Contrary to Red Bull’s predictions, Lewis Hamilton has downplayed the chances of him taking a fourth PU, saying he does “not envision” a need for it.
But, he concedes, that could yet change.
While Max Verstappen moved onto his fourth hybrid system of this season at the Russian Grand Prix, the Dutchman starting from the very back of the field as a result of the engine penalties, Hamilton is still racing his third of the season.
The Brit has his current engine in his pool as well as engine number two. And that, he hopes, will be enough to see out the final seven races of the championship.
“At the moment, I still have [power unit] number two and three,” he told the media ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix weekend.
“I do not envision us having to take one at the moment, but that could change.”
Red Bull, though, are convinced it is only a matter of time behind Hamilton is forced into taking a fourth PU but his team boss Toto Wolff says if that moment arises, Mercedes won’t broadcast it until such a time as they have to inform the race stewards.
Hamilton’s title rival Max Verstappen, who is two points behind the Brit after 15 races, insists he’s not letting thoughts of a possible penalty for Hamilton play any role in his thinking.
Instead the 24-year-old says he is focused solely on his own performances.
“At the end of the day, I can’t control what they [Mercedes] are doing, so it’s more important to focus on ourselves and then try to get the best out of that and score as many points as possible every single weekend,” he told Sky F1.
“There are still a few races to go and a lot of things can happen.
“A few tracks, we know they might be a bit better for us – but I think, especially here in Turkey, it’s a bit of a question mark because last year it was not really representative – very low grip levels, and hopefully they have solved that for this year.
“I guess we have to find out tomorrow [Friday] how competitive we will be, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be here.”
Engine penalty for Lewis Hamilton in Turkey?
It's very likely that Lewis Hamilton will have to take an engine penalty before the end of the season. Is he best off getting it out of the way at the Turkish Grand Prix?