Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin has revealed that Lewis Hamilton was losing up to six-tenths of a second per lap thanks to front-wing damage sustained at the Tamburello chicane in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
After Max Verstappen’s terrific start to the race at Imola, Hamilton was forced to go over the sizeable kerbs and damaged the front wing of his car. That damage was only repaired during the red flag stoppage thanks to the collision between Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Williams’ George Russell on Lap 32. In Mercedes’ latest race debrief on YouTube, Shovlin explains how much performance pole-sitter Hamilton lost up until the red flag period.
“Initially it was quite large,” said Shovlin of the performance loss. “And the reason for that was because the footplate of the front wing hadn’t come away completely. It was dangling off and held on by the pressures tappings we use to measure the aero performance of those parts.
“And while this was flapping around, it was causing a big loss, so around six tenths of a second that was affecting him in the opening laps. Now eventually, that bit of the front wing fell off completely and that was quite good for Lewis; it halved the loss,” he explained.
After the dangling front wing endplate broke off, Hamilton didn’t suffer as much of a performance loss but continued to lose up to a third of a second through his first stint, which lasted until Lap 28, and for the next handful of laps too – as Shovlin added.