Mercedes have ultimately decided to give Lewis Hamilton his fourth power unit of the season, which will see him drop 10 places from his qualifying position in Turkey.
Heading into race week in Istanbul, Mercedes said they were contemplating whether to take a grid penalty with Hamilton’s car as reliability concerns continued to grow due his second and third engines racking up the miles.
Title rival Max Verstappen also needed to add a fourth engine to his pool and he took his punishment at the previous in Sochi, completing a sensational damage limitation job as he came from the back of the grid to a P2 finish.
Mercedes will now be hoping Hamilton can perform a similar job and stop Verstappen leaving Istanbul with a big lead heading into the next race at the United States Grand Prix.
However, Hamilton has only taken on a new ICE element and not a new turbocharger, control electronics, MGU-K, MGU-H and every store to go with it.
That means he has just a 10-place penalty to overcome, rather than a back-of-the-grid-one.
Time to ride. 👊 Kicking off FP1 from Istanbul. pic.twitter.com/sc6zX9G9Fb
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) October 8, 2021
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Prior to the confirmation of a new engine for Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion conceded a fourth power unit of the season was a possibility.
“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.”
Verstappen, meanwhile, was not letting himself get distracted at the prospect of Hamilton needing to fight his way through the grid on Sunday.
“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.”
Heading into the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton holds a narrow two-point lead over Verstappen.
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