Hamilton says he ‘got in Vettel’s head’ in Baku

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he destablised Sebastian Vettel in their clash at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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68 comments on “Hamilton says he ‘got in Vettel’s head’ in Baku”

  1. Lewis is so cunning and is a schemer, no doubt he wasn’t gunning for Vettel to hit him in Baku, but he certainly was baiting him to make a mistake. I don’t condone Vettel’s actions, because its was an outburst driven out of frustration, but I can’t help but think that Nico, Fernando and Seb all have had to deal with this side of Lewis’ personality and tenacity.

    I wish we could go back and put the genie back in the bottle from Prost vs Senna battles, but, alas we cannot. I really do fear for what other drivers might do in the future to “get under the skin” of their opponents.

    1. @dragoll Hamilton didn’t actually do anything to make Vettel angry. Vettel himself created his downfall. And I don’t think this side of him was there when he was with Fernando. Hamilton didn’t do anything wrong at all in Baku. He just did his old starting procedure and Vettel was a bit too quick. But the next hit was totally Vettel himself. Let’s not open this can of worms again.

      1. I don’t agree with your assessment, but I agree to disagree and we’ll leave it at that to avoid the Baku can of worms.

        If I can drag up the McLaren thing tho with Fernando and Lewis, so I’m interested to know what your thoughts are on why Alonso ended up leaving McLaren and why there was so much tension between Fernando and Lewis?

          1. @dragoll Well I was 3 years old in 2007, but, from what I’ve read, Alonso’s main reason for leaving McLaren was his conflicts with Ron Dennis. And Hamilton wasn’t playing mind games back then as well. He was just driving and Alonso, newly crowned champion, defeater of Schumacher was run a bit too close for comfort, similar to Ricciardo and Vettel in 2014, although a lot more feisty.

      2. I agree with @dragoll here @godoff1.

        Hamilton was doing his best to have Vettel cought out (nothing untowards, but I can understand it got Vettel irked) in Baku. The first SC restart it made Vettel be slow to restart and he got under pressure. He was probably very much focussed on not letting that happen again, and got too close, and that lit his short fuse.

        As for 2007 – Hamilton was actually the first to start pushing, supported by his father, he was no angel, and the reason why Alonso and Ron fell out was because of that, combined with Ron refusing to tell Lewis off. The race where things boiled over it was Hamilton who started that.
        Whether Alonso was promised no1 status, or maybe just expected to get it by default since he was a WDC and up against a rookie (not too many had expected Lewis to be as good as he was straight away), is hard to tell. And off course it played a role that Lewis had ties with the team for a decade already by then.

        1. Disagree totally. Hamilton did precisely the same at the second restart. The difference was something else: Perez almost caught Vettel the first time round, which left SV visibly more nervous and twitchy even before the corner where they clashed.

          Hamilton is in P1 so he gets to decide on pace, the rules are very simple. There was a good example from the Japan GP when Verstappen was behind HAM at a restart. He (just like Vettel) also decided to distract Hamilton by pulling almost alongside a few times. Hamilton responded by weaving manically across the track, as though tyre warming, and Verstappen backed off. No histrionics on either side. Vettel was too hyped up and over-aggressive in general, hence the collision and the aftermath.

          1. I see you are very naive when it comes to saftey car restarts! The drivers do play tricks to catch their competitors out all the time and especially during SC restarts! The attacking drivers has to keep close enough to keep in touch on the jump but not too close that he cannot anticipate the leader’s movements. It is an ebb and flow as the drivers concertina around at low speed behind the saftey car… And only the cleverest drivers get it just right….

            The case in Baku. Seb was outsmarted and even embarassed! by both Lewis and Sergio on the first restart and obviously his pride would not let it happen again…

          2. No, I realize that, but the issue at Baku was whether Hamilton brake tested Vettel, which was discounted by the stewards. Vettel has form in not paying attention anyhow, the 2007 Fuji incident where he got distracted by Hamilton and smashed into Webber being a personal fave. It just seems funny today that Hamilton got the blame for this from a lot of people. He was on completely the other side of the track! Shades of Verstappen being blamed for everything this season. Vettel later admitted he’d been busy watching Hamilton rather than the care in front (Webber).

    2. One of Lewis’ strengths outside the car is he’s very good at playing the media and fans (https://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-autosport/871803/Lewis-Hamilton-difficult-team-mates-love-ex-mechanic-reveals-why-exclusive).

      He himself does a lot of things that blatantly skirt/break the rules (e.g. blocking Alonso in Qualifying in Hungary 2007. Or shoving Rosberg off the road at the start in Canada 2016), but he’s mastered the “goody two shoes” play so well that often such things go unnoticed and/or are easily taken in stride.

