Max Verstappen sent ominous warning with ‘bullish’ Mercedes over Lewis Hamilton issue | F1 | sport

What happened at Yas Marina has infuriated members of the Silver Arrows squad and Hamilton himself, with the British driver yet to speak publicly since missing out on what would have been an eighth championship of the world without precedent.

The 37-year-old had overturned a 19-point deficit by winning the three races that preceded Abu Dhabi in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but only after engine reliability apparently undermined his title chances throughout. of the season.

F1 regulations limited teams to a total of three major power unit components for the 2021 season, but Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas frequently had to take spares.

Hamilton has gone through five internal combustion engines during the season, resulting in a 10-place grid penalty in Turkey and having to drop five places in Brazil – although he then defied the odds at Interlagos to register one of his greatest victories.

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Bottas was forced into six changes, while McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams, Mercedes’ customer teams, all had to run a fourth power unit in the later stages of the campaign.

This year will see a huge overhaul of the rules of the sport, with teams set to be given an ‘engine freeze’ before the start of the season, which will put additional pressure on the defending constructors’ champions to correct in a manner imminent any problem.

But while team principal Toto Wolff has remained tight-lipped on progress, McLaren CEO Zak Brown issued an ominous warning to Verstappen and Red Bull that the Brackley-based team were in a confident mood ahead to their difficult situation.

“I spoke with Toto about it last week. And he was pretty optimistic,” Brown told Motorsport.com.

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“I think the motor unit race is closer than ever, but I’m not worried about it.”

Brown also said that while Mercedes was positive, he felt his own team also had reason to be optimistic following the way it handled engine issues in 2021.

“They feel good about their development,” Brown explained. “Fortunately, we had good reliability last year. As you know, it’s not just the power unit that goes into reliability.

“I think our guys did a good job with the power unit the first year, so maybe reliability wasn’t the same level of concern with us as it was with the others.”

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