CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER...FOR NOW: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton will use a new engine at the Belgian GP in late August, and will incur a grid penalty. Image: AFP / Andrej Isakovic
London - Lewis Hamilton said he headed into Formula 1's summer break aware that his lead in the world championship might not last for long.
Many pundits are predicting that F1's reigning champion now looks set for a third consecutive world championship, having raced to a 19-point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg at the German Grand Prix.
Grid penalty for Spa GP
But while Rosberg is on schedule with his engine usage in 2016, Hamilton said he is aware that he will need to use a sixth Mercedes V6 this season, thereby incurring a grid penalty.
There is even speculation Mercedes will make use of the overtaking opportunities at the forthcoming Spa or Monza rounds by 'doubling up' with a seventh new engine for Hamilton as well, putting him effectively last on the grid.
Red Bulls pose a threat
The Briton said: "I'm conscious that there's going to be at least one more race where I'm further behind and I don't know how much I'm going to be able to limit the damage.
"Now, the Red Bulls have picked up their pace and it might be difficult to get past them, to even get into the top five. I'm conscious of that."
He said those worries mean he did not head into the August break thinking he was the clear championship leader.
The triple champion said: "It's still not enough because I'm not a race win ahead yet, I hope I'll be able to get a race win ahead and then I'll feel like I am ahead."
*Hamilton is currently traveling during the summer break