Tag Archives: Lewis Hamilton

Rosberg unable to explain run of five poles

Nico Rosberg continues to be mystified as to why he his qualifying form has been so impressive in recent weeks.

The German secured his fifth straight pole in Brazil, much to the frustration of team mate Lewis Hamilton. However, he doesn’t know why things have turned around for him.

“Unfortunately I don’t have an explanation for it,” he said. “What I do know is that I’ve been working on it, if I’m now faster in qualifying then great, it seems that my work is starting to pay off. Because it was one of the big weaknesses, and definitely one of the reasons why Lewis won the championship this year, because that helped him a lot for sure, to be starting first all the time. Of course I’m pleased, but more than that, I don’t know.

“It’s so complex, it’s just trying to understand. The facts are last year I was the quicker guy in qualifying, and this year I was outqualified totally, so something has changed. It’s a matter of digging into it and pushing on and trying to understand the various reasons, and trying to make improvements wherever you can. There’s not been one big thing that I’ve changed in any way, so it’s just really going at it. But it seems that I’ve made progress, which is great.

Rosberg denied that the end of the championship battle had allowed him to relax in some way.

“No, not at all. It doesn’t change. With the way it was in the championship in the end the pressure was on Lewis anyways, because he had everything to lose. I was hunting. So it doesn’t change.”

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Wolff on Hamilton: “Do I want to have a robot in the car?”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has downplayed Lewis Hamilton’s discussion with the pit wall when he was asked to make an extra pit stop in the Mexican GP.

Both leader Nico Rosberg and Hamilton were told to come in after a suitable window to third place Dany Kvyat allowed them to make a free stop and not lose position. The tyre change was essentially a precautionary one after the team inspected the option tyres that came off the cars at the first stop.

One of Hamilton’s showed excessive wear – actually 10% higher than had been predicted – and that prompted concerns about the life of the primes that the drivers had expected to run to the end.

Hamilton actually opted not to come in at the first time of asking, and he ended up losing time to Rosberg, who had two laps on fresh rubber with which to extend his lead.

“It’s emotions and a race driver in a car,” Wolff told this writer. “He needs to question and needs to ask, it’s perfectly reasonable. We have the overview out there. We were down to the canvas on the option tyre [from the first stint], we had the gap, and this is why we decided to do it.”

Hamilton’s questions to his engineer showed that he clearly didn’t understand why the team wanted him to pit.

That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable to have the discussion. Do I want to have a robot in the car? No. I want to have the best racing driver. The best racing driver is how he is. He questions things, and we saw that with Vettel. It’s absolutely no problem, as long as the team keeps the overview. No issue at all for me.”

“That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable to have the discussion. Do I want to have a robot in the car? No. I want the best racing driver. That’s how it is. He questions things, and we saw that with Vettel. It’s no problem as long as the team keeps the overview. No issue at all for me.”

Meanwhile Paddy Lowe admitted that Hamilton was at fault in not coming in when asked.

“Technically it’s incorrect not to come in when we said,” he said. “Just looking at it from his point of view he clearly just completely didn’t understand why we were doing it. When a guy is driving around at 350kph you can’t really give them a full technical explanation that takes a couple of minutes.”

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Toto Wolff: “They are enemies in the same team…”

Toto Wolff admits that the first corner clash in Austin between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will lead to a discussion with the two drivers in order to calm the situation.

The incident followed a similar one in Suzuka, where Rosberg was edged wide and lost momentum.

“Lewis came on the radio and said it wasn’t on purpose,” said Wolff when asked by this writer. “I think it’s something we are going to talk about in a couple of days, but this is a moment to celebrate a World Champion who deserves to be World Champion, and then once emotions have cooled down, we should discuss.

“It’s clear that a racing driver who has just lost a World Championship for a second time against his team mate in a tough race where certainly Turn One wasn’t very nice, and he lost it by his own mistake. I think we have to respect for that.”

Wolff admitted that the last three races will have a different feel given that both titles are won.

“Flat out! Actually, we have been unleashing them all the time already. I don’t know, I have never been in that comfortable situation of being able to sit in a race and enjoy it like a fan, watch it. But then it’s also a crucial moment now to make sure that today’s race won’t release consequences within the team, and splitting the two sides of the garage.

“Celebrate the World Champion, let a couple of days pass, emotion cool down, have a chat. It’s never easy, it wasn’t easy the first time around. I think we’ve gained some experience, I’ve gained some experience, I’ve been around a little while now, and I just need to have a calm approach, but a firm approach, about how we would like them to compete out there.”

Asked if Rosberg would eventually be happy for Lewis he said: “That’s never going to happen. They are enemies in the same team. It’s clear that we cannot expect him to cheer up in such a situation.”

