Lewis Hamilton’s radio message claiming his Mercedes had put him in a “difficult position” has been explained fully by the team. The seven-time champion had looked to be in contention for a podium position when trailing George Russell late in the race but having closed into his team-mate, Hamilton suddenly dropped back in tandem with his radio message.
Immediately after the race, the issue was revealed to be an overheating issue but detailing the issue fully, Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles said: “That was all about engine cooling and keeping the PU cool during the course of the race. “We push everything to the limit, as you would imagine, and one of those is engine cooling, and you do that by closing up the bodywork or changing the louvre design at the back of the car.
“That decision is made on Saturday but obviously we are racing on Sunday, 24 hours later, and in this particular circumstance the ambient was one, maybe two degrees warmer than we had expected and as a result of that ourselves and not just ourselves, you would have heard it from teams up and down the grid were right on the limit of what the engine and the PU can take in terms of cooling requirements.”
Explaining how this hindered Hamilton, Vowles added: “During the course of the race, when you are following a car it meant that Lewis had to compromise what he was doing. “He had to move out of the dirty air of the car in front of him and make sure he got cool, clean air through the radiators to drop the PU temperatures down. “But doing that makes racing the car in front incredibly difficult and that’s why his message came out.”