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Hamilton unruffled by move to ‘slow us down’

3 min read

“It’s obviously to slow us down but I don’t think it’s going to get the result they want. But that’s totally fine if they do”

Last Updated: 13/08/20 5:51pm

Lewis Hamilton has claimed a planned move to clamp down on engine modes in F1 is an attempt “to slow us down” but does not think it will unduly hurt Mercedes.

Dubbed ‘party modes’ in the past, teams are currently able to run their power units in different settings across a grand prix weekend – notably the use of more aggressive settings in the latter stages of qualifying.

But plans from the FIA have emerged to potentially dictate that engines can only be used in a single mode in qualifying and the race after this weekend’s Spanish GP.

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Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes have learnt from their tyre mismanagement issues at last weekend’s Anniversary GP at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes have learnt from their tyre mismanagement issues at last weekend’s Anniversary GP at Silverstone.

While Ferrari were often quicker in qualifying last year, Mercedes have otherwise dominated F1 qualifying in the hybrid engine era, claiming 99 of 126 pole positions since the start of 2014 – including all five so far this season after winter gains with their car and engine – with rivals often remarking during that time that they cannot live with the step the world champions make in Q3 when pole position is decided.

But should a technical directive be issued ahead of the next race in Belgium in two weeks’ time that could limit the scope for the use of more short-use powerful modes, Mercedes’ drivers are not worried.

“I mean it’s not a surprise, they’re always trying to slow us down,” said Hamilton in Thursday’s news conference.

“But it doesn’t really change a huge amount for us, so it’s not a problem.”

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Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have spoken ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have spoken ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton also suggested it would not hinder Mercedes more than any other engine manufacturer and added: “At the end of the day the guys at our team have done such a great job with the engine. As I told you, it’s obviously to slow us down but I don’t think it’s going to get the result they want. But that’s totally fine if they do.”

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas said “we are not panicking about it” – although did predict that, in general, it could reduce variables in races through the field as drivers manage their cars and engine.

“For me it’s impossible to say how much other engine manufacturers are gaining when they are kind of using full beans,” Bottas told Sky Sports F1.

“Of course, you can’t always use the full power because then it puts the engine to the risk. So I have no idea in detail of the others, so I don’t know if we are losing compared to others or if it’s the same, but obviously we take it if that’s the regulation.

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Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes are better equipped to manage their tyres at the Spanish Grand Prix after finishing third last week at Silverstone.

Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes are better equipped to manage their tyres at the Spanish Grand Prix after finishing third last week at Silverstone.

“But our team has worked really hard to being in the best possible shape always in qualifying and in the race.

“Just strategically it would limit some things in the race because also for us as drivers we are managing the power unit ourselves quite a lot in different situations. Sometimes when we are defending or attacking or managing we are using different engines modes, and that would just put everyone on the same line. So there could be less overtaking with that.”

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