MERCEDES had a qualifying to forget in Austria.
George Russell joined Lewis Hamilton in crashing (Image: F1 )
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George Russell hit the barriers at qualifying for the Austria GP just minutes after Lewis Hamilton also crashed in a double disaster for Mercedes. Russell span off at Turn 10 and his car went sliding across the run-off area at the final corner.
Fortunately the Brit was ok, but the incident summed up a wretched afternoon for Mercedes. And it could even get worse, with the stewards going to take a look after Russell climbed out of his car and “entered the track without permission”.
There were head in hands at the Mercedes garage, with Toto Wolff visibly grimacing. It came after Hamilton crashed out after a heavy shunt at Turn 7. The star suffered a loss of traction midway through the corner which chucked him off the track. Hamilton then stuck a wheel on the gravel which sucked him into the barrier.
Mercedes tweeted: “Lewis is OK and out of the car.” And Hamilton himself could be heard saying: “Damn, I am so sorry guys. I’m so sorry for damaging the car.”
Russell clambered out of his car after the crash (Image: Getty)
With Russell, meanwhile, Mercedes tweeted: “George is OK, out of the car and making his way back to the garage.” Max Verstappen has taken pole for Saturday’s sprint, with Charles Leclerc second and Carlos Sainz third.
Speaking ahead of Austria, Wolff had taken a swipe at Mercedes’ rivals amid the ongoing porpoising row. He said: “Team principals trying to manipulate what is being said in order to keep the competitive advantage, and trying to play political games when the FIA tries to come up with a quick solution to at least put the cars in a better position, is disingenuous,” he said.
“This is a joint problem we are having as Formula 1… this is a design issue that needs to be solved. We have long-term effects that we can’t even judge.
“But at any time this is a safety risk and then coming up with little manipulations in the background, or Chinese whispers, or briefing the drivers is just pitiful.”