Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was busy lapping traffic when the engine failure which cost him victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix struck.

The race leader was mid-way through complaining to race director Charlie Whiting about the lack of blue flags for the backmarkers when his Mercedes W07’s power unit cried enough. “Oh no!” Hamilton exclaimed.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2016
Verstappen made sure his team knew Ricciardo was holding him up
His misfortune was swiftly communicated to his team mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg. Concern over what had happened to Hamilton’s engine had a knock-on effect for the team’s car.

Rosberg needed to build up a ten-second lead over Kimi Raikkonen due to the penalty he had incurrect while passing the Ferrari driver. He asked Mercedes if he could use a high performance engine setting but was initially told they weren’t sure given what had happened to Hamilton. Rosberg was later given permission to use it, but only for two laps.

While F1 fans only hear the messages featured in the broadcast, which are transcribed below, each team can listen to all of their rivals radio messages, and do. Therefore Ferrari was able to keep Raikkonen up-to-date with what engine settings Rosberg had used.

Hamilton’s misfortune opened the door for Red Bull to score a one-two led by Daniel Ricciardo. His team mate Max Verstappen had pursued him closely during the race, drawing the team’s attention to that fact on at least two occasions on lap nine and again on lap 37. There’s no indication Red Bull used team orders of any kind, unlike their unsuccessful attempt to enforce a ‘hold position’ instruction in the same race three years earlier.

Here’s what we got to hear of the team radio messages in Malaysia.

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2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript

Lap*DriverMessage
PRTo Felipe Nasr

Felipe the track temperatures are a bit higher than expected. So it’s quite important that we need good tyre management for the rears.
FLFrom Felipe MassaMassa had to start from the pit lane.
The throttle is not working, guys. Just pressing the throttle is not working. I don’t know.
FLFrom Jolyon PalmerI’m losing power.
1From Carlos Sainz JnrVettel hit Rosberg while trying to pass Verstappen.
The engine switched off. How is it possible? Engine off.
1To Carlos Sainz Jnr

MGU-K, MGU-K start.
1From Sebastian VettelI made contact with the Mercedes. I had nowhere to go. I think that’s it. Front suspension is damaged.
1From Max VerstappenReally, Sebastian is crazy.
1To Max Verstappen

Yeah, agreed.
2From Felipe MassaOK let me know if it’s a Safety Car we stop for the tyres or not?
2To Felipe Massa

I’ll let you know.
2From Max VerstappenYeah mate I mean he [censored by FOM] crashed into Rosberg like an idiot.
3To Jenson Button

OK Jenson so Massa did start the race from the pit lane. Vettel has damaged a front wheel, he’s out, and his car is stopped on the right-hand side of the track exit.
4From Nico HulkenbergMassive high-speed understeer at the moment. And medium-speed.
4To Nico Hulkenberg

Some of that down to traffic?
4From Nico HulkenbergYeah some but still there’s quite a bit of understeer we carry.
4To Max Verstappen

OK Max so for info DRS is enabled and ignore the fuel dash for the moment, I’ll get back to you on that.
5To Felipe Massa

Felipe default off please. Hit it hard. And box this lap.
5From Sergio PerezVerstappen overtook Kimi before the Virtual Safety Car ended.
6To Kimi Raikkonen

OK Kimi we’re very hot on rear caliper, we’re about to get the alarm.
6To Felipe Massa

OK Felipe we’ve got a front puncture, we need to box this lap.
7To Nico Rosberg

Doing a good job there Nico, doing a good job. And either a little bit of lift-and-coast into 15 or 1, or HPP 1 to 3.
9To Esteban Gutierrez

Virtual Safety Car. Romain went out, went off in corner 15.
9From Max VerstappenIt’s very difficult to stay behind, I’m getting closer.
9To Max Verstappen

OK so just manage the gap then, mate. Manage the gap for the moment.
9To Max Verstappen

