Toto Wolff Divulges on Lewis Hamilton’s Possible ‘Bitter’ F1 Engine Change After Russian GP

Published 09/27/2021, 7:41 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIa: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff on stage for the F1 Live event during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


The 2021 Russian GP was probably the most chaotic race in the history of the Sochi Autodrom. Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton took away the spotlight with their brilliant battle for P1, and the various gambles on the strategy that they took.

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But there was one driver who got slightly overlooked – Max Verstappen. Starting from the back of the grid due to the penalty that he received for changing the engine on his car, Verstappen was running in the midfield for most of the race. However, the sudden rain at the end of the race, combined with a brilliant pit stop decision from Red Bull, saw Verstappen get a surprise P2.

After the race, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff caught up with Sky Sports F1 to talk about their plans about their own engine change and the penalties that will come with it.

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Lewis Hamilton might have to change his engine and take a penalty

Red Bull took a new engine this week, which pushed them to the back of the grid according to the rules. Mercedes are yet to take a fourth engine, which will give them a similar penalty. But it’s pretty evident that Lewis will have to take the fourth engine, pretty soon.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates winning a 7th F1 World Drivers Championship with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

When Toto Wolff was asked about the engine change decision, he said, “That can’t be confirmed yet, because we look from race to race. There is a likelihood that we will still change the engine, so we will still have a weekend like Red Bull If it happens that way, it means that we have to score like that too. It’s bitter.” (Translated via Google Translate)

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Max Verstappen managed to finish P2, even after taking the penalty, so it will be extra difficult for Hamilton because he would need to do something similar.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after finishing first and second respectively in the sprint race qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

What if Mercedes decides to take the penalty?

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If Mercedes take the penalty, it will have to be on a track where they can overtake and make their way through the field. Talking about that, Toto said. “Good tracks are waiting for us in Turkey and Austin. It will be a bit more difficult in Mexico, which has been our Achilles heel every year so far. It will continue to go back and forth now. Hopefully, it will come to a head until the end.”

It’s only a matter of time before we get to see when Hamilton decides to take the penalty, and then if he can perform as good as Max did, starting from the back of the grid.

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Riddhi Mondal

92 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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