Lewis Hamilton could face another grid penalty this season with Toto Wolff pondering a new engine
Lewis Hamilton could face another grid penalty this season due to reliability concerns over the Mercedes engine.
The seven-time world champion took on a new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) at the Turkish Grand Prix which cost him pole position, as he was relegated to 11th on the grid after setting the fastest time in qualifying.
Hamilton raced back to finish fifth, although he lost the lead in the drivers’ championship to Max Verstappen, who finished second behind Valtteri Bottas.
Lewis Hamilton lost the championship lead at the Turkish Grand Prix to Max Verstappen
Hamilton was quickest in qualifying but had a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change
The Brit is now six points behind the Dutchman in the fight for this year’s title, and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has refused to rule out another grid penalty before the end of the season.
Wolff told Sky Sports F1: ‘It (the ICE) can last until the end of the season but there could be a moment we say it is worth taking a fresh one because the other one is still at risk.’
Hamilton’s new ICE in Turkey was his fourth of the season – which is one more than permitted in the sport’s regulations.
A fifth power unit would lead to another grid penalty and would match the number used by team-mate Bottas in the other Mercedes.
Toto Wolff (left) has refused to rule out another engine change and grid penalty for Hamilton
Mercedes boss Wolff said that Mercedes ‘had to’ change the engine component in Turkey to reduce the chance of a mechanical failure which would have resulted in Hamilton not scoring a single point.
The Austrian team principal said: ‘We had to do it (the engine component change). 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.’
He added: ‘We’ve seen over the course of the season that we’ve had some little gremlins that we weren’t completely sure where they came from and how much performance they could potentially cost.
‘I think we understand much better now where the root cause lies and it’s something that can happen from time to time if you just have a material issue, a batch problem and these are the things you need to consider.’