Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2014

Mature approach behind Spa fightback – Hamilton

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2014Lewis Hamilton says he has adopted a more mature approach which helped him come to terms with this year’s biggest challenges – such as the collision with his team mate in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The incident at Spa-Francorchamps was a major turning point in the season as Nico Rosberg regained the initiative in the championship while Hamilton failed to score.

“Spa was a low moment,” Hamilton admitted in the press coference after the race. “It was a very difficult scenario to be in and going back years ago, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did this year.”

“I would have chosen another way which wouldn’t have been a positive and I guess with age, as I said, and just maturing and having a different perspective on life, I think I handled it a different way, I really thought for the following days and really turned my focus to a different area.”

Following that setback Hamilton won the next five races in a row which put him back in the lead of the championship. “I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach,” he said, “I won’t explain exactly what I did because I need to bring it to the next races next year but I did tweak some of my approach throughout the weekend which helped me get those wins.”

“I’ve still got some improvements to make, qualifying was good this year but could be better,” he added. “It would make it much easier if I could get qualifying sorted because the race pace is very much there.”

Hamilton also paid tribute to his Mercedes team from ensuring a level playing field between him and Rosberg. “The team has been amazing. It’s been very hard for them.”

“They’ve wanted both of us to win, having to be very balanced but ultimately they’ve done an exceptional job. It is a great group of people in this team; there’s a lot of love in this team, a lot of passion and it’s been a real privilege to work with these people.”

Hamilton admitted it had been an “intense” season for him and Rosberg but said it had not damaged their relationship. “We’ve had a friendship or a relationship that we built a long, long, long time ago, so that will always be there,” he said.

“He was a very, very fierce competitor this year, he did an exceptional job. He’s going to be quick for a long time. I’ve got to pick up my qualifying pace for next year. It could have been either one of us today. Obviously we both wanted it.

“But I think with our relationship, we’ll continue to try to lift the team up, we’ll work together as we have done all year long. Perhaps things naturally will ease up a little now. He was graceful enough to come up to me and see me after, which I really appreciated. It was really big of him to be able to do that. It’s very, very tough, I know what it’s like losing a championship so, for sure, we’ll keep working at it.”

“I fell to a low that I couldn’t control”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2014Hamilton’s second world championship victory was the fourth time in eight years he has gone into the final round of the championship with a shot at the title. He revealed the thought of losing the championship had played on his mind before the race – particularly the memory of his near-miss in his rookie season.

“2007 was a very bad experience,” he said, “obviously losing the championship I fell to a low that I couldn’t control”.

“[In] 2008 came back, fighting in the championship, Felipe [Massa] won the race, won the championship for a second and then obviously what happened in the last corner, I got it back and for me I’d lost it, won it, lost it and, whilst it was a great experience, my emotions were shot.

“I don’t know, that year, I was just immature. I didn’t have the knowledge that I have now. Didn’t approach the race the same as I did today. Today I went in… normally you go in butterflies in the stomach, a bit nervous, today I was going into the race thinking ‘I feel extremely calm’, which is really weird. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Obviously it was a really good thing.

“Last night sitting there thinking, Jeez, tomorrow is the day. We could go into the race, something could happen to the car and that would be the championship done. Naturally just thinking of all the negative things possible, y’know? And working really hard to bring the positives into it. I brought that today.

“I think really that knowledge and experience got me through the race today. Looking after the car. Battling to the point where I’d got the championship in a good position and then, obviously it helped that Nico’s car was not performing properly so, when he fell out of the points, I knew that I could fight with Felipe and that was the most fulfilling experience I have to say.”

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    33 comments on “Mature approach behind Spa fightback – Hamilton”

    1. I have to admit the Rosberg manoeuvre in Spa annoyed me but his determination to finish the race regardless of team advice was took a certain kind of guts which I really respect. Admirable that he took defeat on the chin and was courteous with the things he said about his team mate today. It reflected really well on Rosberg.

      1. @calum I hate how we keep talking about Spa like it was the worst ever. It was a clumsy racing accident, which the stewards confirmed.

        1. @xtwl yeah but the stewards would never officially declare it was a malicious attempt to damage Hamilton’s car and prove a point. They couldn’t prove it at the time. Thus, a racing incident.

