The reasons behind Hamilton’s puzzling radio message to Melbourne

Fighting for the podium with his teammate george russellLewis Hamilton was apparently ill at ease with his team’s strategy during the final stint of the Australian Grand Prix. Without context, you could only hear the Briton blaming his race engineer, Peter Bonnington, arguing that he was placed “in a bad position”† The phrase that could also be related to a lack of luck related to his pit stop before the arrival of the safety car – which would have cost him the podium in the end – is not. Thanks to a thorough listening to the Hamilton radios and the debriefing from James Vowles, we immediately understand the situation better.

The need to cool the engine

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

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

And in the race, if you’re following a car, so that meant Lewis had to compromise, he had to get away from the foul air the car was producing in front of him. george russell So – and making sure he had enough fresh, clean air in the radiators to lower the engine temperature, but that makes racing the vehicle in front incredibly difficult, which is why his message got across. †

Despite his struggles, Mercedes seemed to show valuable improvements in the understanding and performance of its temperamental W13, again maximizing points at the finish. Unlike its predecessors, especially Red Bull, the German team’s single-seater 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. An achievement at this stage and one that pleases Toto Wolff, the boss of the team:

“We are leaving Melbourne in better condition than when we arrived: more lessons learned, more data to analyze and more points in the standings. he details. Obviously we don’t have the pace yet 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 out of step with 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 third and fourth place will help us leave Australia feeling good. †

The next destination, Imola – from April 22 to 24 – could be the scene of the first improvements for the various teams on the grid, as it is the first event on European soil. We already know that Ferrari won’t be, but the Italian round could reveal some more surprises. Until the order of the net is already disrupted?

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