Hamilton's hydraulics had failed before Turn 1 off
Lewis Hamilton's hydraulics had failed before he ran wide at Turn 1 during qualifying for the German Grand Prix.
Although a heavy clout across the kerbs on the exit initially appeared to have caused the hydraulic issues that stopped him during Q1 to leave him 14th on the grid, the world champion suspected his steering had already lost power before that moment.
Asked by Sky if the kerb strike had caused the problem, Hamilton said: "No, we use the kerb the same every lap. We got to the kerb and just before the kerb the steering broke, so that was the issue."
Although Mercedes boss Toto Wolff initially believed that Hamilton's hydraulics had broken after he hit the kerb, a subsequent investigation confirmed that the issue was as the driver described.
A team spokesman said: "We had the failure at Turn 1 as Lewis ran the “normal” kerb which all the drivers use in that stage of qualifying.
"Then, with failed power steering as a result of the hydraulic failure, he had the “jumping” moments that were seen on TV and which people understandably thought might have been the cause of the issue - but were in fact a consequence of it."
Despite coming from the back of the field to finish second at Silverstone a fortnight ago, Hamilton is not convinced a repeat charge is on the cards this time out.
"At a track like this not really, no," he said. "This is one of the worst ones for overtaking. I will do what I can from there."
Although Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was able to secure a spot on the front row of the grid, Wolff said Mercedes was lacking against Ferrari on both the car and engine front.
"It was a mega lap, particularly the last sector," he said. "He put it all together but it was at the moment not good enough performance wise. We just need to get the car and the engine on to a higher level.
"At the moment we are losing on the straights but I don't want to sound sore about it. We just need to improve."
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