It was announced this afternoon by the Mercedes team that they will change all the components of Lewis Hamilton’s power unit ahead of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix after localising the issue to the car’s MGU-H.
Hamilton will start from last place on Sunday’s grid after the problem left him down on power and unable to set a lap time. The team will send the entire power unit back to Brixworth to see which components are salvageable, meaning Hamilton will use the second of his allocation of five power units for the season on Sunday but will incur no extra penalty.
Hamilton has the option to start from the pit lane and set his car up for overtaking, but said in an interview with the media today that the initial penalty of losing ground to the front runners would not be worth it. Hamilton said the following:-
‘Basically if you start from the pit lane you end up eight seconds behind the last car, and I already have enough ground to recover, so I am not going to give myself an eight second penalty. Sometimes it can be more depending on how quick they switch the light.
‘There are pros and cons for both. The pit lane is kind of a safer way but you have to catch up the eight seconds. If you start on the grid there is all kinds of commotion that can happen, and trying to stay out of trouble. But that is the exciting part, so I like to go with excitement.’
Despite the grid position, Hamilton is looking forward to racing through the field on Sunday and added further on in his interview today that it is a flashback to the early days of his career. Hamilton added the following:-
‘This is how it was when I first started racing. Some of the kids around me, particularly at the front, had all the best equipment, and we were right at the back. Or we got punted out or something like that and ended up right at the back. And I had to battle my way through the field. So it is reminiscent of the younger days and something that I really enjoy. There has never been a race where I started at the back and not enjoyed. As long as you see the distance.
‘I probably speak for all the drivers, when I say just going the distance is the first step and one thing you definitely want to be able to do. That means going through the whole race and getting to battle, getting to have some wheel to wheel battles, and lose ground and gain ground, and that whole emotional roller coaster that you get to travel through.’