Mercedes have explained why Lewis Hamilton suffered from several engine cuts during the Mexican Grand Prix weekend. Hamilton was heard to report the issue during Saturday's qualifying, as well as in Sunday's race. Despite this, the seven-time World Champion still managed to finish the event in P2, while teammate George Russell came home in fourth. The problem occurred during what looked to be one of the Silver Arrows' strongest weekends of the 2022 F1 season, and the team have now shed light on the cause.
Mercedes explain impact of altitude
While the higher altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez appeared to be benefitting Mercedes in Mexico, it also seemed to be the trigger of Hamilton's engine cuts, as the team's Motorsport Strategy Director, James Vowles, has explained. "We were suffering a little bit with engine cuts, and here is the reason why," Vowles said in Mercedes' race debrief video. "You generally map the engine for the conditions it is most used in, which is sea level – that's where most of the racing takes place. "When you suddenly go to this level of altitude, you are in a very different condition and, instead of having an engine that is really highly tuned, you are back into a condition where you have to do lots of work with the power unit in a very short space of time to try and map out these irregularities. "I am confident all teams will suffer this, it won't be unique to ourselves."
How engine cuts caused 'small amount' of performance loss
Vowles admits that engine cuts generally have more of an impact in qualifying, but he acknowledges that it was still able to have a small effect on performance in Sunday's race, both for Hamilton and Russell. "It's typically accentuated in qualifying because you are very quickly and rapidly applying throttle pedal, which means that the turbo and fuelling systems need to keep up with that change very quickly, and normally it's better in the race," Vowles added. "We were hoping that the race would not be as bad, and it comes from a factor when the drivers are requesting throttle and picking up throttle, it was simply not delivering the power they request quick enough, so enough fuel or enough air. "It can be tuned out in time and where we got to in the race wasn't a bad position – I think qualifying was worse. "But [it was] still enough to cause a small amount of performance loss for both drivers."