Sir Lewis Hamilton apologised to his Mercedes team after crashing in qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and team-mate George Russell both lost the back end of their W13 cars, and went off into the barrier in the final part of qualifying on Friday, damaging their cars and affecting their starting positions for Saturday’s sprint.
Both Britons had been challenging Red Bull and Ferrari throughout the session, but the seven-time champion had not put a representative time on the board in Q3 when he appeared to get caught in a tailwind at Turn Seven, heading off into the gravel trap before colliding with the barrier.
The 37-year-old offered his apology to the German side after his crash.
“Incredibly disappointed in myself ultimately,” Hamilton said after qualifying.
“And, so sorry to the team, everyone worked so hard to put this car together and I never like to bring it back damaged.
“We were fighting for top three I think, and I don’t have an answer for it.
“I just lost the back end in Turn Seven and that was that.”
However, given that the pace of the Mercedes car this weekend, following on from their strong showing in Silverstone last weekend, Hamilton believes there are still some good points up for grabs in Spielberg on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m encouraged for sure,” he explained.
“I am encouraged of course to see our performance, we weren’t expecting that to be as close as that today so that’s a huge positive from the team.
“But, I’m really quite far back so I don’t know what’s possible from there but we have a sprint race as well so I hope that tomorrow I can make up some lost time.”
Russell also offered his apologies, but hopes that, starting P4 after Sergio Perez’s penalty, he can still get a strong result this weekend over the course of the sprint and the main race on Sunday.
“Sorry to the team and the guys in the garage,” he said.
“I feel okay physically, hopefully the car is okay. We ordinarily have better race pace and we are definitely there in the fight, so maybe we’re in a good place for the race.”
With Russell fourth, Hamilton will start the sprint race in P9 behind Fernando Alonso – the top eight drivers will score points on Saturday.