Hamilton: “Some drivers do less overtaking”

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Hamilton and Webber clashed in Singapore

After collisions that ended his race in the last two Grands Prix, Lewis Hamilton faced questions in today’s press conference about whether he needs to take fewer risks to ensure he finishes races and scores points.

Here’s what he had to say:

As drivers we are always on the ragged edge. We are always trying to gain position whilst staying safe.

Some of us are more aggressive than others in those positions. Some people do a lot less overtaking than others.

You just try to keep out of trouble. It is not easy. Racing is racing and there are racing incidents every now and then, so that is to be expected.

I think I have had a pretty good string of races in my Formula One career. I have scored a lot of points in only four years, so it is not all so bad.
Lewis Hamilton

Asked if, after Singapore, he felt his championship hopes were fading, he said:

I think at the time I clearly had quite a few tough races with the failure in Hungary, and then we had a win, and then we had two DNFs, so it was just after two tough races.

I think it’s very easy to get your emotions mixed up with your thought process, but I think after coming away from it, there are still four races to go and looking back at the history of the sport and looking back particularly at this season and seeing how close it still is, after many people made mistakes and certain situations, it clearly shows that it isn’t impossible to win.

I still feel very optimistic. I still know that clearly I have a tough job ahead of me and it’s going to be tough for all of us but I feel that I have as good an opportunity as anyone and so I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure that I finish the races. Generally, when I finish races it’s not so bad, so fingers crossed that that will be the case.
Lewis Hamilton

He denied that he would tone down his aggressive approach in future races:

I’m clearly looking at all of the races that I’ve done and looking at how my approach has been and trying to evaluate and try to take a step back and try to see it as something I can improve on, of course. It’s difficult to pinpoint one particular part. Of course, I could go and drive around and not overtake anyone and just stay in position, that’s easy enough but that’s not me, so that definitely won’t be happening.

I don’t think this race will be particularly more crucial than the next three races. I think they’re all very important to score maximum points. Clearly, if I had finished the last three races or the three races that I’ve missed, I’d be in a much stronger position but that’s life and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t go back and change it; all I can do is try to recover and try to apply myself in the most productive way towards my team and towards myself and towards the racing.

My plan, of course, is not to arrive at weekends and see how hard my team works and let them down and let my family down, or let my friends down or let myself down. So I’m doing as much as I can. I hope that this weekend is a stronger weekend. I feel good about it, so we will see.
Lewis Hamilton

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    64 comments on “Hamilton: “Some drivers do less overtaking””

    1. Nice to see a clear head and more upbeat from the previous pessimism that seemed to have infected McLaren after Singapore.

    2. totally agree with Lewis. Maybe his approach will cost him the wdc but at least he can be proud for trying his best. We, the spectators, don’t want drivers nursing cars and only collecting some points like jenson does. Senna is the greastest not because he has more wdc than anyone, but because how he used to drive.

      1. “Senna is the greastest not because he has more wdc than anyone”


        1. The point, clearly, is that Senna isn’t satistically the best ever F1 driver: others have more WDCs, wins, fastest laps, even poles. However, John (and I) believe that this doesn’t preclude Senna’s being the best ever F1 driver. Statistics don’t tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth: machinery, team-mates, opposition, career length, etc., are hidden in statistics.

          Lewis, like Senna, is a very entertaining driver: they’re both amazing in the wet and at overtaking; real gustsy racers. Sadly, the days of physical intimidation that Senna ushered out (on the track and on Irvine’s nose) are long gone. Instead, we have PR boys; Hamilton included. You can’t even push drivers (almost) into walls anymore. What’s the world coming to…

        2. “Senna is the greastest not because he has more wdc than anyone”

          Adam, read the rest of the sentence. John is saying that Senna is not considered the greatest driver in history because of the number of titles he won, but because of the way he drove the car.

      2. What we’ve seen, clearly, this year is that overtaking doesn’t really benefit you in F1. Drivers who are cautious and simply conserve their tyres for vast stints of the race to push hard for a small stint later or if there’s a safety car or to pit later than a slower rival they could overtake (theoretically!) on track are usually right with the drivers that have risked a lot to make overtakes and pull away on the track before the pit stops, the safety cars, the retirements, etc.

