The safety car was called immediately after the accident before a red flag was raised to allow the marshals and staff to repair the barriers and retrieve the damaged Verstappen car.
During the hiatus, Mercedes checked Hamilton’s car to assess the extent of the damage caused by the accident, which is when the team discovered a problem with the chassis of the left front wheel, as the necessary parts were replaced to address the problem.
Given that the team was not able to spot the potential problem while the driver was on the track, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes that if the race had not been stopped, the damage would have caused Hamilton to retire later.
He said: “The chassis of the left front wheel was damaged during the accident, and this would have caused the withdrawal had it not been for the red flag being raised.”
“But the rest of the damage was very minor. The tyre’s temperature sensor came loose and was hanging off, but fortunately that was the least important part on the front wing, and it was the only one that was damaged.”
Despite receiving a 10-second penalty for his accident with Verstappen, Hamilton was able to catch up with Charles Leclerc and take the lead from the Ferrari driver two laps from the end.
With Hamilton serving his sentence, Mercedes racing strategy expected Leclerc to catch Briton Leclerc two laps from the end, with Schuvelin feeling a “shift” in the world champion’s mind when he learned he had a strong chance of winning his eighth British Grand Prix.
“From our direct predictions during the race, we were looking at catching him two laps before the end. We could see the tyre regression and also Lewis keeping an eight-tenths advantage over Leclerc every lap.”
He concluded, “Lewis kept that, and the balance was good. And frankly, you could sense the happiness of Lewis in his voice by what he was saying over the radio. You feel that transformation when he knows in his mind he’s going to win today, which honestly was great to be in line. The pits and watching those last laps, it was a great win and well deserved.”