Mercedes have revealed that Lewis Hamilton would have been forced to withdraw from the British Grand Prix if it hadn't been red flagged, due to the damage he'd picked up from the clash with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at Copse.
Hamilton had hit his left front wheel against Verstappen's right rear as the two negotiated the flat out Copse corner, with the Dutch driver out on the spot as he flew off into the barriers at high speed. Hamilton was able to continue, with the race red flagged to clear away the Red Bull and repair the barriers.
"We'd failed the rim, where we'd had the contact at the front left. So that would have been a DNF, had it not been red flagged," Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin, Head of Trackside Engineering, explained to media, including RacingNews365 after the race.
"But the rest of the damage was actually remarkably little, it was a tyre temperature sensor that got knocked loose. So it was waggling around.
"But, amazingly, it's the least important part on the front wing, and it was the only one that broke."
With Hamilton given a ten second time penalty for taking Verstappen out of the race, with the stewards also giving the Mercedes driver two penalty points for the clash, Shovlin explained Mercedes didn't think the penalty was particularly fair.
"We didn't think the penalty was deserved," he said.
"If you look at the guide that the stewards have to determine who's at fault in terms of overtaking, Lewis was sufficiently alongside and we felt that Max should have given him racing room.
"If you look at the sprint race, you look at even the opening lap of the main race, Lewis was constantly having to back out of it to avoid a collision. And he was able to put his car into a position where he could stand his ground.
"Max drives aggressively and it's inevitable that, one day, we're gonna get an accident. We were pleased with the job that Lewis did, and slightly disappointed to get the penalty, but just relieved that we could still win the race."
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