Mercedes downplays concerns about Lewis Hamilton's engine

Toto Wolff says Mercedes has no concerns about the health of Lewis Hamilton's engine despite the championship leader reporting vibrations from inside his car after winning in Japan.

Hamilton took a huge step towards a fourth world title at Suzuka, where he opened up a 59-point lead over main title rival Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver had failed to make it past the fourth lap after encountering an engine failure, continuing a remarkable run of misfortune for himself and Ferrari.

On the cool-down lap Hamilton told Mercedes his car was short-shifting and that he could feel vibrations from the power unit. As he is at the limit of engines allowed under the regulations, an engine change at any of the next four rounds would come with a grid penalty.

Wolff downplayed fears of a problem and felt the stress of the final laps in Japan, where Hamilton had to fend off Max Verstappen's attack, probably altered the Englishman's perception of what he felt.

"We didn't see anything on the engine," he explained. "We looked at all the metrics. We need to really understand what he meant.

"My assumption is that when you are in the lead, and your main competitor has DNFed, you hear things. The same applies for us in the pitwall or on the garage. You just want the race to finish."

Hamilton himself appeared to have re-assessed his initial opinion when he spoke to reporters after the race.

"I don't honestly think there's any wrong with the engine. I just felt a couple of things so I just... you just point out things that you might forget to tell them after this next meeting.

"You make lots of different switch changes and the turbos make strange noises and different vibrations come in, so I'm hoping there's nothing."