Hamilton “really happy” with Mercedes progress

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he’s “really happy” after covering more laps than any other driver in Wednesday’s test.


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Mercedes progress pleases Hamilton (BBC)

“It’s going in the right direction. I’m really happy with it; 121 laps is really good.”

Kimi unflustered by lost laps (Sky)

Alan Permane: “Our target was more laps today and we’ve missed that. We were able to diagnose a problem with the gearbox, but rectifying this took quite a lot of time.”

Interview with Lotus?s Kimi Raikkonen (F1)

“I still want to do rallying. I had a good time and I knew from the very beginning that it was going to be tough. People say ??oh, it?s been a failure?. Not at all – I started with zero experience and for that I did pretty well. Sure I went off, but anybody believing he could do better, go and prove it!”

Alguersuari unlikely to race outside F1 (Autosport)

“Possibly I did close other opportunities in other series but now I’m concentrating on this [the Pirelli role].”

The fastest woman in the world (The Daily Mail)

“Formula One female test driver Susie Wolff has announced that she will appear in a BBC documentary this spring about her life as the only woman in F1.

Sahara frozen… (Joe Saward)

“The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced that it has asked banks in India to freeze bank accounts belonging to the Sahara group and some of its directors.”

Incheon to host world’s racing club with Lamborghini and Williams (The Korea Times)

“London-based investment firm Weingrow Partners said Tuesday that it will build the ‘world?s first exclusive lifestyle and racing club’ on Yeongjong Island off Incheon, close to Incheon International Airport, in collaboration with Italy?s supercar maker Automobili Lamborghini and England?s Formula One team and engineering firm Williams. It aims at completing the facilities by 2016.”


Comment of the day

@Kodongo challenges the view that Lewis Hamilton is harder on his tyres than most drivers:

Did Hamilton have any trouble with last year?s tyres?

If memory serves, on this very track in 2012, he raced from 24th to 8th ?ǣ overtaking his team mate ?ǣ all whilst consuming one fewer set of tyres than anyone else in the rest of the field.

Perhaps we should pay more attention to what happens on track rather than outmoded assumptions.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Lotus’s pre-season build-up was derailed one year ago today when they had to withdraw from the pre-season Barcelona test after discovering a suspension fault:

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90 comments on Hamilton “really happy” with Mercedes progress

  1. matt90 (@matt90) said on 21st February 2013, 0:20

    What a waste of a documentary. I like seeing motorsports documentaries done by the BBC, and Susie Wolf may well lead an interesting life. However, I don’t see anything to justify a documentary being made of it, just as I don’t see any justification in her role in F1. Something on women in motorsport in a more general and historical sense might be nice.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st February 2013, 0:22

    If memory serves, on this very track in 2012, he raced from 24th to 8th – overtaking his team mate – all whilst consuming one fewer set of tyres than anyone else in the rest of the field.

    Perhaps we should pay more attention to what happens on track rather than outmoded assumptions.

    I don’t think one example disproves an entire theory. Especially given the extraordinary circumstances behind that theory; Hamilton had the opportunity to pursue a much wider range of straegies becaus he started from last. He is recognised as having an aggressive driving style, and aggressive driving is typically harder on tyres that smoother styles.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 21st February 2013, 1:06

      Actually, all it takes is one example to disprove a theory.

      While I agree with you that he had a much wider range of strategy in Spain, he was still, in general very kind on the 2012 Pirelli spec tires.

      Brundle said at the Austin GP that Hamilton’s driving style was well suited to the tires performance because he was turning in earlier, which enabled him to straighten the car earlier, which was a less aggressive style.
      And it proved to be the recipe for success, because he and Vettel were very evenly matched that whole weekend, yet Hamilton won, despite pitting 1 lap earlier than Vettel.

