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Mercedes downplay Hamilton "spicy" engine advantage

Mercedes downplay Hamilton "spicy" engine advantage

F1 News

Mercedes downplay Hamilton "spicy" engine advantage

Mercedes downplay Hamilton "spicy" engine advantage

Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has insisted a bigger deal is being made out of Lewis Hamilton's "spicy" engine ahead of his F1 title showdown with Max Verstappen.

Hamilton is gunning for a record-breaking eighth championship to take him one further than Michael Schumacher's haul.

The Briton enters the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend level on points with his rival and although the Red Bull driver holds a slight advantage with more race victories across the campaign, Hamilton has won the last three races in succession.

Two of those have been with his fresh power unit that was introduced in Brazil and asked by Sky Sports F1 how special the engine really was in comparison to older units, Shovlin conceded: "It is not as big a deal as it is perhaps made out to be.

"Red Bull were inferring it is a huge difference, I think Toto did the same at one point.

"It is a useful step in the right direction but whether we have it in or not at the last race, it is not going to cover the gap we were seeing to Max on a single lap but it is a step in the right direction."

On if a new unit would be introduced ahead of the final race, Shovlin added: "Not on the plan. If we do that, something has gone wrong.

"It wouldn't feel like a good idea so that would only be if we suffer a big problem and even that wouldn't be plan A, if we did lose an engine."

Abu Dhabi changes "will drive up degradation"

The Yas Marina Circuit has undergone a major reprofiling ahead of the weekend with two new banked corners replacing off-camber chicanes, whilst the final sector has seen corner-radii lengthened and softened.

Commenting on the effect of the changes, Shovlin said: "I think in terms of the racing, they are going to be really good because turn five is a big improvement on the old sequence, I think you will be able to follow a lot closer.

"I think it will help on the overtaking side and it will drive up the degradation as well, there is a bit more energy in those so it is definitely good for circuit changes, whether it suits us, we don't know."

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