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Hamilton, Bottas warned Mercedes' Austria struggles could return

Hamilton, Bottas warned Mercedes' Austria struggles could return

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Hamilton, Bottas warned Mercedes' Austria struggles could return

Hamilton, Bottas warned Mercedes' Austria struggles could return

Mercedes have admitted that the "fundamental" issues that hampered Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the Austrian Grand Prix could come back to haunt them at just about any race this season if the blazing weather of Spielberg is repeated.

Bottas came home a distant third behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Red Bull Ring, while Hamilton was fifth after sustaining front wing damage.

It was the first race of 2019 that the Silver Arrows had not won; indeed their winning run went back 10 races, and fell one short of McLaren's all-time record.

Trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin confirmed initial diagnoses that overheating had hampered the team so much during the race, admitting they ran out of solutions, and may not be able to conjure any up if the conditions return.

"Fundamentally the car doesn't have big enough radiators," said Shovlin.

"And that's something that we were a bit optimistic with how much we could get out of the cooling system.

"It's under-delivered to what we hoped we could achieve, and it's meant that we are carrying this issue where in the very hot races we will be struggling to keep everything cool enough – principally to keep the power unit cool enough that we don't do any damage to it.

"You can increase the amount of cooling you get out of the car by opening up the bodywork exits.

"In Austria it was 35 degrees C. That actually put us at the upper end of what we could achieve just by opening the car up. So, we were on limit. When you get to that point you are really limited in your options.

"That is why they were so compromised on performance.

"You can also turn the engine down a bit, then it will generate less heat, but you've got less power and you are slower on the straights. So, it was definitely a significant limitation in Austria."

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