Hamilton: Temp management in a better position for Austria this year

Improvements to the 2020 Mercedes car over its predecessor will make overheating concerns less of an issue in Austria, according to Lewis Hamilton.

Forced to lift-and-coast throughout the race in order to keep temperatures under control, Mercedes were nowhere near their best in 2019 at the Red Bull Ring.

Now on the eve of the first of two consecutive races at the circuit to start the 2020 Formula 1 season, Hamilton says those problems should be resolved.

“We’ve not been terrible, but it is a challenging circuit with the height of the circuit, the temperatures that we see,” he admitted in the Thursday driver’s press conference.

“We’ve arrived here and it’s usually kind of not in the perfect window of operating temperatures for our car.

“But I’d like to think we’re in a better position this year with improvements that we’ve made for this season’s car. So, time will tell.”

Certainly helping matters will be the upgraded engine Mercedes is bringing to Austria, with improvements targeted mainly towards reliability and cooling.

At the same time, Hamilton does not foresee the Silver Arrows pulling away from in the championship standings like they did overall in 2019, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – winner of the last two Austrian GPs – looming a particularly large threat.

“It was quite close between the top three teams in testing and I think Red Bull particularly being the closest to us from our understanding,” he suggested.

“And Max is progressing year on year, so I anticipate they’re going to be strong competitors.

“They are always very strong here at this track, so definitely going to be a challenge these two weekends. But I’m excited to see how that goes.”