Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the collision between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix was a case of miscommunication. The two drivers collided at over 180mph on the pit straight during their final Q2 qualifying laps, which resulted in Hamilton receiving front wing damage when he was forced onto the grass. Russell cut across Hamilton, who was lining up his final lap of the session, in a bid to gain a slipstream from Carlos Sainz. However, he was unaware that his teammate was behind him, leading to the collision.
According to Wolff, it was “just an unfortunate situation where George just lodged a lap and Lewis had his last opportunity and didn’t think that George was starting another lap.” He added that “it looks silly, but it wasn’t. It was just miscommunication.” Russell also admitted that it was a “massive miscommunication,” and that “with two teammates that should never happen.”
Hamilton explained that the plan at the outset was for Russell to set his time first, following which Hamilton would set a time that would offer a slipstream to both drivers. However, due to the way they were sent out, there was confusion when Russell cut back across Hamilton, leading to the collision. Hamilton said that he didn’t even know that Russell was there, and that it was “just a misunderstanding.”
Wolff noted that the team would review its radio communications with the drivers to learn from the incident. “Teammates should never collide, and even with another car, you shouldn’t collide in qualifying,” he said. “This is a team effort, and there is something in our communication that we need to review after that happened to avoid it in the future.” Despite the incident, Wolff stressed that it was not a dramatic situation and that “the car was just not quick enough.”
Overall, the incident may have seemed silly but was a result of miscommunication, leading to a significant collision at high speed. The Mercedes team will undoubtedly review and learn from the situation to avoid such incidents in the future.