        Look at Jenson and Lewis all year. Or take one specific case: Malaysia. Here, Jenson was right with Lewis early on with the Ferraris and a group of other cars. Lewis overtook the lot of them and pulled away. Come the end of the race, after pit stops and retirements, Massa and Jenson were close behind Lewis. And the Massas and Jensons benefit from the occasional accident that is inevitable if you actually try and overtake…

        1. That’s true up to a point but it’s not just the case this year – I remember Alonso doing some great passing at Magny-Cours in 2007 and ending up more or less where he started.

          But it’s not always the case – Hamilton did a lot of passing at China this year and got second place out of it. It depends on circumstances.

          1. Lewis finished second at China because he took a different strategy (the wrong one) to the eventual winner, Jenson, when the rain fell. Lewis did indeed do well to overtake many drivers on the same strategy as he, as well as some drivers on the best strategy (Kubica, Rosberg, etc.?). So, of course, overtaking benefits you when you make the wrong strategy call and are out of the points: otherwise, you have no hope of achieving a result! (I would also point out that the safety car helped Lewis and his fellow strategists considerably in that race; without which, he had no chance of a podium.)

            My point concerned the less obvious and more worrying nature of F1 and overtaking: that concerning a normal, dry race where there’s no real difference in stategy. This year, in a normal, dry race, drivers are following essentially the same pattern of which tyres to start the race on and when to pit. (Of course, there are a few exceptions.) We’ve seen that if you conserve your tyres and wait, by virtue of having a better car, the need for everyone to stop at least once, the fact that there will be retirements and perhaps safety cars, it’s usually almost as good to stay where you are than to try and overtake. Consider Lewis and Jenson, who illustrate the point brilliantly.

            My argument is that this is the case; but that it shouldn’t be so. F1 should always reward overtaking. I suggest that the mandatory pit stop is dropped. Then drivers will have to overtake to jump rivals. And then they will. Jenson can overtake when he wants to (Brazil 09, etc). He simply choses not to, usually. The question we must ask is, why? The answer, I believe, is one which I have provided.

            1. Agree entirely about the mandatory pit stop. Useless in terms of spectacle and pointless given the ban on refueling. If they gave the teams and drivers real (subtle) areas of flexibility, rather than absurdly extreme tyre choices that force everyone to adopt the same strategy, and allow them to decide which tyres to choose and when they pit, it would make the races far more intriguing and hopefully more exciting. Seeing mechanics gain half a second in the pits to put someone ahead of a rival, or a driver putting in FLAPs to pull ahead, just isn’t the same as on-track overtaking. So why favour the former?

            2. I’m sorry, but I disagree with this.
              If you choose a strategy that doesn’t require you to do overtaking on the track then you probably won’t benefit much from it but still take the risks that come with overtaking, that’s for sure…but look at Mark webber in Singapore.
              His team pitted him very early and it was up to him to make the strategy work by not getting stuck in traffic. Brilliant masterful drive, fit for a champ.

    3. Get the title or crash trying I suppose.

      1. 50 cent meets F1?

        1. talk about cost reduction ………

      2. That seems to be working for webber this year!

    4. “I could go and drive around and not overtake anyone and just stay in position, that’s easy enough but that’s not me, so that definitely won’t be happening.”

      Im glad to hear that quote. Lewis has just been unlucky. The short memories of the press annoy me. Alonso was cracking under pressure in Ferraris Latin atmosphere now after a couple wins he is the most complete driver who has unrivalled capacity. After LH Monza lap Brundle proclaimed we were seeing 2007 LH and had somehow instantly lost all his maturity he raved about during his tough 2009. Brundle might also have forgotten that LH finished all but 1 race in 2007 when he went off in China (you argue it was teams fault as much as his) So a 2007 spec LH and his form would be welcome after his recent 2010 form and luck!

      1. A ‘2007 spec LH’ was good enough to beat his then reigning and double world champion team-mate! This amazing result has never been done before; so it deserves repeating.

