Austrian GP: Lewis Hamilton hits out at followers for cheering qualifying crash, Mercedes ‘missing tempo’


Lewis Hamilton has criticized the fans who cheered his crash in Austrian GP qualifying, calling the reaction “mind-blowing”.

The Red Bull Ring crowd is largely supporting Max Verstappen this weekend and after Hamilton slid off into the barriers in Q3 on Friday, a section of fans cheered.

Hamilton was unhurt in the crash and made up one position to finish eighth in Saturday’s Sprint, but afterwards hit out the reaction.

“I don’t agree or condone any of that, no matter what,” said Hamilton. “A driver could have been in hospital and you are going to cheer that?”

Hamilton had a fierce rivalry with Verstappen, who has his own grandstand of fans at Spielberg, last season – though the seven-time world champion said there was no excuse for cheering a crash.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers going into the safety barriers ahead of Saturday's Sprint.

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers going into the safety barriers ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a Q3 to forget, with both Mercedes drivers going into the safety barriers ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

“It is mind-blowing that people would do that, knowing how dangerous our sport is,” I explained. “I am grateful I wasn’t in hospital and wasn’t injured.

“You should never cheer someone’s downfall, someone’s injury or crash.”

Verstappen was booed by a section of Silverstone fans at Hamilton’s home British GP last weekend, albeit not after a crash. Hamilton added: “It shouldn’t have happened at Silverstone, and it shouldn’t have happened here.”

Hamilton limps to eighth with Merc ‘slower than expected’

Hamilton and George Russell were surprised that Mercedes couldn’t gain more ground in the Austrian GP Sprint, with Toto Wolff admitting the team are “lacking pace” compared to Ferrari and Red Bull this weekend.

Mercedes looked to be in the fight for pole position in Friday’s qualifying before both drivers crashed, but grid positions of fourth and ninth still left them in positive spirits heading into Saturday’s grid-setting 24-lap Sprint.

Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly collide at the start of the Sprint, sending the AlphaTauri driver into a spin.

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Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly collide at the start of the Sprint, sending the AlphaTauri driver into a spin.

Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly collide at the start of the Sprint, sending the AlphaTauri driver into a spin.

But Hamilton – after following up a collision with Pierre Gasly at the start with frustration behind Mick Schumacher’s Haas – only made up one position to finish eighth while George Russell stayed fourth, well off the pace of Max Verstappen and the Ferraris ahead.

It leaves them with another recovery mission ahead for the Austrian GP, ​​live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 2pm, with build-up from 12.30pm.

“I didn’t learn anything necessarily… except that we’re slower than the Haas on the straights!” Hamilton said.

“We’ve got to wait to get out of the DRS train [tomorrow] to try and reposition our car.”

“We didn’t expect to have the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari but we were probably a little bit further behind than we anticipated,” Russell added to Sky Sports F1.

Lewis Hamilton felt there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting Pierre Gasly in the first lap of the Sprint.

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Lewis Hamilton felt there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting Pierre Gasly in the first lap of the Sprint.

Lewis Hamilton felt there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting Pierre Gasly in the first lap of the Sprint.

“I think [Sergio] Perez is a realistic battle we can have but there is only a limited amount you can do overnight. You can’t change the set-up, you just have to learn about the tires and what you did well and what you can improve on.”

Wolff said Mercedes’ car was “draggy” on the straights, costing them top speed and thus overtaking potential.

“It’s disappointing,” stated Wolff. “We are just lacking pace here, contrary to what we had in the previous races where we were really good on Sunday. Here, somehow, it didn’t go.”

Provisional starting grid for Austrian GP, ​​top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) George Russell, Mercedes
5) Sergio Pérez, Red Bull
6) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
7) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
9) Mick Schumacher, Haas
10) Lando Norris, McLaren

Hamilton ‘grateful to survive’ Austria Sprint

Starting in ninth, Hamilton’s Sprint race got off to a dismal start after he was squeezed by Gasly into the first corner, with the shunt flinging the AlphaTauri into the air.

He dropped two places to 11th, and after getting back up to ninth he was held up for many laps by Schumacher in the Haas, who also had DRS from his team-mate.

Lewis Hamilton overtook Alex Albon for 10th in the Sprint before the Williams driver forced McLaren's Lando Norris off the track.

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Lewis Hamilton overtook Alex Albon for 10th in the Sprint before the Williams driver forced McLaren’s Lando Norris off the track.

Lewis Hamilton overtook Alex Albon for 10th in the Sprint before the Williams driver forced McLaren’s Lando Norris off the track.

Hamilton eventually got ahead on the penultimate lap.

“I’m grateful I managed to survive out there today,” admitted Hamilton.

He then explained: “I obviously had two come around me into Turn 1 and Pierre moved across on me, and there was nowhere I could really go. Unfortunate but I don’t think I could have done anything.

“Then I had the same thing at Turn 3, so I’m just grateful to get around the first lap. After that, I was just trying to catch up but I was quite slow on the straights, so we kind of stayed in the same place.”

Hamilton and Mercedes will hope for much more in Sunday’s race, and you can watch all the action on Sky Sports F1.

Sky Sports F1’s live schedule for race day

sunday
7.30am: F3 Feature Race
9am: F2 Feature Race
12.30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Austrian GP Build-up
2pm: THE AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX
4pm: Checkered Flag: Austrian GP Reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook

F1 2022 hits the halfway point with the Austrian GP from the high-speed Red Bull Ring on Sunday. All the action is live on Sky Sports F1, with race build-up from 12.30pm and lights out at 2pm.

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