Lewis Hamilton has said he does not expect to start Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix from the back of the grid.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team are weighing up whether to hand the Briton a fourth engine here – one more than is permitted – with doubts over reliability.
Such a move would see Hamilton, who leads Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by just two points in the world championship standings with seven rounds left, penalised and thrown down the order.
No one out there is doing it like him. 💜🖤🔥 pic.twitter.com/oVSrvsaXR8
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) October 7, 2021
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that a fresh engine is on the table – but speaking on Thursday, the seven-time world champion said: “At the moment I still have number two and three engines available.
“I don’t envisage us having to take the penalty at the moment but that could change.”
Verstappen was penalised at the last race in Sochi after taking on his fourth engine of the campaign.
But the Dutchman managed to limit the championship damage with a fine drive from last to second.
Hamilton claimed his landmark 100th win to move back ahead of Verstappen in this season’s see-saw title battle.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 3, 2021
Hamilton, who arrived in the paddock wearing a kilt fresh from attending Paris Fashion Week, insisted he is not feeling the championship heat.
“I find it easy because I have these other outlets so I can blow off steam in different ways,” the 36-year-old said.
“The most important thing is to come back into the racing environment fresh, recovered, positive and I don’t really have any worries. I am able to arrive and just love doing my job.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time so I’ve found ways to get me on course and I know what can also put me off course. I know what makes me tick and I’ll stick to them.”
Reflecting on his century of triumphs, he added: “I went back to the UK, running around London, and people were shouting out ‘one hundred’.
“Everywhere I went people were super-supportive – in Paris, too. I wasn’t expecting it but it was nice to see.”
Verstappen is bidding to win his maiden title and Red Bull’s first since 2013.
But the 24-year-old has played down the pressure of fighting the sport’s most decorated driver.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) October 7, 2021
“Winning the championship is not going to change my life,” he said. “For me there is not much to worry about.
“I know that my team does the best they can and they expect that from me, too. We are fully committed to make this success together but you cannot force things.
“You have to work hard and well together and we will find out at the end of the season where that puts us. But whether it is first or second, we don’t know.”