Mercedes AMG PETRONAS are at a loss to know why Lewis Hamilton is the only one of the Mercedes powered runners to experience two MGH-U failures in two races.
The issue first emerged during qualifying for the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix, which caused the Brit to have to start from the back of the grid for the race. At the time it was thought that not completing any running in FP3, due to the weather conditions, was a poor decision by the German squad as it may have allowed them to become aware of the problem earlier.
However, the failure returned to haunt the Brit once more, this time just prior to the Q3 segment of qualifying for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix. The current world champion will not have to start so far down the order on this occasion, but it is again going to hamper his challenge towards team-mate Nico Rosberg, who is currently in the form of his life.
Speaking to motorsport.com, Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff advised that they are baffled by Saturday’s failure.
“I would say what happened [on Saturday] is a freak failure,” said Wolff. “Normally F1 is a very scientific assessment process, and we’ve had a failure in Shanghai, which we understood. We decided to change the parts, and here we go again, the same thing happens.
“So we need to find out if we have really identified the root cause of the problem. Besides that, the car was rock solid. It’s a fast car, this weekend probably the fastest so far this season, and we’ve had these two unfortunate failures on the MGU-H.”
The Austrian was also quick to absolve Hamilton of any fault, stating that the drivers set up and style was not playing a factor in the problems.
“We have eight power units out there, and seven didn’t have any problems, and one had the problem twice. You have to turn every stone. Looking at settings – it happened in the same circumstances in qualifying twice, out laps, not in the race.
“I wouldn’t exclude any failure, but it’s definitely not something which is obvious, because we would have found out. It’s not the driver’s fault, that’s definite. We had a part overheating on the MGU-H, and that made the part fail.”