Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Hamilton “doesn’t really care” about Vettel’s record lap time

2018 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton said he didn’t pay any attention to Sebastian Vettel’s record-breaking lap time in today’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vettel’s best time of 1’17.182 is over eight-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else has managed and 1.2 seconds faster than Hamilton’s best time so far.

But Hamilton said after today’s test “I didn’t even see what time they did.”

Told what Vettel’s time was Hamilton said: “I don’t know if that’s a good time. I think it’s faster than we did a couple of days ago.”

Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Pictures: F1 testing day seven
“I don’t know if they did it is a qualifying run. I don’t really know, I don’t really care in testing. It’s really irrelevant – someone said I was down in 11th today, it just doesn’t matter.

“What matters is Q3 in the first race when everyone’s on low fuel. For example for us we’ve not been on low fuel yet so I’ve no idea where the car can go. But I hope it’s a good time and it means that they’re strong and we can go racing.”

Hamilton also tipped Red Bull to be “a real challenge” this season. “Their car looks great,” he said.

He believes Mercedes have made gains with their new car but they haven’t fine-tuned its balance yet. “The car is an improvement from last year,” said Hamilton. “Last year’s car felt great, this car feels better.”

“The characteristics at the moment are not set perfectly. I don’t know whether or not we can set the car better but I’m sure we can. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll spend more time on that. Where we are compared to the rest I don’t know but it feels strong at the moment.”

“In the test today we were just getting through the different tyres to see how they were on a couple of laps, how long they lasted,” he explained.

“I come in the garage, I’m in the car doing emails, they say ‘let’s go’, I give the phone back and go out and do my laps, then come back in and do the same. There’s not a lot to learn.”

The team’s preparations will get more serious on the final day of running, Hamilton added.

“I think tomorrow we’re doing race systems, then it’s more like competition so you take it a lot more serious and take a lot more notes because the car’s behaving differently between each run.”

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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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  • 30 comments on “Hamilton “doesn’t really care” about Vettel’s record lap time”

    1. He’s right not to care. The car underneath him has plenty of untapped performance and is well faster on the long runs too it seems.

      1. @flatsix

        I think Hamilton needs to worry about himself first. The Merc has been the best car on track for years now. If he drives his best everybody else needs their best and a little more to beat him.

        I’m not saying strategy and technical work is overrated. But in the end a driver only controls his own car.

        1. @slotopen I tend to disagree. There’s at least four drivers that could be a match to Hamilton on any given day. Except they don’t drive a Mercedes.

      2. Yup @flatsix. When we look at the times and the tyres used, it is quite likely that Mercedes has all the time in that car they need. And everyone will bring more bits to the first race anyway

        I think the best Ferrari can hope for is to be about as close as they were last year. But that is no easy job when there is nothing like the suspension clarification we had late last winter to help them close up a bit. Let’s just hope that the top 3 teams are close enough to make it a good fight this season, and that maybe others can at occasion get in between as well.

    2. This is the general sentiment on probably every team, fans should follow.

      It is interesting however, because Vettel’s time could mean that the cars could break the second 15, and that I don’t think it was to be expected.

      1. Not impossible, but I find it hard to believe someone can go below 1:16.000. I mean, especially in the GP weekend. Last year, the best time from the GP weekend was like 0.5sec slower than what RAI achieved in the pre-season test. If it’ll happen tho, it means the new asphalt played tricks on me.

        1. Softest tyre at the race was Soft, Raikkonen set time on Ultra Soft last year at the test. I had a gut feeling 17’s possible on mediums. Possibly in the 15’s if a top team goes for it on hyper softs. Seen so far a time seems good then the next day every team has beaten it.

          1. Last year Raikkonen did 1:19.267 in testing on softs, and Vettel did 1:19.200 on softs in Q3.

            1. And pole time last year Hamilton 1:19.149 softs.

          2. Oh, yeah, you’re right, they didn’t have the most performant tyre at the GP weekend. Forgot that, although I reckon that time difference from test to race made me wonder for a moment.

    3. While i see how it is just testing and all i do have a hard time believing Hamilton does not know the times and has no concept of what is supposed to be Good and what isn’t.

      1. Sure but it’s just hard to know how good though, right? But I agree with you that surely a record breaking time such as SV did is notable, and Merc and LH had to have commented about it within their walls, but it also might be a second slow when all is said and done. And there’s also this concept they’ve been mentioning about the new paving masking things or at least making comparisons to last year more fuzzy, and the track surface temps has rarely been anywhere near what the reality will be once they are racing.

      2. I can accept that he doesn’t know. If he did know then it would influence how he’d drive, but by not being told then he’s only going to drive according to what Mercedes want. “Good” and “Not good” are relative, so he could well produce a time that Mercedes are happy with even though it is slower than what others have done. My guess is the Mercedes don’t see any point in producing a fastest time at this event because the only events matter will occur once the season starts.

