Mercedes reveal how ‘cooling’ destroyed Lewis Hamilton’s race

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has outlined his team’s plan to take the fight to its rivals this weekend.

In the aftermath of the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton narrowly missed out on victory, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff has confirmed that the team’s next stage of the W14 upgrade plan will be unveiled at the Belgian Grand Prix. 

The team is determined to bounce back from missed opportunities in Hungary and get back on track for F1 2023 victories.

At the Hungarian GP, Hamilton showed incredible pace by securing pole position, raising hopes for a Mercedes victory. 

However, he couldn’t capitalise on that during the race, falling behind his rivals quickly.

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After Hamilton was passed at the start, he was forced to led his old rival Max Verstappen runaway into the distance.

Hamilton was jumped at the start by Max Verstappen and both McLaren drivers due to a miscalculation on cooling the power unit. 

The team had to cool the unit for a significant portion of the race, affecting Hamilton’s performance.

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, revealed the challenges they faced during the race. 

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“We got our calculation on cooling wrong and were forced to cool the power unit for much of the race,” said Shovlin.

Although Mercedes managed to regain control of the power unit’s temperatures later in the race, Hamilton and his teammate George Russell could only manage fourth and sixth positions, respectively. 

Russell’s impressive climb from P18 on the grid showcased the car’s potential, but the team aims to maximize their performance for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix.

Toto Wolff acknowledged the mixed weekend at Hungary and stressed the importance of executing better to unlock their full potential. 

“We likely had the second-fastest car, but we must execute better if we are to deliver our full potential,” stated Wolff. 

Despite the setbacks, Mercedes secured good points for both drivers and solidified their position in the Constructors’ Championship, extending their lead over nearest rivals Aston Martin to 39 points.

Looking ahead to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, Wolff expressed confidence in the team’s ongoing development program. 

“We will be aiming to turn those learnings into actions for this weekend,” said Wolff. 

With limited practice time on the challenging and iconic circuit, the sprint format of the race presents a unique challenge for both cars and drivers.

As the “best of the rest” battle behind Red Bull continues to shift race by race, McLaren emerged as the strongest contender in the most recent rounds at Silverstone and Hungary. 

However, Wolff believes Mercedes had the second-fastest car in Hungary and remains uncertain about the pecking order at Spa-Francorchamps.

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“We hope this will be another small step forward in improving the W14,” Wolff said. 

“As we have seen at many races this year though, it is hard to predict where we will be relative to our competitors. 

“Wherever the true pace of our car is here, we want to maximise the outcome in this final race before the summer shutdown.”