Mercedes was unable to fight for victory in the Austrian Grand Prix due to temperature concerns that forced both drivers to lift and coast and not use full power.
Valtteri Bottas finished third while Lewis Hamilton was limited to fifth after requiring a front wing change, as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc fought for victory at the Red Bull Ring. With ambient temperatures exceeding 95F, Mercedes was unable to use the full potential of its power unit as it had overheating issues.
“I was just pushing as hard as I could but just limited by temperatures,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what to say, really. I damaged the car, which was a little bit frustrating because I had to change the wing, lost a bunch of time and fell back to fifth. We were already struggling with temperatures so I had to just cruise back there, basically.”
Hamilton insists he would not have been able to challenge for victory even without his front wing damage.
“We were lifting and coasting like 400+ (meters) per lap. If I didn’t have to do that we would have pace, I think, but unfortunately that’s just the way it was. Nobody was getting close to anybody.”
Bottas still finished on the podium but admitted he was unable to defend against the likes of Verstappen, who easily overtook him at Turn 3 in the late going.
“Obviously the start was important, because for us to attack any car in front of us was quite difficult today, with the overheating issues we had,” Bottas said. “We had to do big amounts of lift and coast and couldn’t actually use any of the better engine modes in the race.
“We were always on safe modes, because of the overheating. It felt like we couldn’t really race today, so it was nice to have a good track position and clear track ahead of me. Under the circumstances I’m happy I managed to be on the podium and also I managed to get a few points against Lewis.
“The issues today were actually bigger than we expected. We knew it was going to be difficult and we would have to do some lift and coast but we never expected we’d have to do such big amounts. Also, by not being able to use some better engines modes that made quite a big difference.
“On top of that there were the aero losses — we were fully open on everything, so there were quite big losses aero-wise — but the bigger thing was the engine power and the lift and coast.”