          1. It’s daft to presume it was an attempt to damage the car. Every driver and pundit agrees that it’s impossible to get a favourable outcome from manufacturing a crash like that. It was clearly just a mindless act of desperation from Rosberg who didn’t want to concede the place. Stupid, but not malicious.

            Monaco however was definitely malicious.

        2. Even as an ‘incident’ the precedent would have been to penalize Rosberg for causing an accident. Think about. It was bizarre he didn’t get a penalty. But he didn’t because it was the same team and so Mercedes, obviously, weren’t pressing for a penalty. Try doing that to a driver for another team. And incidentally the same applies to Monaco qualifying. In other words the ‘steward decisions’ are swayed by the fact team mates were involved and really don’t prove anything about how accidental either incident was.

        3. It was pretty bad though @PorscheF1 – Rosberg ‘clumsily’ or ‘deliberately’ took Hamilton out and then benefitted to the tune of 18 points. Hamilton and his fans were understandly annoyed.

        4. @xtwl Spa WAS the worst ever. Why do you think he was booed on the podium and his team was so incandescent they *publicly* forced him to apologise and punished him? Brundle even posted a shot of him steering hard right into Hamilton’s wheel.

          And this followed Monaco. Monaco which was clearly planned from the start of Q3. Two of the worst episodes, in the same season.

          The Spa stewards carefully avoided even doing a slomo; their ten-second decision is worthless. Nico is very lucky that Spa has been whitewashed as much as it has.

          1. @lockup you have a link from the brundle post? Would love to see it

            1. @3dom

              It’s here:

              You have to read it quite carefully to see Brundle thought it was deliberate. It’s like he was allowed to whisper the truth.

            2. @lockup have to say that’s pretty damning. Thanks for the link

            3. @lockup Somehow I am not able to respond directly below your longer post below here, but nonetheless I’ll incorporate it in this response.

              You obviously weren’t watching the bulk of Schumacher’s career based on your comments. If you were more intimate with his behavior, you would consider a couple of minor incidents by NR this season as paling by comparison.

              I’m sure you’ve seen the video of MS whacking JV at Jerez 97. Max Mosely decided that was ‘instinctual.’ Most people believe otherwise. I think it was without question among the worst ever incidents in F1. MS made a career out of bullying and forcing people off the track and into compromising positions as well as physical contacts and actually parking his car across the track in Monaco.

              You have decided to insist on NR as evil this season, and it is overkill. Monaco went unpunished, and the only thing NR was guilty of was having the luxury to know that having put in a banker lap (which you have incredibly somehow decided is suspicious in itself) he could afford to go for one more hot lap and either he wouldn’t improve or he would overcook it and bugger up LH. It has not been found that he intentionally locked up strictly to bugger up LH. That would have been exactly what the stewards would look for, yet they didn’t find it, yet you have weaved yourself a conspiracy theory to cover that even regarding the stewards let alone assumptions you have made as though you could read NR’s mind, even attributing NR with the power to decide for himself when to go out at Monaco, disregarding that it might have been a team decision.

              Regarding Spa, nothing in what Brundle has been quoted as saying in references by you, has him saying NR deliberately hit LH. Was deliberately not going to back down, sure. Was petulant, sure. Was stubborn and wanting to prove something after Bahrain, sure. But again the stewards found no intentional contact here, no penalty warranted. There is a difference between deliberately standing ones’ ground and having to wrestle the car to do that (hence the movement of his steering wheel to the right) and deliberately steering into somebody, ala MS on JV.

              Anyway, we’ve been down this road before so I think we needn’t do this back and forth again but I just wanted to reiterate the alternative to your dire assessment of NR especially when you have now wholely and inaccurately tried to make him out to be worse than MS, or in any way comparable, and nothing could be further from the truth.

          2. It was bad but not the worst ever. You must remember Schumachers dangerous and purposeful crash into Hill? Schumacher should have been thrown out of F1 for that one! Rosberg was clumsy and arrogant but it was not as bad as Schumachers by a long way. Personally I thought Rosberg little trick at Monaco was worse just for the sheer cheating aspect.

            1. Oh, back in the days where people’s heroes like Schumacher, Senna and Prost deliberately crashed into their rivals in the last round.

