British drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell blamed a ‘misunderstanding’ for Q2 incident which team boss Wolff described as “silly”; watch the Spanish Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from 12.30pm on Sunday with lights out at 2pm
Last Updated: 03/06/23 6:47pm
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed there will be a review into the collision between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell during Qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The two British drivers made contact approaching the first corner towards the end of Q2 with both seemingly unaware that the other was looking to launch a flying lap.
Russell did not make it through to Q3, while Wolff believes the incident may have cost Hamilton a place on the front row as it prompted a change of front wing ahead of the pole shootout.
“It shouldn’t happen,” he said. “Team-mates should never collide and even with another car you shouldn’t collide in Qualifying.
“It’s always unfortunate circumstances that can potentially penalise both cars. Here it didn’t penalise George because he didn’t know and he went onto his lap. Lewis had to change his front wing.
“This is a team effort and something in our communications. We need to review after that incident to avoid it in the future.”
An accelerating Hamilton clipped the front left of Russell’s car as he moved out of the slipstream of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Wolff conceded that the contact looked “silly”.
“It’s all down to miscommunication because drivers in the same team don’t want to crash into each other on the final lap in Qualifying.
“It was just an unfortunate situation that George just launched a lap and Lewis saw it as his last opportunity and didn’t think that George was on that lap.
“It looks silly, but it wasn’t. It was just miscommunication.”
Drivers accept clash was ‘massive misunderstanding’
Hamilton described Russell’s movement as “dangerous” on team radio in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but later accepted it was a “misunderstanding”.
The two drivers discussed the incident shortly after Qualifying and Hamilton admitted there was some damage which contributed to him only qualifying in fifth for Sunday’s race, though that was upgraded to fourth following a grid penalty for Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.
He told reporters: “I came round Turn 13 and George looked like he was going into the pit lane so I kept it going and then suddenly he cut back across, which is obviously a bit confusing because I didn’t even know he was there.
“I went to the left and he started coming back across. It was just a misunderstanding.
“I have front wing damage, and I don’t know what’s damaged on the floor, but either way, we couldn’t have competed with the Red Bull. They are still in their own league, but we are coming.”
Russell, who struggled throughout the session and qualified in 12th, apologised for his error and insisted neither of the drivers should shoulder much blame.
“It was just a massive miscommunication,” he said.
“I was just looking ahead trying to get the slipstream from Carlos and next thing Lewis was there.
“We need to talk internally how that happened because between two team-mates that should never happen.
“It wasn’t either one’s fault. I think Lewis just probably didn’t know I was starting on that lap too.”
Rosberg: Hamilton should apologise too
Hamilton’s former team-mate Nico Rosberg, who is working for Sky Sports F1 in Barcelona, said it was right for Russell to apologise, and called on Hamilton to offer a similar apology as he agreed that Mercedes must hold talks to avoid a repeat in future.
“It’s kind of unfortunate, but I think there will be some serious discussions nevertheless.
“George apologised, which I think is right but I think Lewis also needs to apologise because if Lewis goes through, George’s lap is done.
“Lewis would be right in front and George would be stuck behind him and his lap will be ruined. It was his last try to get into Q3, so Lewis needs to apologise later on.”
Sky Sports F1’s live Spanish GP schedule
Sunday June 4
8.50am: F3 Feature Race
10.20am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Spanish GP build-up
2pm: THE SPANISH GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag Spanish GP reaction
5.45pm: Indy NXT – Detroit GP
8pm: IndyCar – Detroit GP
Will Red Bull’s winning run in F1 2023 continue at the Spanish GP? Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1 from 12.30pm on Sunday. Get Sky Sports