Tag Archives: Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: “I didn’t even get round half a lap…”

Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a disastrous start to finish the first day in Australia on top of the times, emphasising that as expected Mercedes will set the pace this weekend.

Hamilton stopped on track at the start of FP1 due to a sensor issue, but ran 37 troublefree laps in the second session to head team mate Nico Rosberg by just 0.157s.

“To miss the first session is kind of unusual, I didn’t even get round half a lap, I had to stop,” he said. “It’s a shame because there was the 10-15 minutes when no one was running, they could easily have brought the car back. I felt I was really on the back foot already. But I got up to pace quite quickly and found the balance relatively fast as well, so I feel positive.

“I think basically we got a nice foundation in P2, so I hope I can build on that in P3, and see where we end up in qualifying. Of course it would have been great to have had P1, but at the end of the day I got enough running thankfully in P2, so I feel quite comfortable in the car. I’ve got a good understanding of what’s going on on the car on the track and fuel and all that kind of stuff. I feel positive. I’m glad I got through it.”

Lewis said he hadn’t had time to assess the opposition: “To be honest I’ve not really looked at anyone today, I’ve just focussed on myself. We’ll see tomorrow.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I want to break the car as much as possible…”

Lewis Hamilton says he’s not concerned about facing unreliability problems in testing if it means that any faults are discovered before the season starts.

Hamilton was tackling a race distance for Mercedes in Bahrain today but was stopped by a hydraulic issue.

“It’s not frustrating at all,” said Hamilton of today’s problem. “We feel quite blessed that we’ve done the mileage that we’ve already done. We are way ahead of where we thought we would be, and particularly some others. We actually see it as a blessing, because we find an issue, and then we know it’s got to go back to the drawing board.

“It could be a small pump that they’ve got to go and redesign and get fixed, that could have gone in Melbourne, or one the races coming up. It would have caught us out and it would have been delayed. I’m glad these bugs are coming, I’m trying to find more and more. I want to break the car as much as possible, so they can fix it for the races.”

Regarding the Merc’s form, he said: “We’re just working in trying to improve the car bit-by-bit. We won’t know until we get to Melbourne where we stand exactly.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I was doing a lot of soul searching…”

Lewis Hamilton has faced a few frustrating races in 2013, but in Austin the Mercedes driver was delighted with his drive to fourth place.

He’s had better results this year, but the key was that he felt able to push hard through the afternoon in the wake of a particularly frustrating race in Abu Dhabi.

“It felt great, I’m so happy that I was able to have a race where I was going forward, and I was able to stand my ground and look after my position,” he said. “It was finally great to just have a real race.

“At this point of the year I’m the fittest I’ve been through the last seven years. The last seven years have been so draining, all the stuff that I had going on. This year I feel the best, and unfortunately although I feel the best I wasn’t able to give the results. We’ve had some problems in the last races, and to come here and get a decent result and stay ahead of Ferrari, I really am so proud of the team. And I’m proud of myself today.”

Hamilton was relieved when the team found a crack in his chassis after Abu Dhabi, and replaced it with the spare. It’s impossible for the team to quantify any gains that may have resulted, but there was definitely a psychological boost.

“Naturally when you have bad races like the last one… I personally really don’t like to blame anything else on the car, especially if you can’t see anything, or you can’t feel it so much. Naturally for me I was doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of weeks, do I need to train more, do I need to pay more attention to something, do I need to work harder?

“We came here and was just going to try and work even harder if I could, and then we found that big crack, and the car has been night and day different this weekend. I’m pretty happy with that.”

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Ross Brawn: Wishbone failure caused Hamilton spin

Lewis Hamilton’s spin in Q3 in Abu Dhabi was caused by a right rear suspension failure, Ross Brawn has confirmed.

Hamilton was on a strong lap at the time, and still held on to fourth place with his time from earlier in the session.

“It was a little bit of an unusual event because Lewis had got out of the corner when he lost control of the car,” said Brawn. “When we’d got the car back we’d fractured a wishbone, one of the wishbones had broken. That’s why he lost control of the car. We think we can sort it out. Obviously it’s a circuit where there’s a lot of grief over the kerbs and so on, so we’re going back through all the data to try and understand what may have provoked it, because it’s obviously a system we’ve had for a long time with no problems.

“It may be an issue with that particular part, or it may be an issue with the way we’ve taken some kerbs or some particular event. So we’re poring over all the data. I don’t think there’s any high risk for tomorrow, and we should be able to fix it within parc ferme and race OK tomorrow.

