Lewis Hamilton says mileage concerns with the engine in his Mercedes Formula 1 car prompted his call to retire from last weekend’s German Grand Prix.

Having fallen to the back of the field following a spin in the closing stages of an uncharacteristically error-strewn race, Hamilton came over his team radio to suggest Mercedes retired his car from the race.

Hamilton ultimately went on to finish 11th, but post-race penalties for both Alfa Romeo drivers promoted the Briton up to ninth, enabling him to further enhance his championship advantage over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to 41 points.

Asked why he wanted to retire from the race ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton replied: “For one I was not feeling great, but mostly I was thinking I am dead last and I can play the chances of us scoring points.

“Then I was thinking how many races have I got to do on this engine? Could I save another 15 laps of mileage on this engine? Could I save the gearbox? All those kind of things. 

“So I said don’t feel bad if you pull me in guys. But that is the way I am always thinking. Even in practice, if they say you can do 23 laps I will do 20. I am still cautious. 

“Just to make sure when you come to a race and you have to go back to another engine and sometimes you do then usually I have less mileage on my engine than the other driver.

“Then hopefully I wont have any mishaps with the engine, that is what I am conscious of.”

Amid talk of a 22-race calendar for 2020 with the future of the Spanish Grand Prix looking more promising, concerns have been voiced over the current three-engine-per-season limit.

Hamilton reckons it would be possible to get through an extra race with the current power unit restrictions in place, though he warned increased mileage strains would result in a lack of on-track running during practice sessions.

“It would be possible to do it with three,” Hamilton said.

“It is a stretch to do it with three and it means we do less running which is worse for the fans who sit in the grandstands, if you don’t go out until 20 minutes in because of mileage issues.

“I don't know how that will be for TV but again, it’s not a massive expense to have one more engine for the season.

“Even for the customers in the scheme of things they could save that elsewhere for sure, just for one engine I am certain. 22 races that's a lot of races, shoot.”

 

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