            2. @lee1 Well Schumacher’s bad moments at least looked spur-of-the-moment. It was down to luck whose car was damaged and how, as we saw when it went wrong at Jerez.

              Spa was front wing versus rear tyre, 3 miles from the pits. When you work it out you see that a rear puncture meant it was impossible to avoid being lapped unless Lewis drove back so fast he’d damage the floor, whereas a front wing meant maybe twenty seconds and second place at worst. Plus there’s the ‘to prove a point’ thing.

              Also we saw Rosberg turn away instinctively then change his mind and turn back into the other car. So it does look more calculated than Schumi’s, to me, especially when we consider that Monaco was definitely calculated at least from the decision to run first, and quite likely from the start of Q3 when he needed a slightly risky fast banker to get the choice.

              Whereas as far as we know Schumi only did Rascattegate after making an error on entry. Also as I said MS only did one per season!!

              Schumacher came into F1 with a bit of a reputation, from Macau, and didn’t have Nico’s social skills and squeaky clean reputation, so there is quite a big adjustment to make to see that Son-of Keke has in fact behaved worse. That’s where the evidence leads though.

              But at least he lost, which helps a lot.

            3. @lockup is this all you ever talk about?
              No, damaging a front wing does not mean “maybe twenty seconds and second place at worst”. A front wing means DNF at worst. THAT’s what you get when you “work it out”. Anything else and you have worked it out wrong.

              “The worst ever”, good grief, like I said in the other topic you haven’t been watching F1 for too long.

              Son-of Keke has in fact behaved worse. That’s where the evidence leads though.

              You do a terrible job at interpreting evidence.

            4. @mattds you need to stop talking about me and talk about F1 civilly. If you don’t want to discuss Rosberg’s behaviour, don’t post about it.

              In general a lateral impact tends not to break off a front wing, because the pylons have compliance in that plane; also the rotating tyre tends to grab the endplate and break it off. It’s a very different scenario from a frontal impact, with a lot less energy too.

            5. @lockup I like how you use “tends”. We both know what that means. So we both know you’re actually agreeing with me.

            6. No @mattds lol, ultimately it is possible to break a front wing pylon with lateral force. But Nico will understand that there are few absolutes in engineering. He’ll have settled for a nice strong probability that his quick right flick of the steering would leave his rival with a DNS while he himself collected 18 or 25 points.

              Just as he’ll have calculated that an extra-quick ‘banker’ lap in Monaco would give him the option to do his second run first, brake late and cause a yellow. Lewis likewise understood this, that’s how he knew what his ex-friend had done and why he radioed “I should have known” on the way back to the pits already.

              Maybe Rosberg even calculated that sweet Warwick and Pirro would totally bottle it. But I think the booing got to him. Those great, proper fans of F1 at the track. Maybe he even wishes he hadn’t followed in Schumi’s disgraced footsteps and been actually more dishonest.

              But at least he lost, that’s the main thing. The team were so relieved!

              I couldn’t help noticing he didn’t complain about his clutch settings… ;)

        5. Both Hamilton, and the team, felt Rosberg had been out of order in Spa. I know Will Buxton claims Hamilton could have left more room– which is true, but why would he? He got to the corner first, he was under no obligation to leave room. Had Rosberg gone into the meeting afterwards, and said “Sorry about that, I got a little carried away, took too much speed into the corner”– We’d have never heard about it again.

          Instead Rosberg apparently said that he deliberately chose not to avoid the accident, which in spite of being grammatically tortured (yet correct), is the wrong attitude for a professional driver of his standing and ability, and Spa’s truth field once again hit Hamilton. ;)

          Compared with Suzuka and Prost/Senna (pick your year), it was a non-incident.

        6. @xtw
          Nico got away with murder there.
          The stewards’ decision was unsurprising given the agrieved person was Lewis Hamilton.

    2. Hopefully he’s also matured enough to learn not to provoke a rival unnecessarily. The pre-Monaco ‘hunger’ comment really backfired, giving Rosberg intense motivation when the championship was drifting away from him. Rosberg ‘got away’ with his Schumacher-esque qualifying moment there and that approach really only got resolved after the Spa incident when Mercedes obviously made it clear they didn’t want a repeat of the win-any-way-possible strategy. That gave Hamilton the edge again and he clearly readjusted to focus on improving his race advantage while avoiding the extraneous mindgames stuff even when Rosberg tried to revive it.