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No tyre conspiracy in Singapore, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is adamant that he doesn’t believe in any conspiracy theories regarding the tyres used by Mercedes in Singapore – and says that the team’s problems were a result of set-up issues.

After qualifying in Marina Bay Hamilton challenged the media and his team to find out why the drivers had struggled for grip, and since the race his engineers have conducted an in-depth analysis.

“Whatever happened, happened,” he said today. “I believe there are reasons in our balance and our set-up that we had, the avenues that we went down which affected the car the way it did and the tyres the way it did, and the other teams perhaps did better than us. I don’t believe in all that conspiracy stuff, we just put it down to the technical side of things, and we could have done a better job.”

Hamilton says that the team is satisfied with the results of its post-race investigation.

“I can’t tell you what the team have come up with, but they have come up with a lot of solutions, a lot of reasons for it being the way it was. The majority of them believe at least one of the many solutions, or reasons for it that we’ve came up, with had a domino effect. I’m confident that it’s been understood, but they will continue to do analysis, I’m sure.”

“It was consistent, it felt the same all weekend. We obviously changed the set-up, so it felt better by Saturday in qualifying, it felt better by the race. But generally it was the same. It felt normal to us, we didn’t have more grip at one point, and less grip later. That’s the grip we had all weekend, and it felt normal to us. It’s just the others had more.”

He added: “I believe it was specific to Singapore, so we should go back to normal weekends, really.”

However he said that the team was not taking anything for granted.

“Well you can never say never, thinking that it was just a fluke or anything like that. Sometimes there are going to be situations like that whether it’s this year or next year or the year after. I’m hoping that we’ve learned from that weekend, and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

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Title is not won yet, says Mercedes boss Zetsche

Daimler and Mercedes boss Dr Dieter Zetsche has cautioned that it’s too early to consider Lewis Hamilton as a shoe-in for the World Championship, despite the Briton’s healthy lead.

After Monza Hamilton heads team mate Nico Rosberg by 53 points, or more than two race wins, while Sebastian Vettel is now 74 points adrift of the leader.

“We saw with Nico [in Italy] how fast you can lose a significant amount of points which you already calculated in,” Dr Zetsche this writer. “So let’s wait until the mathematics tell us where we are.”

Meanwhile Zetsche said that his satisfaction at Mercedes winning on Ferrari’s home ground in Italy was tempered by Rosberg’s engine failure.

“Of course, it was a very exciting race. At the same time we are very unhappy for Nico who had bad luck throughout the weekend. But that’s racing. It was the sixth race for his engine, and normally nobody’s running six races on an engine.

“Our engines are very, very reliable. He had to push to recover, and all the data showed that the engine was perfect until two laps before the end.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport”

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have expressed their thoughts after attending Jules Bianchi’s funeral in Nice yesterday.

Championship leader Hamilton stressed that the sport should continue its push to improve safety.

“Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone,” said Hamilton in a team preview. “For myself, I wished I had known him better. But from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future.

“Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead. We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car. We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further.

“Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my favourites. I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not only this race but for the rest of my driving days. I know he’d want us to race hard as he did, and so I will.”

“It has been a very emotional week,” said Rosberg. “The drivers paid our final respects to Jules and said farewell. He was a very talented driver and a good guy. My thoughts in these days are with his family and close friends. Everyone will be sharing the same feelings in the paddock this week – but we must race on and race hard for Jules as he would have wanted to be doing himself.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “It’s going to be a very hard weekend…”

Lewis Hamilton says he’s hoping to have a “real race” with team mate Nico Rosberg at Silverstone after they each suffered a problem in the last two British GPs.

Hamilton had a tyre failure in 2013, while last year Rosberg retired with a gearbox problem.

“It’s going to be a very hard weekend for sure,” said Hamilton today. “Nico’s going to be very quick. I can’t say who’s going to be our main competitor this weekend, it could be Williams, it could be Ferrari. I think this weekend is going to be down to getting a good qualifying, and really just extracting the most from it in the race.

“The last couple of years I’ve not really done spectacularly in qualifying, and one year it’s been difficult for Nico with a car issue and one year it’s been an issue with me. So I’m hoping we’ll have a race where we can actually just fight and have a real race.”

Hamilton said that he didn’t feel a particularly need to have to bounce back after Austria: “I feel really happy with my performance over the weekends, more so than perhaps in other years, where I’ve perhaps been unhappy with the performance at some point. The last couple of races I’ve had some ups and downs, the last one the start made a huge difference.

“The good thing is that from the mishaps, from things that happen, we study and analyse them and often fix them or make improvements to make sure they don’t happen again. And particularly after the last race Nico simulated what happened for me at the start in the car, and found a serious issue that could have affected us this weekend. That’s now been rectified and improved.”

