Mercedes explains Lewis Hamilton’s radio ‘criticism’ of the team

© Finn Pomeroy for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles explains why Lewis Hamilton told the team that they had put him “in a really difficult position” at the Australian Grand Prix.

In the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix, while running behind his team-mate George Russell, Lewis Hamilton radioed his race engineer Peter Bonnington and told him: “You guys put me in a really difficult position”.

Some thought this message meant that the team perhaps asked Lewis not to attack George, but Mercedes’ James Vowles explains it was actually sent due to engine cooling issues.

“That was all about engine cooling and keeping the power unit cool during the course of the race,” Vowles said.

“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.

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“That decision is made on Saturday but obviously we are racing on Sunday, 24 hours later, and in this particular circumstance, the ambient was one or 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 that 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,” the Briton concluded.

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