Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him
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Lewis Hamilton may have to use one more engine this season, potentially incurring another grid penalty, his team boss Toto Wolff has admitted. The Mercedes ace started 11th last time out at the Turkish Grand Prix after having a new power unit fitted, and having to do so again between now and the end of the current campaign may hand an advantage to title rival Max Verstappen.
F1 rules say a driver is allowed to use three power units in a season, though often they end up needing to go over that limit if they have suffered excessive wear or had a crash which has seen one scrapped prematurely.
Hamilton took his fourth engine of 2021 in Istanbul, incurring that penalty which saw him start on the sixth row despite qualifying on pole.
And it proved to be costly in terms of his title fight, as he could only finish fifth while Verstappen very comfortably came home second.
Fortunately for Mercedes, the seven-time world champion’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas won the race and the team still took more points from Turkey than their Red Bull rivals.
While Wolff will have been pleased with that result overall, he has warned that the “gremlins” which continue to affect their engines – Bottas is on his fifth of the season – may lead to Hamilton needing one more before the end of the year.
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“[The ICE] can last until the end of the season,” the Austrian told Sky Sports.
“But there could be a moment we say it is worth taking a fresh one because the other one is still at risk.
“We had to (change the engine component in Turkey). 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.
“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.
“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.”
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Six races remain in the current campaign, with Verstappen leading the drivers’ championship by just half-a-dozen points over Hamilton.
Having gone through three power units in 15 race weekends prior to Turkey – one every five rounds – there is a real possibility the Briton may need a fifth between now and Abu Dhabi in December.
That said, the 36-year-old said after the race in Istanbul that he may still be able to use one of the older engines to avoid another penalty if necessary.
“It’s not my job to worry about that stuff, so I let the guys focus on that, worry about it,” he said.
“My engine is in good condition. My first engine, I think, did six races. We still have engine two, and I think engine three is still there.
“As far as I’m aware, hopefully I don’t have to (use a fifth engine), but I can’t predict what’s up ahead.”
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