Hamilton says a win is possible after top time

2013 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Lewis Hamilton was eager to play down the importance of his fastest time in testing today but admitted he believes Mercedes can win a race this year.

“It’s not ‘no chance’, it’s not ‘yes, we definitely will’, it’s somewhere in between I think,” he said when asked if he could compete for the championship this year.

“I think we definitely will be able to win a race at some point during the season. I hope we can at least but when that will be, who knows?”

“I think it’s important to bring everyone back down to earth and realise we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he told media in Barcelona.

“Mercedes are doing a great job, both in the engine department and also with the car, it’s obviously a lot better than it was last year.

“But we’ve not seen Jenson [Button] in the car today, we’ve not seen Sebastian [Vettel] in the car or [Fernando] Alonso. So it’s everything to play for at the moment.”

Asked if he could judge how competitive his car is compared to the competition, Hamilton said: “I have no idea.”

“This is a good track to test, it can give you a rough idea. If your car’s good here then it should be good at other places throughout the year.

“But I just look at their car last year, it was quick at Monaco so the street circuits should be quite competitive. When it comes to the downforce circuits it’s quite tough there.

“The most important thing is while single-lap pace can be easily achieved it’s more long-run pace that’s going to be tough.”

“We won’t really know until we get to the first race,” he added, “but don’t be surprised when we get to the first race and we are not at the front and we, as I said before, have work to do.”

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88 comments on Hamilton says a win is possible after top time

  1. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 2nd March 2013, 18:21

    I think, that Mercedes just emptied fuel tank completely and showed their hand, while others as usual don’t show theirs. The time is good, but not good enough, to be on the front row in Melbourne.

    • Interesting that Hamilton managed five laps on the empty tank, though ?

      • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 2nd March 2013, 19:00

        +1 Hahahh

      • Aldoid said on 2nd March 2013, 19:27

        Exactly. A lot of people seem hell bent on belittling Lewis’ times in the Mercedes, despite the fact that this is the only time they’ve run the soft tires in earnest. They’ve been setting times near or at the top of the sheets throughout all of the tests so far while running on hard or medium tires, so talking down their relative pace is a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the naysayers & ill-wishers, IMO. I’ve been paying close attention to the tests so far & to my untrained eye, the Mercedes looks to be the most consistent car over the long runs, & have set their best times with 5 laps of fuel or better on board. I’m not willing to say they’re at the front, will win races or even have a slight shot @ the championship, but they’re definitely looking competitive in comparison to RBR, Ferrari, Lotus & McLaren.

        • Aldoid said on 2nd March 2013, 19:34

          Also, the fact that he aslo ran a 1:20.8 on the medium tires in this test suggests that there was a little bit left on the table during his soft tired laps. Massa repeatedly tried flyers on the softs & super softs & was still almost half a second down on Lewis’ best medium tire run. Regardless of fuel loads, I think it’s safe to say that the Merc isn’t slow at this stage. No guarantees that this form will continue into the race weekend @ Melbourne, but there has been nothing tangible to suggest that the W04 won’t at least be competitive.

      • Carl Craven said on 2nd March 2013, 19:36

        Lewis does have a history of running out of fuel just at the wrong time

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd March 2013, 7:51

        must have been the experience from Canada a few years back and Barcelona last year that made him run on fumes @nigel1 :-)

      • Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 3rd March 2013, 9:54

        But 5 laps of fuel was all he got. No one seems to be running with such amount of fuel. I don’t think that RB are running less than 50 kg of fuel.

      • Murali Dharan said on 3rd March 2013, 20:56

        Do you realize how little 5 laps worth of fuel is?. That is basically qualifying fuel with a one insurance lap.
        I for one expect the RBRs or McLarens to be the fastest.

  2. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 2nd March 2013, 18:24

    So Lewis isn’t convinced that he’s going to be fighting for the championship this year, but he is convinced that he’ll be fighting for a win at some point?

    Sounds pretty much in line with what I expected this season.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd March 2013, 7:53

      Yep.

      And to me its exactly what I want to see. That almost every team, and driver feels like this:

      “I think we definitely will be able to win a race at some point during the season. I hope we can at least but when that will be, who knows?”

      I think Mercedes feels that way, Williams and Lotus likely feel this way and it would be lovely if Sauber felt that way too.

