Toto Wolff and Mercedes are contemplating taking a Lewis Hamilton penalty at the Turkish Grand Prix.
The Mercedes boss claimed that a DNF for either championship protagonist is a ‘no-go’, given the fine margins in this year’s championship. The Austrian knows that neither his team, nor Red Bull, can afford a zero-point race weekend in the final stretch of this sensational campaign. Mercedes’ other driver Valtteri Bottas took a second penalty for power units last time out in Sochi. This was so the team could stockpile engines for the Finn, whilst giving added data to understand the performance of their engine. Wolff admitted that this has thrown up some question marks for the Silver Arrows.
Title Rival Max Verstappen took a new power unit at Sochi. He managed to recover from last on the grid to 2nd place. It’s a result that will feel like a win for the Red Bulls, minimising the damage to their rivals. With Max’s penalty out of the way, does that hand him the advantage, despite trailing the Brit by two points in the championship? That being the case, it would be hard to argue against. Many expect the remaining circuits will favour the Red Bull car over that of the Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton Penalty
Just seven races remain in an incredibly tight championship that is going down to the wire.
His teammate has already taken two, with title rival Verstappen already taking the hit with a fourth power unit. The Brit has nursed his three engines so far this season, avoiding any penalties to date. It is expected that Lewis Hamilton will have to take the penalty at some point before the season concludes. Something that looks even more likely considering how reliable other Mercedes powered cars have been.
Toto Wolff told Sky Sports that they are debating taking the penalty at Istanbul Park in the next Grand Prix. He told the broadcaster: “It’s a possibility [using a new power unit at Turkey]… When, and how is not yet decided.”
He went on to admit a swing in points if you finish second or third is something you can cope with. A DNF due to reliability is not.
What to Expect
Lewis Hamilton will have fond memories of the circuit, clinching a record equalling seventh world title in Turkey last season. Low grip on the track and wet weather conditions lead to a classic race, with Hamilton securing top spot on the podium.
The forecast is predicting that the wet weather will return in Turkey. If he does start from the back of the grid, Hamilton can take confidence from his impressive display last year.
Last season was the first race in Istanbul since 2011. Thankfully for the sport, this weekend will see the crowd return. They had to miss out last year due to the Covid restrictions.
Let us know your predictions below! Will we see a Lewis Hamilton penalty?
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