“As soon as it became clear we had a problem… We had a lot of people in the office anyway, but a lot of the specialists came in and they’re looking through all the data now to see where we have have induced the problem, and then we can advise the drivers to avoid that, if it is a particular event. It’s pretty violent here over some of the kerbs, and you probably saw Lewis the run before had quite an event over one of the kerbs.

“We’re really comfortable with the suspension system because it’s one we’ve had all year with no particular problems. Something’s happened here that’s aggravated it, and we’ll check Nico’s car and understand what’s happened.”

Asked by this writer if there were concerns about gearbox suspension mountings – which could result in a five-place penalty if a change was required – Ross didn’t think it would be an issue: “I don’t think so, no, but that’s obviously something we’ve got to check out tonight and tomorrow morning. But so far it doesn’t look to be a problem.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I’ve struggled a little bit through this weekend”

Lewis Hamilton will start the Indian GP from third on the grid, but the Brit was in a low-key mood after a qualifying session that clearly left him disappointed.

It’s been a tough weekend for us,” said Hamilton. “Congratulations to Sebastian, it’s obvious that that’s some serious pace that they have, especially with Webber on the primes just behind us. But we’ve been pushing, as Nico said, as hard as we can. We really want to get a great result this weekend.

Strategy is going to play a huge part but I was a little bit surprised to be where we are but generally, bit by bit, adjusting the set-up and everything, we got a reasonable balance and hopefully tomorrow we can push together to try and stay ahead of the rest.”

Hamilton played down the fact that he lost out to Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Nico did a great job, he’s been strong all weekend and on my side, I’ve struggled a little bit through this weekend. I struggled a little bit with something different on the car this weekend which Nico had had experience of seeing maybe in the past.

I came to grips with it really quite quickly at the end and I’m really happy with the result and the lap time that I was able to get. There’s always a little bit of time everywhere but we’ll try and push these guys as hard as we can in the race obviously. They’re in another world but we’ll try to stay ahead of the rest.”

 

 

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It’s very easy to be misunderstood, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton stressed today that he was keen to clarify what were perceived as negative comments about Sebastian Vettel when he Tweeted about the German earlier this week.

Hamilton used Twitter to emphasise that he has a lot of respect for the World Champion (see previous story).

“I was just in my hotel and I just looked at some of the Tweets that people were writing and stories that people had read,” he said in Suzuka. “And because we’re always doing interviews it’s very easy for thing to not necessarily be taken out of context, but misunderstood. So I just wanted to clarify, as I said.”

Meanwhile Lewis was in an upbeat mood today as he considered his prospects for this weekend’s Japanese GP.

“This is another track that I haven’t won at, and it’s definitely one that I’d love to win. The first sector is the most challenging and most critical of the lap, the Red Bull has generally been the quickest there, for the last four years. I anticipate they are going to be the quickest there again this year. But I hope that the strong showing we had in Korea in the middle sector can correlate with the first sector here. Fingers crossed I’ll get out there tomorrow, and it flows as well as I dream and we can give the Red Bulls a good race.

Regarding the tyre situation this weekend, he said: “It’s so strange, but even though you have past experiences with the tyres, when you go to a new circuit, new surface, it’s always different. So I’m hoping this weekend we’re strong. I’ve generally not had any good races here. I’ve had good races in Fuji. I really hope this is a new start for me here.”

He also had an interesting comment on why he suffered more than Nico Rosberg with the tyres in Korea.

“There is an explanation, but I’m not going to tell you! I’m going to keep it to myself. It’s not the car – it’s me.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “We should be fighting with the World Champions at the front…”

Lewis Hamilton says that both he and Fernando Alonso are too good to be fighting over fifth place at the end of a Grand Prix.

Hamilton just held off his former McLaren team mate in Korea, but was unable to do anything about Nico Hulkenberg up ahead.

“It’s strange, you know,” he said. “Me and Fernando in fifth and sixth at the end, and having our own little race, we are of a higher calibre than that, we should be further ahead, and fighting with the World Champions at the front, and with Sebastian. I guess that just shows where the sport is today.”

Hamilton was clear frustrated with the way his race unfolded.

“It wasn’t that exciting for me. Going backwards and defending for a position is not so much fun, and when I was behind Grosjean at the start, that was it, there was no way to get past him. Those guys up ahead of us just had too much traction today, that’s really where I was losing out to everyone.

