Hamilton to get engine boost for Saudi Arabia

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton will have the most powerful of the two power units available to him fitted for the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next weekend.

The Mercedes driver has won the last two events and sits just eight points down on championship leader Max Verstappen heading into the final two events.

F1 has never previously visited Saudi Arabia, where the venue in Jeddah is being billed as the fastest street circuit in the world.

Off the back of recent performances, momentum has swung in favour of Mercedes, with early indications suggesting next weekend’s race will play to its strengths.

“It’s another unknown and we’ve seen pretty big swings of performance over the recent races,” said Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director.

“If we look at the track in Saudi, I think it should suit us.

“For Lewis, we have got the more powerful engine to go in the car, so that’s going to give him a useful boost.”

Hamilton has only two power units available in his pool, having introduced a new internal combustion engine element at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The Mercedes ICE is thought to offer a notable performance gain when new, before that drops away with age.

With only one race under its belt thus far, Hamilton’s power unit is therefore expected to give him a slight advantage over Verstappen.

“There’s two that we are racing, and here [Qatar] we had the less powerful of the two in the car due to the nature of the circuit,” Shovlin explained of Hamilton’s engine bank.

“So that side of it’s in a good place at the moment, and the track should suit the car, but then we would have probably said that in Austin.

“So we’re always cautious to go to a race meeting thinking that it’s all going to go our way.

“What we do know, though, are the things that we’ve got to get right on the set-up; what we need to get right on the tyres and how they’re working.

“That’s what we’re going to be busy doing over the next few days, just trying to make sure we take in every possible opportunity to arrive there in good shape.”

Mercedes currently holds a five-point margin over Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, a competition it has led since the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix runs from December 3-5 (local time).

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