Hamilton “wasn’t pushing” when he went off

Lewis Hamilton has described the moment he almost lost his win in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver slid off the track at Rivage on lap 35 when the heaviest rain began to fall during the race. He explained what happened:

My heart was absolutely pumping. In my mind, I was absolutely on the edge, just trying to nurse the car through the gravel and get it out and back onto the track.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t particularly pushing at that point – I’d just been on the radio to the team to explain to them how the track was feeling and how slippery it was. I braked at what I thought was a sensible distance, but the car just kept going forwards – which was pretty, er, exciting.

I just had to take a straighter line, scrub off as much speed as possible and then try and get the car through the gravel. I just made it – I think I kissed the barriers with the left-hand wheelrims, but it was close.
Lewis Hamilton

Writing on his official website, Hamilton added he was glad to have won at another of F1′s historic venues and wants to do the same again at another, Monza, next week:

Yeah, I’ve always looked at those four circuits on the calendar as being a little more special than the others. A couple of years ago, I remember David Coulthard saying he was proud to win those four grands prix for McLaren because they somehow connected him to the history of the sport, and I know exactly what he means. It’s because those venues are unique – they’re very special; you can feel the history at those races more than anywhere else.

“That’s why I was so pleased and proud to have finally won at Spa – because it’s a giant of the sport, and it means something to every driver who’s ever raced there.

“So I’m going to Monza looking to take another win and keep pushing forward in the championship. Our car should be strong there too, but, as with every race in this championship, you can never take anything for granted.
Lewis Hamilton

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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47 comments on Hamilton “wasn’t pushing” when he went off

  1. “My heart was absolutely pumping.” Well, that’s not surprising as you were milimerers from retire the race that was in the bag, Lewis Hamilton!

    • “For 20 years Ceccarelli has quantified concentration by fitting heart monitors to F1′s stars as they race. Drivers have a resting heart rate of between 50 and 60bpm. When the lights go out that can rise to 140bpm purely due to adrenalin – but that is still the low point of the race because they haven’t yet expended physical effort. The rate averages 160bpm under normal racing conditions and stays consistent unless they crash, in which case it goes off the scale.

      But Ceccarelli’s heart rate printouts are illuminating because when a driver is under particular pressure – trying to overtake, defending attacks from behind or putting in a string of hot laps – the rate rises by 20bpm. Ceccarelli insists the difference is purely down to increased mental activity. His research suggests drivers use their brain to its full capacity on a qualifying lap but they can’t maintain that level of concentration for an entire race – like asking a sprinter to keep up his pace for a marathon – hence the short bursts of higher activity.”

      http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft22559.html

      • That was a really fun read, thanks. It would seem that in all sports mental strength is often the most important element.

      • Scribe said on 2nd September 2010, 10:50

        Great article that, facinaiting insite into grandprix drivers love it.

      • Very interesting read that. I think i read something reflecting on Senna and Schumi and their fittness level a couple of years back.

        Apparently Senna got down as far as 40pbm in rest and regularly going up to 180 during the race.

  2. Sammy said on 2nd September 2010, 9:00

    Go Lewis. WDC this year….almost won Monza last year, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldnt this year. Quickest driver on the grid by far.

    • Hassi said on 2nd September 2010, 9:43

      Yeah,Lewis is by far the best f1 drive in the current grid.He’s favourite to win in monza.car should suit the track.my only worry is the force india’s with their strong engine and a good low downforce aero package.

      • Scribe said on 2nd September 2010, 10:50

        Be interesting to see what Lewis does to the feild in a superior car now.

      • I agree that Lewis is, if not the best, then one of the best. But the irony of this coming up in after an article of him almost binning is is killing me!

        Wahahaha! XD

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 2nd September 2010, 13:43

      Almost won at Monza in 2008 too (coming all the way from the back).

  3. MattB said on 2nd September 2010, 9:43

    Which “four” circuits is he referring to? Would I be right in hazarding a guess at Spa, Monza, Silverstone & Monaco?

  4. I don’t want Lewis or Jense to win Monza which one probably will. I don’t usually care about any other team bar Mclaren (talking up the Fer-Mc rivalry sometimes is nice) but I don’t want an 07 repeat.

    I don’t really know why because it is lunacy but at Silverstone I’d have been happy for Ferrari to get a podium (just some points would have been nice) but I believed it meant more for Lewis to be on that podium so I wasn’t really concerned with the title so much at that moment.

    • Sammy said on 2nd September 2010, 9:50

      Im confused. Is it because you fear team acrimony? Or you arent a fan of Macca?

      • Sammy, Steph is a Ferrari fan, so she doesn’t want McLaren to win. And neither do I.

        • I’m a Ferrari fan but I have absolute respect for Mclaren and I really like Martin W.
          Well given the title and the way things are shaping up a Mclaren stopping RBR getting points is fine. Unless it’s a Ferrari winning (or a ‘feel good story’) I’m not usually fussed about who else is winning but it’s Monza and I can’t help but slip into my Ferrari fan madness :P

          • bosyber said on 2nd September 2010, 13:15

            I have to say that by now, I only agree if the Ferrari winning would be the one of Massa unlikely as that may be, and even though Alonso’s WDC would profit from a win a lot, I hope for him not to win it this year. That said, I do hope for the championships that Ferrari do well, to keep themselves within distance of the WDC and WCC.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd September 2010, 12:13

      I think Alonso will be on the podium at Monza, so you’ll have to hope Hamilton retires and Alonso picks up another win!