  3. Got to be in with a shout at both Monaco and Monza – and anywhere else that it rains.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd March 2013, 18:39

      @nigel1
      Don’t forget China. The Mercedes is always a beast around there.

    • Becca Cann (@beshoreblue) said on 2nd March 2013, 18:45

      Hungary too, maybe.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 18:57

      I think the “power circuits” will probably favour the Mercedes, as downforce again looks to be their weakness. I expect they’ll be competitive in China but provided they keep up in the development race perhaps a Monza win is on the cards, or Spa (since it could very well rain)?

    • panache (@panache) said on 2nd March 2013, 21:17

      I’ll chime in with Canada

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 21:21

      There seems to be quite a lot of potential candidates where Hamilton could win actually now that I think about it!

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd March 2013, 21:49

        What makes people think that they can win in the rain? Mercedes is not a good car in the wet, it seriously lacks downforce and traction. Hamilton proved last year that he’s only human, and even in the rain, he can’t compete without a fast wet-weather car. Have a look at the two wet-weather qualifying sessions in Silverstone and Hockenheim; on both occasions McLaren were nowhere.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 22:07

          @kingshark – I’m guessing people are just making the assumption that the ca will not be fast enough to win in the dry, so it will have to be in the wet (where the driver can make a difference). That has confused me slightly as well though: I would say Alonso or Vettel is more likely to do well in a wet race judging on their and their car’s past form in wet conditions…

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 1:44

            Most of Vettel’s mistakes in the last 2 years have come in the wet.

          • JS (@js) said on 3rd March 2013, 7:10

            This is complicated to predict, as winning in the rain does not depend only on the driver but… on the rain, too! I mean, at which precise point in the race it rains or not and with which intensity.
            Just remember the Canadian GP 2011, where arguably M. Schumacher was the quickest in wet conditions, but had to finish 4th due to the end of the rain…

          • Nick (@nick101) said on 3rd March 2013, 9:23

            I’m sorry, but if it gets wet and its down to the driver to make the difference, this is where Hamilton will fail.

            When it gets wet he can’t make strategy calls to save his life! He ALWAYS chooses the wrong tire to go onto at the wrong time.

            And yes, this is HIS fault, not the teams.

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 12:04

            @nick101

            That happened in Hungary 2011 and when else?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd March 2013, 12:06

            @nick-uk The last race?

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 12:27

            @nick-uk – you mean Senna and Karthikeyan hitting him? Besides that though I would assume most drivers make more mistakes in the wet, that is the nature of wet conditions!

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 12:38

            @vettel1 – Senna may have hit him but Karthikeyan most certainly did not. That was ALL Vettel’s fault from cutting back in front too early. Other mistakes I can think off include:

            Turkey Practice 2011 – Spin & Crash.
            Canada 2011 – Lost lead to going wide.
            Nurburgring 2011- Spun off (Not Wet but in slippery dry conditions).
            Hungary 2011 – Lost lead to going wide.
            Malaysia 2012 – Runs wide loosing a position as a result.

            I get that people will made an increased amount of mistakes in the wet but Vettel seems to make more than others. So to list him as one of the better wet drivers, as somebody above did, isn’t correct in my view.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:03

            @nick-uk

            Karthikeyan most certainly did not. That was ALL Vettel’s fault from cutting back in front too early.

            In fact, it was absolutely 100% not Vettel’s fault; the evidence and the stewards agree with me on that one. Practice is irrelevant, as Vettel frequently crashed in the dry also in 2011. Yes he has gone wide a few times, but so have many other drivers in those conditions (not to mention Button in Canada).

            However, he has also performed fantastically well in wet races before also, namely in his first full season (where he won a race in the wet when drivers like Hamilton faltered). So no, I do not agree with your conclusion there.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:03

            @nick-uk – That’s not how the stewards or Karthikeyan himself saw it.

            And though he’s made some mistakes, he’s had some outstanding wet performances, particularly earlier in his career, so I’d still classify him as one of the better wet weather drivers, despite the errors you’ve listed.

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:13

            @vettel1

            To go and highlight one specific wet performance isn’t great evidence, most drivers have had at least one great wet performance. You cite Lewis faultering in 2008… how about Silverstone and Monaco (which he one by miles despite crashing…

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:18

            @nick-uk – absolutely he has had great wet performances also, but by current standards there is no reason to suggest he will have an advantage over the two drivers I have mentioned (which was my point). As has been said, he frequently makes wrong choices on tyres and the like, which Button or Alonso for example do not.