    4. I don’t why, but I got a serious Trump vibe from his comments.

      1. Trump vibe

        Trump-ish* vibe is what I should’ve said…

        1. What? An arrogant entitled know it all who’s only job is to drive and check emails?

    5. Every year I hear the same thing about testing, and every year I simply don’t agree. If a team shows promising times in testing then generally they seem to do pretty well during the season. Were Brawn bottom of the timesheets in 2009 during testing? Were McLaren’s woeful times just sandbagging last season?

      In reality, and as usual in life, one should not read too much into testing and neither should one read absolutely nothing. It’s somewhere in-between. The run today by Ferrari should not be just dismissed.

      1. @john-h I agree completely. Well said. And I think in the case of LH, I’m sure he and the team noted the time, but without knowing exactly the fuel levels for example, or what that setup that allowed SV that time was doing to the tires etc etc, there is no point dwelling on that time other than to say, as they have, Ferrari and RBR should be strong competition.

      2. If a team shows promising times in testing then generally they seem to do pretty well during the season.

        In reality, and as usual in life, one should not read too much into testing and neither should one read absolutely nothing.

        @john-h

        Perfectly said. Testing times aren’t set in stone, and the exact pecking order of fastest lap times during pre season testing isn’t the exact pecking order when the season starts. Nonetheless, if you follow the race simulation lap times, as well as, fastest laps on different compounds, it gives you a fairly accurate picture of what the order will be at the start of the season.

    6. When you drive a Mercedes, you don’t have to care. Simple as that.

      1. Yes and no. For the first half of last season driving a Mercedes was no guarantee. If Ferrari and RBR have improved relatively slightly more than Merc have, then…

        In other words, I highly doubt Merc are so smug that they don’t care. That would be the start of the end of their reign if that were the case. I think they care but also know all they can do is control that which they can from their end…they can’t control what Ferrari and RBR are doing.

    7. It is like that to test tyres.

    8. Off topic.

      I live in the states, so I watch Ted’s Notebook religiously on youtube, and on the sky coverage I download. Tonight I watched his testing report.

      In the comments here I see a lot of gruff given to sky’s coverage, however, I obviously like Ted’s notebook, so I ask: Do people really not like ALL of sky’s coverage? Murray obviously is and will always be the best, but is the current sky team really that bad?

      Some people like the USA coverage team, but I always felt they spent too much time explaining F1 as opposed to covering F1. That’s why I prefer watching British coverage.

      1. @jon – I really don’t like the Sky team. There’s one person who is adequate and (almost) always gives great commentaries – Martin Brundle.

      2. @jon As a Canadian who has had Murray, currently has Sky, and have also had access for many years to the Speed TV or Speed coverage when Hobbs et al was there, NBC what have you. I completely agree with you that Sky coverage is second only to Murray on BBC and I’m convinced one of the reasons F1 isn’t more popular in the US is because of the shoddy coverage over the years.

        With Murray you felt like there was no bigger nor more important event going on in the world, and for me Hobbs et al sounded like there was something else they’d rather be doing. I find Sky’s in-depth coverage excellent. I think the knock on them in Europe is their ‘Britishness’ and hence perceived skewed love for LH, and I’m sure many around here have strong opinions on this topic.

    9. Nineteen drivers oughta be worried. Hamilton sounds confident. Q3 the teller of tales. Two weeks.

    10. Is there a tyre key on RaceFans somewhere? I have no idea what these tyres are anymore!

    11. I certainly hope that Mercedes have some good correlation between their times on the medium tires and their potential on the softer, qualifying tires. And I hope that is the basis for their apparent confidence (while saying that it will be close between them Ferrari and RedBull. I do expectd it to be closer, but pulling for Mercedes.

    12. Sure… until you really – do – care.

    13. Califormula1fan
      12th March 2018, 15:42

      After hoping for several years that Ham’s dominance of the Championship was a fluke, I’ve come to realize he has the right skills, strategy, and team to dominate today’s Formula 1. The biggest single factor in winning races and therefore championships is to qualify P1.

      Passing is so difficult with these cars on these tracks, the best chance for passing is getting an undercut on a tire change. After that comes getting a great start from P2-P4. Barring those events, you have to wait for the leader to make a mistake or suffer a reliability related failure.

      Hamilton is by far the best qualifier in Formula 1 today. Vettel can keep up on some tracks, but Hamilton is perhaps the best ever at qualifying. He has the car to give him the speed, but the precision, the nerves on the brakes, and the quickness are his.

      Ferrari needs several tenths of a second of speed advantage to overcome Hamilton’s talent at qualifying.

      Hamilton is slightly slower off the lights, and this puts him and the rest of the grid in a shambles at turns one through three on the first lap.

      Given clean air and a well balanced car, he is tough to catch and pass.

      2021 is the next time the regulations will get scrambled enough to give anyone else a chance.

      I don’t blame him for being oblivious to Vettel’s record: they weren’t racing.

    Comments are closed.