Mercedes confirms the cause of Hamilton’s Germany brake failure

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Mercedes has finally diagnosed the cause of Lewis Hamilton’s brake failure during qualifying for the German Grand Prix five weeks ago, confirming that the quality of the part itself was not the problem.

The Briton suffered a huge crash during the first part of qualifying at Hockenheim after losing control under braking. At the time, the team deemed it to be a right-front brake disc failure, with the exact cause being unknown. The shunt was severe enough to warrant a visit to the medical centre, where Hamilton was given the all-clear by the circuit doctors.

Mercedes confirmed that it would immediately investigate the issue with brake supplier Brembo, and released a statement in Hungary saying that no definitive cause had yet been defined.

However, the German marque has today confirmed that the issue was caused by the interaction between the structure of the brake material and the brake mounting on Hamilton’s car.

The full statement from Mercedes and Brembo reads:

“Following extensive joint analysis of the previously unseen failure mode experienced by Lewis Hamilton during Q1 at the German Grand Prix, Brembo and Mercedes have reached definitive conclusions concerning the cause of the failure.

“First of all, both parties can now confirm that the quality of the disc material was not a contributory factor. Instead, extensive analysis and experimentation has demonstrated that the specific interaction between the structure of the brake material in question and the brake mounting on the F1 W05 Hybrid was at the root of the failure.

“Countermeasures have already been applied to both the disc geometry and the mounting to ensure there can be no repeat of the failure. These developments allow the team to once again run Brembo brake disc material, should it choose to do so, in race conditions.”

The Briton will start today’s Belgian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid behind teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg.

You can watch the race live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET today.

IndyCar: Turn 5 gives drivers fits in Friday’s second practice at Barber Motorsports Park

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You’ve heard of the Fast Six in IndyCar, right?

Well, Friday’s second practice session for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama was the Frustrating Five – Turn 5, that is.

It almost might be easier to list those drivers that were not bitten by the cantankerous turn on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park layout in Birmingham, Alabama.

Close to 10 drivers in the 23-driver field suffered issues in the turn, ranging from running off the grass and back on, to getting stuck and having to be towed out, to suffering damage.

But by the time the one-hour session was over, Josef Newgarden took a big step towards defending his win from last year’s race there, being fastest in Friday’s second of two practice sessions.

Newgarden covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in a speed of 122.786 mph at a best lap time of 1:07.4345 minutes.

Spencer Pigot was second (125.599 mph/1:07.5372), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (122.129 mph/1:07.7971), Will Power (122.107 mph/1:07.8092) and last week’s winner at Long Beach, Alexander Rossi (122.065 mph/1:07.8326).

Sixth through 10th-fastest were Scott Dixon (122.044 mph/1:07.8445), Ryan Hunter-Reay (121.975 mph/1:07.8829), Takuma Sato (121.652 mph/1:08.0628), Marco Andretti (121.579 mph/1:08.1040) and Graham Rahal (121.572 mph/1:08.1076).

Now, speaking of all the incidents, here’s a list.

INCIDENTS:

* Right after rookie Matheus Leist spun early in the session in Turn 5, fellow rookie Zach Veach spun with about 45 minutes left in the session in Turn 5. Graham Rahal had to take evasive action to miss Veach.

But that wasn’t all, as Sebastien Bourdais followed in almost the same spot with a spin of his own roughly a minute later, and then Gabby Chaves also had his problems in the same turn, going into the grass but avoiding the gravel.

* Simon Pagenaud joined his Penske Racing teammate Josef Newgarden in the Turn 5 gravel. Newgarden spun into the gravel in the first practice session.

* Rookie Rene Binder, who has struggled in his inaugural season, continued to have issues, running into the wall and causing damage to the front end, needing a tow truck to get him righted.

It appeared Binder snapped part of the front suspension in the incident.

* Turn 5 saw James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan run off-track late in the session, but they were able to continue.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The third and final practice of the weekend will take place Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET, to be televised live on CNBC (with an encore performance at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, the weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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