Lewis Hamilton’s Belgian Grand Prix hopes hang in the balance after crash

Hamilton lost control of his Mercedes at high speed before slamming into the barriers.

By Press Association Published: 31 August 2019 - 12.31pm

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Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of taking part in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix hang in the balance after he suffered a high-speed crash in final practice.

Hamilton lost control of his Mercedes at the right-handed turn 12 before slamming into the barriers.

The five-time world champion suffered extensive damage to the front of his Mercedes.

Crew work on Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes as they bid to get it ready for qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix
Crew work on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes as they bid to get it ready for qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix (Francisco Seco/AP).

The one-hour session was immediately red-flagged following Hamilton’s accident.

“I am in the wall, guys,” the British driver said over the radio. “I am sorry.”

Hamilton, 34, emerged from his cockpit unscathed, but his mechanics now face a race against time to get his damaged car ready for qualifying.

It is, however, a race they believe they can win.

“We will be replacing both front corners (suspension and wheel assemblies), nose, barge boards and floor on Lewis’ car,” a tweet from Mercedes read.

“Barring any unexpected surprises, we believe we can complete all of the work in time for the start of #BelgianGP qualifying.”

The battle for pole position at Spa-Francorchamps takes place at 3pm local time.

Hamilton holds a commanding 62-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship, but he will be forced to start at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race if he fails to post a time in qualifying.

In Hamilton’s absence, Ferrari continued their domination of the weekend in Spa-Francorchamps, with Charles Leclerc fastest.

The impressive Monegasque finished nearly half-a-second clear of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, 0.497 seconds off the pace.