      As I said before, if there are populists in politics then there are also populists in sports — Lewis Hamilton and Conor McGregor are perfect examples. They like to do/say unorthodox things that tickle the imagination of fans (fanboys rather); who tend to be sick of the montony and professionalism prevalent in sports. Plus in Lewis’ case, it helps a lot that the coverage of UK based media is the loudest/most dominant in F1.

    3. @dragoll

      I’ve been wondering if Hamilton is really the winner of these mind games.

      I think Baku was normal driving from Hamilton, and Vettel lost his cool. Not much to it.
      Bottas’ is more interesting. Maybe his no-nonsense personality reduces tension, allowing Hamilton to focus and drive better.

      Not that I like mind games, but if I was Bottas I’d have a chat with Rosberg.

      1. No doubt it seemed more of Vettel’s hotheadedness and immaturity than Hamilton’s Prost-esque cunning (which I don’t think he has).

        1. We don’t have telemetry to see if what Hamilton did deviated from the norm. Is it normal under a safety car restart to accelerate ever so slightly out of a corner and, actually, Hamilton maintained speed that time around and caught out Vettel? Alternatively was Vettel anticipating the restart at that corner?

          In any case, later in the year at Spa, Hamilton stated how he slowed before getting to the Kemmel straight so as to bring Vettel alongside him earlier and effectively break the tow. That surely takes a bit of racing “cunning”.

      2. @slotopen, to me, it seems that Bottas is the sort of person who does not want to engage in that sort of behaviour, as it is rather out of his character, and would prefer instead to focus on his own performance.

    4. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      2nd December 2017, 10:15

      @dragroll what Hamilton did to Vettel in Baku, Vettel did tenfold to Bottas in Brazil.

      There was nothing underhand in what Hamilton did in Baku – hell, there wasn’t even anything underhand in what Vettel did in Brazil, those sort of restart tactics used to be commonplace – the offence was all in Vettel’s head.

    5. Well, Hamilton now speaking as he does proves he is really NOT as clever as you credit him for. For a start, he hasn’t even learnt what most drivers know: there are times when keeping your mouth shut is best.

  2. In some ways Force India has been almost as impressive as Mercedes this year, in retaining their relative pace through a major regulation change.
    And Ocon is an absolute star.

  3. The Alfa Romeo deal shows branding and marketing are far more important than a perceived track-to-roadcar connection because Alfa does not make a hybrid.

    F1 could be a single manufacturer sport with multiple brandings, and still maintain an audience if the racing is palpable.

    It is about exposure, not technology for these firms.

    1. I think the Alfa deal, shows, no matter what Horner wants to make up, that Marchionne is trying everything for FIAT-Chrysler. Ferrari might indeed be leaving f1, for the first time in 25 years it seems it may happen. A cheap way to milk exposure may end up as futile attempt at keeping Ferrari in f1, if this isn’t worth it or if f1 declines, then it’s over.

    2. If Ferrari did leave then it would mean if they subsequently returned then they’d no longer be entitled to their special bonus.

  4. It’s a shame Hamilton can’t get his driving skills to match his psychological skills, as it were. He’d be a 7 times world champion by now.

    1. Not Lewis fault his TEAMS made idiotic decisions in 2007 and 2016 that cost him titles.

    2. To be fair it was reliability that cost him 2012.

    3. Surely what you’re saying is just sarcasm?

  5. I’m in love with that Alfa livery on the Sauber. With Mclaren strongly hinting the papaya theme will return, next year’s grid promises to look really good.

    All we need now is for Gene Haas to commission a sensible designer to sort out a more exciting colour scheme on his cars!

    1. “.. to look really good”
      Except halo, hello :D

  6. Pleasantly surprised by the Budkowski development! I still don’t think 6 months is enough – and who knows if there’s really a way to keep him and Renault talking “off-line” – but at least he won’t join the team after the season starts.

    1. Renault already signed senior Mercedes last year but ridiculously can not join before 2019. They then pouch FIA head technical person but ridiculously available in just three months.
      I think after few years of early hybrid era Renault realize that they can’t develop power unit as efficient as Mercedes from the scrap. Since the power unit regulation was about to be change again, better to have someone who had the knowledge than to spend enormous R&D again to start over.
      I can’t blame them for trying. Budkowski case happen because FIA relocate their main administrative office including legal department from France to Switzerland. We knew why. Other than to minimalize scrutiny from EU commission, mostly the reason was the advantage of tax structure there.
      When you establish yourself as a tax evader and settle elsewhere you can’t complain about other laws enforced there. Budkowski case are bound to happen when FIA put profit above anything else even in the expense of all other F1 team which FIA should be protected in the first place.

