Lewis Hamilton revealed the brakes on his Mercedes Formula 1 car were on fire and says he was “definitely on the limit” at the first restart of Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix.

Having initially lost the lead to his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the original start, a second standing start following the first red flag period enabled Hamilton the chance to make amends.

The Briton got a better launch and subsequently swept around the outside of Bottas into Turn 1, which proved to be a pivotal moment in securing the 90th victory of his career at Mugello.

But Hamilton’s front brakes were seen smoking as he lined up to take his place on the front-row of the grid alongside Bottas, leaving the six-times world champion concerned with his brake temperatures sky-rocketing.

“I basically had on the formation lap… a separation of my front brake temperatures by nearly two hundred degrees,” Hamilton said.

“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 under way relatively quickly and I didn’t have a problem from there on. But it was definitely on the limit.”

Asked how concerned the team was by the smoke coming out of Hamilton’s brakes, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin replied: “Not particularly.

“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 added.

“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.”

 

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