Understood.
9From Max VerstappenYeah but I can fight Lewis.
9From Romain GrosjeanOK I braked but the brakes ‘breaked’.
10To Kimi Raikkonen

OK we believe the problem with the K is now fixed, Kimi. We’ll concentrate on the rest of the race.
10From Nico RosbergKeep an eye on my left-front I drove over some debris.
10To Nico Rosberg

OK get the delta positive first.
10From Nico RosbergYeah, yeah, yeah I’m getting the positive.
11From Carlos Sainz JnrWhat does this mean?
11To Carlos Sainz Jnr

We are on it. The one that pitted put hard or medium. The only one that didn’t pit is Bottas. In front of Bottas there is Max who pitted and put used softs.
11From Pascal WehrleinQuite happy at the moment. Front and rear, it’s OK.
11To Pascal Wehrlein

Understood, we’re sticking with the plan at the moment as well.
12To Valtteri Bottas

So from out side stay on Plan A, everything is looking good.
12From Valtteri BottasCopy.
13To Lewis Hamilton

So gap to Ricciardo 3.2.
13From Lewis HamiltonTyres still good, these tyres still good.
13To Lewis Hamilton

Copy, good information, we’ll go target plus three. Currently lap 14.
13To Kevin Magnussen

OK Kev due to the damage we’re missing some downforce. So there is some damage to the car, missing downforce.
14From Kimi RaikkonenHow are the tyres, Kimi?
14To Kimi Raikkonen

Yeah tyres seem to be OK so I wouldn’t be very keen to do what we talked in the meeting.
14To Daniel Ricciardo

OK Daniel so the gaps are opening up again a bit. Hamilton pulling away slowly and you are pulling away from Raikkonen a little bit.
15To Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal we need to push now please to keep within a pit stop gap to Ericsson.
15From Pascal WehrleinI cannot push now. If I push more I’m too close to Kvyat.
15From Nico HulkenbergMassive understeer again.
16To Max Verstappen

You under control?
16From Max VerstappenYeah, pretty much.
16To Max Verstappen

OK mate.
16To Daniel Ricciardo

OK Daniel we are looking at fitting the hard tyre for the next stint.
17To Jolyon Palmer

How are the tyres?
17From Jolyon PalmerStage two. Losing the fronts a little bit.
17To Jolyon Palmer

Copy that.
17To Daniel Ricciardo

OK Daniel you think you’re OK for one more lap on this set? Can you do one more lap?
17From Daniel RicciardoYep it’s stabilised a little bit. One lap’s fine, no problem.
17To Daniel Ricciardo

OK mate, understood. You’re doing a good job mate.
17From Daniel RicciardoYeah grip’s actually not too bad it’s definitely stabilising now.
18To Esteban Gutierrez

Need to do the best we can with this damaged floor.
18From Kevin MagnussenI can’t do much more than I’m doing now.
18To Kevin Magnussen

OK Kev we’re going to retire the car, mate, so box this lap, please.
19To Max Verstappen

OK Max so ahead Raikkonen three seconds, he’s lapping in the low 41s and he’s yet to pit. So ideally we can catch and pass as quickly as possible, mate.
21To Lewis Hamilton

So brake balance ready for turn one you are pushing from now. We are on the hard tyre. We are behind Verstappen, he boxed under the VSC. Close the gap, we are good on strategy.
22To Max Verstappen

I think start to push a little bit more at this stage.
24To Fernando Alonso

OK Fernando because of the situation an extended Plan B is our best option. Sorry, Plan A. An extended Plan A is out best option.
24From Fernando AlonsoFor what?
24To Fernando Alonso

A better tyre for the last stint.
24From Fernando AlonsoI doubt that I can extend. There is too much degradation.
24From Felipe NasrHow long are we going to drive on these tyres?
24To Felipe Nasr

We need another few more laps. Looking all good now on the strategy.
24To Fernando Alonso

OK Fernando we’re currently thinking Plan A plus five to deviate.
24From Fernando AlonsoNo way. Too much degradation.
26To Max Verstappen

