Lewis Hamilton issues Mercedes engine advice after Valtteri Bottas penalty at Italian GP

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton believes it wouldn’t be the “smartest thing” to switch power units ahead of Italian Grand Prix, with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas starting from the back of the pack.

Hamilton starts fourth on the grid for Sunday’s showpiece thanks to a poor start off the line during sprint qualifying on Saturday, which saw rival Max Verstappen inherit pole position thanks to Bottas’ engine penalties.

A second-place finish for the Dutchman also meant Verstappen extended his lead by two points over Hamilton.

When asked if he thought now was the time to take penalties, Hamilton replied: “I don’t think that is on the cards and I’m not sure that would be the smartest thing to do at this point.

“At the moment, I have still got two engines and there is currently no plan for me to take an extra engine, hopefully, but we shall see.”

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Meanwhile Mercedes boss Toto Wolff refused to commit either way on if and where Hamilton may take a fourth power unit, which would incur a grid penalty.

Hamilton has used his three power units so far this season, the allocated amount to be taken before picking up penalties.

But Wolff remained non-committal about Mercedes’ plans for the rest of the season.

“No, it’s not an absolute must, because we are still running very comfortably with this power unit,” said Wolff ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

“It’s a decision that can be made at any time, but at the moment, we don’t feel it’s necessary.

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“Does that mean we’re not going to take a fourth? No, it doesn’t. I think we will see how the next races pan out.”

Wolff also offered his thoughts on Hamilton’s poor start during sprint qualifying, which saw the Briton overtaken by three cars at the start of the session.

“First of all, the start can happen,” added Wolff. “Between hero and zero on a start is such a fine margin.

“Having too much wheelspin happens, to be honest, and that bit us hard, but we still have everything to play [for].”

Meanwhile, it was a lights to flag victory for the departing Bottas, with Wolff praising Mercedes’ second driver.

“Valtteri just had an unbelievable getaway and drove away into the sunset,” Wolff added.

“[It was] one of the most dominant ways of winning a race, irrespective of whether it was a Sprint race or not – it was a real masterclass from Valtteri.”

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