Hamilton: “I hit the brake and the pedal went down”

2013 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jerez, 2013Lewis Hamilton described the moment his brakes failed while testing the Mercedes W04 for the first time at Jerez.

“Literally I just hit the brake and a split second it was working and then the pedal just went straight down and wouldn’t work,” he told media at Jerez. “I don’t know, I just had to brace for impact.”

Hamilton’s crash ended his first run in the car in official testing after just 15 laps. “This is what testing is all about of course we’d like to have done several days,” he said.

“It’s disappointing for all of us here in the team because everyone worked so hard over the winter. We didn’t anticipate this but I’m glad we get it out of the way now so we don’t have to worry about it happening in the future.”

Despite having had so little running Hamilton said the car showed potential: “I’m quite happy with it. I think we’ve got a good foundation.”

He set a best time of 1’19.515 which was still quick enough for sixth-fastest time at the end of the day. “That was an easy time to get,” he said. “There’s definitely more in it but I’m pushing the aero guys as hard as I can because we need more aero, for sure.”

“Coming from a McLaren that was so competitive at the end of last year, had incredible downforce, you definitely notice the difference But it’s nowhere near as bad as it could be.”

Hamilton took the opportunity to watch some of his rivals on the track. “The Red Bull looks real nice, as always, the Lotus looks real nice,” he said.

“I didn’t see the McLaren – I didn’t watch long enough to see the McLaren so I haven’t even seen [Sergio] Perez on track. The car does look nice.”

“You can’t get fazed by these days,” he said. “You’ve just got to keep looking forwards and remain positive. The guys in the garage, they’re not trying to have this kind of thing happen, they’re working as hard as they can, and back at the factory.

“I’m glad that this didn’t happen in the last test at Barcelona. that would really suck. But now we’ve got it out of the way. If there are any more problems to come I hope they come tomorrow and the next day so we can have clear days after that.”

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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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72 comments on “Hamilton: “I hit the brake and the pedal went down””

  1. I think there’s a problem with the caption on that image, Keith. It says it’s Lewis, but that’s clearly Nico Rosberg’s hel… …oh, wait. Hang on… :S

    1. We must use the sponsor logos to differentiate drivers.
      I’m guessing Marx probably wouldn’t enjoy modern F1 too much.

    2. “Coming from a McLaren that was so competitive at the end of last year, had incredible downforce, you definitely notice the difference,” Hamilton.

      -What does that mean? Uncompetitive Mercedes? Outch…

      1. That means, my friend, Hamilton is facing the truth and starting to find the points that will make him regret his decision to leave McLaren! :)

        1. Um, pretty sure Lewis more than any of us who post of these forums, would have known what 2013 was going to entail. Mercedes where seconds off the pace at the end of last year. Not only would Mercedes have to make that gap up, but the likes of Redbull and McLaren wont have sat still over the winter either.

          People are reading far too much into his every word.

        2. I’m not convinced he does regret it tbh. Whilst I’ve only read what he said, it all seems much more calm and relaxed than I’ve heard from him in years

        3. I don’t think he is regretting it at all, he is simply stating (as we all knew) that the McLaren was a better feeling car than the Mercedes. :P

    3. They’re different shades of yellow. Rosberg’s is lighter, more fluorescent.

  2. “If there are any more problems to come I hope they come tomorrow and the next day so we can have clear days after that.”

    Tomorrow is Rosberg ‘s turn for the run while he take over the last day =P

    Not a good start to new teammate partnership LOL

    1. It is interesting that Nico and Lewis are both former karting teammates (and friends off track, if I recall correctly). I think there’s likely to be genuine mutual respect between the two, rather than the apparent strictly working relationship between Jenson and Lewis, who I thought got on but clearly aren’t proper mates going by some of the comments made near the end of last year.

