What caused Lewis Hamilton’s car failure in Germany? Was it the Mercedes star’s bumpy ride at Turn 1? The team were the talk of the paddock after the world champion’s Silver Arrow came to an agonising halt in qualifying. But team chief Toto Wolff has refused to blame his driver…
Hamilton had at one point attempted to push his car back to the pit lane at the end of Q1, after his W09 broke down with a problem which was later diagnosed as a hydraulic leak. Moments before that incident, the Briton ran wide at Turn 1, with his car temporarily airborne as he re-joined the track over the run-off kerbs.
It’s the second high-profile hydraulic problem Mercedes have suffered this year, following Valtteri Bottas’ issue in Austria. While the team are yet to get to the bottom of the problem, Mercedes boss Wolff was quick to rule out driver error, revealing a power steering problem led to Hamilton's jump on the kerb.
“It's always quite difficult to define cause and consequence,” Wolff said. “What we saw is that in the previous lap, running wide but completely within the boundaries of what we can do saw a small overload.
“In the next lap, going over the kerbs, a hydraulic leak caused the power steering failure, and that power steering failure made this spectacular off over the kerbs. We're just taking it apart.
"We have seen failures in Austria, not only on our cars but on other cars. But before we've taken it apart, I can't tell you whether the high load was caused... whether it was a certain frequency that we hit, was it an angle onto the kerb. But definitely it was not Lewis' driving.
“We always seek to find our own contribution to a problem. And so from his driving, he was of the opinion 'maybe I caused the problem' and we were of the opinion 'maybe we caused the problem'.