Start, Suzuka, 2017

Hamilton wanted battle with Vettel at Suzuka

2017 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton says he was hoping for a fight with Sebastian Vettel in the Japanese Grand Prix before the Ferrari driver was forced out with a power unit problem.

“I was really keen, I was excited for us to start first and second,” said Hamilton following his victory in Sunday’s race. “I was excited to have a battle with him.”

Start, Suzuka, 2017
2017 Japanese GP in pictures
“This is actually not a good track for racing because you need a big deficit to be able to overtake. Perhaps there would have been a battle like me and Max Verstappen had.”

“But still I had a great race. I think the team, particularly Mercedes, have really shown incredible strength in depth. It is survival of the fittest and Mercedes is showing we are the fittest.”

Vettel’s championship bid has collapsed in the last three races leaving Hamilton able to clinch a fourth world title at the next round.

“It was definitely a giant leap for us,” said Hamilton. “I think the last few races have been big steps for us with the issues, the crash they had in Singapore then the engine issue they had in the last race and then again this weekend. It’s incredibly unfortunate for Sebastian.”

Hamilton came under sustained pressure at the end of the race from Verstappen after losing time while lapping Fernando Alonso.

But the Mercedes driver said traffic was “kind of 30% or 40%” of the reason why Verstappen caught him “and then the rest was the tyres.”

“The front tyres were not waking up so I had big understeer initially. The traffic was obviously an issue, it was where I was losing the time but he was obviously incredibly quick.”

“Once I got free of traffic I was fine. But the second stint particularly the Red Bulls were incredibly fast. They were just a little bit quicker than us today as they were obviously in the last race, but a smaller delta.”

Fourth place in the remaining races will be enough to make Hamilton champion even if Vettel wins them all but Hamilton wants to win the championship in style.

“There’s still a hundred points available,” he said. “I want all hundred.”

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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36 comments on “Hamilton wanted battle with Vettel at Suzuka”

  1. joe pineapples
    10th October 2017, 12:06

    Does anyone know how the relative race/lap time performance was between Merc and Ferrari? (Kimi).

    1. Kimi finished 32 seconds behind Hamilton but the vast majority of that(25 seconds) was lost in first 12-13 laps where kimi had a costly off and was in traffic.

      With virtual safety cars and differing strategy as kimi started on sorts it’s hard to really compare but it we attribute 20 seconds of that gap to traffic and going off it not hard to imagine that Vettel could have very much beaten Hamilton with a healthy car.

      He would only have to gave been 13 seconds better than kimi on the day and given he had half a second over him in qualifying it was definitely on.

  2. Yosi (@yoshif8tures)
    10th October 2017, 12:32

    Hamilton should “accidentally” crash out in the next two races so that Seb can catch up and have a battle to the wire.

    1. SEB is more likely to crash in the next coming races than HAM from what we’ve seen so far this season.

    2. He could just park it aside for a while and do a back to first to back challenge.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th October 2017, 22:20

        @yoshif8tures @lums
        Of course Vettel is also likely to crash into Hamilton just like he did in Baku because he doesn’t like the way that Lewis stared at him in the mirror :-)

    3. Or he can just drive to win pretend it’s to the wire. I like that option better. ;-).

  3. It was a huge shame. Lewis and Seb have started together on the front row 6 times this season and we haven’t had much to show for it in terms of classic wheel-to-wheel action (just the Spanish GP with Seb defending against Lewis after his pitstop, the Baku safety car fiasco, and that one battle up Raidillon/Kemmel in Belgium).

    1. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
      10th October 2017, 13:57

      I don’t think we had one wheel to wheel head to head in the entire 2016 season either between Lewis and Nico, and they had the same car! In fact, the only real battle I can remember between those two was Bahrain 2014?