Meanwhile Nico has invited Lewis to join the rest of the Mercedes team for a barbecue in the BRDC campsite tonight.

“Nico’s very kindly invited me as well. I’m staying next door to him as well. Free food is always the best thing!”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I think people are looking to blame something…”

Lewis Hamilton says driving a current F1 car is not as easy as it looks after the “lift and coast” radio messages in Canada made many observers question how hard drivers have to push these days.

Hamilton insists that current drivers have their hands full as they manage fuel, tyres and other parameters, and they need information from the pit wall.

“It’s different definitely from the years where you had fuel pit stop and you had tyres which you could perhaps push further,” he said today. “But it’s the new way of F1, apparently. It’s not easy to be accurate with the different driving techniques we have to use nowadays.

“Naturally when you’re behind people you want to be pushing to get past, but you’ve also got to watch your fuel, and watch your tyres, because otherwise you won’t make your stop. There’s so many things which you have to have in the back of your mind when you make those decisions.”

Lewis insisted that drivers need to have information from their engineers.

“For us drivers with the way these tyres are, [for] the optimum way to get to the end of the race, we don’t have all the information in front of us. You can’t feel how much fuel you are using. You are driving as fast as you can the majority of the time, so you need some guidance with that.

“What do you think’s going to happen if they don’t tell me about tyres? I’m still going to drive the same. And if they don’t tell me about fuel, then maybe more cars won’t finish. If that’s more exciting, we can do that!”

Elaborating on the lift and coast issue he said: “You have no guidance to know how much fuel you’re using. There is an indicator that you can have, but it’s not very accurate. You’re just driving your race, and you know you have 100kgs to use. It’s not like you have a figure that shows you how much money you are using in your bank account and you can see it going down as you make your payments.

“A lap is payment and you don’t know how much fuel you used than any other lap. You could just use one lower gear and you lose than than the one before, or you can be a little bit more aggressive on power and you use a little bit more fuel than on the previous lap, but you can’t see that. So that’s where you get the guidance.

“A couple of years ago there was more information, so I’m not really sure, I think people are looking to blame something because they’re unhappy about something.”

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Toto Wolff: “We got the maths wrong…”

Mercedes has admitted that it simply got it wrong when it brought Lewis Hamilton in for a late pit stop in Monaco, handing the win to team mate Nico Rosberg.

The situation developed after Max Verstappen’s accident triggered a safety car, which was quickly changed into a real safety car.

Watching a big TV screen, Hamilton thought that his pursuers Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel had pitted behind him, when it fact they hadn’t. Assuming that they would have fresh rubber and be right with him at the restart he expressed his concerns about his own tyres to the team.

The strategists were guided by data that told them there was a big enough gap for Lewis to pit and get out still safely in front, but the numbers were wrong by a few seconds – and that proved to be the crucial difference for Lewis.

“The simple answer is we got the maths wrong,” said Toto Wolff. “We thought we had a gap which we didn’t have when the safety car came out, and Lewis was behind the safety car and the calculation was simply wrong.

“It was the team’s decision. We are all in this together, we make decisions together and it is not one person to blame and we win and lose together and that is clear. In Monaco you have no GPS and this makes the whole exercise more difficult, so this is why we got it wrong when we switched from the virtual safety car to the safety car.”

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Toto Wolff: “They are mentally very strong, both of them…”

Toto Wolff says that Nico Rosberg’s win in Barcelona on a day when Lewis Hamilton faced frustration doesn’t necessarily signal a shift in the balance of power within the Mercedes camp.

While the consensus from outside observers is that victory for Nico will be a big boost for the German, Wolff insists that it’s not that simple.

“They are mentally very strong, both of them,” said Wolff. “And I think as much as we would like to find a dynamic that is pro or against a driver, they come out very strong even after a bad weekend or a defeat. After the debrief is over, they concentrate on the next one. We’ve seen it last year. We have spent time talking, is that now Nico on the run, has the balance swung more towards him, or is it now Lewis?

“I think you are probably going to see the same thing again this season, two drivers who are matching each other, trying to outperform each other. For us as a team it’s really a good situation, because it lifts the performance of the whole team, and it’s the best case.”

Wolff said there was no single reason why Rosberg had the upper hand over the course of the weekend.

“It’s difficult to see. If you are on such a level playing field it’s about feeling comfortable in the car, it’s about feeling comfortable on the track. I think before the weekend Lewis mentioned that Barcelona wasn’t his favourite one. I don’t know if that is the reason.

“It was difficult this weekend to get it right set-up wise, with the gusty winds and the lack of grip from session to session. And then obviously going into the race the minute you are able to control the race from the front it gives you an advantage. This is just want Nico did today, in a very controlled way.”

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