Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has warned of potential "jeopardy" at a circuit he has described as 'unforgiving'.
The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix got underway with two practice sessions that had escaped a major incident until Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at turns 22 and 23, sustaining heavy damage to his Ferrari and bringing Friday's running to a close.
Further incidents are expected given the high-speed nature and narrowness of the track layout, with the circuit the second-fastest on the calendar behind Monza.
Asked if he would rather be racing on a track with wide run-off areas considering the championship battle, Shovlin told Sky Sports F1: "We saw from Charles at the end it is really not a forgiving circuit if you put a wheel wrong.
"That does create a bit of jeopardy. They have obviously got to push in qualifying.
"As for the race, it will be quite hard to overtake so there will be periods where they can manage and look after the car and the tyres."
As to how the team will attack the final two races with Hamilton potentially needing two race victories, Shovlin explained: "Really, it is as simple as that in the sense that Lewis does need to win both races.
"It is nice to have that clarity in the objective but the key thing is we engineer a car we can get on pole. That is the fastest thing in the race.
"If we give that to Lewis he should do the job and if we give that to Valtteri he will certainly be right up there."
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