After Max Verstappen’s engine change in Russia, it has been the question for weeks whether title rival Lewis Hamilton also has to take a motor grid penalty this season. For the time being, according to the British world champion himself, it is not yet on the agenda.
The Formula 1 drivers are only allowed to change power source twice this year before a hefty grid penalty automatically follows. Earlier this year, in his crash at Silverstone, one of Max Verstappen’s three available Honda engines was written off, after which the Dutchman used his fourth engine of the season two weeks ago in Sochi. It earned the Red Bull driver a place on the last row of the grid, although he limited the damage by finishing second, partly thanks to a late rain shower.
Title competitor Lewis Hamilton has already run one of his engines this year, but the Briton still has two copies on the shelf for the remaining seven races this season. However, it is no secret that the reliability of the Mercedes engines is no longer as rock-solid as in the past. For example, Valtteri Bottas already had to take a grid penalty in Monza and Sochi, so it is expected that his teammate will also have to switch to a fourth engine this year. Team boss Toto Wolff previously said that the switch could possibly take place this weekend in Turkey, although, according to Hamilton himself, this is not the case for the time being.
“At the moment I still have engines two and three at my disposal, so at the moment I don’t think we should switch to a new one,” said Hamilton, who then immediately opened the door again: “But anything is possible. so change again, so who knows?”
Memories of Turkey
The hundred-time Grand Prix winner returns this weekend where he secured his seventh world title last year. Does he also have good memories of Istanbul Park? “You know, I have a really bad memory. I really need to think about it for a while, because it really feels like we’ve just been here. Time flies, but it’s nice to be back here,” said Hamilton, who after some digging in his memory still has some memories of the wet race from a year ago: “It was an incredible moment of course, and what a difficult race. It was a really challenging weekend, it was a really difficult weekend for us as a team, but to be able to end it winning.”
Does Hamilton expect to have a hard time in Turkey this weekend? “I think we have a better understanding of some of the problems we had then. We had already rectified some of that during the race. I think we are now a little better prepared. Also, the track is a bit different now, so we will have different challenges this weekend.”
Hamilton enjoys the title match
For Hamilton, another important duel with title competitor Max Verstappen is ahead this weekend. The title fight is not putting extra pressure on Hamilton for the time being, who says he especially enjoys the fight: “You can’t ignore it, because of course it is there. But it’s more the mindset what happens, happens. All you can do is prepare as best you can, give the full 100 percent. Other than that, you just have to let it happen and not worry too much about things.”
“It has been a really crazy season so far. It’s great for the fans, and Netflix is also getting fans around the world more involved and bringing in new viewers. We finally see a neck-and-neck duel between two different teams, which is great. Of course we want to end it winning, but you also have to learn that that is not going to dominate everything in your life.”