      I think it’s pushed Hamilton to a new level though. It was a real shame he didn’t get the 2007 title in his rookie season, he was hardly responsible for the internal McLaren meltdown even if Alonso fans blamed him. It would have been an unparalleled achievement. But those early years all seemed to be about Hamilton ‘pushing the envelope’ and FIA taming his style (which many fans loved) with penalties and new regulations (e.g. the one about ‘unlocking’ someone trying to use your slipstream by swerving *out* of their path) and then the weird FIA sucker-punching of Ferrari and McLaren over KERS development in 2009, and the double-diffuser issue, with neither team really recovering even today. Unlike Alonso, Hamilton got out of the doldrums by moving to Mercedes – which many people better would be a hopeless failure – and then readjusting this year – when many journalists had written off his title hopes halfway through the season. In effect, he’s reversed the situation with Alonso, probably the main or best rival of his generation, who’s now clearly after his place at Mercedes, with Hamilton coming into maturity as a driver at a team that looks able to deliver a top car for a few years more at least. Has to be happy.

    3. I reckon he’ll be even stronger next year. Having the ‘difficult second album’ off his back will help his pysche immeasurably.

    4. I have a friend who used to dislike Lewis, and felt he was rash and petulant. I’m hoping Lewis has changed a few opinions and won a few more fans because his approach towards this season and the application of his talent this year was truly commendable.

      1. He changed the mind of my friend, he’s now a fan

        1. @3dom I certainly don’t feel like I can connect with Lewis, the way he speaks, his character, isn’t someone that I personally could understand. Doesn’t mean I don’t respect his driving ability, but just remember, everyone is entitled to follow whomever they want.
          Congratulations to Lews today, he’s definitely the quickest driver of the year.

          1. Fair enough @dragoll

            I at least hope that his approach to the second half of the season may go some way to changing some opinions

          2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            24th November 2014, 2:52

            @dragoll Agree. As far as he is driving, I respect the guy. He is a little too much aggressive on track sometimes (the way he “closes the door” as in Hungary to Ricciardo and Rosberg) but nice guys finish last, or second or third.
            But out of the track… well, fans must love that part of him too. Not me, but as a driver he is on the top step (as many people usully say, alongside Vettel and Alonso they are one kind, then comes the rest, while I could rank Ricciardo as a new member of the top club).

    5. Well done to Lewis, deserved WDC. However, there is no doubt that Spa was the turning point. This was were the championship was won for Lewis. I never saw the need to vilify Rosberg in the manner that the press and Merc did, it was a racing incident.

      Sure, it was one of those “there is the gap, I am shutting the door, if you are there we crash” moments. We praise the likes of Senna, Shcumacher and even Lewis for this approach to racing, but when someone we dont necessarily like or idolize does it, its sacrilige. But the again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

      The manner by which Merc handled the issue, hanging Rosberg out to dry in public and allowing his teamate to run his mouth off, should have been proof enough as to who the team’s powers that be “preffered” as champion. So the question is, was one side of the garage more equal than the other post Spa? On paper they may have been, but what about the general mood in the team? What would have happened if it was Lewis that ran in Rosberg at Spa? I trust the outcome would have been very different.

      The bottom line is this. Lewis has gone into Merc, which was considered to be “Rosberg’s team” and taken it over. He’s got the team rooting for him, it’s “his” team now, and it has been for most of this year. For this, my greatest respect goes to Lewis. As we know, in F1, the only way to have sustained success is if you have an entire team behind you and to achieve this you have to be a shrewd operator, or in layman’s terms, a “bastard”.

      This season was alway going to be pivotal for the Merc drivers as winning the title this year, would almost guarantee the title next year if they are to dominate as they did this year. The number 1 driver’s role is now firmly affixed over Lewi’s garage, and deservedly so.

    6. I believe LH when he says his experience helped him after Spa. I also believe NR will have learned a ton from this his first season of having WDC level equipment, and will be a stronger force to reckon with next season. Here’s hoping any rule changes or tire changes don’t make one driver far less comfortable in the car than the other next year and that we have the same closeness as this season.