      Hamilton has an aggressive mindset, and an aggressive driving style, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t kind on his tires.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st February 2013, 1:38

        I think a better way of putting it would be to say that Hamilton understood the tyres sooner than most of the other drivers. McLaren as a whole seemed to have less trouble with them – expect for when it came to putting them on the car – than anyone else, so I think Hamilton’s performances really came down to knowing what he could do with the tyres and when. Everyone else seemed to go through a real trial-and-error routine, so I don’t think being gentle or unkind with his tyres had as much to do with his success as knowing exactly what he could ask of his tyres and when did.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 21st February 2013, 7:34

          While there is a lot of truth to that @prisoner-monkeys, I’d not quite agree on McLaren in general having a good grip on tyres in the first half of the year – sure in the first races, but after China, the car had trouble especially in the hands of Button – he himself said it was due to not getting tyres right, and the team later agreed, so clearly they didn’t have a full understanding. It seems Button is just soft on the tyres, but if tyres need to be heated up more, not less, that leaves him with “huge understeer, no grip”. Hamilton does not have that problem so much, and did better, and learned to also be softer with them if they did need that, it seems. Maybe he learned it (partly) from Button. Button still seems a master, at changeable times, at feeling the right moment to switch or stay on them, which is a more intuitive and hard to acquire skill, perhaps due to experience mostly.

      • Asanator (@asanator) said on 21st February 2013, 11:58

        I didn’t think tyre wear was an issue for anyone in Austin!

      • @tophercheese21 – though I generally agree with your perspective, I don’t agree with this:

        it proved to be the recipe for success, because he and Vettel were very evenly matched that whole weekend, yet Hamilton won, despite pitting 1 lap earlier than Vettel.

        Firstly, the tyres were like Bridgestones there: you could probably run the hards for several race distances and they’d still be performing due to the conservative choices. In fact, they were so conservative they actually weren’t degrading enough so to speak in that they couldn’t properly get up to temperature!

        Secondly, tyre conservation had nothing to do with the fact he beat Vettel: Vettel came across a backmarker in Karthikeyan and lost time, Hamilton got in DRS range and passed him. They were pretty much even up until and after then and going faster until the end, which just serves to prove that the tyre degradation was minimal as the fuel burning off easily offset any loss in grip.

        Ironically I think that example could aid PM’s argument: Hamilton’s aggressive style meant he could heat up the tyres more effectively whereas others who were perhaps softer on them struggled as they wouldn’t heat up!

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 21st February 2013, 9:05

      It’s not one example. Hamilton has had plenty of races where his tyres outlasted the competition. It started in Brazil 2009 where he went from 17th to the podium, also passing Button on that occasion. Another example is China 2011. Where again he overtook Button by virtue of his better tyre handling and went on to win the race.

      Hamilton will prefer to go flat out and actually race the car to the extreme, but he can actually drive in “slow” tyre preserving mode as well.

      It’s just like people keep saying Button is such a wet weather miracle. Yet there are plenty of examples where he completely messed it up. Korea 2010 for instance. Canada 2011 is probably the prime example. It’s supposed to be his best race, but he made a stop for no reason there and only came back due to loads of safety cars. Even the win in Australia where he first showed his “magic”. He just messed up the intermediates and was run over by the field. He had no choice but to pit. While the other drivers were trying to stay out on their tyres for a rain shower that was coming (and never came).

      It’s both just myths people keep repeating and self inforcing them by only looking at the examples which prove the myths.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st February 2013, 14:28

        Bottom line for me on this is that LH, good tire conserver or not, has had the luxury of being only in top 3 cars, some even arguing Mac was ‘his’ team, so the odds would favour him looking like a good tire conserver on occasion, or even more than just occarsionally, given the circumstances.

        Let’s see how he does on a non-top-3 team in a car that last year had issues dealing with the tires, and let’s keep in mind these tires are different again, and by all reports even more degrady. So it’s all relative, and we’ll see if he can be relatively easier on his tires this year than some, but for me it’s a ‘see it to believe it’ scenario. If the car is off the pace and not regularly a podium potential getter like he is used to, LH might find himself having great difficulty intentionally slowing to conserve.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st February 2013, 14:29

      @prisoner-monkeys, totally agree with you here, as I commented yesterday Jenson with his famous smooth-driving style had trouble getting his tyres UP to temperature while Lewis had no such problem, to me this example only proves that Lewis is harder on tyres than Jenson not that Lewis is a great tyre manager. I like Lewis he is a racers racer and I hope he is successful with Mercedes but if the car has less downforce than the leading teams Lewis will have tyre wear problems that will directly effect his chances.

  3. Truman said on 21st February 2013, 0:25

    Force India, what are you doing?

    Not only is their team owners finances in question, but now their main sponsor. Bernie’s gunna be screaming for more teams before long…

    • Deepak (@ideepak) said on 21st February 2013, 4:19

      Woah woah woah easy there! The team is a different entity and corporate/financial animal.

      As far as we all know the team is of touched at all by this. Let us hope so at the least – as this could be the Force India’s last season !