How is the balance?
26From Max VerstappenI’m losing grip. Left front and left rear.
27From Nico HulkenbergIt’s getting tougher for the rears now.
27To Nico Hulkenberg

There’s still no window, we’ve got to make the window.
27From Nico HulkenbergYeah but with a good fresh set of boots can overtake also, don’t forget.
27To Lewis Hamilton

So Lewis that gap is going to close. He’s on 16-lap used soft tyres. Some deg starting to appear.
28To Max Verstappen

OK that was nice. White line on the exit and we should emerge a couple of seconds clear of Kimi. You’ll be racing Kimi.
29To Kimi Raikkonen

So we need two seconds to Rosberg, you’re currently 2.4.
29From Kimi RaikkonenYeah I’m going full speed so if he gets close I cannot do…
29To Kimi Raikkonen

Understood, keep going as you are.
29From Kimi RaikkonenYeah we have a issue with the SOC [state of charge] it doesn’t charge. It’s all the time low SOC.
29To Kimi Raikkonen

OK the SOC is coming back up, Kimi.
30To Valtteri Bottas

OK the pit exit should be clear. Got Palmer who’ll be behind you. This is all looking good. So we just need to make this Plan A work.
30From Valtteri BottasCopy.
30To Jolyon Palmer

OK Jo we are P9, keep pushing mate, keep pushing.
30From Jolyon PalmerCopy.
32To Kimi Raikkonen

You’re doing a great job just keep doing what you’re doing now. We’ll let you know what we’re going to do.
32From Kimi RaikkonenCome on he doesn’t have the blue flag.
32To Kimi Raikkonen

OK he does on our system, we’ll find out why. Rosberg is in, push Kimi, push.
33To Kimi Raikkonen

Rosberg coming down the straight now. We’re good, we’re good.
34From Lewis HamiltonTyres are starting to drop a little bit, grip.
35From Kimi RaikkonenCome on we have to be in push mode.
35To Kimi Raikkonen

It’s a very, very small lap time loss Kimi but we need it for the battery.
36To Nico Hulkenberg

So we can push these tyres all the way to the end now, Nico.
36From Nico HulkenbergCopy.
36From Lewis HamiltonBlue flags!
37From Max VerstappenOK I’m starting to get held up now. If you want me to get to the end of the race, do something.
37From Kimi RaikkonenCome on we need all the power that we can have.
38To Lewis Hamilton

OK Lewis these are great lap times. Just keep your head down, mate, you’re doing a great job.
39From Kimi RaikkonenHe just drive into me I have to turn right otherwise he…
39To Kimi Raikkonen

Understood.
39From Kimi RaikkonenHe hit me already I lost some part I don’t know what.
39To Kimi Raikkonen

OK we’re checking.
40To Nico Rosberg

Doing a good job there Nico just build that gap to Kimi now. Got another 17 to go.
41To Daniel Ricciardo

Alright mate let’s go. So it’s still VSC. You’ll have a five-second gap to Verstappen when we get going again. Be cautious of pit exit make sure you don’t overtake anyone. OK so Massa next car ahead of you. Rosberg behind also pitted. So we’re on new softs, Verstappen behind.
41From Lewis HamiltonCharlie are you listening to me? Blue flags. Oh no! No!
41To Lewis Hamilton

Alright Lewis just find a fire marshal, jump out, jump out. You’ve got a fire onboard, jump out.
41To Nico Rosberg

Lewis is stopped, Lewis is out of the race. The two Red Bulls are leading now. Possible oil into turn one, OK.
43To Daniel Ricciardo

OK Virtual Safety Car is ending. You only need to be just positive.
43To Nico Rosberg

OK Nico so we have a ten-second time penalty. And currently Raikkonen six-and-a-half seconds behind on the soft tyre.
43To Daniel Ricciardo

