The world champion’s straight-line speed performance at the Brazilian Grand Prix proved crucial for him to charge from the back of the grid in the Interlagos sprint race to claim victory in the main event of Sunday.
Rival Red Bull admits he’s still looking for answers as to how Mercedes was so quick on the straights, as he explores ways the German automaker could flex its rear wing to reduce drag.
New F1 engines deliver more power than older versions, which was evident at Mercedes this season when degradation throughout the life of a powertrain was noticeable.
Even though Mercedes is more confident about the reliability issues that have been a concern in recent weeks, it still expects the power advantage it gets from the new engine to slowly fade away.
Team boss Toto Wolff said: âThere is a drop in performance with any engine.
“This means that even though we are going to race with the engine until the end of the season, we are definitely going to lose performance.”
Mercedes’ call to install another powertrain in Hamilton, Brazil has left the team confident that they can now reach the end of the campaign without the need for further changes.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport images
âYes, absolutely,â Wolff said. âWe are now going to the end of the season with this engine. We still have questions about reliability, but we hope we got the right answers, and we’re going all the way.
Mercedes trackside engineer director Andrew Shovlin explained that the timing of taking the powertrain was triggered by the fact that an increase in straight-line speed at Interlagos would be particularly valuable.
âThere was no technical reason to change, because we didn’t think we were going to fail and we didn’t think we were going to fail, although these motor units are working very hard and you can never take the reliability goes without saying, âhe said.
âThere is an attraction to taking a penalty in a sprint race because if you can win on a Saturday you can score more points and reduce a deficit. It was also a track we hoped to be able to overtake on and recover positions, and we have proven it in the last couple of days.
âYou also want to put those things in the pool because when you get to Abu Dhabi you’re not going to gain the advantage for more than one race.
“So there are a number of reasons and it’s never black and white, but after some thought we picked a good track to do it.”