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st February 2013, 5:03

        @ideepak – You don’t think that there are serious questions that need to be asked here? Both Kingfisher and Sahara are in serious financial and legal trouble here, and yet their owners are still financing a Formula 1 team, which is probably the most expensive thing you can do after funding a mision to Mars and buying an island in the South Pacific. Don’t you think Mallya and Roy need to explain how they can continue to pay for Force India when selling it would go some way towards clearing their debts?

        • Deepak (@ideepak) said on 21st February 2013, 6:30


          I honestly am not too concerned but I certainly will not say their demise is impossible as things only seem to be getting worse.

          However I am a bit optimistic given the recent injection of cash – which was praised by Di Resta ( hence we know for sure new money came in).

          Lol call me what you want but I couldn’t really care how that money poured in ( I am assuming you are hinting at sacrilege — violations like funneling money from debt raised by their companies intended to be used for other ventures) .

          Lastly I would like to believe that even in that case both are safe as they are after all — Indian businessmen. With all the powerful and influential people they know — I’m sure they can manage things :) .

          I know for sure mallya isn’t a Saint – he should have been jailed a long time ago for all that kingfisher mess, and I am very sure his men paid off the loan officers at big banks for raising his company coffers. Nobody with a brain would have lent all that money to that garbage business venture, let alone a loan officer.

          Trust me, India isn’t very different from Russia, and we all know how things are done in Russia !

          This will be a crucial year — let’s wait and see, if we start seeing more logos on the cars I think we be optimistic. Otherwise, after that alleged 60-80 mill euro investment praised by diresta dries up — *gulp* start the prayers !!!!

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 21st February 2013, 7:41

            @ideepak, that’s an interesting view. It does makes me wonder, in Russia we also saw quite a few examples of (former) big guys falling out with the Kremlin/their friends, and being dealt with via charges of tax evasion (or espionage), after which we often stopped hearing of them. Friends in the right places isn’t all that sure a basis, I’d say, unless you can keep your friends very close indeed.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st February 2013, 14:38

      Bernie actually wants less teams (10 actually), that way he can give each team more money without taking less for CVC.

  4. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st February 2013, 0:27

    I’m getting tired of hearing every driver being so positive about their car. They would never say anything hugely negative but there seems to be a distinct lack of drama in testing this year. In 2011 we had reports that the McLaren was nearly undriveable and Jenson and Lewis would be lucky to score points, only a late update transformed the car. Last year we had Ferrari start out with a tricky car and it only seemed to get worse, and Lotus had their issue with the chassis.

    This year? Aside from a few faulty brake pedals and gearboxes there’s nothing. Every team is going to be competitive it seems. Great if true but in the meantime I’ll have to wait till Melbourne to get some F1 drama! What I wouldn’t give for Maldonado to drive into somebody this week…

  5. oggie509 (@oggie509) said on 21st February 2013, 0:30

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it yet but i think Hamilton’s pure speed coupled with ross brawn’s tactical abilities on the pit wall coupled with a half decent car will this year, prove very tricky for the other four big teams!

    • alvink (@alvink) said on 21st February 2013, 2:27

      fingers crossed buddy :-)

    • Giggsy11 (@giggsy11) said on 21st February 2013, 11:48

      Then again, Alonso in a car to battle for the title from the get go could prove the trickiest of all. Lets hope Hamilton has a good car this year, i wouldn’t mind seeing a Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Kimi showdown this year.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st February 2013, 13:50

        Yeah it would be great to see Merc more competitive than last year. But I won’t be betting against the likes of the traditional top 3 in favour of them. Of course we do have to allow for the chance that they have taken a bit of a leap in performance, but assuming Red Bull, Mac, and Ferrari have at least gained the same as Merc over last year, then LH and NR will have their hands full breaking into the top 3, and I think LH will have his hands full just trying to outshine NR who is more engrained on the team for now. But don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Merc regularly competing in the top 3. It would be a refreshing change in F1. Just not banking on it for this year. And I think NR will be looking at this year, and his new teammate, as another opportunity to best a WDC on his own route to the top.

  6. I’m sorry to bother some people by posting so many quotes said by Kimi:
    (about Romain’s bad year)

    Q: Your young team mate, Romain Grosjean, had quite a difficult year in 2012. Did you ever offer advice or did you keep out of the matter completely?
    KR: It is not my business so I kept out of it. I am not here to explain what to do. Everybody has his own way of doing things and you cannot so easily adapt that for somebody else. He had a tough time, but sometimes that happens. That’s life.

