Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes having to delay the introduction of its power unit upgrade means it could struggle to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Mercedes was due to provide its second specification of power unit to both the works team and all its customers, but on Wednesday announced that there had been a delay due to a “quality issue” that means it is now likely to be introduced in France. As a result, Mercedes will race this weekend using older power units than its rivals, with both Ferrari and Red Bull set to use updated engines on a power-sensitive circuit in Montreal.
“I think it’s really difficult to know,” Hamilton said. “I really don’t know the status of what the other teams are doing. If the others are bringing upgrades and are using fresh engines, particularly with how close we are we won’t be in a position to fight, I don’t believe.
“I mean, it is a power circuit and there is power lost over the life of an engine and all I’m hoping for is that if I’m on the seventh race at a power difficult circuit on the engine I just want to see it through. That’s my only concern.
“Naturally I am still here to win but as I said, if they’ve got upgrades on their engines which can be a tenth to two tenths — Ferrari is particularly very strong on the straights — it will be interesting to see whether we’re able to match them or not. But we’re going to give it everything we’ve got, that’s for sure.”
However, Hamilton insists he has been careful with his power unit so far this season, and his hopeful reliability will not prove to be a serious issue.
“I always watch the mileage anyway. The engines have been proved out for a long, long way and the engines are in really good shape, so we should be OK. I’ve saved a lot of mileage in these six races already so I definitely think we should be in a good position.
“Naturally the upgrade would have been nice but I’m hoping that will come in the next race or two. But I’ve also finished every single race, so I’m just hoping for the reliability and will try and make a difference on the track with my driving.”