Date published: September 15 2020
Lewis Hamilton says he was concerned by the extremely high temperature of his front brakes at the first restart for the Tuscan Grand Prix.
As the cars lined up for the second standing start of the race at Mugello, smoke could be seen pouring from the front of the Brit’s Mercedes.
He has confirmed that this was due to his efforts to bring both front brakes to the same temperature, causing them both to briefly set alight.
“I basically had, on the formation lap, a separation of my front brake temperatures by nearly two hundred degrees,” Hamilton said as per Crash.net.
“So I was pushing them very hard to bring the one that was down equal. I got them up to a thousand degrees and I tried to cool them through the last corner and all the way to the start.
“I got to the grid and there was a lot of smoke coming and I was definitely worried… I think I saw a flame at one stage, which is not good because that burns all the interior of what’s in the upright.
“Fortunately, at the start, I got underway relatively quickly and I didn’t have a problem from there on. But it was definitely on the limit.”
The issue clearly didn’t have any kind of impact on performance as Hamilton passed Bottas to take the lead at Turn 1, and Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the team wasn’t worried.
“They get hot, the brake cooling itself is relatively closed up here – you don’t do a lot of braking so you need to close the ducts to actually get the temperature,” he said.
“The problem is there’s not a lot of air going through and there may have been a little bit of fire but as soon as you get going it will go out.
“The worry is only is whether you’ve burnt some of the carbon work, the cake tins and all the carbon work around the upright, that can cause a bit of grief, but it didn’t look particularly bad.
“Saying that, we’d rather not have it, but it wasn’t causing a great deal of panic.”
Hamilton’s strong getaway proved to be crucial as he went on to hold his lead until the end of the race to move within one win of Michael Schumacher’s record tally.