    Q: So you are not the Jedi master taking an apprentice under his wings?
    KR: This is not Hollywood – this is Formula One. I try to figure out my own stuff.

    the other one I liked so much was this one!!!

    Q: After so many years in Formula One racing, have your ambitions changed? Is it still the world championship title that you are after?
    KR: Otherwise you wouldn’t be here!

    That’s it Kimi!! Well said and go for more victories this year!!! My dream championship would be Kimi vs Seb till the last race. I would be happy whoever of t5hem got the championship!!

  7. About Susie, she is not the only woman in F1. If you take in account she has never raced an F1 race, just tested, she is not the only woman, but many others have important roles as well, There is one who seems to direct Sauber F1 team… Monisha right?

    • Brace (@brace) said on 21st February 2013, 1:02

      Yeah, makes this documentary even more ridiculous.

      There’s a woman who never even stepped in an F1 car in an official GP session (as far as I know) and is in a team because it’s partly owned by her husband, being called “the only woman in F1″, while there’s another woman who is an actual team principal and who actually owns part of the team, being apparently too insignificant in her role to even register as being a part of F1.

    • I Love the Pope said on 21st February 2013, 2:22

      I find Monisha to be far more impressive than Susie.

  8. Brace (@brace) said on 21st February 2013, 0:58

    There’s no documentary about Alonso’s life, about Vettel’s life, about Hamilton’s life (although there’s that nonsense book about him), but by all means, make a documentary about Susie’s life as an F1 driver.

    Now that I think of it, it must be down to budget cuts. After all, placing a camera to record Williams’ simulator for a month or two isn’t really something that requires too big investment.

    I’m still waiting for a tooth brush commercial with Christian Horner.

    • Palle (@palle) said on 21st February 2013, 22:27

      Reminds me of the awfull “Schubben-Shampoo” commercial with Vettel on German TV. Not awfull because Vettel is in it, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t win 3 titles because of the Shampoo;-)
      Who of the topdrivers would have time to participate in a documentary? In Kimi’s words, they all concentrate on doing their own stuff. Susie has time, but ok sooner or later, despite the odds, we will se a more or less successfull female driver in F1.

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 21st February 2013, 23:10

      The BBC have made a documentary about Lewis Hamilton, it was called Lewis Hamilton: Billion Dollar Man. I don’t think it’s on the iPlayer any more but there are loads of clips from it on youtube.

  9. Brace (@brace) said on 21st February 2013, 1:05

    I still want to do rallying. I had a good time and I knew from the very beginning that it was going to be tough. People say ‘oh, it’s been a failure’. Not at all – I started with zero experience and for that I did pretty well. Sure I went off, but anybody believing he could do better, go and prove it!

    This is to coherent for Kimi. I bet he has a PR who articulates his rubble of “ahem”, “yea” and similar half-meaningless mumbling into a coherent and meaningful sentences.

    • Of course he does – they all do! Have you ever tried taking direct word for word quotes for a journalism piece? it’d be one long string of “And then I er… Went onto the, um, other set of tyres and came out the of the pits er…”

      Assuming that quotes don’t get tidied before publication for anyone is somewhat naive.

    • Roy (@royp) said on 21st February 2013, 16:09

      Ask him a good question. He’ll give a good answer.
      He’s actually quite articulate.

  10. Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 21st February 2013, 2:07

    First ever CotD! Thanks Keith!

  11. Anyone care to enlighten me about this Ferrari breaking into Williams’ pit garage in 1980? Was that big news at the time?

  12. The Limit said on 21st February 2013, 3:55

    Hamilton’s driving has improved as his career has progressed, which is to be expected. If anything I thought last year was his best season in terms of driving, it seemed he made fewer mistakes behind the wheel that he had in previous years. As has been well documented, it was more often than not poor pitstops and strategies from McLaren that let Hamilton down. If Hamilton is accused of being hard on his tyres, the opposite can be said of Jenson Button who is renowned for his smooth driving style. At the end of the day, when you compare Lewis to Jenson at McLaren, both were evenly matched despite their different styles in driving. The same could not be said of the Alonso/Massa or Vettel/Webber partnerships thats for sure.