      1. I have checked and Nico doesn’t seem to follow Lewis on twitter. Whether he ‘unfollowed’ him at some point is another matter entirely ;)

        1. That’s a good one :)

        2. ;) autch

    2. I don’t think you’ve read his comment correctly dude, he’s basically hopes that the problems come tomorrow and the day after, and then after those two days there aren’t going any other problems for the remainder of the test dates.

      They’re good mates, so I doubt there would be much friction like that.

  3. I’m glad that this didn’t happen in the last test at Barcelona

    He’s getting a bit ahead of himself trying to look for positives – he doesn’t know yet what’s going to happen at the final test so this is a little optimistic.

    1. I think it’s true though. The whole point of a test like Jerez is to make sure everything is right as much as it is to develop performance. He’s had a failure on Day 1, so the team will analyse it, fix it and will be far better prepared to prevent it happening again and he’ll be able to get more laps under his belt another time.

      Had this happened at the final test when they would be trying to get the car optimised ahead of Melbourne, a failure like this is likely to be far more disrupting, because the team will be heading to the first race that extra bit of uncertainty.

  4. That’s it Lewis, you push those layabout aero guys. Bunch of slackers will just be sat there going on Facebook and picking their noses if the driver didn’t come in and crack the whip. That’s clearly what this team has been needing – a driver telling the aero guys to get on with their jobs…

    1. Funny ;)

      On a serious note though, Hamilton does know that there is potentially more downforce to be found, having driven a car that actually *had* it. He might be able to steer them toward areas where it seems to be missing.

      1. I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think that it’s going to come as much of a shock to Mercedes to learn that their car has less downforce than the fastest car on the grid. I doubt the aero team got to a point and said “yeah, I think that’ll be enough downforce. You don’t want too much, do you? Let’s go to the pub!” – they’ll have given the Merc as much downforce they can come up with, it’s just that they simply don’t have as good a design team as McLaren. Downforce is pretty much the single thing that differentiates one car from another, with the fastest car being the one with the most, and slowest being the one with the least. So the driver telling them there’s not enough aero is not going to come as much of a shock to them; it’s obvious from the fact they don’t have the fastest car. Still, maybe he can take one of his trademark wanders up the pitlane and steal all the other team’s secrets by glancing into their garages. Maybe that’s what he did while Mercedes were putting his car back together, in fact :)

        1. Downforce is pretty much the single thing that differentiates one car from another, with the fastest car being the one with the most, and slowest being the one with the least.

          No, not exactly. Downforce, aka drag, costs you speed on the straights and reduces your ultimate top speed. Too much of it is a bad thing. On the other hand too little downforce costs you speed in the corners. It’s a balancing act.

          In the 21st century aerodynamics is a very well understood field. There’s nothing inherently difficult about adding downforce to a car. Red Bull runs more downforce than the other teams, but that is in many cases a conscious and deliberate decision on the part of the other teams. I’m certain that McLaren and Ferrari (and Mercedes) are perfectly capable of adding downforce to their car – but their design philosophy is to sacrifice some speed in the corners in order to gain it on the straights.

          Given RB’s success with a high downforce setup I’ve often wondered why other teams don’t go that same route. It’s not because Newey is the only man in the world who understands aerodynamics.

          1. Downforce and drag are two entirely separate forces that act on the car as a result of air passing over it. downforce (pretty self explanatory) is the amount the car is forced directly downwards, and drag is the force acting against the forward motion of the car. Its just that in most cases with Downforce comes drag as a side effect, therefore its about achieving the most efficient aerodynamic package. That is as much downforce as possible with the least amount of drag.. Red Bull on average since 09 have had exactly this and this has enabled them, at times to run more downforce than other teams. Simply because they’re not seeing the levels of drag that another team might if they did the same.
            So what I’m trying to say is that Red Bull aren’t in any way taking a different development path to any other team.. every team strives for the most efficient aerodynamic package, it’s just that Red Bull have been most successful.

          2. Downforce, aka drag,

            Downforce and drag are orthogonal concepts (and in fact, orthogonal forces).