      1. And Bahrain 2015 as well. Let’s not forget about that terrible display of unsportsmanship.

        1. explain please, I think i have missed something here

      2. Spa 17′ was a solid battle from lap 1 to flag. No pass for lead but still solid.

        1. Ultimately, as has been said many times before, they need to get the cars less negativity affected in dirty air, for closer racing. They’ve got the tires for the mechanical grip, and those need tweaking too, but at least they lend themselves to being a great help to closer racing by them hopefully instilling a less finicky operating temperature window starting next year. It’s too much about which tires work which way for which team at which track, and the fact that the cars are still way too handcuffed in dirty air. The nature of the tires forces drivers to have only a brief opportunity to pass and failing that they have to quickly revert to hanging back in clean air in order to maintain tire longevity. It’s still too much about tires and aero, and not enough about driver vs driver.

          1. I think it is just the level of professionalism in f1 today. Everybody is just so so good. Every detailed is maximized for performance. So you gain 0.1% here, 0.05% there and so on and then following another car losses you 1% performance …

          2. @robbie Right, due in large part to the ridiculous front-wings, that have more ‘appendages’ than a centipede…. Some very good analysis from Ant Davidson on the UK Sky channel this year, highlighting the handling issues with the cars when they are following another.

          3. Just imagine….that’s all, just imagine…..if there was some rule in F1
            that rewarded close racing….that you gained points advantage by
            being able to close on the car in front and prepare an overtaking move.
            Next to impossible to create that, I know quite well, but if it were
            possible, all the sophisticated ( but downright ugly ! ) paraphernalia
            stuck on the noses of such potentially beautiful race cars would go
            at a stroke and minor collisions would not be as catastrophic as
            they now are. And close wheel to wheel racing would once more
            be as normal as rice pudding !

      3. I think that Spain and Austria last year were examples of them very literally racing wheel to wheel…

        1. Beat me to it, the action involved a bit too much wheel!

      4. @offdutyrockstar To be fair Mercedes would have been trying to avoid them going wheel-to-wheel whenever possible X)

  4. So this must have been the reason for which the asked Charlie to investigate Vettel for taking the steering wheel from the car after the “after race ” crash.

    1. @ianbond001

      He didn’t ask him to investigate, he asked for a clarification as to why there wasn’t one.

      Don’t get me wrong, it did seem very tit for tat in nature. But he didn’t request an investigation, he asked for clarification.

      I do suspect Hamiltons motivation for bringing it up were that it seemed like Vettel and Ferrari were being given preferential treatment not receiving a sanction for a rule infraction. But Charlie gave a very reasonable explanation as to why.

    2. He wanted to race Vettel so bad, he asked for Bottas to block Verstappen :)

      1. No he didn’t! He asked for Bottas to let him by!

        1. @ianbond001

          I don’t even recall him explicitly making that request. He just told the team he was losing time behind Bottas, who was on the opposite strategy to Hamilton so they weren’t even racing for position.

          Bottas was holding Hamilton up with nothing to gain himself and having him let Hamilton down didn’t hurt his result. It was a none decision.

          1. Yeah just like ferrari told Massa that Fernando was faster than him. That was all. Just information.

            But i do agree that it was logical to let Ham past. Shame that Lewis didnt do the same for Nico though

          2. Are you referring to Hungary 2014?

            That’s not the same scenario as here at all.

    3. This is why drivers pre race meetings should be private. People are always looking to misrepresent drivers they don’t like at any opportunity no matter what the say.

      Eventually these briefings will resemble the dull press conferences we ensure every race weekend. And what’s the point of that?

      1. @tiya

        It was an interesting insight to see the drivers casually chatting about things. It felt like being in a classroom watching them. It was humanising.

        And when the seatbelt issue got raised I had to laugh at Hamilton’s comment that maybe Sebastian should keep his on.

        But if it becomes a regular occurrence I can see them playing up for the camera which would devalue it.

  5. Hamilton can keep wishing cause Ferrari will fail the next four races too.

    Im frustrated as hell !!!

    1. Does anyone has Bernie’s number; i wanna give him an idea; September race results should not count towards the championship.

      Oh, wait …

    2. It is tough; but even Michael had to wait 3 years to build the team to have a shot at the championship. I think 1999 would have been his as well without the Silverstone accident.

      1. Lol, as if Schumacher build that team. People really don’t give Todt enough credit for what happened. Or Brawn. Or Rory Byrne. Or for that matter Mosley and Ecclestone giving their unwavering support.

  6. +1, thank you for calling out that nonsense

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