      1. Quite unrelated, @ruliemaulana, but I’m digging the fanaticized colouring of the old F1 logo :-)

        1. @phylyp It was intentional indeed. I’m ready to spend 25 years to find the ‘F’ on the new logo like @hohum once said. Hahaha.
          And I reject any claim that ‘f1’ in new logo color code (ff1e00) are premeditated, that would insinuate something clever on the design process. :)

  7. Hamilton says he ‘got in Vettel’s head’ in Baku

    Yes no doubt he did, head games thats what many sports people do especially at the elite level. He often says things that are aimed at undermining or niggle his opponents.

  8. Are we still bickering on about this!? Can Hammy and the media please move on. It is getting irritating now to read about Baku months after the event.

    Just for the record – It looked to me more like Vettel losing his cool than Hammy being cunning…

    1. @mamba – it’s the off-season, what do you expect? Last year we had Rosberg’s retirement to tide us through winter.

      Wait until we reach the dark depths of late December this year – we’ll be discussing Marcus Ericsson’s preference of toenail clippers.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        2nd December 2017, 13:25

        Well, we could talk about the Formula E races.

        *Curls into a ball waiting for backlash*

  9. Pray tell, What made him loose his cool by the way?

  10. COTD: +1.

  11. Hamilton is right. In Baku he got undet Vettels skin and won the championship from that.

    1. Wait, but how? Did he, no! But did he! Nah! It can’t be… Did he brake test him!? *The shock of the realisation*

      Vettel lost it, if it was other driver the result would have been the same.

    2. He won the championship because he drove the best car, period. Other things are just british media bs and licking to boost the ego of his compatriot. Bottas did 4 poles and 3 wins with that car. I said Bottas, not Senna.

      1. Well, what I mean is from that point on Mercedes proved to be a superior car from about mid season and after Baku any real hope was gone.

        Vettel knew it inside and “brake testing” was a drop over the limit, outbursting with furstration. His blood certainly runs red.

        There are nummerous reasons why Hamilton won, but that was the point when it became obvious Vettel could not win this year.

  12. Hamilton is continuously sliding off the high ground by talking about this in such a way. I guess it will inspire Vettel, I hope so anyway.

    1. I kind of agree, I often think, Lewis, just, quiet, really. You’ve won. But then I think maybe this is precisely how it works. Did he deliberately lull Vettel into colliding with him and losing his cool? No. Did he then ‘get in Vettel’s head’ by the way he immediately responded in public or private, telling him not to do similar again? I doubt it. I’d imagine his face-to-face was a genuine reaction, a mixture of anger, feeling insulted and disrespected, and wanting to defuse the situation (not escalate into further incidents). He probably said what he had to say. Vettel messed up by himself at Baku, showed he and Ferrari were under pressure, and lost his mindset, yes, but by himself. The question is later in the season and now, though. It seems much more like Hamilton is needling Vettel for next season already.

  13. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    2nd December 2017, 10:05

    That Dutch GP track looks like it will produce really boring races. If Liberty is determined to move F1 towards street circuits it’s going to have to do much better than that. One thing I would like to see in future is prospective tracks released on racing sims before they’re built. Get driver and fan feedback in right from the start – it would result in much better tracks.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      2nd December 2017, 11:46

      That is just a promo/commercial video. That track will never appear in real life.

  14. What is Hamilton taking about? He was driving the best car, he is also fast and talented and the second part of the season Mercedes gained more than ferrari. Count also the Vettel luck in some races and championship is decided.
    All the rest ate mambo jumbo primadona things.

  15. If LH says he got into SV’s head it implies that he did something to make it happen, otherwise he’s just telling us how big the fish was that he caught.

    1. You should probably read what he actually said…

      I’ve had drivers “get into my head” by simply exiting paddock hill bend faster than I dare.

  16. Hamilton is giving himself way too much credit. Vettel lost his cool, end of story. Nothing new there, Vettel is an emotional guy. Period. That’s actually fine by me, although that infamous Baku-moment was completely unnecessary and unprofessional. But there’s absolutely no reason for Hamilton to claim that slip of temper as an achievement of himself.

  17. I never saw the “he he he he” part, only alot of crying.

    Seems to me Vettel is the one that got into his head. Hamilton got demoralized a whole race in Mexico after an raceincident where he imagined Vettel hit him by purpose again.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      2nd December 2017, 12:46

      i did see hamilton win the WDC and Vettel throwing it away with a stupid mistake and never recovering. Clearly Hamilton won the mental battle, as he lost it last year to Nico. Hamilton plays these games a lot, also on the radio, as do others. When it’s very close, all the little things matter. If you are just a little bit of your game, it costs tenths of a second, which is a lot in f1.