            Perhaps what you mean is structural alterations made to increase downforce are often not infinitely/perfectly aerodynamically efficient, and thus also induce drag.

          3. Perhaps what you mean is structural alterations made to increase downforce are often not infinitely/perfectly aerodynamically efficient, and thus also induce drag.

            No, I mean that you can’t get downforce (or upforce) without also getting drag. And the more downforce, the more drag. It’s perfectly possible to make an F1 car with minimal drag (resistance to forward motion) but such a car would tend to go airborne at the slightest provocation. Wings are added to the car to keep it on the track, but they also produce drag. And the more downforce, the more drag – that’s why the high downforce Red Bull’s are often the slowest cars at a GP. Slowest on the straights, that is.

        2. I think your taking what he said a little to literally he’s not going to go into full detail on what he will tell the aero department in a short press interview is he. I’m sure Lewis Hamilton a formula 1 world champion who has driven in formula 1 for 5 years knows what he is talking about and isn’t so stupid as to simply just say that the Mercedes aero isn’t as good as the rest of the field give the guy a little respect

        3. Downforce is pretty much the single thing that differentiates one car from another, with the fastest car being the one with the most, and slowest being the one with the least.

          Riiiight, because it’s not like the car’s have suspension, weight distribution, exhaust systems, the list could go on and on… There’s a lot of moving parts in an F1 car, not only physically but also in terms of performance targets. Mercedes may be excelling in certain aspects of their car, but failing in other very specific ways which they couldn’t have known without having Hamilton.

          Cars can’t be graded on a linear basis as the lap times suggest, It’s not a simple matter of “this car is fast, that car is slow” they all have their strengths and weaknesses, if aero is a weakness of the Merc, I don’t see how having feedback on that could be anything but a good thing.

          Or who knows, maybe the car has great aero and is weak in other ways and Hamilton is playing mind games with the other teams and drivers… We have absolutely no idea what goes on inside the garages, there’s a push and pull of politics and strategy that even the most knowledgeable of pundits can only guess at.

    2. I bet there are some quiet smiles in the McLaren offices given Lewis’s historic complaints about his cars lacking downforce…

      Still, racing drivers are never happy !

    3. Exactly my thoughts, but I wouldnt be able to put them in such beautiful words though. Lewis has been going on and on about how he is pushing the engineers at Merc eversince he joined as if they dont work unless he makes them. I wonder how the engineers feel when they read his comments.

      1. Ok guys. You are going to far. Mercedes didn’t bought just talented driver, they also bought technology from McLaren as well. It’s the hole package. Merc doesn’t even had to ask him! It’s natural. The driver isn’t happy with the car and the excperience is there to help the engeneeres. No F1 driver is a moron who just happens to have a racing talent. Maybe I’m wrong but I’ll wait :)

        1. @nidzovski

          No F1 driver is a moron who just happens to have a racing talent.

          I think Maldonado and Grosjean worked pretty hard last year to prove you wrong!

          1. Skett (@skett) They’ve looked like morons yeah, but we Maldonado was always up there with the top guns and won a race and Grosjean was to nervous as he once lost his racing seat for not being aggressive. F1 environment this days is so harsh especially with new drivers, so the pressure to perform is abnormal. I’m working in a similar environment and I know what I’m talking about. :)

          2. @nidzovski
            You work in a similar environment? Fighter pilot or something? ;)

            You are indeed correct though, the pressure on these new guys is massive

      2. @sd

        The Mercedes engineers certainly do their work , but that doesn’t mean they know what the are doing. In fact, I think that is exactly what Mercedes are missing: engineers with the right skills, knowledge and experience! Hamilton has plenty of experience and probably some basic (and effective) technical knowledge he can pass onto the Mercedes guys. I say this because Hamilton was always ready to engaged with the engineers at McLaren from day 1. Always asking questions and discussing the results. So he is certainly doing the right thing by pushing his new engineers.