            I could cite more examples of great wet races by Vettel if you want: pretty much just look up most wet races in the 2008 season and Vettel put in a good perfomance, despite having a midfield car.

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:22

            @vettel1

            I think it is clear from our chain of comments that you are a Vettel fanboy and I am a Hamilton fanboy… I suggest we set aside our differences and mutually agree Alonso is better than the pair of them… haha.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 15:23

            @nick-uk – I’d say both Hamilton and Vettel are quicker over one lap! ;)

          • Nick (@nick101) said on 4th March 2013, 8:46

            @nick-uk

            Really dude? You want more evidence of Hamilton’s appalling tire calls?

            Well I haven’t got all day, but as Keith mentioned above, how bout the last race of last season?

            And do I need to mention China 2007?

  4. vuelve kowalsky said on 2nd March 2013, 18:35

    hamilton p1 on q3 in australia? quite posible.

    • Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 3:17

      I do not think Hamilton will be havin a pole in Melbourne. It has I think 3 fast corners, and the Mercedes has serious traction and downforce problems, so Hamilton will have to slow down slightly in those corners to prevent a spin, and that will add about a 0.5 – 1.0 sec to his time.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:02

      Thats IF he can beat Rosberg (who, so far seems to be slightly quicker in testing), and then everyone else

  5. Nick.UK (@) said on 2nd March 2013, 20:47

    C’mon Lewis! Please nail this year and win a race or two. Then politely yet very publically make a slight at everyone who criticised you for leaving McLaren!

  6. Looks like all the hard work Michael put in all these years is finally paying off! The car seemed to be fast even last year, in the first half of the season, but they were troubled by reliability issues which in turn resulted in the car being slow in the second half as they were so busy trying to make it reliable.

  7. Nkoli said on 2nd March 2013, 21:26

    Yeah it looks like my dream gonna be true now. I would like to see lighting Lewis gets the Merc to the top of the step not once but several times this year. I bet Seb, Alonso and the whole McLean people scratch their heads wonder what would happen to em , Go Lewis and hope Kimi also do good.

    • Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 3:21

      You seem like you are absolutely hating the best on the field. Haha, Hamilton may take a win or two this season, but don’t expect some championship title. Kimi, well, you should leave him alone – he knows what he is doing! Haha.

  8. Nickpkr21 said on 2nd March 2013, 21:58

    Mercedes never been slow, had a couple poles last year the problem is just car is a tire muncher that doesn’t allows to use the power full on and this year will be even worse. Nice lap tough.

    • Nickpkr21 said on 2nd March 2013, 22:00

      Tires I meant

    • Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 2nd March 2013, 22:45

      I think they solved it, from comparing the last year’s tests and this year, they might be on right path :D

    • Mike (@mike) said on 3rd March 2013, 1:39

      Well, their car was fast at the start of last year, but their car was very bad for protecting the read tyres, so they tried to make the tyres last longer by taking off some of the downforce at the rear of the car.

      It worked to an extent, however by the time they had gotten the tyres to last a bit longer the other teams had made gains in performance, while Mercedes was falling back due to reduced down force.

  9. Jason (@jason12) said on 2nd March 2013, 22:10

    Guess RedBull are such perfect constructors they don’t need to do proper testing like everyone else.
    They can just sandbag their way to the WCC….

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 22:20

      @jason12 – There is no real need to do low fuel, headline-grabbing times: you don’t learn much from them and you can pretty accurately calculate your ultimate place by fuel-correcting the times. They’ll probably only show their hand on the last day of the test at earliest as the only reason they would show their hand really is to scare the opposition!

      • Jake (@jleigh) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:02

        @vettel1 yet everyone seems to think Merc are running on absolute fumes and Hamilton’s time means nothing?! I wonder how people would be reacting had Red Bull put in all the testing times that Merc have this winter?

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:12

          @jleigh – they weren’t running on fumes, Hamilton did 5 more laps after that run. All I’m saying is that it is entirely expected that the cars should be over a second faster than last year’s “pole” time, so if Red Bull had set that lap I would assume they still had a decent amount of fuel in the tank!

        • Mike (@mike) said on 3rd March 2013, 1:40

          In all probability, Lewis probably had plenty of fuel in the car, however, he could probably go even faster than he did, it’s testing, no one ever pushes. We know this.

      • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 0:42

        There is no real need to do low fuel, headline-grabbing times: you don’t learn much from them and you can pretty accurately calculate your ultimate place by fuel-correcting the times.

        Quali is low fuel, so is better to do it, than simulate/calculate it.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 13:36

          @sorin – qually practice is only a very small part of it though: aero runs, race simulations and set-up calibration take up much more time. You only need about an hour or two for qually practice on the last few days.

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 2nd March 2013, 22:52

      @vettel1
      Why calculate when you can just test all fuel levels (esp with limited testing).
      Others struggle for two seasons or more to perfect what Redbull is doing, so there’s very little harm in showing their hand during testing.
      They even hide their pace till Q3 during season (really? this is just unnecessary paranoia on their side).

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:04

        @jason12 – why should they show their pace though? There’s no reason to and you don’t get much useful data from short, low-fuel runs so it’s pointless doing them until the last couple of days testing at the earliest.

      • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:15

        You really have a comically exaggerated opinion of the abilities of RBR. Or perhaps I could say that you suffering from “paranoia” in thinking that they have massive reserves of speed held secretly in reserve.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:23

          @jonsan – I don’t at all think I am exaggerating RBR’s abilities: you’d be foolish to deny they will probably be faster than Mercedes if last years’ form is anything to go by. I’m not saying at all they’ll arrive in Australia and go a second faster, but they’ll be much closer to the front than the times are currently suggesting, so one can assume they are “sandbagging” (otherwise known as running higher fuel loads).

    • Aldoid said on 2nd March 2013, 22:58

      It’s funny… last season around this time a lot of people were saying that RBR were sandbagging. Turns out they just weren’t that quick yet. Not slow, mind you, but definitely not the quickest. It took them quite a few races to get dialed in. If McLaren never had such horrible pit stops early on, it’s unlikely they ever would have caught up.

  10. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:18

    I’ll be quite surprised if Hamilton does not win a race or two this year. That being said, people here are over-reacting badly to his lap time today. Keep telling yourself “It doesn’t mean anything”. Because it doesn’t.

    • Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 5:09

      Agree with you there. One fast lap and everybody is like “Hamilton will win the 2013 Drivers C’ship!”. That’s just sillt to think so. A win or two, at the very best, for Hamilton this season.

  11. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 2nd March 2013, 23:18

    That helmet looks evil.

  12. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 3rd March 2013, 0:35

    Why do reporters keep asking drivers “where they think they are” in terms of pace relative to the rest of the pack?

    They know what the answer is going to be; “We don’t know”.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd March 2013, 0:44

      I guess they’ve nothing else to do, and it makes for a great bit of fun speculating and reading between the lines. Just look at the string of comments above yours! We have opinions ranging from Hamilton being a title contender to him being barely able to nab a podium. Personally I think that he’s gonna have a season that’s like the second half of 2009 – great performances, nabbing a win or two and some podiums.

  13. tmax (@tmax) said on 3rd March 2013, 0:45

    In 2009 testing when Brawn GP was setting up top times everybody said they were setting those times to grab headlines and sponsors !!!! The rest is history.

    But the strength of Mercedes as shown last year is the cold weather and their biggest nemesis is the warmer tracks especially in the later part of the year. Australia could also be a challenge with its summer weather.

    All in all I am very excited . Go Lewis Go… Really want him to succeed.

    Let’s see how others fare

  14. schooner (@schooner) said on 3rd March 2013, 1:11

    As a Hamilton/Rosberg/Brawn fan, it’s hard not to get just a bit excited about Mercedes’ preseason form. I have to think that there is a good chance for them to be fighting for regular regular podiums and an occasional win this year.

  15. moto said on 3rd March 2013, 5:34

    I can’t believe there is a lot of people thinking merc doesn’t have downforce and traction.
    I know the sector time of Hamilton’s second quickest lap time that are 22.9, 30.2, 27.6 .
    And this is the last year’s quickest sector time which is done by Hamilton except for sector3 that are 22.6, 30.7, 28.3 .
    Compared to the last year’s, the sector1 which has a long straight is slower but the sector2 is much,much faster and the sector3, too.
    Well, if you want to be fast in the sector2 and 3, you have to get huge downforce and well traction because these sectors have a lot of fast and slow corner. It is a known fact about Circuit de Catalunya.

    So, the time done by hamilton seems now merc has much downforce and traction.

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