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Hamilton declares Mercedes engine change not "the smartest thing"

Hamilton declares Mercedes engine change not "the smartest thing"

F1 News

Hamilton declares Mercedes engine change not "the smartest thing"

Hamilton declares Mercedes engine change not "the smartest thing"

Lewis Hamilton has suggested it would not be "the smartest thing" by Mercedes to switch power units ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton will start from fourth on the grid at Monza, three places behind polesitter and F1 title rival Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.

Earlier this weekend, Mercedes opted to take a fresh unit for Valtteri Bottas, meaning the sprint race winner starts from the back.

Asked if he would be happy to take the same hit, Hamilton replied: “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.

“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.”

After the sprint, runner-up Verstappen extended his points lead over Hamilton to five, leaving the seven-time champion facing "damage limitation" going into the race.

"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.

Hamilton facing McLaren roadblock

If Mercedes opt not to take an engine penalty, the team's concern is navigating a way past McLaren duo Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, who provide a buffer for Verstappen between the Dutch driver and Hamilton.

During the sprint, Hamilton was unable to get close enough to Lando Norris to make an attempt to pass.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: "We'll have a look at strategic options for Lewis.

"But the reality is that if we struggled to overtake the McLarens [in the 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 [in the sprint]."

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