    4. Merc are obviously going to want to extract all they possibly can from LH’s experience, especially since it comes from being on a top team. If his concern is ‘more aero’ then so be it. What are the team going to do? Not welcome his input? Treat him like they know better?

      It isn’t just about more downforce/drag/aero efficiency….it’s about balance too, and setups, tire wear etc, which tie in with levels of downforce. And let’s not forget some tracks demand more downforce than others and obviously there will be times when more downforce is not required and the wings they use reflect that.

      Rather than deriding LH for pushing the aero guys, isn’t it fair to say all the team members should be pushing each other, team-wide, in a healthy and constructive way? I’m sure that is what LH is interested in doing. You know. Progressing.

      It took MS 5 years with the mega-deal of the century and the FIA’s backing, to win a WDC…shall we give LH a day or two to try to shape things to his liking?

      1. Well said.

  5. mattshaw85 (@)
    6th February 2013, 17:12

    I guess he’s always going to be pushed to compare, but I did chuckle when I read the bit about the McLaren of last year having loads more downforce – it’d be very easy to read too much into that. He would be better not saying anything really I suppose.

  6. It’s funny when Hamilton says something people always try to find the bad side on it (especially here).
    No one notices that even with so little running he was able to set a good time, and said it was easy to set it, which implies that the car has a lot to offer despite having some troubles and areas where it can be upgraded.

    1. None of the comments so far have been bad towards Hamilton. It’s all just funny replies.

      The fact that he managed to set a good laptime early on doesn’t say anything either.

      1. I didn’t find any of them funny.

        1. I didn’t find any of them funny.


    2. It’s funny how whenever Hamilton speak, fanboys always leap to complain about anyone who posts a vaguely disparaging comment towards him…

      1. @bendana
        Coz Lewis fans don’t waste their time pulling down other drivers.

        1. I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense. I’ve seen Lewis fans disparaging Button, Maldonado, Mass, Alonso, Roseberg, Schumacher, Vettel and anyone who competes with him.

    3. Aye, as usual people jump on bandwagon of slating him. More often than not comments from people seem like they’re reading into what Lewis says a little too much, finding something to pick at.

    4. I like that Hamilton at least talks about things, often even a bit too much for his team’s liking. I’m already waiting for the first quali session and Ham vs Rosberg. Ham being 0.2-0.3 faster wouldn’t be a surprise but if the difference will be bigger? Or it might happen he won’t get used to the car before couple of races…

  7. i think Hamilton and mercedes are in good shape overall.
    he did only 15 laps but stilill has the sixth fastest time posted considering the other teams had a whole days work.

  8. It’s like Nico Hulkenberg says: “In Formula One you cannot stop.”

  9. Lewis was faster than the McLaren, nice!

    1. :) and he would be even faster than Button (from yesterday) if weren’t for those brakes.

      1. And on what evidence do you base that stunning conclusion?

        and frankly, looking at the lap times, its pretty clear that Perez was running to a delta for most of his laps.

        1. Lewis himself said that it was easy to get the time he got, so he could easily have improved. It would be great to see Lewis beating button in a Mclaren. It wont be a surprise if Button beats Lewis as Mclaren is the faster car.

          1. *Lewis in a Merc beating button in a Mclaren

          2. So Basically, your reason for this assumption is “Because Hamilton said so.”

    2. I’m looking for all the positive signs I can find, but the Toro Rosso was faster than the Red Bull as well, so it probably doesn’t mean much.

      Hopefully the difference in downforce Hamilton is feeling is partially just a different chassis and aero package than he’s had for so long. These testing times seem to be completely irrelevant by the time Melbourne rolls around, though.

      1. Don’t get to excited guys. It’s test session so it is a normal thing that lap times would drop. Besides Hamilton is one of the most aggressive drivers out there so I assumed that he will wont to know what is the potential of Merc F1 and put the pedal to the metal. :))

  10. This must have been incredibly dissapointing for Lewis.First time in the car and probably one of the worst car failures for a driver ,happens straight away. Wont be good for his confidence.

