Mercedes revealed that “abnormal oil system behaviour” was behind an early retirement for Lewis Hamilton in FP2 at the Dutch GP.
The seven-time World Champion started the race weekend at Circuit Zandvoort in perfect fashion, topping FP1 as the drivers rolled out onto this venue for the first time in Formula 1 machinery.
But Hamilton’s FP2 proved to be very short indeed, with the Briton triggering the red flags as he parked up his Mercedes W12.
And while the German outfit were not offering a great amount of detail, they did reveal the root cause of Hamilton’s woes.
“The reason for Lewis’ early exit from the session was because of abnormal oil system behaviour, which limited him to only three laps in FP2,” Mercedes stated after the session.
A different view on FP2. 👀 Some catching up to do tomorrow. 💪 pic.twitter.com/8F5XmX0G3S
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 3, 2021
Hamilton said he is now “naturally on the back foot” after precious little running in FP2, but it actually helps his cause that lengthy delays were experienced in both Friday sessions.
Sebastian Vettel’s engine failure in FP1 meant that the session was red flagged for 33 minutes, while in the afternoon outing, on top of Hamilton’s issues, Nikita Mazepin also brought out the red flags with a spin into the gravel.
And so, overall, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said there is limited data for all teams.
“We’ve had a tricky day with red flags costing us a lot of running time in the first session and then Lewis had an issue with his car, so we had to stop on track,” he explained.
“Everyone has struggled with a lack of running so there isn’t masses of data to work with and many had low fuel runs that were compromised with traffic, so we have to expect many teams to move forward tomorrow.
“We’re struggling a bit with Turn 2-3, we seem to be losing there on both low and high fuel but we’ve got a bit of time tonight to understand that.
“There are a few other places we can improve the balance but overall, it doesn’t seem too far off.
“We have to recover a bit of running with Lewis but there is time to do that in the morning session.”