Mercedes kept Hamilton pushing amid German Grand Prix penalty fear

The Mercedes Formula 1 team repeatedly urged Lewis Hamilton to push in the final laps of the German Grand Prix in case his pit entry incident incurred a penalty

Mercedes kept Hamilton pushing amid German Grand Prix penalty fear

Although the world champion was ultimately given a reprimand for aborting his entry into the pits with 15 laps to go, radio communications with the pitwall revealed how seriously Mercedes took the risk of a penalty.

It had already called off Hamilton's fight with team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and then denied Hamilton's request to turn his engine down in the closing stages.

Instead Hamilton's engineer Peter Bonnington pushed Hamilton to keep building up a gap over Bottas right the way to the finish line.

Those messages alerted Hamilton who, just after taking the chequered flag, queried whether he had already been given a penalty.

Speaking about the reasoning for Hamilton being urged to extend his advantage over Bottas, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "We were covering all bases. You know these things. [There] is pretty much room for interpretation.

"We just wanted to disappear in the distance as much as we could."

Here is an edited transcript of how conversations between Hamilton and Bonnington played out in the closing laps:

LAP 52: Vettel crashes in the stadium section

PETER BONNINGTON: So Vettel off. Yellow, yellow. Yellow, yellow. Caution. Caution. Vettel off. So yellow, yellow. Yellow, yellow.

Pause

PB: So box, box. Box, box. Get the gap. So gap to Valtteri.

Hamilton pits but makes last-second dive back onto track

LEWIS HAMILTON: Kimi is staying out.

PB: Stay out, stay out. In, in, in, in, in, in, in, in, in.

LH: Hey man.

PB: Sorry mate. Just go, go.

Lap 53

LH: I was at the entry, man.

Following Raikkonen behind the safety car

LH: Are we in trouble?

PB: Negative, negative. So staying out. Staying out.

Hamilton discusses tyre temperatures and strategy during safety car period. Race restarts on lap 58

Lap 59

PB: Strat mode 3. Strat mode 3.

PB: Gap to Valtteri at 1.7.

Lap 60

PB: DRS has been enabled.

Lap 61

PB: Gap to Valtteri 2.4. Seven laps remaining.

Lap 62

PB: Gap to Valtteri 3 seconds.

Lap 63

PB: Gap to Valtteri at 2.8.

PB: Your pack is now fully charged.

Lap 64

PB: Four laps remaining. Threat of rain to the north is building.

PB: Gap to Valtteri at 3.9.

LH: Can I turn the engine up [radio interference makes message unclear]?

PB: Negative Lewis. Let's just stay where we are. That threat of rain is still there.

Lap 65

PB: Lewis. Go Strat mode 3, Strat mode 3. Keep building that gap. Currently four seconds.

Further discussions on the weather

Lap 66

LH: Two more laps?

PB: Two more laps. Just keep building that gap.

PB: Strat mode 5 to the end.

PB: Strat mode 5 Lewis. Currently in 6. Strat mode 5.

LH: I want to save the engine.

PB: We need you to build the gap.

Lap 67

PB: Strat mode 8. Strat mode 8. Just to use the energy.

Hamilton enters the stadium section on the last lap

PB: Lewis, keep pushing to the line. Keep pushing to the line.

Hamilton exits final corner

PB: Keep pushing to the line.

Hamilton takes chequered flag

PB: Get in there Lewis! Miracles do happen, mate.

LH: Do I have a penalty?

PB: Negative, negative. We are just covering bases mate.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
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