“Can’t afford to just take points” – Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton reckons it’s important to push for wins rather than settle for point to be competitive in the world championship this year.

Speaking to his official website after his second consecutive win of the season the 2008 world champion said:

It’s great to be leading the world championship, but, I have to be honest, Formula 1 is so tough and so competitive at the moment that you can’t take anything for granted – and, while I might be on top right now, I know that I’ll need to fight for every lap of the next 11 races to remain up there.

And, I think I’m like the fifth leader of the championship so far this year, so it’s pretty clear that it’s not so easy staying on top.

Our sport is so incredibly competitive at the moment – and we’re seeing different teams come to the forefront all the time – that this championship is going to be as much about playing the long game – minimising mistakes, scoring points at every race – as it is about success at individual races.

And, actually, I think that’s the first time you can probably say that about a Formula 1 championship. Whether it’s the changes to the points system*, or just the fact that there are maybe as many as 10 drivers out there with the machinery capable of winning races, you can’t afford to just take the points. You’ve got to be on the limit all the time – and I love that, because that’s how I love to race.
Lewis Hamilton

He said that although the MP4/25 was tipped to be strong at Montreal by many – including team principal Martin Whitmarsh – he expects it to have a larger performance advantage at some of the circuits still to come:

It was a good match, yes, but it wasn’t a perfect one – we’d probably still look at other tracks coming up on the calendar as giving us a better opportunity to win. Montreal is quite an extreme circuit, and I think our strength was having a package that worked well against all those extremes.

For example, we’ve been working very closely with Akebono all year to ensure that our brakes would perform consistently here, which is one of the toughest tracks of the whole year for braking. We felt that if we were able to push aggressively for the whole race, then it might give us an advantage by pushing other teams whose braking performance might be more marginal, particularly at the end of the race.

And we’ve added up all those small gains everywhere. That’s why we’ve got a car and a team that’s working so well together at the moment.
Lewis Hamilton

He praised McLaren’s strategists for getting the strategy right by starting him on the super-soft tyres when the prevailing wisdom before the race was that their rival teams starting on the medium tyres would have the upper hand:

[The race] was pretty full-on, but it wasn’t flat-out in the sense of pushing from the start to the finish; it was full-on because you had to stay absolutely focused on every lap, making sure the tyres were looking after themselves while also trying to attack, or hold off somebody behind you. It’s a complicated balancing act.

The pitwall and the strategy team judged everything perfectly. Andy [Latham, race engineer] fed me lots of information throughout the race, and really acted like a second pair of eyes for me. The team and I worked well together for this result.
Lewis Hamilton

*It’s not

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    22 comments on ““Can’t afford to just take points” – Hamilton”

    1. I think he’s making two seperate points. That F1 is at its most competitive for years I can’t remember the last time at this stage of the season when we had 5 realistic contenders for the world championship, and to have all those drivers fighting for the win in Canada made for a thrilling race.

      But when it comes to the new points system he seems be like every other driver in struggling with simple maths, this years championship would be just as close under the old system.

      1. I understand it more to be, that only getting regualr points finishes is not enough, because if you’r not on top of the podium, you might find 3-4 guys in front of you taking points away.
        So you have to win regularly to keep on top in the fight.

      2. Exactly, I even think the old 10-6-4-3-2-1, points system, rewards a winning driver more than the current points system.
        With the current system, 2 second places, is almost equivalent to a win and a half, while it is a win and a fifth using the 10-6… points system.
        The FIA should have just maintained the the 10-6-4…points system, multiplied it by 4 to get


        for the 1st ten places.

        1. 6×4 = 24 :)

          But I like your idea!

          1. I did the maths blind folded. :-)

            1. The new points system still don’t work for anyone.I think that five different drivers have won the first 8 races have made this season of of the challenging in may years. I hope the trend continues until the last race.

    2. The new points system does make a difference I think, although it is marginal. Given you get more points for a win and there have been no consistent winners that has meant that it has been easier for drives to appear to have a gap and then for it to be closed.

      1. Your so right. It really don’t make a major difference. I been tracking the difference (haven’t updated after Canada yet).
        But after Monaco the following was true
        Vettel 32 vs 78
        Webber 30 vs 78
        Alonso 31 vs 75
        Button 27 vs 79
        Massa 24 vs 61
        Kubica 23 vs 59
        Hamilton 24 vs 59
        Roserber 22 vs 56
        Schumacher 8 vs 22
        Sutil 7 vs 20

        The positions are very similar under new and old. One thing interesting to note new system was to reward wins more and it barely is. Vettel was second in championship to Webber because webber had 1 more win the Vettel and under old system Vettel would had 2 more points because his average finish position been higher then Webber (actually been highest of all).
        Same thing with Button and Alonso. So I guess after all the new system is barely doing what it was intended to do.

