Rapid repairs allow Hamilton to compete in qualifying

Lewis Hamilton’s mechanics won the race to get his car ready for Belgian Grand Prix qualifying following his high-speed crash in final practice.

The Briton lost control of his Mercedes at the right-handed turn 12 at Spa-Francorchamps before slamming into the barriers.

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

But his mechanics’ speedy work enabled Hamilton to take to the track for qualifying and avoid starting Sunday’s race from the back of the field.

Mercedes’ cause was aided when Robert Kubica’s Williams caught fire, and the opening phase of qualifying was suspended for 10 minutes, affording Hamilton’s crew more time to make the repairs.

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

Lewis Hamilton's car suffered extensive damage when he crashed in final practice
Lewis Hamilton’s car suffered extensive damage when he crashed in final practice (Francisco Seco/AP)

“I am in the wall, guys,” the 34-year-old, who emerged from his cockpit unscathed, said over the radio. “I am sorry.”

Hamilton holds a commanding 62-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship.

In Hamilton’s absence, Ferrari continued their domination of the weekend, with Charles Leclerc fastest in final practice.

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

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

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