Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said Lewis Hamilton’s and George Russell’s Austrian Grand Prix qualifying crashes would hit the team in the pocket but he would rather have a quick car that went into the wall than one that was slow.
The pair spun into the barriers one after the other in the final phase of Friday’s qualifying for Saturday’s sprint at the Spielberg circuit.
Wolff said both cars were “pretty injured”, and mechanics had been working tirelessly to fix them.
“I think we had two floors, two gearboxes, we need to check, a rear wing. Lots of little bits and pieces,” the Austrian told reporters on Saturday.
“Yesterday in the garage in the early evening it looked really like somebody dropped a Lego car on the floor. The mechanics are doing great work.”
Champions Mercedes struggled with a bouncing, ‘porpoising’ car in the early part of the season but are now starting to get on top of their problems and becoming more competitive.
Seven-times world champion Hamilton has finished third in the last two races and led the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last Sunday.
Wolff said the 37-year-old Briton was carrying 10kph more speed into the corner when he crashed on Friday and the car was clearly faster.
“I think the car is still tricky to drive,” said Wolff. “Now we can actually fight for front positions, I’m really happy to see that they attack.
“It’s very rare that you see both drivers crashing out… they looked like synchronised swimmers, it was a good choreography,” he joked.
“The car is still tricky and in Austria these corners are on a knife’s edge to carry a lot of speed but I’d rather have a quick car and end up in the wall and more learning.”
Wolff said there were “cost cap implications” of the crash, with teams limited on how much they can spend this season, but all should be well for the sprint which decides the grid for Sunday’s main race.
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