The reasons behind Hamilton’s enigmatic radio message to Melbourne

Fighting for the podium with his partner george russell, Lewis Hamilton Apparently he was not comfortable with the strategy operated by his team during the last stage of the Australian Grand Prix. Without context, one could only hear the Brit criticizing his career engineer, Peter Bonnington, arguing that he had been placed “in a bad position”. The little phrase that could also be related to a lack of luck related to his pit stop before the arrival of the safety car, which in the end may have cost him the podium, is not. Thanks to listening closely to the Hamilton radios and the report provided by James Vowles, we have a better understanding of the situation immediately.

The need to cool the engine.

Because beyond a potential podium that Hamilton could acquire thanks to Russell in the last laps, the seven-time world champion had to save himself. Or rather relieve the power unit and engine from him. The ambient temperature in Melbourne, two degrees higher than what his team expected the day before, prompted the Mercedes driver to perform lift and cost (deceleration before the braking point) in order to bring in more fresh air and ease his drive. power, bordering on overheating.

“This decision is made on Saturday, but obviously we race on Sunday, 24 hours later. says James Volwes, the team’s chief strategist in the weekly informative video of Mercedes. And in this situation, the ambient temperature was one or even two degrees higher than we expected. And so we were, not only us, but also the other teams, at the limit of what the engine and power unit can handle in terms of cooling.

And in the race, when you follow a car, that meant Lewis had to compromise, he had to get away from the dirty air that the car in front of him was producing. george russell So – and making sure you get enough cool, clean air to the radiators to cool down the engine, but doing that makes racing the car in front incredibly difficult, and that’s why his message got through. »

Despite their difficulties, Mercedes seemed to show valuable improvements in understanding and performance from their temperamental W13, once again maximizing points at the end. Unlike its predecessors, especially Red Bull, the German team’s car seems reliable. Above all, it allows them to earn valuable points for the rest of the season and to be in second place in the constructors’ standings, 39 points behind Ferrari anyway. A feat at this point and a performance that usually satisfies Toto Wolff, the team boss:

“We left Melbourne in better condition than when we arrived: more lessons learned, more data to analyze and more points in the standings. he details. It’s clear that we still don’t have the pace to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull, but we know where to look for performance.

Seeing Lewis and George perform at such a high level today, with a tool that is clearly not up to the pace of the leaders, is another example of the spirit of this team. We are optimistic but realistic about the timetable for improvement and the advantage our competitors have, but a third and fourth place finish helps us leave Australia with a good feeling. »

The next destination, Imola -from April 22 to 24- could be the scene of the first improvements for the different teams on the grid, since it is the first test on European soil. We already know that Ferrari will not be, but the Italian round could still hold some surprises. Even upsetting the order of the grill?

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