Still hopeful of finishing the season with his three engines, Lewis Hamilton is mindful not to stress his PUs by “revving the nuts off” them.
Two-thirds into this season and Hamilton is still only on his third power unit of the championship while his team-mate Valtteri Bottas is already onto number five.
That has meant the Finn has twice fallen to the back of the grid for incurring engine penalties with Hamilton so far avoiding that.
The question is when, if ever, will he need to take a fourth hybrid system – and the grid penalties that come with it.
At this moment in time he says he has “absolutely no idea” but is still hoping to avoid it.
He added: “Of course, I have lost one engine, Valtteri has had several and there have been others that Mercedes have seen up and down the paddock.
“So right now, I’m trying to treat my engines, the ones that we put in, with the absolute care when I’m driving, in terms of how much I’m gassing it, how much just revving the things, revving the nuts off it, really trying to minimise the laps that I do.”
Only a matter of time…
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) September 28, 2021
Hamilton’s title rival Max Verstappen took an engine penalty at the Russian Grand Prix with the weather playing role in his recovery from P20 to P2.
Minimising his losses to Hamilton on the day, the gap between the title protagonists is two points in Hamilton’s favour.
Red Bull are hoping that the time will come for Hamilton has to take such a penalty, and that Lady Luck won’t smile so kindly down on him.
“I hope that our information is correct,” said Helmut Marko to Sky F1. “According to that, Lewis will have to change again.
“Going from last place on the grid to the podium doesn’t happen that quickly.”
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff wouldn’t confirm if Red Bull’s information is on the mark, but hopes that reliability doesn’t decide this year’s title race.
“It’s always reliability versus performance, it’s always a fine line that you need to get right,” he said.
“DNFing, obviously, is a no go for the championship and nobody, neither us nor our competitors, can afford a zero points race weekend.”
Will Lewis Hamilton take a power unit penalty?
If Red Bull are expecting Lewis Hamilton to take the penalty for a fourth power unit, they might just doom themselves.