Lewis Hamilton would’ve ‘thought better of’ fastest lap chase if he’d seen front wing damage

Lewis Hamilton admitted he took a “risk” to go for the fastest lap at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix despite having a broken front wing, with Mercedes admitting he may have reconsidered his decision if he had known the extent of the damage.

Hamilton won a thrilling race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and the bonus point he secured for achieving the fastest lap moved him level with title rival Max Verstappen ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.

The first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was packed full of incident and controversy, with several red flag stoppages and a collision between Hamilton and Verstappen in the closing stages of the race which saw the Mercedes driver run into the back of the Red Bull car.

The collision caused further damage to Hamilton’s front wing after Mercedes said the seven-time world champion had also been clipped by Esteban Ocon earlier in the race.

But despite a section of his front wing almost hanging off his car, Hamilton still went for the fastest lap to add a further point to his championship total. “I took a lot of risk to get that,” Hamilton said.

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The 36-year-old may not have pushed as hard if he had been fully aware of the damage, however, according to Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

“He’s very determined,” Shovlin said. “At the time, we were very much in two minds.

“We were seeing other people struggling with the tyres, and we could see that the wing was most definitely not guaranteed to stay on the car after the evening that it had had.

“And it’s a difficult decision between, do you go for the point, and Lewis knew well it would put him level, or do you play it safe?

“Ultimately, Lewis was the one who took the decision, and that decision was probably aided by the fact he can’t actually see the front wing, because if he was actually watching the TV like we were, he may have thought better of it.”

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