Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015

Starting second “probably better” than pole – Hamilton

2015 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton suspects starting from second on the grid could be an advantage in Mexico.

With drivers facing a 900 metre run to the first corner at the start tomorrow, the driver at the head of the queue could be out-dragged before the drivers hit the brakes.

Hamilton alluded to this when asked by reporters about being beaten to pole position by Nico Rosberg. “It’s the kind of qualifying session you go into thinking ‘of course I’m going to push for P1, but if I get P2 it’s not the worst-case scenario, it’s actually probably better’,” he said.

He also revealed the two Mercedes drivers had gone in significantly difference set-up directions for the race.

“It felt pretty good out there,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know if I really… I was giving it absolutely everything I could from the balance that I had, I think there was some limitations there.

“We’ve got big difference in balances set-up wise so be interesting to see how much of a difference that happens to make,”he added. “But I’m fairly relaxed about it, I think my races have been pretty good for a while so I’m looking forward to a race, it actually means you have more of a race when you start second.”

Despite telling his engineers during Q1 “we have to go back out”, Hamilton now feels there wasn’t a benefit to be had from doing a run on soft tyres in that session. “It would have made no difference at all,” he said.

2015 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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26 comments on “Starting second “probably better” than pole – Hamilton”

  1. It is when pole is in the “right” side of the track, as it has been for the last few races.

    1. How’s that pathetic?

      1. I don’t know KGB, but Russia, USA, Suzuka and MExico are not great places for pole starters, I think it’s actually a good thing in general.

        1. You can’t say that about Mexico as we haven’t had a race here yet (not with this surface and layout). In terms of what Hamilton has said, the long straight before the corner would be the same no matter which side the pole is on, and as for the other three tracks you have mentioned, these were all cases of Rosberg struggling to get off the line as quickly as Hamilton. We know from previous years that the side pole is on is correct, always on the racing line.

        2. hakkinen starting P2 at suzuka in ’99 and ’00. awesome stuff.

  2. This new engine cover really suited this car.
    Looks a little like the Mclaren of 2008.

  3. Following that train of thought, 3rd would be even better, provided that Vettel has a clean and quick gettaway. The massive tow from the Mercedes drivers and the clean side of the grid surely have got Vettel thinking that leading into the first corner is actually achievable.

    1. I don’t think it’s so straightforward. A) Hami will be closer to Nico to benefit.
      B) Lewis has the same power that Ros has. Yes, in such alttitude this advantage is minimized, but Seb’s still down on power.

      All i’m trying to say is, he may not being in a good enough shape to follow the Mercs. However, if one of them make a bad start, but good enough to keep them on P2, Seb could’ve taken advantage.

      We’ll see. I’m massively excited for this race, the whole weekend is amazing so far. I just hope Nico won’t screw another fight in the start.

      1. Since Spa Rosberg’s starts have been worse than Hamilton’s.

        I expect at least something like what happened in Russia. Hamilton briefly taking the lead but not making it stick cuz Rosberg will be on the inside.

        But as the first corner is farther away, maybe the outcome may be different.

        Ricciardo is another driver whose starts also changed since Spa. His have been great lately. Maybe he can challenge Vettel on the first corner, who knows.

        1. Did you watch last race? He got overtaken by his teammate at the start, again. Ricciardo that is.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st November 2015, 14:15

      I think you’re right. My bet is that Vettel will exit T1 in first position.

  4. I’m optimistic about a good battle between the Mercs. No championship, no pressure, right?

  5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    31st October 2015, 23:01

    I’d love to see what kind opinions would be posted if Nico shoved Lewis out of the track, Lewis-style

    1. My personal opinion, assuming similar circumstances to last weekend, it’s fair game.

      I’d love to see the reaction if that happened too, just out of morbid curiosity.

    2. Won’t happen Lewis has a more intelligent racing brain.

      1. Indeed, Lewis would lift very slightly and cut back rather than try and drive around the outside on a corner that’s already lost. You know, using racecraft. At COTA, the corner was lost for Nico before they touched the brakes – Lewis, Alonso, Vettel and others would know this and sacrifice the corner for better drive off of it.

        We see Lewis driving instinctively and Nico driving stubbornly at every circuit. Frankly, Its only the fact that the only real battles are with his team mate (and the clean racing rule) that means Nico has so few accidents. If he drove the way he does against the likes of Alonso and Vettel, and those two had the machines to fight, he wouldn’t get round some of those corners. Nico has only been racing at the front for two years, and frankly has never looked like he belongs there.

        My opinion on Nico is that he’s fast, but not a natural driver – even in his “battling” drives, he consistently makes mistakes when asked to push or having to drive outside his normal limits – mistakes that others either don’t make or recover from better. He also never looks comfortable passing anyone that requires any more effort than a single corner. He is simply not good enough to match the very best on race day – and that’s a shame, because I like him until he starts acting the way he has the last few weekends.

    3. I’d actually appreciate it. Would be a bit angry though, as it would definitely come too late .

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      1st November 2015, 1:53

      Rosberg seems to get a lot of stick from some fans for not being a ‘tough’ driver, so hopefully it’d be full support… even from Hamilton fans.

    5. Karthik Mohan
      1st November 2015, 10:05

      Already did that in Hungary, though not at the first corner.

    6. I’d love to see what kind of opinions would be posted if Kimi ran into a corner alongside Seb, on the outside, and then turned in expecting his multiple-wdc teammate to have cherishingly made room for him; Nico style.

      @omarr-pepper :)

      Then accused the other guy of being aggressive and gone round demanding meetings that the team clearly weren’t interested in. We don’t have any examples of that though, the reason being that Kimi has a clue.

      1. @lockup, Just look back at the first race in Australia. Vettel ran Raikkonen clear off the road.

        1. True @patrickl I’d forgotten. Seb accidentally bounced off the inside kerb, so unluckily… ;)

    7. Nico has done that before (Canada 2014) he pushed Lewis off track when Lewis tried going round the outside. He also closed the door on Lewis in Austria when Lewis didn’t get a good start, Lewis just decided this time to cut back behind Rosberg and try again in the next corner.

    8. “I’d love to see what kind opinions would be posted if Nico shoved Lewis out of the track, Lewis-style”

      You mean like at Canada this year?

  6. Let the mind games begin.

    There’s no doubt that if Hamilton doesn’t overtake him before the first corner, he’ll stick it up the inside. Rosberg will have a choice to either let him do that and be pushed wide or he could hold his ground and cause a collision which whilst it might put him out of the race might just help him get hamilton out of his head.

    If he lets him push him off the track again he’s virtually admitting defeat, which doesn’t bode well for him in 2016.

    Hamilton knows that and is already doing all he can to get into his head before the race even starts. Good on him. Up to Nico to work out how to handle it.

  7. I think starting in a Williams might be the key. They are very fast here in top speed. Bottas should breeze by the rbrs and roll up a heck of a tow before the braking zone.

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