Rosberg is about 20, 30 seconds behind you. It’s going to be pretty plain sailing to the end, mate.
44From Nico RosbergFlat-out ’til the end, is that correct?
44To Nico Rosberg

Affirm, that’s what we need.
45From Jenson ButtonOne day we’ll get some luck. Maybe next year.
45To Jenson Button

So Jenson this is still P8. This is now P8. Not a bad position. If we can stay ahead of Hulkenberg this is P8.
46To Max Verstappen

Take a drink, Max, if you need it. Reminder, take a drink.
47From Nico RosbergGive me strat three.
47To Nico Rosberg

Standby Nico, we’re thinking about it relative to the other car’s failure.
48To Kimi Raikkonen

And engine position four, Kimi, good lap, you brought the gap down.
48To Kimi Raikkonen

OK Rosberg has a ten-second time penalty for the collision. You know what we need to do: stay within ten seconds and we go to the podium.
49To Nico Rosberg

And Nico you can have two laps of strat three now.
50To Daniel Ricciardo

OK Daniel so there’s six laps to go. You’re doing a good job, gap now 1.2 behind.
51To Jolyon Palmer

OK Jo still the same gap to Sainz. You are doing a good job. Keep pushing.
51To Kimi Raikkonen

OK Kvyat should be getting blues.
52To Kimi Raikkonen

And lap mode FS1. Rosberg used his quali mode for a few laps now but he’s gone back to standard now.
53To Daniil Kvyat

Oh man the brakes are going to [censored by FOM].
54To Kimi Raikkonen

Three-tenths quicker than Rosberg last lap, you’re doing a good job.
54To Nico Rosberg

And strat eleven please, Nico.
55To Kimi Raikkonen

Ignore the low SOC page, we can stay where we are.
VLTo Daniel Ricciardo

Well done Daniel, fantastic, fantastic, you deserve that, well done.
VLTo Daniel Ricciardo

Nice job mate, absolutely brilliantly, very, very good.
VLFrom Daniel RicciardoOh… Yeah… Well, I need a drink! Thanks, guys. Bit of luck but we’ve seen that before. Think we did bloody good. We deserve this. Thank you.

Lap: Refers to lap message was broadcast on. There may be a delay between messages being said and being broadcast. PR = pre-race; FL = formation lap; VL = victory lap.
Message: Repetitive or irrelevant messages omitted. Notes in italics. Highlights in bold.

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Malaysian Grand Prix data

Author information

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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19 comments on “2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript”

  1. I’m quite surprised some drivers think they have a private line to the Race Director (“Charlie are you listening?”) or is that just out of frustration, but I’ve not heard that before..Usually those kind of remarks are addressed to the team are they not?

    1. Charlie/FIA Race Control are also listening in to all the radio communication, so as also to ensure compliance with regulations. As are all other teams. Now many messages are exchanged every minute, so not all individually will be picked up by Charlie himself, but Race Control and the other teams clearly are taking notice, so e.g. per Hamilton’s message to his team on why blue flags are not shown, will subsequently raise the attention to this in central race control who will dispatch the message out to the marshals not doing their job. As well as the team with the driver in question might radio a message to the driver to yield to avoid penalty. There is also a big difference in the usage of radio from one driver to the next… E.g. Hamilton appear more chatty and wanting updates versus e.g. a Raikkonen.

    2. Race control used to previously monitor radio communications, maybe they still do?

      That said, I think blue-flag requests would be assessed by a more level-headed race engineer before being routed to Charlie.

      1. Yep a recent program about charlie and his team showed that all communication is followed by a team of stewards in race control. Important ones are directly relayed to Charlie.

    3. But they know this is being broadcast. That Charlie IS listening.

      There was another race a couple of years back that was delayed because of rain, Japan 2014, maybe, when Hamilton said the same thing “Charlie the rain is fine, we’re good to go” or something like that.

    4. @baron

      Usually those kind of remarks are addressed to the team are they not?

