Excuse for Lewis Hamilton’s Q3 crash dismissed as Mercedes driver accused of being overly aggressive

Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both found the wall during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.

It is testament to the brilliance and the magnificent achievements of Sir Lewis Hamilton that every time he makes a mistake, it draws no shortage of shock from the Formula 1 community.

The distasteful cheering from the grandstand aside, this was the general feeling after the seven-time champion put his car into the wall during qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix last time out.

Hamilton and team-mate George Russell had not only made it into Q3, but genuinely looked as though they might trouble Ferrari and Red Bull for a place in the top four in Spielberg, before it all went wrong.

Hamilton lost control of the rear of his car at Turn Seven, and went straight on into Eight as the gravel trap booked him a one-way ticket to the barrier – he was thankfully okay after the impact.

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Russell then took too much kerb on the way into Turn 10 on his Q3 run, going into the wall himself before clambering out unharmed. 

It meant that the 24-year-old started fourth after Sergio Perez was penalised for exceeding track limits at the end of Q2.

Hamilton had not yet set a representative time, so he would start the race ninth at the end of what was initially looking like a promising day for the Silver Arrows.

One theory posited as to Hamilton’s crash was a gust of wind at Turn Seven, but Shinji Nakano, who scored points twice for Brabham in 1997, believes the 37-year-old was just pushing too hard.

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“Lewis Hamilton in Q3 crashed in the seventh to eighth corners of the high speed [section],” he said.

“It was said that it was affected by the wind because it was a high-speed corner, but as far as I can see [from] the video, I think Hamilton simply attacked too much.

“Even if you look at the Mercedes car this time, the straight is not very fast, and even though the acceleration at the corner exit is also traction, when you see the place where the subsequent growth is not so good, it is cornering by that much you have to earn time.”

The Silver Arrows have been significantly lacking in pace compared to Ferrari and Red Bull this season, so Hamilton and Russell are having to try and pull rabbits out of hats to gain more performance.

“Hamilton’s mistake is a mistake, but he is in a situation where he has to attack beyond the limits of the car, or in a sense he is pushing himself,” explained Nakano.

Hamilton went on to finish the race third having finished eighth in the sprint race, while Russell recovered to fourth after making contact with Sergio Perez on the opening lap, damaging his front wing and picking up a penalty in the process.