Mercedes feared "instant kill"


One constant throughout the Austrian Grand Prix - other than the safety car - was the continued warnings to both Mercedes drivers to stay off the kerbs.

As the race progressed the tone of the warnings became more severe as the team feared a gearbox issue which could result in "instant kill".

"The situation was pretty serious, right away from the start," Toto Wolff told reporters after the race. "We saw it started with issues on Valtteri's car, but it was something that can be an instant kill. Then it started on Lewis's car.

"We didn't really know what it was," he admitted. "We know that it was somehow linked to vibration and agitation of the car. That is why we advised them very early on to keep off the kerbs.

"At a certain stage, it looked like we would not finish the race with both cars. So we were trying to really cruise home."

When the drivers finally got the message and eased off, this, combined with the numerous safety cars allowed those following to close up, which in turn meant the Black Arrows pair wanted to push again.

"We had these issues with some sensors that were getting damaged by the vibration of the pretty harsh kerbs here," said Bottas, "so I had to avoid the kerbing, which obviously costs quite a bit of lap time.

"When you're in the lead, one safety car after another, but the last one I was like 'come on, again?', because in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble-free.

"There were many variables. I managed to dodge many bullets today and get the win."

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Published: 06/07/2020
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