      I had a quick look back through some of the past transcripts and I’d say it’s not unheard of for other drivers to refer to ‘Charlie’, although they do tend to use phrasing along the lines of ‘can you tell Charlie such-and-such’, rather than directly addressing him as Hamilton tends to. Though I seem to recall drivers besides Hamilton doing that, such as Vettel, I don’t have an example to hand right now:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/09/30/2015-japanese-grand-prix-team-radio-transcript/#34
      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/04/02/2014-malaysian-grand-prix-team-radio-transcript/#43

      But I think the principal of drivers saying things purely for Whiting’s benefit is pretty well established, especially in wet conditions behind the Safety Car.

      1. Thanks for the replies. Yes, I am aware that the drivers are monitored by Race Control and that drivers deliberately make statements to attract Whiting’s attention, but I found it unusual for a driver to address the Race Director directly. I think it possibly sets an unwelcome precedent and seems a breach of professional protocol. It’s no biggie, and something I may have missed in the past.

        1. Professional protocol? Lol. Maybe he should have put something in writing …

        2. Perhaps you are reading too much into this @baron
          Each driver has unique style (some shout…and one even sing Blue Flag…Blue Flag). There is no breach of professional protocol here.

          1. The Race Director is supposed to be completely impartial (now there’s a whole can of worms!), and I would not have expected that a driver would have direct access to him on first name terms, attempting to influence a decision which may (or not) affect the outcome of a potential maneuver for position. In points terms, you are potentially talking substantial remuneration, and therefore a clear conflict of interest.

  2. Red bull could have tried multi three hundred and thirty three but that might just confuse the issue!

  3. Considering that Kimi had to contend with problems with the power unit plus all the action his Ferrari saw on track it’s a bit of a miracle that he still got P4 for all his troubles.

    A bit of debris from the chaos at T1 affected his rear wing, then Nico damaged part of his floor and front wing and on top of that he had to avoid Gutierrez and his flying wheel, all the while managing the PU, a pretty eventful Sunday ;)

    1. It also appears from the transcript that there was a delay of 5 laps before Kimi was given the information about the penalty to Rosberg by which point the gap was too big. Unless this was just a delay in broadcasting the message and the laps indicated above show the lap it was broadcast not when it originally occurred?

  4. Hi Keith,

    Great to have the radio transcript as usual, it really adds perspective to what happened the weekend before.
    That said, I am missing the bolding you used to use to highlight the most important bits. Sometimes one has time to read it all, but sometimes not, especially not now that they are becoming a small wall of text again (which is positive!).
    With bolding, I always found myself reading all the bolded parts, and by extension often the comments immediately before and after, for context, and then you pick that important buzzword a bit further down and you keep on reading. A plain, unbroken wall of text like this… I find it difficult to focus on, and sometimes I end up ignoring it altogether beyond your intro.
    Just my opinion ho how to turn great into awesome.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I stopped highlighting sections of the text earlier this year because the number of messages FOM was broadcasting had become so low it wasn’t necessary. However it’s risen again lately so it might be worth bringing it back.

  5. MGU-K, MGU-K start

    Is this an instruction to allow Sainz to restart his engine? Is this something the cars can all do using electrical power?

    I recall in the early draft of the current engine regulations it was intended that cars would run entirely on electical power through the pits but this was later deferred. I’ve not heard further on that development, is it still something which could be in the pipeline or was it ruled out due to a fundamental problem with the concept?

    1. The fundamental concept (in technical terms) is sound, Toyota’s LMP1 cars have been departing from pitstops on electric power and bump-starting the engine before exiting the pits since 2012.

  6. I’m baffled as to why the teams are allowed to hear all their rivals’ messages. I get that they can tune in to what the fans are allowed to hear, but everything else as well??? Can you imagine Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’s half-time team talks being broadcast?? Seems a very odd thing to do and ends up neutralising strategies in the end, which is not good for fans.

  7. Charlie got annoyed with the direct approach so he pressed the red button!

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