  11. I’m pushing the aero guys as hard as I can

    I don’t think any good can come out of Lewis saying that to the press. It can only be a bad thing as it might be perceived that Mercdes have a bunch of lazy engineers.

    Hamilton did the same mistakes at Mclaren too. “The team told me to use the high downforce wing”. Hamilton needs to learn the use of the royal “We” that Jenson, Vettel and Alonso use so effectively. It is not an individual sport. You lose together, you win together, you push together.

    1. I think Merc has already proved to the world that they could use more of everything, as they are pretty much a 5th place team until they prove otherwise. I don’t think LH pointing out the car needs aero work should come as a surprise to anybody…globally. It doesn’t take for him to say anything for us to know that this team has much work to do. I don’t think any of us believe any team in the pinnacle of racing has room for, nor would tolerate, laziness of any kind. And certainly, LH saying he is pushing hard too, ie. working hard, is only a good sign that the team is intent on pushing forward.

  12. Lewis’s first test with Mclaren in 2007 ended in a similar fashion.. so, all good

    1. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      6th February 2013, 23:26

      Yey, so Raikkonen will win this year.

    2. I was thinking a similar thing… So if he misses out on the title by 1 point we should start making bets on 2014 F1 Champion!

  13. Poor Lewis, will never win with people on these forums. Its funny that he gets such criticism for nearly everything he does and says, but no one is criticizing Perez for being slower than Lewis in the ultra fast and awesome Mclaren.

    I can imagine how many of us would feel if every ounce of our lives was reported on and analysed. Can you imagine after driving home from work there were reporters at you door step to ask you about your day every day. Then clowns on a forum set to analyze why you took the long way home instead of the short way. Why you have to stop for fuel on the way to work and were 5 mins late when maybe you should have filled up the day before.

    There are very few drivers on the grid who get analyzed and picked apart as much as Lewis, i am afraid no matter what he achieves in the fullness of his career there will be those who will always need to find a way to criticize him.

    I wish i had his job but i do feel sorry for him much the same.

  14. I am not surprised. They are the same people who see Kimi Raikonen’s rudeness as cool and call Mark Webber a blunt and straight forward guy.

    1. This has always been a surprise to me especially how Kimi can be rude and its considered as cool. Lewis wouldn’t get away with the things that Kimi gets away with.

    2. Because Kimi has made a point why he’s in the F1. 100% driving, no giggling around media or dealing with stupid incidents on- or off-track. It’s just the way it is. People have made their own reputation and by that, fans and fanatics deal them differently. It’s like with people you know, when in example, with one friend you find his acting very funny and hillarious and in the other time, somebody else makes the exact same act or what so ever, and you find it stupid or pointless and critize it down.
      I hope you guys understand, It’s hard for me to express my feelings in english. ;)

      1. Kimi has a notoriuos history in regards to off track incidents. Hell if you remember his car broke done in Monaco and he did not return to the Mclaren Garage, he jumped onto his mates boat on the harbour and had a few drinks. Lewis would have been hung drawn and quatered if he ever did that.
        Lewis is over reported and over analyzed.

  15. Good to see they keep the spirits high (didn’t Ferrari do that last year as well, at least during testing?), its clear that the Mercedes is lacking in Downforce, but from last year it was not as much the downforce missing (at least at the start of the year) but the whole car being a bit out of balance and the ultimate lack of further development potential that came with that.

    No doubt if they have a good basic car, they should be able to improve it during the season, instead of stalling improvements about mid season. And the best way to make that happen, is for the drivers to get solid results (as otherwise its likely the team will just focus on 2014 early)

  16. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Despite the shunt, Hamilton still posted competitive times compared to the others that did a full days worth of testing. Barcelona will be a good indication of who is strong and who is struggling due to the layout being so simular to the other modern circuits we go to. As for the crash itself, I think Hamilton made a mistake and its as simple as that. Regardless, hes ok and you can always replace a car and thats all that matters.

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