Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Pole lap was first clean run this weekend – Hamilton

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he had been struggling to pull together clean laps until his final effort in qualifying which claimed pole position.

“It’s obviously not been a smooth sailing weekend in terms of pace,” said Hamilton after taking pole position for the second time in Bahrain. “Nico [Rosberg’s] been right on it all weekend and I was just generally struggling to put laps together.”

“Luckily the one lap I did put together was the last lap. That was actually the only lap, probably, the whole weekend so far. I hope it’s the first of many.”

Hamilton had put himself under pressure by making a mistake with his first run in Q3.

“Throughout qualifying and practice you go around, you do a lap, it wasn’t quite perfect, Nico’s ahead by a tenth, whatever it may be,” he said. “So to actually put it all together…”

“It’s actually even more of a pressured lap as well because the previous lap I went off. So knowing that I’ve got to improve even more than I did on the lap before I’m super-happy.”

Hamilton set the fastest time ever seen in a race weekend session in Bahrain, beating Mark Webber’s 11-year-old record by 0.034 seconds.

“The car felt great,” said Hamilton, “it’s quite incredible to think that we are quicker now to the V10 days and just shows how far technology has come.”

Hamilton started from pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as well but was quickly passed by both Ferrari drivers. He’s pessimistic the team have made significant gains with their starting procedure.

“It’s a longer run down to turn one than it was in the last race so of course that’s something we’ve been trying to improve on but it’s only been a couple of weeks,” he said. “Whether or not we’ve made big improvements I highly doubt it but hopefully it’s better than it was from our side at least.”

2016 Bahrain 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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17 comments on “Pole lap was first clean run this weekend – Hamilton”

  1. All thing considered, the lap record is truly amaizing. The cars are heavier and use less fuel than before, and we aren’t in the middle of a tyre war.

    But the track conditions are way different compared to Webber’s lap, which was done under the typical conditions we used to see here: absolute heat. That probably affect laptimes more than anything else.

    So while it’s the fastest lap ever seen in Bahrain, it probably falls short of what a V10 era car could do under the same conditions.

    Not taking credit of it, tho. Just saying.

    1. @fer-no65

      I would also suggest, as I put on another post, that if the V10’s had been developed for those 11 years since Webber’s lap time, they would be both massively faster than a current car and with the much lighter weight, probably a lot more efficient too.

      Still, what they can get out of a 1.6 litre engine is pretty amazing though, although they were getting significantly more in 1985 from an even smaller engine.

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        3rd April 2016, 14:47

        Still, what they can get out of a 1.6 litre engine is pretty amazing though, although they were getting significantly more in 1985 from an even smaller engine.

        But with much less efficiency

  2. Can somebody explain to me why Hamilton was allowed to keep his first lap time? He clearly went with all four wheels outside the white line and must’ve gained an advantage as he also set the fastest sector time at that moment. His laptime should have been disallowed meaning he would have been eliminated first.

    1. That’s interesting. I think it’s a stretch to say he gained an advantage from it just because he did a fastest sector. They said when they were looking at a replay of it after qualifying on the big screen that he lost 4 tenths in that corner alone, so it was probably an immense lap otherwise.

      1. @skipgamer Sector three is the second to last corner, a long straight and that last corner where he made the mistake followed by the run to the finish. That must’ve been a very very fast first part of S3 if he could lose 0,4s and still slot in right behind Kimi.

        1. Don’t ask me man, it’s just what they said *shrug*

          If you are right though, I’d say the onus is on the other teams to challenge it if they feel it’s worth the trouble. It would be very unsportsmanlike though considering many drivers accidentally leave the track limits and it’s not enforced every time. If it was deliberate that’s another story, but it obviously wasn’t by looking at his inputs, car started to lose grip and he had to go wide to counteract.

          1. @skipgamer On a Belgian forum however someone is pointing out to me he did not have the fastest sector. I thought I saw his name before S3 when they showed the ‘ideal’ lap after everyone had done one lap in Q3.

        2. @xtwl
          If his final sector had been a personal best, the lap time would’ve definitely been deleted.
          But because HAM lost a couple of tenths in the final corner and didn’t set a overall PB final sector, he was allowed to keep his time.
          At least that’s how I see it.

          1. Like @xtwl said, I also saw on tv that it showed Vettel for S1, Rosberg for S2 and Hamilton for S3 as best times in first run during Q3. I think Hamilton’s time should have been deleted as he left the track on last corner. Again it shows inconsistency on part of FIA.

            However his last lap was a beast of a lap and congratulations to him for breaking the record.

    2. @xtwl Well considering he’s the slowest of Mercedes and Ferrari with the run off (much slower than his Q2 time too), and without the mistake he posted a much quicker time, I think it’s safe to say he never gain the advantage.

      1. @sonicslv But he still went off four wheels. Either way it’s the rules that should be more clear on this. For me a lap should always be disallowed if a driver goes 4 wheels outside the white line. No discussion possible.

        1. @xtwl Isn’t the rules stated (I’m paraphrasing here) “by stewards discretion”? With that wording I think what guaranteed is steward investigation only, and not necessarily leading to time deletion. Nothing breached here, but I do agree it’s better if the rules just stated when going off track for whatever reason, the time will be deleted.

        2. @xtwl Just reading the rules because the pit lane reversing debacle, thought I might as well look for this. Here’s what I found:

          Article 27.4 “Drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason. … Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage …”

          Article 31.5 “In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may delete a drivers lap time (or lap times) or drop the driver…” (For clarity, qualifying session official name is qualifying practice)

          So Hamilton himself is not breaching article 27.4, and even if it’s in doubt, the time deletion is not mandatory.

        3. Kvyatt also ran wide at that corner and his time wasn’t deleted, so clearly the stewards didn’t deem it necessary to punish him.

    3. @xtwl why are you getting so caught up on having that lap time deleted? In the end he set a faster lap anyway so it makes no difference either way.

      Vettel and a number of other drivers also ran wide at the final corner throughout the weekend (Vettel in Q2 iirc… Can’t remember if that was his fastest lap or not though) and none of them had lap times deleted. I think it’s safe to say that the stewards deemed no advantages to have been gained by going off there.

      1. @sparkyamg Because had his lap been disallowed he would have been eliminated, a very big difference to the current situation. Very big difference I would say.

        And there is a difference between running a bit wide, and going a full cars width outside the white lines.

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