Hamilton swaps to Mercedes’ spare chassis after qualy crash

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Lewis Hamilton will race Mercedes’ spare chassis from FP2 onwards at the Red Bull Ring having destroyed the “crash structure” of his previous one in his qualifying crash.

Making it through to Q3 in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix’s sprint race, Hamilton was pushing hard as he believed a top-three grid slot was on the cards.

He lost the back end of his W13 through Turn 7, taking a hard side-on hit into the barriers.

Unable to set a competitive time in Q3, he finished down in 10th place but will start P9 after Sergio Perez’s penalty for exceeding track limits.

“I’m incredibly disappointed in myself, ultimately, and so sorry to the team,” the seven-time World Champion said.

“Everybody worked so hard to put this car together and I never like to bring it back damaged, and we were fighting for a top-three I think.

“I don’t have an answer for it. I swapped the back end in Turn 7 and that was that.”

According to Auto Motor und Sports’ Andreas Haupt, such was the impact that Hamilton “needs a new chassis for Austrian Grand Prix. The side impact crash structure was destroyed yesterday after hitting tyres barriers in Turn 7.”

The BCC’s Andrew Benson confirmed the change.

“Mercedes have switched Lewis Hamilton to the spare chassis because of damage incurred in his crash in qualifying on Friday,” he tweeted. “It is a chassis he has already raced this year.”

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the accident, with George Russell also crashing in Q3, tech boss Andrew Shovlin said he expected both drivers would need new parts ahead of Saturday’s action.

“We are still in the process of assessing the extent of the damage,” he said, “but both accidents damaged several of the same components on both cars, making it quite difficult from a parts supply perspective.

“We will do what we can to make sure both cars are on the grid.”

Both cars have also been fitted with new gearboxes as a precautionary measure.