Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton Lost ‘Six Tenth’s’ Per Lap to Verstappen After First Lap Contact

Published 04/22/2021, 7:19 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


The start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was a blockbuster one. Fans got to witness Max Verstappen go wheel to wheel with Lewis Hamilton in tricky conditions. However, the opening battle between the duo only lasted a few turns before Verstappen opened quite a shocking gap to Lewis.

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Was this down to Red Bull’s much-improved car? Well, according to Mercedes, no. The reason for that was the front wing damage that Lewis suffered. That was causing him to lose some alarming amounts of time.

The Silver Arrows’ engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, revealed the extent of damage that the slight collision with Verstappen caused.

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He said, “Well, initially it was quite large (the loss in performance). The reason for that was because the footplate of the front wing hadn’t come away completely.

“While this was flapping around, it was causing a big loss, so around six-tenths of a second. Eventually, that bit of the front wing fell off completely. That was actually quite good for Lewis, it halved the loss. So what we were seeing later on was two to three-tenths.”

The loss in performance affected Lewis throughout his first stint on the intermediate tires and even into the early part of his stint on the mediums. Then the off-track excursion took place, which was followed by the Red flag. The latter event proved to be a blessing in disguise as Mercedes managed to give him a new wing.

Lewis Hamilton would go on to make a remarkable comeback

With a newly fitted wing, and no loss in power, Hamilton made an epic comeback in Italy. He restarted the race all the way down in P9. Not many believed he could make it onto the podium, albeit there was half the race still to go.

Formula One F1. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line in second REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

His teammate Valtteri Bottas had been in the same situation, but he couldn’t find the pace to get ahead of the mid-field cars. However, Hamilton was different gravy. Sure, the drier conditions helped him out, but take nothing away from the seven-time world champions’ performance.

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He began passing cars left, right, and center. Then on lap 55, Lewis overtook Charles Leclerc to move into P3 before going past Norris as well.

It wasn’t an optimal weekend, but Hamilton managed to limit the damage and ended the race one point ahead of Verstappen on the standings. There’s not much more he could ask for.

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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