Mercedes have endorsed Lewis Hamilton’s assertion that his “difficult position” radio message during the Australian Grand Prix was about engine cooling.
Towards the end of the race in Melbourne, on his way to finishing fourth, the seven-time former World Champion said “you guys put me in a really difficult position”.
It was not immediately clear to what Hamilton was referring, although it came at a time when he was running behind his team-mate George Russell who ended up on the podium in third.
In his media interviews afterwards, Hamilton insisted his message had been about having to manage his engine temperatures, saying: “I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating. So I had to back off, just had to sit behind.”
During their post-race debrief, Mercedes have explained the situation Hamilton was having to nurse to ensure his power unit did not overheat.
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— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 12, 2022
“That was all about engine cooling and keeping the PU cool during the course of the race,” said James Vowles, Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director.
“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 were racing on Sunday, 24 hours later, and in this particular circumstance the ambient was one, maybe two degrees warmer than we had expected.
“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.
“During the course of the race, when you are following a car it meant 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.”
In finishing third and fourth respectively, Russell and Hamilton collected enough points to put the team second in the Constructors’ Championship, albeit a whopping 39 behind early runaway leaders Ferrari going into the fourth round of the season, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on April 24.
Hamilton Shows First Signs of Frustration - Australian GP Conclusions
Lewis Hamilton showed his first signs of frustration with Mercedes at the Australian GP.