      1. @passingisoverrated

        He didnt throw it away with a stupid mistake. A bit over agressive driving here and there where he gambled to much and then some bad luck. If his gambling moves payed off he would be a hero so there no need to shame him when it didnt, he went for it to hotheaded and it backfired. It is very easy to be wise in hindsight.

        Being just a little bit of your game is exactly what Hamilton was in Mexico and still thats where he won. It wasnt a very impressive championshipwinning drive and even Hamilton agrees on that.

    2. Vettel did him on purpose again in Mexico. It’s why Seb didn’t deserve tbe title. It’s nauseating how Seb fans make so many excuses for him.

      1. If Vettel actually did it on purpose it would prove my even point further.

  18. @keithcollantine Leclerc and Ericsson confirmed by Sauber. New livery revealed.

    1. @godoff1

      Is it actually a new livery or just a quick mashup for some pr shot?

      Anyhow now Ericsson will have to step up with a genuinly good teammate.

      1. @rethla A bit similar to this year’s with blue replaced by red and a huge, beautiful Alfa Romeo badge on the engine cover!

  19. I don’t think Whiting delves into the issue far enough when he refers to closer racing as being amongst the teams. Sure he’s right, F1 would be better if all the teams were closer to each other in performance rather than always having the usual two teams vying for the Championships, but there is also the literal closeness, as in inability to follow in dirty air, that needs addressing badly, as we have talked about ad infinitum.

    I’m hopeful that the new tires can help a bit but have no idea if they’re going to be just as finicky and lose their performance window quickly when in dirty air. Otherwise I’m hopeful they will start to make incremental changes to aero packaging such that mechanical grip can have a greater role so they can actually race together longer per stint. They need to do enough of that so they can ultimately get rid of DRS.

  20. It is either that most people either cannot read, or they simply choose to insert their own meaning into what they read.

    It is clear that if someone retaliates against you, because they think you did something to them, then you obviously did get into their head – especially when you are not guilty of the perceived offence in the first place. This realization of this is what Lewis is talking about and makes abundantly clear.

    There is nowhere in the article where he claims he intentionally did anything to get into Vettel’s head.

    How difficult is this to understand??

    1. Precisely.

  21. I have no problem with drivers playing mind games with one another, none at all, it’s part of any sport and can be fascinating to watch, but if after an incident you claim that you did nothing but now you talk about that same incident as a moment when you got into your rival’s head, well then you either didn’t stand behind your actions then or you’re trying now to make yourself look more cunning than you really are, seems to me anyway.

  22. Can only speculate that Lewis got into Seb’s head in Baku. Seems obvious though, he’s got into the heads of Seb fans before the 2018 season has even started. Well played.

  23. Another example of two of the things that have caused F1 to lose fan appeal and has caused a downward trend it may never recover from.
    First, you have driving “champs ,like Hamilton who do not have the character that driver should have . For example when he got the win at Monaco he did not run down from the podium and hug his mother or step- mother or father or brother , he hugged Justin Bieber . Really , that is the person you run to ? Perhaps it’s just me but, when I think of auto sport I do not think of Justin Bieber , in fact I am proud to say I NEVER think of him.
    Point two , the atmospherics of F1 is simply not that of the man’s -man’s as driver that is was years ago . In the US ,be it NASCAR or Indycar a driver knows that if he does something wrong to another driver there will be a reckoning after the race. In F1 all drivers know they can do anything and get away with it and the favored drivers don’t even need to worry about a time penalty.
    In NASCAR or Indycar were a driver to break-check or even provoke another driver into thinking he might have been so tested the offended driver would certainly punch the offending drivers right in the mouth several times immediately after the race .
    In F1 the Bieber huggers know they can provoke another driver and nothing will come of it . Not what I call a man’s sport and thus the drivers cannot possible get the respect I give Indycar and NASCAR drivers . Am I saying that F1 drivers are not as talented as Indycar and NASCAR driver are ? NO . Am I saying that they are not the men that Indycar and NASCAR drivers are ? YES .
    Hemmingway once said that Bull-fighting Mountain climbing and Auto racing were sports and not just games . At one time that was true but, unfortunately todays F1 and it’s gentleman drivers do not fit into the concept that Hemmingway had in mind. I mean can you see a blood covered Matador hugging an egg-throwing teen idol in celebration of a kill ?
    There was a time not long ago when F1 was my favorite motor sport -those days are gone because I want more than talent in a person before I consider him a champion and today’s F1 cannot deliver that .
    I see now how wrong I was to let the lure of highly technical ,super expensive vehicles draw me from the true nature of an auto race-the driver but, thanks to the Hamiltons and Verstappens of the world I have seen the light .

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