Everything and anything has been said about Lewis Hamilton’s engine changes, Mercedes’ decisions during races, and the constant change atop the F1 table this season.
After seeing a controversial season so far, Lewis Hamilton and his team, Mercedes, are in a place they haven’t been for quite a few years. From 2017-2020, the Mercedes team has enjoyed great performances that have seen them lift the F1 world championship for four consecutive years.
But this season is different. Lewis Hamilton finds himself losing and regaining the championship lead to and against Red Bull’s Verstappen and perhaps this has caused unease. Why? Mercedes have changed four of his engines so far, and may even go for a fifth before the season ends.
“…and it is possible that the moment ill come when we say it is worth the risk to bring another fresh engine,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff about a future engine change.
These changes bring with them grid penalties, the recent one costing Lewis Hamilton a potential win in Turkey, and the championship lead. If another occurs before the end of the season and Hamilton cannot get back to the front, his title defence will be unsuccessful.
Red Bull’s team boss confirmed that Verstappen “should get through to the end without further penalties,” meaning that Hamilton has a difficult road ahead. Though Mercedes’ speed was better than Red Bull’s in Turkey, if Hamilton loses more points for starting in a disadvantaged position, his side will lose the title for the first time in four years.
At this point last year, Mercedes and Hamilton had secured the championship already. This time, though, they are six points behind the lead and still facing problems that could worsen their situation. These are waters they haven’t swum in for some time.