“The car was feeling pretty good, I was quick. If I was in the lead for example, I think I would have been able to stay there, apart from the graining phase that I went through. We were just not that quick on the straight, and things just didn’t go our way today.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I wonder how Kimi came from where he did…”

Lewis Hamilton admitted he was surprised to find he had finished only fifth in the Singapore GP, having initially thought that he’d made it up to third place.

Hamilton was one of four leading cars not to pit under the safety car, and thus dropped back when he made a later stop under green. He then followed Nico Rosberg past cars that were struggling on older tyres, although Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen remained out of reach.

“I was really surprised at the end, I didn’t know what position I was in,” he said. “I thought I was third. When I came across the line I thought that was some good points, but then they told me and I was seriously gutted. It was a tough race and I’m absolutely shattered.”

Lewis admitted that he found it hard to understand how the strategy unfolded.

“I wonder how Kimi came from where he did – jeez, that was incredible.

“It was interesting that I stayed out and then everyone pitted. Fernando was right up my tail. It was very difficult to keep him behind, and that was really the turning point I think in the race.”

He also made it clear that there was some confusion over tyre choice: “There was a night and day difference between the option and the prime. On the prime we were just sliding around a lot. I wanted in the race to pit for options, and they pitted me for primes.”

Meanwhile he doesn’t expect Mercedes to close the gap to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

“Definitely not. We might be able to get some wins. In qualifying Nico was obviously very close. It looks like they’ve taken another step this weekend. It’s going to be very difficult, but we’ll give it our best shot. At the end of the day we need to do a better job for next year, both with the car and also at the track in terms of what we do in terms of preparation and all those things.

“Now it’s just about having fun for the rest of the year and trying to see if we can get ahead of Ferrari.”

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Floor damage hampered Hamilton, says Brawn

Ross Brawn admits that Saturday in Italy was a tough day for Mercedes, as the team failed to get pole for the first time in three months.

Nico Rosberg didn’t quite get his set-up right after missing most of FP3, and had to settle for sixth.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton damaged his floor at the Ascari chicane in Q2, which contributed to his later trip over the gravel at Parabolica.

That meant he had everything to do on his final run, and the damage – plus getting caught behind Adrian Sutil – contributed to him getting stuck in 12th place.

“It definitely wasn’t a great day for all of us today,” said Brawn. “We had a reliability issue with Nico in the morning which meant he lost most of the session, and for me Monza is always about confidence for a driver, getting a balance fine tuned and being confident in the car and building up.

“It’s very low downforce, high speed braking, so I think losing that amount of time was always going to be difficult. It meant as a consequence we didn’t really have a great balance on Nico’s car during qualifying.

“Lewis was looking OK, and unfortunately caught a kerb and damaged the car underneath and broke the floor, and we didn’t realise the consequence of that until a bit later in the session. It was irreparable, so that was unfortunate as well.

“It just wasn’t our day, today. Some of it is the nature of motor racing, some of it like the reliability problem with Nico we have to try and do a better job.”

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Tyres still the key for Mercedes at Monaco, says Brawn

Ross Brawn has stressed that tyres will still be the key factor for Mercedes in Monaco, despite the unusual nature of the track.

Mercedes had a strong package in 2012, when Michael Schumacher took pole and Nico Rosberg finished a close second.

“Monaco is a not usually a race to which teams bring many updates because the track conditions change so much across the weekend,” said Brawn. “The priority is always to get the drivers comfortable with the unique challenge the circuit presents, and to give them a set-up they feel confident pushing to the limit.

“Both Nico and Lewis have historically been incredibly competitive in Monaco and this weekend will certainly allow their talent to shine. The engineering team will be focused on getting the most from our car on the slow, bumpy layout and there will of course be particular emphasis on achieving tyre consistency and durability.

“Meanwhile, our work continues back at Brackley and Brixworth to fully understand the reasons for our below-par race performance in Barcelona, in order to develop the right solutions for the upcoming circuits where high tyre usage could once again be a limitation for us.”

Meanwhile Toto Wolff added: “It is clear to everybody in the team that, while we have a strong car right now, we are not able to use that performance properly on Sunday afternoon. Although overtaking in Monaco is difficult, we cannot afford to be complacent in terms of tyre management and we will need to do significantly better than we managed in Barcelona in order to score a strong result.

“We have only scored points with one of our cars at the past three races and this is something we must improve quickly, beginning next weekend in Monte Carlo.”

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