German GP: Mercedes sure Button clash damage cost Hamilton second
|By Ben Anderson||Monday, July 21st 2014, 14:11 GMT|
The Mercedes Formula 1 team is convinced Lewis Hamilton would have finished second in the German Grand Prix, had he not damaged his front wing colliding with Jenson Button.
Hamilton started 20th for Sunday's Hockenheim race, after crashing when his brakes failed in qualifying on Saturday, but he charged through the order to finish third.
The 2008 F1 world champion was involved in several collisions at the Turn 4 hairpin during his recovery, the last of which damaged his front wing against Button's McLaren shortly before half-distance.
Hamilton's team elected not to change the wing at his second pitstop, but Mercedes commercial boss Toto Wolff reckons the performance lost to this damage cost Hamilton his chance to beat the Williams of Valtteri Bottas to second place.
"I think the car would have had much more performance with the wing not damaged," Wolff said, when asked whether Hamilton would have finished second without the problem.
"I think the misunderstanding with Jenson probably cost him quite [a bit] of laptime.
"We had precise data on what the nose was looking like and how the nose was performing, and we were very much aware that there wasn't any structural damage on the front wing, just the front wing endplate and some of the fins.
"The front wing was not deteriorating any further and we decided to keep it on.
"[But] we were quite down on downforce, and then at the end with the strategy going back to the option [super-soft] tyre we knew the window was very narrow where the pace in that tyre was really good.
"Valtteri was just cold blooded at the end and defended where he needed to defend.
"I know it doesn't feel [that way] for Lewis, because he is very competitive, but for me it feels like a one-two."