      1. @robbie

        You are probably very proud of Nico and you should be, one thing i respect is all year you have said you wanted Nico to win but feel Hamilton deserved it. Not many people say that, also it is a testament to Nico he did not roll over. Im a huge Lewis fan but no one can deny Hamilton wanted to be on pole and Ros in Brazil and Abu Dhabi went out and put it on pole

        Hamilton defo deserved the title though his race pace was unreal he also had alot of adverstiy this year as Nico had a nice buffer at start, Not many could rack of wins on the trot manily starting behind you’re teammate but Lewis did. Lets hope for a great 2015, early races are key Ros really needs to win some on the bounce imo something he did not manage to do this year.

        1. @dan Yeah I thought Nico showed some strong signs of more to come from him. He couldn’t consistently enough bring it on Sundays but when he did he showed he can lead under pressure which is what I always look for. His starts were not the best in the beginning but he sorted that out and then really his worst start for a long while was at Abu Dhabi, but then that was also at a time LH has said he got perhaps his best start ever. Especially in these last two or three races when the season’s pressures are maximized there wasn’t much more NR could do within his control.

          This rivalry has been fantastic, not in spite of the rough patches, but because of them. Two blokes who grew up together and I strongly believe ultimately know they are so lucky to have the world by the tail and be able to live in glamour, wealth, and fame while doing what they love. As an old softy I hoped for and needed to see NR congratulating and hugging LH when all was said and done because it represents to me some perspective on the whole thing.

          Now, just as I spent the season enthralled at the rivalry to see how NR would do in this first season having the equipment, I look forward to next season to see what NR will do with this experience under hs belt. We know what LH is capable of, and the signs are there for Nico, so this is a fantastic time to see how another potential new WDC winner evolves. NR already knew the challenge he had ahead of him before this season began, but now he has experienced it, so let’s see how he takes from this and grows.

          I fully understand the sentiment that perhaps now LH will be unstoppable, such will be his momentum, but that is the mountain that NR knows he has to climb, and my goodness if he can do it how rewarding it will be. And how lucky we are to watch it unfold.

          1. @robbie

            Yes it was a very good showing lets be honest most people though Nico would be absoloute cakewalk for Hamilton and it has not been that way atall. The margins are so fine even though Hamilton looked under control in Abu Dhabi, Nico was always staying at 2 seconds he would be a tenth behind then would take a tenth back.

            It is so close either way, their has really been 2 dominant Hamilton wins(Malaysia and Japan) and Rosberg had a dominant win in Monaco. Their were other race like China but Ros had no telemtry and Germany where Hamilton started at the back but mainly the races are close. Even USA Hamilton looked much faster then when he overtook they were the same speed it is really wierd usually a huge gap would appear but Nico never went away.

            I as a huge Hamilton fan would not mind Ros going a little slower, but i do not think he will be like Webber was after his chance in 2010. I think Ros is made of stronger stuff and of course is younger than Web was back then. Nico probably wishes we had no DRS as even though he gets it to use aswell it would be much harder for Hamilton to pass if Ros continues to be the better qualifier.

            I agree the fact they have been racing together makes it such enjoyable, just check Rosberg’s twitter he as a photo with him and Hamilton both with the WC trophy and he also said we are going to do the party championship now lol. I think that is one thing with Nico he knew this year was a bonus as he had not tasted it before now he will be alot more ready for it.

            I honestly do not think Hamilton would have went straight to Ros to congratulate him which says alot about Nico really. Although it was probably easier knowing he was behind in the race and was behind in points, it is probably different if you are leading and then the car fails.

            I do hope Nico wins a WC though i personally think his qualifying shows us he does, he has out performed one of the best qualifiers which is no mean feat. I would say Rosberg is as good as Button i like Button but Ros has more natural speed.

            We are very lucky as i said i think they will be friends when it is all said and done i just think during the season in battle it is impossible to like each other, respect yes but not liking each other. I think they both disliked each other last year at times do you? Australia can not come soon enough it is worst part about F1 for me we have to wait so long it always seems:).

    7. For me, Rosberg seemed activate “Super mode” on Hamilton since Spa, and if it deliberate it must be one of the worst decision from Rosberg

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