        Brundle doesn’t even try and be objective, which is ok for a general fan, but not for the main commentator of the general audience. He praises his driver friends (Webber, Jenson, Rubens, etc) and when they err, he refuses to condemn them. Whereas, he’s quick to condemn the drivers he doesn’t like so much (Schumacher, Hamilton, etc) I have been really disapointed with the BBC coverage. It’s great that there’s no adverts; but everything else is worse. The thing that perhaps annoys me most is that they insist on giving equal time to everyone: Ferrari and Force India; Hamiliton and Hulkenberg; etc. The majority of fans don’t care about the minnows: they care about the teams and drivers that matter (Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull….)

        1. I have been really disapointed with the BBC coverage. It’s great that there’s no adverts; but everything else is worse.

          I could not disagree with that sentiment more. BBC’s coverage is better than ITV’s in every respect.

          And I’ve no idea what gave you the idea Brundle has it in for Hamilton.

          1. Nathan Bradley
            7th October 2010, 12:15

            The only point where I agree with Alistair is regarding Jonathan Legard.

            I’m sorry, but I really can’t hack his ridiculous shouting (especially during qualifying, with the approaching car obviously going to be slower. ‘IS THIS GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH?! No, I’m afraid not…’) That is very irksome for me, I much preferred James Allen.

            But otherwise I think BBC is much better in all other respects.


            1. McLarenFanJamm
              7th October 2010, 12:31

              Agreed, James Allen would be much preferred over Legard. Allen actually appears to have some technical knowledge of the sport as well which Legard appears to lack.

            2. People missing James Allen already! I remember “Stop the Cock” banners as if it was yesterday.

          2. Here’s why I disagree. Let’s first consider the respective teams.

            The main commentator, Martin Brundle, was used by both ITV and BBC. The same is true of Ted. But Jonathan Legard, BBC’s second commentator, is hopeless: he’s commentating as if he were still on the radio, forgetting that we have eyes and can see for ourselves what is happening. I find him very annoying. It’s as if he’s trying to be Murray Waker; but failing miserably. His comments lack insight and seemingly come too often from either the F1 tabloids or a fact sheet.

            James Allen, though often chastised, was much better. He was knowledgeable, a seasoned and best-selling journalist, and had good chemistry with Brundle. Next up we have Holly Samos and Louise Goodman. I didn’t think that there was any reason to replace Louise. To suggest that she became too ‘mumsy’ to interview the drivers is nothing but sexism. No one would question whether Brundle is too old and ‘dadsy’ to interview the drivers. She knew what she was talking about and posed good questions. Since Holly is new, and everyone must be new at some point, I won’t criticize her too much. But I do remember her congratulating Jean Alesi for being a WDC! A key reason Louise was replaced, I think, was that not to do so would be to make the BBCs and ITVs F1 line-ups too similar, which is a pretty poor reason for an objective F1 fan to stomach.

            Then we have the hosts of the show: Jake Humphrey and Steve Rider. The only advantage, I feel, that Jake has over Steve is age. He’s new, fresh-faced and young. But that novelty wears off quickly. Jake doesn’t know much about F1 and has freely admitted as much: that he’s going to gradually work himself into his new role. Steve is a veteran pro presenter of F1. It must be noted that Jake did get Max Mosley to describe the FOTA players as ‘Monkeys’, which sounds like a good piece of journalism. However, I think that this reflects more on Max than on Jake: on Mosley, a man almost made senile with power at the end of his reign, trying to antagonize his opponents at any corner. Jake’s role is largely redundant: he simply guides the conversation between the pundits. Steve was more commanding; and I fondly remember his F1 documentary on Senna, which showed journalistic chops.

            Now we come to the pundits. The BBC employs David Coulthard. And DC is employed by Red Bull! DC is blatantly biased towards Red Bull, refusing to criticize them in extremis. I fondly recall his blaming Rubens for not getting out of the way of Webber when the Aussia again saw red mist and bardged into the Brazilian, after having just punctured Lewis’s tyre, at the start of the Nurburgring 09 race. The other BBC pundits are Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle. Eddie Jordan uses almost every opportunity to remind or inform the audience that he used to be a team boss: almost every question put to him or to which he puts to others is twisted into some self-praise. He rants and raves but offers little insight. A lot of his time also reduces to what clothes he’s wearing! Frankly, he’s a bit of a clown. The only good thing about his punditry is that he doesn’t get along with DC! As noted, Brundle doesn’t even try and be objective, which is ok for a general fan, but not for the main commentator of the general audience. He praises his driver friends (Webber, Jenson, Rubens, etc) and when they err, he refuses to condemn them. Whereas, he’s quick to condemn the drivers he doesn’t like so much (Schumacher, Hamilton, etc).

