Dislodged switch cover caused Hamilton's Q3 slump in Austin

Mercedes has revealed that Lewis Hamilton's qualifying struggles at the United States Grand Prix were triggered by a dislodged switch cover on his steering wheel affecting his engine braking.

Dislodged switch cover caused Hamilton's Q3 slump in Austin

While Valtteri Bottas took pole position from Sebastian Vettel in Austin last weekend, Hamilton found himself down in fifth after being unhappy with the feel of his car during the quickest first run in Q3.

But the reasons for his difficulties only came to light when he returned to the garage after that lap, as mechanics found the cover over a rotary dial (below, red arrow) had been knocked loose.

Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles told the team's regular post race video debrief: "During the course of the lap, underneath his right hand, there's a little rotary and that rotary adjusts the engine braking.

"Normally it has a guard on it, and what happened is the guard had accidentally been knocked off. As he went through the lap, every time he turned the steering wheel, he accidentally changed the engine braking and that caused him to lose performance towards the end of the lap.

"The mechanics spotted it immediately the second the car had come back in but obviously that first run was compromised as the result."

Read Also:

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 steering

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 steering

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

While the problem was sorted for Hamilton's second run, the track conditions were not as good which meant he was unable to improve.

Vowles added: "Come the second run you would've seen everyone went slower, the track in fact had slowed down slightly, small wind change, small track temperature change and Lewis wasn't now able to compete at the front, ultimately sealing his place as fifth on the grid."

Hamilton recovered quickly from his qualifying woes to fight for the win with Bottas in the race. And although he lost out in that battle, his second place was enough for him to seal his sixth drivers' championship.

Read Also:

shares
comments
How Russell is performing like Alonso

Previous article

How Russell is performing like Alonso

Next article

Ferrari: No explanation for Austin slump yet

Ferrari: No explanation for Austin slump yet
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event United States GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021