Hamilton engine penalty may now offer advantage - Wolff

ยฉ WRI2

As he raced to the podium on Sunday after starting on the last row, Lewis Hamilton not only defied most people's prospects but he now has a clear path to the end of the season with regard to engine allocation.

At Spa, Mercedes voluntarily breached the number of engines a driver can use during a single season, with Hamilton taking a cumulated 55 grid-position penalty in order to maximise his power unit availability for the rest of the year.

Mercedes chose the scheme rather than running the risk of Hamilton suffering multiple demotions in the remaining races. The Brit now has three new power units at his disposable.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits the outfit's plot worked out better than expected for Hamilton and provide an advantage over team mate Nico Rosberg in their battle for the world title.

"I think what looked to be a disadvantage in taking the grid penalty ย turned out to be much less detrimental to his campaign than expected," Wolff said after Sunday's race.

"He added his bit with a great drive, the team with the right strategy calls and with a good car."

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Wolff also insisted on the massive workload the successive changes imposed on the German team.

"You must imagine we did five engine changes over the weekend and I see the tremendous job these guys are doing in the garage working 24/7 and the mechanics were faultless.

"We had no incidents whatsoever on the engines and giving Lewis now an additional engine in the pocket compared to Nico is good and is right because he had the penalty to take today."

Regardless of Hamilton's power unit availability advantage, Wolff believes the battle between the two Mercedes drivers will likely go down to the wire.

"Coming back to the next races, I donโ€™t know. You might have it bouncing in both directions. I have the feeling it is going to go long into the season before we might see who is going to win it."

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