Lewis Hamilton will get to choose for himself which upcoming circuit will be the location for his inevitable engine penalty. The Brit will be thinking long and hard about which circuit will still provide him with a chance to climb the grid.
Hamilton has suggested that he is willing to take a double engine penalty so he can comfortably build a pool of engines that will allow him to complete the season without further attrition-induced headaches.
The downside of a potential double-engine penalty is that his Mercedes W07 Hybrid won’t receive any upgrades for the rest of the season. This could be the pitfall in the plan, but Rosberg would need to optimize potential upgrades to match Hamilton’s outright pace anyway.
In conversation about the double engine penalty with Autosport, Hamilton said,
“I’m definitely going to be taking another engine. It’s a question of when I take it. The strategists will be looking at all the races and saying ‘This is a track where it is easier to overtake’.
Ultimately it’s my decision because I’m the one who actually knows where I’ll be able to do the best job from last place. So I have to be strategic in how I decide that, but yeah, it would be nice to get a few engines in the pool at the same time.
I hope at some stage I’m able to get some fresh ones, but the one I’m driving right now, hopefully that will hold together for as long as possible.”
– Lewis Hamilton
When the likely locations of Spa and Monza were put forward for the engine change, Hamilton discarded with,
“They are not the one in my mind, but they are good ones.”
– Lewis Hamilton
Ok, so the engine penalty isn’t going to be Spa or Monza. We can definitely discount the Hungaroring this weekend too given the lack of overtaking already expected. There also has to be a cut-off point in the calendar when it becomes pointless to have two-new engines anyway, let’s call that point Malaysia.
Hamilton would ideally want a circuit in which he’s climbed the grid before. Somewhere he knows he’s capable of scoring points from the back. This puts Hockenheim, the German Grand Prix, as the prime candidate. The last time the F1 circus went to Hockenheim in 2014, Hamilton started in P20 after a brakes failure in qualifying. The race took everything out of Hamilton, who drove to a superb 3rd, 22-seconds behind Rosberg, who won, but 22-seconds ahead of Vettel in 4th.
If Hamilton can emulate 2014, he might pull off the great escape if he can convert a double-engine penalty into a podium finish.