            The thing that perhaps annoys me most about the punditry is that they insist on giving equal time to everyone. They talk pretty much as long about and have as many interviews with, on the one hand, HRT, Force India, Virgin, and Lotus, as they do with Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull. I suspect that the majority of fans in Britain (and probably elsewhere) support the big teams, and big drivers, and what to hear more about them than the small team (or the nigh GP2 teams).

            1. I really don’t get how that last part is a bad thing. The lower teams need extra tv time to promote themselves, this will help them get sponsors, providing them the extra funds to help improve.

              Just cause you don’t give a crap about the little guy doesn’t mean nobody else does. I love the little guys

          3. if u think BBC is bad u shld listen to wat i get in India. There are times where Steve slater has called Alonso Kimi Raikkonen! People who get BBC coverage have NO idea wat a luxurious life they get! :P

            1. People that get BBC have no idea how good it is next to the Big Dummy bald headed guy that talks for the Spanish TV La Sexta.
              He is so appaling that I have switched to the catalan language TV3 Cataluña, wich I barely understand, so I don´t have to hear that bald guy Lobato speaking. He is only good for old maid gossip and is a snake in the grass.
              He used to be a very bad influence for Alonso.
              Viva BBC !

            2. That’s the COTD for me Anagh, I’m from Britain and don’t see the problem to be honest, that sounds like pretty bad commentary :P

        2. agree! Most of them are backing webber just because they feel “sorry” for him Because it’s his last or best chance to win a wdc. Can’t beleive they blamed Hamilton more than Webber after Singapore.Did the press blamed webber after valencia? Or called him inmature?
          I was happy to see formula1 pages poll of the incident. More than 35% voted it was Webber fault against 31% lewis’s and the rest fifty-fifty. If they think they can fool people… pssss…

          1. Did the press blamed webber after valencia?

            I did.

            1. I’m Australian, a die hard Webber supporter, and I completely blamed him for Valencia as well…

              I just hope it doesn’t cost him a WDC.

          2. Lewis has a history of making genius overtaking maneuvers. Webber has a history of loosing his cool and making stupid maneuvers. Lewis was a half a car length ahead going into the corner and almost an entire car length ahead coming out of the corner when he was clipped from behind. Lewis was on the gripy, racing line and had braked properly for the corner. Webber was on the slippery inside line and braked too late to take the corner properly. If Lewis hadn’t been there, Webber would have not made the corner. He therefore caused an avoidable accident and should have been given a drive-through. We’ve seen it countless times before that Webber is a hot-head. Whenever you are near him on track, you’re afraid of his trying something stupid.

            You’re right. They feel sorry for him because this is, most likely, Webber’s last chance to win the WDC and after his having broken his leg too. In an ideal world, the best driver should always win the WDC. Webber’s car is the best. He certainly isn’t.

            1. Absolute class Mr. Alistair. I agree with everything you have just written. I worry everytime Hammo is next to Mar-Quebber. Remembering Australia ’10, noooooo!!

              Also, who is to say this is the last chance Webber will get a crack of taking the WDC? I mean, what’s up with next year? Or the year after?

          3. I think you’re partially correct, but lets not forget that there are a large number of hamilton haters about too!

            personally, I went with racing incident, these things happen. More Webbers fault than Hamiltons, but these things happen.

            1. To be honest that situation could has easily have happened the other way around. Had Webber driven past Hamilton, and Ham saw a chance to take him on the inside, I am absolutely sure he would have done so.

