Mercedes has emphasised that it had no concerns over Lewis Hamilton’s smoking brakes during the first standing restart at Formula 1’s Tuscan Grand Prix last weekend.
Drivers lined up in formation on the grid for a second time on lap 10 following a red flag period, which was brought out in the aftermath of a multi-car collision that eliminated four competitors.
Hamilton, who was positioned in second place behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas, suffered a scare when his front brakes began to emit smoke as the remainder of the pack lined up behind.
After the grand prix in which he emerged victorious, Hamilton affirmed that his brakes were “on the limit” by the end of the second formation lap.
However Mercedes’ Strategy Director James Vowles says there was concern on the pit wall that Hamilton would run into problems.
“We weren’t worried about the smoke that was coming out of Lewis’s front left wheel,” Vowles said.
“That was a consequence of the warming that he had done for both the tyres and the brakes on the formation lap.
“He generated temperatures of over a thousand degrees on that disc and it cooled back down but it was still very warm as he sat on the grid.
“There wasn’t really enough air flow through those last sequence of corners to cool the brake down sufficiently.
“Smoke isn’t a concern, it’s the carbon work inside the wheel that is just starting to effectively get too hot.
“Flames are a different problem all together and we didn’t see any of those and that is why our concerns weren’t very high at that stage.”
The drivers were put through a third race start later in the grand prix following a second red flag that was deployed when Lance Stroll crashed at the second high-speed Arrabbiata corner.
Vowles added that Mercedes had no concerns over having to carry out multiple standing starts.
“A clutch is designed to do many starts across a race weekend,” Vowles said. “If we just focus on Saturday onwards, FP3, we’ll do a few starts.
“As we go into the race itself we’ve got the laps to the grid, where you do a number of starts, you’ve got the pit stop, which still use the clutch in the same manner.
“They are still starts, and then of course we do the real start off the line that you see. As a result of that, the clutch itself isn’t anywhere near its limit.
“We plan for several restarts or multiple stops during the course of the race and our clutch could have done many more stops if we needed to on Sunday.”