      But I can’t see past:
      Hamilton
      Button/Alonso
      Massa
      Sutil
      Vettel

      Or something like that. People will say Spa was damage limitation for Webber but that’s only because he wasn’t doing so great in the race up until the point Vettel took Button out. On paper both Red Bulls could have been on the podium but I think they compromised too much on straight-line speed versus downforce, so really Red Bull got what they should have, at least one car on the podium. That it was Webber was lucky for him.

      At Monza though, there’s little they can do, and like I say even a Force India might beat one or both of them, let alone two McLarens and two Ferraris. I remember last year when Red Bull only got a point and though their traction out of slow corners has improved this year it won’t be enough that 5th is probably the best they can hope for.

      • I’ll put Kubica in the mix

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd September 2010, 15:30

          And can’t forget about those Mercedes cars.

          • Can’t forget, but if they qualify outside the top ten (wich they will) they won’t get even close to the podium.

            I think Kubica, Alonso and both RBR and McLaren will be fighting for those places with Sutil and maybe Liuzzi and a Sauber close behind.

          • daykind (@) said on 4th September 2010, 17:35

            Just look at how many places Schumacher and Rosberg gained in Spa.

      • dragon said on 3rd September 2010, 0:57

        RBR made that compromise to ensure they weren’t picked off on the straights, and after seeing the straight line speeds of the McLaren, the Ferrari, and especially the FI cars, it was a good setup.

    • I don’t mind Lewis winning at Monza… as long as Mark wins the rest and the WDC.

      I’m a McLaren fan, but there is nothing like a new World Champion, especially if it’s Mark Webber.

  5. Its Hammer time said on 2nd September 2010, 10:25

    So there’s a strong chance both of you will be disappointed :-)

    • I suppose so. :( I don’t want Alonso to be champion, but Webber (or Felipe, but that’s probably too late :( ), but anyway. ;)

  6. antonyob said on 2nd September 2010, 10:32

    “His research suggests drivers use their brain to its full capacity on a qualifying lap but they can’t maintain that level of concentration for an entire race – like asking a sprinter to keep up his pace for a marathon – hence the short bursts of higher activity.”

    Or maybe he just tested jarno Trulli?

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 2nd September 2010, 10:39

    “My heart was absolutely pumping.” didn’t that scene of beached in the gravel in China 2007 came flashing back in front of you.

    • SPIDERman said on 2nd September 2010, 12:54

      Hamilton will be on the pondium only if MLCAREN dont mess up his car set up or pit stop.for ferari ther could be reliability issues as they are almost using up their normal engine allocations
      http://www.vivaf1.com/reliability.php

      THERE is also a risk that the feraris will incur a grid penalty because they ma have to change their gear boxes during or after practice
      T HE red bulls will be caught out on the new floor tests ..will not recover enough to be a thhreat in the race itself at monza

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd September 2010, 19:11

        According to Red Bull other teams will be affected by the floor tests more than them. Williams is one team that’s already said they’re making modifications to their floor.

        • Horner is also saying that McLaren’s wings flexed more than RBR’s in Spa. Stay tuned for more comedy gold from Christian Horner.

        • Yeah but that’s Williams being honest… I wouldn’t connect that too closely with what is happening with the other teams… *rolls eyes*

  8. John H said on 2nd September 2010, 14:21

    I’d love to see Massa win at Monza this year, but it isn’t going to happen.

    Force India should be a good outside bet if you fancy it, because I think they’ll be better over the kerbs than the McLarens this year.

    • Already got my money down! Sutil will have a real chance I reckon. 66/1 dream odds.

    • Massa’s best finish at Monza in F1 has been 6th so far so it would be nice if his first time on the podium was the top step but it is highly unlikely.

      • And it would not be good for Alonso’s title chances as it would surely mean Alonso is not even close to the podium.

  9. I think Lewis was doing very well in Spa, he really is looking more mature now (after the first 4 races). But I would rather Jenson wins in Monza to keep him in the title fight. Same for Vettel and Alonso.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd September 2010, 19:18

      I agree. It would really be fantastic if by some miracle the championship were still a five way battle going to Abu Dhabi. That would make for an absolutely epic finale.

      • Truthfully I’d much rather see a four way battle heading to Abu Dhabi, because if Vettel is in it there’s a 90% chance he’ll make it a four or three way battle anyway by taking himself and/or someone else out. He’s not at all level headed under pressure & would spoil what would possibly be the best finale in decades.

  10. Malcom said on 3rd September 2010, 19:50

    When he went off my heart was in my throat, and shouting aloud no, no, not a repeat visit to the 2007 Chinese GP. Lewis in my view has shown tremendous growth in all aspects of his driving, and the best driver on the F1 grid today. If Mclaren can deliver a car that at least can be as competitive as Red Bull in the next 6 races, Lewis will be a very strong candidate to be the 2010 WDC.

  11. cheers said on 4th September 2010, 1:57

    Hamilton is becoming a believable character which is all for the good. He screwed up but shakes his head disbelievingly at his mistake and gets on taking his luck where he can and that’s what elite sports people do. Same as Mr wetmeister Barrichello’s mistake but there’s never going to be any luck when you’re following in traffic with this aero spec.

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