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Mercedes explains Lewis Hamilton’s engine problems, doesn’t rule out another F1 grid penalty

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Lewis Hamilton took a new element in his engine and lost 10 places on the Turkish GP grid, Mercedes will not rule out a fifth power unit depending on the points battle against Max Verstappen; six races to be contested in 2021, starting with the United States GP

Last update: 10/13/21 8:56 am

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Speaking at the Turkish GP on Saturday, Toto Wolff explained that the “gremlins” are the main cause of Lewis Hamilton’s engine swap and his 10-place grid penalty.

Speaking at the Turkish GP on Saturday, Toto Wolff explained that the “gremlins” are the main cause of Lewis Hamilton’s engine swap and his 10-place grid penalty.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has explained the reliability issues that led Lewis Hamilton to take a new engine to the Turkish GP, and doesn’t rule out another change and a grid penalty before the end of the season.

Hamilton took on a new internal combustion engine (ICE) in last weekend’s race, leaving him 10 grid spots after dominating qualifying. He eventually came back to finish fifth, although he lost his championship lead to Max Verstappen, who he now trails by six points with just six races to go.

The Englishman had previously spoken of his hope of ending the season without a new engine, but Wolff insisted Istanbul’s decision was not tactical.

“We had to do it,” said the team boss Sky Sports F1. “We saw some data on the internal combustion unit that didn’t look very promising and a DNF is a total killer for the championship.”

Wolff added: “We have seen over the course of the season that we have had a few little gremlins that we weren’t completely sure where they were coming from and how much performance they could potentially cost.

“So we prefer to have a new engine in the pool and we understand that this can possibly last longer.”

Mercedes explains Lewis Hamilton’s engine problems, doesn’t rule out another F1 grid penalty

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Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton “made a mistake” in disagreeing with his Mercedes team on Turkish Grand Prix strategy

Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton “made a mistake” in disagreeing with his Mercedes team on Turkish Grand Prix strategy

Wolff also admitted that there were “unusual noises” coming from Hamilton’s engine before the change, and said Mercedes, which has been the king of speed and reliability in the hybrid era, “analyzes how we can prevent it in the future ”.

“I think we understand a lot better now where the root cause is and this is something that can happen every now and then if you just have a hardware issue, a batch issue and these are the things you need to take into account. account, ”Wolff explained.

Hamilton’s new ICE was his fourth of the season, one more than allowed in regulations. But Wolff also refused to rule out his lead driver taking on a fifth power unit – just like Valtteri Bottas did in the other Mercedes – based on the points battle with Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

“This [fourth ICE] may last until the end of the season, but there might be a point where we say it’s worth getting a new one because the other is still in danger, “Wolff said.

Mercedes explains Lewis Hamilton’s engine problems, doesn’t rule out another F1 grid penalty

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Lewis Hamilton felt he should have either stayed on the sidelines or made the decision to retire earlier to maximize the best Turkish GP result

Lewis Hamilton felt he should have either stayed on the sidelines or made the decision to retire earlier to maximize the best Turkish GP result

“So that’s something that’s going to be really a work in progress.”

Asked again by Sky F1 ahead of the Turkish GP, Wolff said: “It’s seven tough races ahead of us. Let’s see how the points go. I would never say no but normally four engines seem more than enough.”

Speaking after Sunday’s race, Hamilton said he was “giving no energy” to engine issues and the possibility of needing a fifth.

The battle for the championship continues at the United States GP, live on Sky Sports F1 from October 22-24.

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