis Hamilton black Mercedes W11 kerbs.jpg

Lewis Hamilton says he wasn’t worried when Red Bull protested DAS in Austria as he trusts Mercedes to build a “legal” car.

Mercedes debuted DAS, a Dual Axis Steering system, during pre-season testing with rivals questioning its legality.

Red Bull warned the Brackley squad that it would protest the system if they used it in a grand prix weekend.

Mercedes did, and Red Bull did.

The Milton Keynes team protested DAS after Friday’s practices for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and, hours later, the stewards declared it legal.

According to the stewards, and Mercedes, DAS is part of the steering, not the suspension, and therefore is not in breach of any regulations pertaining to moving parts.

Hamilton says he was never worried that it would be declared illegal.

“It wasn’t a concern to me because I’d spoken to James [Allison] and all the team and I trust the team implicitly,” the reigning World Champion told Motorsport.com.

“And so I knew that I was comfortable with our position and that the great idea was legal, and so there were no problems.

“It’s something you can feel, the adjustments that you are able to make, you do feel it, and I think it’s obviously proven to be fully legal.

“And it’s something that we’re proud of, and we are still trying to get on top of it in terms of understanding it so it’s not been used a massive amount but we will, I think, understand it more and more as we go through it.”

Valtteri Bottas echoed his team-mate’s opinion.

“I didn’t really expect to have anything in the car that would be illegal at the start of the weekend,” said the Austrian Grand Prix race winner.

“So I guess the team was prepared to have some issues with other teams thinking it is illegal, but obviously I trust that we don’t have anything illegal in the car, so I had no worries at any point.

“I think there’s still probably more potential depending on tracks and conditions, but yes, we have been using it and it’s becoming quite natural too.

“Obviously it’s not a massive thing in terms of performance, but every small thing helps and when we put lots of small things together it can be big.”

Bottas used DAS to not only take pole position but also the opening grand prix victory at the Red Bull Ring.

The Finn led from pole to flag even in the face of three Safety Car restarts to beat Charles Leclerc to the chequered flag.

Hamilton finished the race in fourth place after he was hit with a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.

He missed out on a podium by 0.198s with Lando Norris taking third.

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