    • graigchq (@graigchq) said on 21st February 2013, 7:34

      I disagree with some of this. Jenson and Hamilton are matched very evenly when it comes to overall results for a season, but Hamilton does have that bit extra to give that Jenson can’t always muster. When comparing the other team-mates however, you must remember that Mark Webber was within 0.1s of Seb in every race for two seasons before the change that put Seb as No.1 driver. I feel that even though the drivers do get equal status, that car development goes in the direction of the fastest, so Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel all got cars that get faster and faster for them, while their team-mates fall further and further back. Remember the first race with Massa and Alonso togethe,r it was a Ferrari 1-2, it wasn’t until later in the season that Alonso broke away, after Massa’a confidence was shot down by his team and made to allow Alonso to pass. Webber also has had his share of bad luck.

      Of the three mentioned, i’d say that Jenson and Lewis were the least well matched in terms of pace and direction, now Jenson is no.1, this year could be his 2nd championship year.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 21st February 2013, 9:08

      The car breaking down so often or the pit stops going wrong never helped Hamilton much either.

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2013, 7:50

    Quite an interesting piece about the background of Todt and Ecclestone meeting today in German AMS.

    AMS mentions 2 reasons why both Todt and Bernie might drag their feet with an agreement. Todt already has the money from the teams, so everything more is a bonus. And currently he has free room to influence the rules as well as some other governance things. And Bernie might not be too unhappy to keep everything unsure so no one will even risk challenging him (from within CVC that is) over uncomfortable things from the past. And off course he does not want to give the FIA more money AND more room to do as they like.

  14. I did a double-take when I saw an exclaimation mark in Kimi’s quote. Must have been a hell of a good interviewer.

  15. GT_Racer said on 21st February 2013, 13:48

    Got some details on the live testing coverage next week.

    Sky will be taking 8 3D cameras + 2 High motion cameras for some super slow-mo shots.
    They won’t be covering the full track, cameras will only be placed at a few corners & there’s no plan right now for any in-car shots or on-screen timing graphics.

    However they have been at Barcelona this week with a 3D camera figuring out where the best place to put them is & the guy i spoke to said that they now really wish they hadn’t announced it as been in 3D because the 3D shots they have been getting have been “Crap”.
    They have experienced all the issues with 3D that other broadcasters have & are now also feeling that 3D for F1 is a long way off.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2013, 14:01

      Thanks for posting GT_Racer, very interesting!

    • I can’t see how 3D would work in F1 with this unless the whole track is covered with it, only a few corners seems a waste of time, unless they stick them in the Pits only.

      3D only barely works when its used in a closed location like a stadium for football… and even then it’s hard to see it’s use (and also 3D seems to be getting near being forgotten towards Ultra HD…)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th February 2013, 18:57

      I’ve had an email from Sky in response to GT_Racer’s claim that “they have been at Barcelona this week with a 3D camera” and “the 3D shots they have been getting have been ‘crap'”. Sky say this is “simply untrue” and there was no such test with 3D cameras last week.

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 24th February 2013, 19:01

        sports in 3D just don’t make sense at all.
        3D only works/makes sense in gaming and at IMAX

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th February 2013, 19:09

          @xjr15jaaag I’ve seen some 3D stuff at the cinema and wasn’t impressed at all. The picture was dim, the 3D effect at best added nothing and at worst was a distraction, and wearing an extra pair of glasses was uncomfortable.

          I’m at the test next week so I’ll get to see that in 3D anyway! I understand Sky are going to show some of the 3D footage in a media event afterwards which I should be attending.

          I’m more interested in Sky’s testing coverage from the point of view of whether it can be covered live and made interesting. Tests are pretty dull most of the time. And if it rains they’re screwed.

          • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 24th February 2013, 19:31

            There is a Swiss IMAX type thing, and that really is excellent.
            However, I don’t wear glasses; my parents do, and both of them absaloutely hate 3D.
            But it only actually makes sense in gaming.

          • SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 25th February 2013, 0:09

            I’m not sold on 3D.
            But for the movies there is a big difference between movies filmed in 3D or movies made 3D afterwards.
            So when you go watch a movie check if it’s true 3D or not. It’s a big difference.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th February 2013, 19:08

        Does Sky always browse the F1Fanatic round-ups? :/

        If so: hi Sky! :)

      • Lemon (@lemon) said on 25th February 2013, 0:39

        I refute that there was ‘no such tests’, having watched the f1 show on friday. They showed a montage to promote their upcoming testing coverage where they were clearly setting up the 3d and testing it with glasses and all…

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