• German GP - Qualifying

Hamilton likely to start from pit lane

ESPN Staff
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Lewis Hamilton looks likely to start the German Grand Prix from the pit lane as Mercedes plan to switch the brake material on his car following his accident in qualifying.

Hamilton was pitched into the barriers at the Sachs corner - suffering an impact above 27G - after a front-right brake disc failed on the entry. He was left 15th on the grid after Esteban Gutierrez's grid penalty was factored in but now looks set to start from the pit lane.

Mercedes is planning to change the front brake material on Hamilton's car from one supplied by Brembo to Carbon Industrie, which will result in a breach of parc ferme regulations ahead of the race. Under normal circumstances it will result in the car starting from the pit lane, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the changes may be permissible on safety grounds.

"There is no way you can analyse what happened [with the brakes] and how to prevent that in the future within 12 hours, so the latest information is that we will switch the brake material," he said.

Asked if that would result in starting from the pit lane, Wolff added: "I'm not sure this is totally clarified. We have had a brake failure, which means we are obliged to make sure that the car is running safe tomorrow. What that could mean is switching the brake supplier, but if this results in starting from the pit lane is not yet discussed - we haven't yet got the decision on it. Many teams are running that brake material, so that safety discussion probably needs to be extended."

Hamilton chose to run the Brembo brakes on Friday after preferring the feel of them over the Carbon Industrie ones, which team-mate Nico Rosberg opted for. He said he is not worried about the change ahead of the race.

"I've used all the materials we have and it will be quite seamless tomorrow. I have driven both materials this weekend and Nico and I have different ones, but they both work fine for me. That won't hinder how I come up through the field."

Other teams have suffered issues with Brembo brakes this season, but none feel the need to change them ahead of the German Grand Prix. Wolff said that the brakes Hamilton was running in qualifying were actually supposedly the more reliable ones after Brembo beefed them up.

"Brembo had a failure earlier in the year, and they upgraded the discs to what is supposedly the safest disc," Wolff said. "They put a lot of research in to the carbon disc so there was no gamble whatsoever. It was just a matter of what suits your driving style. Both of them have been trying both brake materials every weekend, or almost every weekend."

At the time of writing, Mercedes was still investigating whether Hamilton's gearbox needed to be changed as a result of the impact, which could result in a five-place grid penalty even if Hamilton is not in breach of parc ferme regulations.