Hamilton may take second engine penalty due to reliability worries - Mercedes

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Mercedes isn't ruling another engine-related grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton in the final races of 2021.

The seven-time world champion took a 10-place drop for a new ICE last time out at the Turkish Grand Prix, battling through from 11th to finish fifth on race day.

This comes as Mercedes admits to having "unusual noises" coming from their power unit as mileage increases, with several failures occurring as a result.

And with Hamilton's championship fight with Max Verstappen entering the crucial final stages, team boss Toto Wolff knows Mercedes can't take any risks.

“Yes," he told Sky Sports on if Lewis' new engine could get him to Abu Dhabi, "but there could be a moment when you say ‘is it worth taking a fresh one because the other one is still at risk’, so this is something that will be really a work in progress.

“I would very much hope not, but there are six tough races in front of us. Let’s see how the points pan out and I would never say no. But normally, four engines look quite sufficient.

"It’s going to be very tight until the end [of the season]," he added. “DNFs are going to make a big difference, not three or four or five-point swings.

“The whole season swings back and forth, we make mistakes together, we win together. We have had much bigger swings in the past with lost opportunities."

It is surprising that Mercedes appear to have lost the near-bulletproof reliability they've enjoyed pretty much throughout the hybrid era since 2014.

But Red Bull boss Christian Horner has suggested it is a compromise Mercedes may have made in their championship battle.

"I think their straight-line speed has taken a significant step recently and whereas we could match them with smaller wings, now we can't get near," he told Sky Sports.

"We saw that particularly at this circuit [Istanbul] where Lewis, in particular, had a significant straight-line advantage with a bigger rear wing on the car.

"You can see across all of their teams they have clearly got some reliability issues that they are managing which is unusual for Mercedes but the performance is still incredibly impressive.

"Whether one comes at the expense of the other I don't know but here it has been highlighted, if you look at the speed deltas on the back straight at some points it was 15-20km/h which is more than if there had been DRS."