        Need to get things updated with the last two races…

        1. Alrigh I had to update it to see (don’t tell my boss I’m supposed to work. LOL)

          Ham 44 vs 109
          But 43 vs 106
          Web 40 vs 103
          Alo 38 vs 94
          Vet 37 vs 90
          Ros 29 vs 74
          Kub 29 vs 73
          Mas 26 vs 67
          Sch 13 vs 34
          Sut 7 vs 23
          Liu 2 vs 12
          Bar 1 vs 7
          Pet 2 vs 6
          Bue 1 vs 5
          Alg 0 vs 3
          Hul 0 vs 1
          Kob 0 vs 1

          Wow no real difference at all. Top 5 same position. Rosberg and Kubica would been on same points instead Ros one more and Petrov would been a head of Barrchello instead of other way around.

          1. Nothing like posting on your own posts.

            Webber under old system would need to win and Ham finish no better then 4th to overtake him for the lead. With new system if Webber won Ham could still finish second and loose the lead.
            Alonso would need to win and Ham would have to finish no better then 6th for him to pass Ham in the lead. Under new system win and no better then 6th well actually 5th on the basis that Alonso because his 5th worst finish would been a 4th while Hamiltons worst 4th finish was a 6th (both presumably 2 wins, 1x 2nd place, 1x 3rd, then 1 4th vs 1 5th).
            Vettel would need to win, Ham 7th under new system and 6th under old system to take the lead based on best finish position.

    3. I think it rewards consistency even more that out right wins. A win and a DNF is worth less than two 2nd places and just one point better than two fourth places.

      1. Since the discarding of the 11best finishes rule consitancy has always been of very high value. If Prost had been driving under last years system he would be the most sucessfull driver ever.

        Still this system does at least reward wins more than it did.

    4. Statements like this make me worried that Button is going to end up champion over Lewis.

      I think 2009 helped Lewis mature so much though and I don’t he’s made a single mistake this year (on the track :P)

    5. I think you can afford to just take points though. Obviously you need wins too, but Alonso’s position in the championship kinda shows that with this points system, fairly consistant results can keep you in contention.

    6. *It’s not


      I have a feeling things might be slightly closer under this year’s system. But the old one was so much simpler!

    7. I agree with his analysis that Montreal, while it suited the strengths of the MP4-25 perhaps more than most other circuits, it wasn’t an absolutely perfect match, and I don’t think it favored it relative to the RB6 anymore than Istanbul did. Sure, Montreal doesn’t have the quadrouple-apex, flat-out turn 8 that played to the RB6’s downforce advantage, but it’s not completely long straights and hard-braking chicanes, either. It’s got the one long straight in Sector 3 and three pedestrian straights that favor McLaren, with some windy sections in sector 2 that favor Red Bull. There’s a reason why the teams didn’t run the small wings at Montreal that they traditionally do at Spa and Monza.

      It’s not a perfect match to Istanbul, but it’s very similar in the sense that it’s a circuit with mixed characteristics that do favor cars quick in a straight line moreso than circuits like Barcelona, Hungaroring, or Monaco do. People should have expected Montreal to lean McLaren, but to be a closer match between McLaren and Red Bull than most pundits were predicting.

      The only track where I see McLaren having an epic advantage is Monza.

      1. I think Valencia will suit them quite a lot as well, because it’s specifically high downforce slower corners and straights the drag reduction will be far more beneficial than at Canada or Monza.

    8. Dan Featherstone
      19th June 2010, 17:04

      Perhps this is the wrong place for this sort of discussion, but are these words actually those of Lewis Hamilton? Were they from a a televised interview or just in print?
      Are these words which are amended/vetted/invented by McLaren’s spokesperson on Lewis’ behalf, or do they come straight from him?
      I have listened to him interviewed many times, and the text above doesn’t actually seem to correspond much to his way of speaking and the phrases he uses when he is interviewed.
      I can’t see him using phrases like ‘forefront’ – I think he would just say ‘front’
      It seems that all teams now release these ‘race previews’ and quotes to the media hot from the laptop of the scriptwriting press officer. Can they be attributed directly to the drivers, or are they too busy elsewhere to write this themselves?
      I understand that perhaps this may be a contentious issue and perhaps a debate that Keith may not want to be drawn into, as all members of the media have to ‘toe the line’ for fear of upsetting teams, drivers and pr.
      But should we believe all we are fed these days?
      Forgive my cynicism, but I tire of modern press release soundbite culture, and this was what drew me to this website from the outset, as an evacuee from all the other websites who print the same things which the teams, via Reuters, decree.

      1. The drivers say what they are told to say,you are right to be sceptical.

      2. I think it is right to be sceptical about those statements. A lot of things written in those press previews issued by the teams is only PR talk.

        Often Keith adds his own views to those press statements, if he spots something presented too far from reality. That is what most of us like here, not just offering the teams the space to do their presentation.

        1. In this case, the 1st two paragraphs at least do sound like Hamilton to me. The third one on the whole could also be him, but indeed, “forefront”. I guess they were recorded and then massaged by the PR people.

      3. I would say statements like these are pretty much what the person concerned has said albeit with a fair bit of polish applied by the PR team.

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