        3. I think brundle’s great. He serves the role of a non objective co-presenter/commentator well, but he has a personality. And very, occasionally he does allow some of his opinion in during a race – for example at Hungary when Barrichello was trying to get past Schumacher; I remember at one point he muttered ‘Go on, Rubens…’ Which made me smile. Not favouring one over the other necessarily but adding a sort of ‘sat in the living room with your dad watching the race’ feel :P

    5. Speaking of overtakings, it would be nice to have statistics of overtakes, lapping and perhaps being lapped.

      1. http://www.cliptheapex.com/

        The sections about Overtaking Summary Overtaking Analysis are very well done. but you have to register.

        1. Soumya Banerjee
          7th October 2010, 13:37

          Yeah thats a great site. Superb work done there to gather such a huge bunch of statistics.

    6. My plan, of course, is not to arrive at weekends and see how hard my team works and let them down and let my family down, or let my friends down or let myself down.

      Does anyone else think that sounds really… not relaxed at all? Reeling off a little list of people he doesn’t want to let down…

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it 3 retirements in a row.

      1. If he can take out Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton as well that would be sweet.

    7. It is an interesting comment from Hamilton. It seems like he is fully aware of his remarkable (superior) skill in wheel to wheel fight and in performing overtaking manoeuvers.
      Unlike other top drivers, able to pass rivals on much less powerful cars but incapable to pass cars of similar level and therefore their direct rivals for the Championship, Lewis pass everyone, both when the car performance gap is big or narrow.

      Compared to other drivers, he has performed a lot of overtakes so far, always showing great determination and precision in the manoeuvers, in all sort of condition. If you think about the pass on Kimi at Monza 2007, on Barrichello in Brazil 2007 and Fisichella in Brazil 2008, Rosberg in Australia 2010,the duel with Alonso at Indianapolis 2007, Monza 2008 (probably his masterpiece), it is seems to me that he has such a confidence in evaluate grip conditions, breaking spaces, differences in speed. And he knows very well where he is and where his opponent is. He is very cold and confident in duels, especially for top positions. Probably other drivers get more emotional in the same situation (let’s say, Webber and even more Vettel), and end doing often mistakes.

      Considering the huge amount of overtakes done, the number of incidents he has been involved in is very small, and apart from Monza 2010, and Fuji 2008 (where at first corner he outbraked himself but didn’t hit anyone), none of them has been from his fault.
      As you remember he was hit by Massa at Fuji 2008 (not retiring), by Webber at Nurburgring 2009 and Australia 2010 (not retiring in both), by Alguersuari or Grosjean at Spa 2009 (retiring from the race), and by Webber in Singapore ten days ago (retiring: it has been three times by Webber in one year and a half, by the way).

      That’s why I disagree so much when press spread this kind of criticisms: when it comes to duel and close fight, Lewis is the best at the present moment.

      1. I dont think the debate is whether he’s the best but whether he should hold back his instincts at critical points in the season.

        I’m all for a driver doing what comes naturally, but there’s a time and a place. I’m not going to criticise Lewis for doing it at the wrong time – although Monza was a tad impetuous, Singapore was simply a piece of opportunism that culminated in a racing incident, which turned out to be unlucky for Lewis.

        It’s all too easy to say this from the comfort of my armchair with minimal hands-on racing experience, but when the title is coming down to the wire I feel he could be a bit more cautious. Lewis does tend to induce contact while overtaking more than other drivers do, whether it be clipping a front wing endplate while coming out of someones slipstream or turning across the driver he’s passing a little bit quickly.

        1. “Lewis does tend to induce contact while overtaking more than other drivers do.”

          More than Sebastian Vettel?

      2. Well said! you just make my day! After the duel with Alonso at Indianapolis 2007, i became a huge fan. For me, it’s still his best win so far.

      3. I agree completely, Manuel F. I read somewhere that part of the reason for Lewis’s superior overtaking skill is that he exerts more preasure on the brake pedal than anyone else, by some margin. It gave the actual figure; but I can’t remember it.

    8. @ Dan Thorn.
      i kind of agree with you. But being cautious with all ur main rivals ahead of you, won’t help you to win the championship either. Where i agree that in Monza he made a silly move, In Singapore he did the right thing. It was his best chance to pass a red bull ( a faster car) and he took it but didn’t pay off. HE WAS UNLUCKY… that’s it!

