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Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes reveal how much time Hamilton lost with front wing damage

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has revealed just how much lap time Lewis Hamilton lost in the Saudi Arabian GP due to his front wing damage.

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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes have explained just how much lap time Lewis Hamilton lost over the course of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after damaging his front wing in two separate incidents.

The first bit of damage was incurred at the final restart when Hamilton got sandwiched in between Max Verstappen and Alpine's Esteban Ocon, as the Red Bull driver dived up the inside of both.

Hamilton's front wing bounced off the side of the Alpine, picking up some minor damage. But this was nothing compared to the incident on Lap 37/50 when the now-infamous clash between Hamilton and Verstappen unfolded.

With Verstappen slowing down the back straight into Turn 27 to cede position to Hamilton, the Mercedes driver appeared to be caught out and ended up hitting the back of the Red Bull. This resulted in far more significant damage, but Hamilton was able to continue.

"It [the damage] was going up and up!" Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.

"We started off with probably only about a tenth or two [lost]. After he got sandwiched and Esteban rode over it, we were quite lucky that it just seemed to hit the road. We lost a few bits, but it bounced back. No more damage.

"After [the incident with] Max, we then lost the whole side of it, so you're getting up nearer four-tenths of performance."

Setting the fastest lap

Despite this far more serious damage, Hamilton regrouped in the lead and set about delivering the fastest lap.

He posted a time of 1:30.734 on Lap 47, clinching the fastest lap bonus point and, afterwards, Shovlin revealed that he could have gone quicker without the front wing damage.

"He's very determined. We were very much in two minds, [as] we were seeing other people struggling with the tyres," he said.

"We could see that the wing was most definitely not guaranteed to stay on the car after the afternoon or the evening that it had had.

"It's a difficult decision between, do you go for the point that Lewis knew would put him level, or do you play it safe?

"Ultimately, Lewis was the one who took the decision and that decision was probably aided by the fact he can't actually see that. Because if he was watching the TV like we were, he may have thought better of it!"

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