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F1 | Austrian GP | Mercedes on the repairs they had to make to both cars after Q3: "We had to get the best out of the two crashed floors to build another"

Technical Director Mike Elliott talks about the difficulties faced while getting both cars ready for the race, the damage suffered by them and the importance of having shown a good race pace.

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F1 | Austrian GP | Mercedes on the repairs they had to make to both cars after Q3: "We had to get the best out of the two crashed floors to build another"
Fuente imagen: Mercedes AMG F1 Team

The Austrian race weekend was extremely challenging, but also rewarding for Mercedes. After both drivers crashed during Q3, the team had to work against time in order to get both cars ready to run for the Sprint Race, with Lewis Hamilton having to skip half of the final practise session.

The main event on Sunday wasn't easy as well, but ended up being very positive as Hamilton recovered from P8 to his third podium in a row, while George Russell, starting in P4, dropped down to last after an early incident involving Perez. In spite of a front wing change and the 5 seconds time penalty he received, the British driver still managed to return in P4.

Technical Director Mike Elliott revealed how much the double crash on Friday impacted the whole racing weekend, as the damage on both cars' floors, suspensions and wings was extensive, in a post-race debrief.

"Damage that we can repair but not repair over a weekend. That meant completely rebuilding Lewis's car from scratch and it meant also trying to build one floor out of two. We had one complete spare we could fit and we had to get the best out of the two crashed floors to build another."

"It also meant we were compromised on George's rear wing because we only had one complete spare rear wing that we chose to fit to Lewis's car, because he was going to have to come through the field, which meant that George had to fit a rear wing which was probably not the ideal level of downforce, it was a bit too much downforce for that circuit," he added, highlighting the increased difficulty Russell had to face while making his way back up to the Top 5.

An important issue to nurse throughout the weekend was the lack of spare parts, which was so severe that, had one of the drivers been involved in a crash on Saturday, it would have forced him to sit out the race itself:

"Having damaged two cars as badly as we did on Friday the drivers are now in a position where if we damage them in the sprint race we may well be in a position where we couldn’t race on Sunday."

Elliott also highlighted the incredible job done on Hamilton's car, which had chassis damage too, which forced the team to rebuild it from scratch and in time to choose and try a new setup for the race:"That car had to be built from nothing."

"All had to be put in place and the mechanics managed to do that in three and a half hours on Saturday morning which is an amazing achievement and all credit to them for actually getting us back out and into FP2."

A possibile reason behind the mistakes, he said, might be found in the drivers' desire to bring the car in pole position, which may have seen them overdrive:

"In qualifying, we had a strong chance to getting ourselves on the front row of the grid. A position we haven’t found ourselves in in recent races, and possibly why we ended up with two accidents with both cars in that the drivers were just trying to find that extra little bit in the car, trying to get ourselves onto that front row of the grid, the potential pace we believe we had in that car."

The weeekend was, however, positive as well, not only for the final result, but also due to the great race pace shown by the British duo on a track where Mercedes has often struggled:

"I think what we saw on Sunday was encouraging for us. On a circuit that hasn’t really played to our strengths in the past, to be where we were within a two to three tenths to the front was actually decent compared to what we have seen recently."

Such a small gap to the race winners in terms of speed is indeed a positive signal, but also an even greater encouragement to work hard, in order to return to fight for the win:

"While that [two-three tenths to Ferrari] is not where we aim to be, you know, we want to be fighting at the front, we want to be the quickest car we possibly can be, compared to where we have been over the course of the season in circuits like this, I think that's a good result for us."

"It shows that the bits we are bringing to the car are starting to make the step forward we want to make, and hopefully we can keep making those steps forward,and get ourselves into a position where we can compete at the front in every race.”

The Director also explained that it was decided to pit early Russell and change his front wing as the damage sustained after the collision was affecting both the balance of the car, costing him a significant loss of lap time, and the tyre conditions, as they were degrading faster.

"I think for George to come right through the field having had the accident at the beginning again was encouraging for us going forward. And so overall, pretty happy with that.”

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