Hamilton calls out Mercedes blunder in engine switch

Lewis Hamilton has questioned Mercedes’ plans to switch engines.

Hamilton will start P4 for the race at Monza. He will be behind title rival Max Verstappen and the two fast McLarens. Mercedes has already experimented with an engine penalty, having given their other driver Valtteri Bottas a fresh powerplant for the Italian GP.

Hamilton was asked if he would want to take a penalty as well for strategic reasons. He denied it, and proceeded to question Mercedes’ plans to switch engines.

“I don’t think that is on the cards, and I’m not sure that would be the smartest thing to do at this point,” Hamilton said, GP Fans.

Hamilton declares Mercedes engine change not "the smartest thing"
Lewis Hamilton (pictured) thinks taking an engine penalty would be stupid. Source: gpblog.com

“At the moment, I have still got two engines and there is currently no plan for me to take an extra engine, hopefully, but we shall see.

“It generally should be a relatively easy race for Max unless I can get past the two McLarens early on and then challenge,” added Hamilton.

Multiple strategies

If Hamilton does not take a penalty, it is a strategic nightmare for the German team. Verstappen is on pole, with the two McLaren drivers behind him. As a result, Hamilton will have to overtake the already-quick orange cars to catch Verstappen. That will be easier said than done, given the pace and the racecraft of the two drivers involved. During the sprint, Hamilton couldn’t get ahead of Norris for 18 laps.

Engineering director Andrew Shovlin spoke about Hamilton’s strategy, saying, “We’ll have a look at strategic options for Lewis.

“But the reality is that if we struggled to overtake the McLarens (during sprint), we’ll face the same situation (in the race), and that’s going to hand Max a very easy win.

“We need to look at every possible opportunity as it’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. It can often be an eventful race here, but we can’t afford to drop back in the first stint at the rate we did.”

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