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Hamilton was using 'maximum' engine modes in Leclerc battle

  • Published on 11 Sep 2019 13:52
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton had the maximum performance engine modes available to him when battling Charles Leclerc during the Italian Grand Prix, but they weren't enough to trump Ferrari's straight-line speed, Mercedes has stated.

Hamilton followed Leclerc for much of the race and attempted overtakes on a couple of occasions, however Leclerc stayed ahead to secure Ferrari's first home win since 2010. 

With high-performance engine modes, DRS and slipstream available to Hamilton, Mercedes says that Ferrari's impressive straight-line speed was too dominant around the high-speed Monza circuit.

"All season long, Ferrari have been faster than us in a straight line," said James Vowles, Mercedes' Motorsport Strategy Director on the team's Pure Pitwall debrief. "That’s their strength, we’re strong through the corners, they are strong in the straights.

"And that was no different in Monza. Lewis used everything he had available to him on the power unit and other systems in order to try and overtake Leclerc in front.

"The power unit itself has modes including an overtake mode, he used that and it delivered the maximum power available. It just wasn’t enough to get past the extremely fast Ferrari in front of him.”

Hamilton made an error at Turn 1 towards the end of the race, which allowed Valtteri Bottas, who was closing in on the medium tyres, through for second place. 

Bottas then pushed himself onto the rear of Leclerc, and like Hamilton, he also had the maximum engine modes available to him which weren't enough to get passed the Ferrari.

"By the time Valtteri had caught up to the back of Leclerc, Leclerc had already been used to our car," Vowles explained. "He knew where we were strong and where we were weak.

"Indeed, he defended against Lewis for around 20, 30 laps of the race. So, the reality was, by the time Valtteri had caught back up, not only has hit tyres been used a little bit, but more so Leclerc knew exactly where to defend and how to defend.

"The same problems Lewis had still remained. We weren’t quite with all the engine modes enabled fast enough in a straight line in order to make the overtake happen. But more so you now had an experienced Leclerc in front of you that knew how to defend."

Replies (3)

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  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 352

    Just look at 36 lap comparing to previous laps including incident which costed Leclerc white-black flag - it visible Charles knows how to drive even being on backfoot due to error. Brilliant driving.

    • + 0
    • Sep 11 2019 - 14:23
  • Cred to Mercedes for conceding they were on max power - what an engine - to do so may laps in equally mode. I hope there is no future problems looming for Hamilton on engine changes - but it does go to show that Mercedes is determined to do what it takes to win - bravo to them.

    • + 0
    • Sep 11 2019 - 20:21
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    and yes i think there is more than they are willing to acknowledge that is available. They may have let it out for fear that teams may have protested from telemetry data. Perhaps MB was more liberal with lewis's use of max power as he has more control of the next driver in the championship than bottas has over the next behind him. Something fishy to acknowledge that they were using max output in a race they lost.

    • + 0
    • Sep 12 2019 - 01:43

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