    9. Good to hear he has had a nights sleep over it and comes back with the willpower to make as much overtakes as might be nessiccary to win the race and the WDC.

    10. Lewis said, more or less, what THIS guy said some years ago:


      1. That was priceless!!! thank you so much! :)

        1. Wow, i’d forgotten about this interview. This is why I loved watching Ayrton. And Hamilton has the same attitude – atleast when it comes to racing and attacking. I love the line – “I race to win, some people do, some people don’t”. Sadly, there are too many drivers that are the latter.

      2. bernification
        8th October 2010, 1:42

        Good one Becken.

        Loved his response to Sir Jackie- I am surprised you asked me this’

    11. Just a reminder to all you experts out there, we all make mistakes. Webber has made them, Lewis has made them, Seb has made them, Leggard keeps making them. I admire Hamiltons talent and driving skills, he is probably the closet driver to Senna since the legend passed, a great product of Ron Dennis, who has been givien great opportunities and capitalized on them. Webber has been round longer, taken a much harder road and has struggled to find a competitive car, as if he was cursed almost. Yes he may seem to get hot headed and make mistakes (Valencia and Melbourne 2010 are great examples) but those who claim he is only winning due to having the best car are kidding themselves. If that was the case Baby Schumi would have wrapped up the title already, remembering he has been favoured within that team. Seb too has made mistakes, comments have been made that his style of driving has caused his reliability issues and others say he can’t pass, yet he shows his pace, if allowed by the team, by nailing the FLAP of most races. Yes we all have our favorites and tend to be bias, let’s just be thankful that F1 is entertaining again and it’s not the same old face on the middle of the podium after every round. With so much talent and expertise on the track, we will have years if it to follow as well.

      1. Amen brother! (or sista)

      2. but those who claim he is only winning due to having the best car are kidding themselves. If that was the case Baby Schumi would have wrapped up the title already,

        … why? maybe bacause this “baby schumi” got a title that he didnt really deserve from not actually doing anything spectacular! Vettel is getting the run around this season,and he is behind 2 drivers in a slower car

    12. Mclaren related post, anyone else finding it impossible to open the menu to view/buy Singapore photos from Mclaren’s eshop?

    13. I think Lewis is a good overtaker, but his skills have been flattered a bit by having the best engine, KERS, the F-Duct and so on.

        1. Wow… what a comeback, I just sat through the 48 mins and I was more entertained than in most F1 races, brilliant duels and racing.

          Ed – Like Becken says, watch that video, I believe all the cars in GP2 are the same spec with minor differences.

        2. Hey were those team orders? commenters didn’t seem offended :) (start at minute 22)

    14. I had thought of this at the beginning of the season but never put it down in writing:
      There should be an (unofficial) Passing Championship.
      The first pass in a race would be awarded 1 point, the second 2 points, third 4 points, and so on. No points lost for having someone pass you. Only on-track passing awarded points.
      I might even go so far as awarding bonus points for “artistic merit” for when there are spectacular passes.

      1. Sounds better as a drinking game

    15. Here’s a thought: if Hamilton had been “more like Button” in Monza and Singapore and finished 4th both times, he’d have 24 more points and still be leading the championship. But, if he had done so, Button – who’s been “like Button” all year long (and I don’t mean that in a bad way, we know he can be aggressive when he needs to) – would currently be sitting 29 points behind his team-mate with an even slimmer chance of the world championship.

      Hamilton could learn to be cautious 2 times out of 10 (he usually is 1/10), just like Button is aggressive 2 times out of 10. But not doing so costs him far less than doing it 8 times out of 10.

      1. lol- I think I understand your last sentence 2 times out of 10.

    16. Overtaking is becoming extinct

    17. Hats off for Hamilton. Be true to yourself man!

      It’s clear that different strategies ( ham vs but, aggressive vs flawlessness) can come out on top at the end of the season more or less tha same, but the truth is that watching ham is far more interesting.

    18. Im a large fan by now, man. Youve accomplished a excellent job creating confident that persons understand exactly where youre arriving from. And let me tell you, I get it. Fantastic things and I cant wait to study more of your respective blogs. What youve obtained to say is significant and needs to be go through.

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