Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Hamilton: I’ve never driven a perfect lap

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he’s never driven a perfect lap in Formula One.

What they’re saying

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Hamilton: “You’ll never do a corner perfect”
During one of his pre-season media briefings RaceFans quizzed Hamilton on whether he felt he’d ever driven a ‘perfect’ lap. The four-times world champion’s answer began with a simple “no”, and he went on to give a fascinating insight why, in his view, “you’re never going to get perfect” in F1:

There’s nothing above Formula One. There’s no other class that’s better than this. If I was to perfect it would really suck and I’d have to stop.

But the great thing is you’re always challenged, the car is always evolving through the year. We pack on a couple of seconds in development through the year. Different weather, different weekends, different emotions, good days, bad days, right side of the bed, wrong side of the bed, all these different things are going on.

You’ll never do a corner perfect. There’s not one corner in a pole lap that you’ve done prefect. You can always do it better. You look in the data and it’s like ‘damn, if I’d braked a little bit earlier, picked up my minimum speed, on the power earlier, I would have been ahead.’

But I strive to find that perfect lap, pole laps particularly those are the ones I’ve tried to get close. And it’s a great feeling when you get close. But then you get frustrated when you find out you could have been better.

The 2018 F1 season on RaceFans

The long winter is almost over. The 2018 F1 season begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

We are more than usually excited for the beginning of the new Formula One season at RaceFans as this year for the first time we will have our own journalist on-site at almost every round of the championship.

Why not the full season? It’s solely a question of costs: The air fare and hotel fees alone involved in covering a globe-trotting 21-round world championship (plus tests) are huge, and there are furthers costs on top of this we have to cover. This means we have to take difficult decisions about which races we can and can’t attend. Unfortunately the latter applies to this weekend’s race, as allocating a budget to cover this one round would force us to miss multiple grands prix later in the year.

Of course we will still bring you news and pictures directly from the paddock and we intend to provide more and better coverage than ever before. Naturally, our future goal is to grow to the extent that we don’t have to make these kind of tough decisions any more. And as more of you are reading, sharing links to and supporting RaceFans than ever before I’m confident we’ll get there soon.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Have the Force India pair learned to go easy on each other during the off-season?

I think the Force India drivers will still be at it this season. Maybe not to the extent of squeezing each other in to walls and throwing away points for the team, as I think they’ve both matured from those experiences, but I expect Canada 2017 kind of races between them.

They’ll both be pressurising the team for orders and different strategies to beat each other, and there is no way they would do each other any favours. There will still be a lot of off-track tensions between the two.

Give your verdict on the season ahead here:

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

  • Keke Rosberg won the non-championship BRDC International Trophy in a Theodore on this day in 1978 in very wet conditions. Emerson Fittipaldi was second for Copersucar.

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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64 comments on “Hamilton: I’ve never driven a perfect lap”

  1. Although not an official company line I agree with much of what the McLaren guy said about electric power….dont build them. Thing is McLaren dont build any type of engine (road car engine is a Yamaha design sub contracted to Riccardo to build and develop), they are a coachbuilder for road cars and just a chassis maker in F1.

    1. The baffling thing is that on the one side McLaren is sceptical about electric power, and on the other crows about supplying ALL Formula E’s batteries: https://www.mclaren.com/appliedtechnologies/news/mclaren-applied-technologies-selected-exclusive-battery-supplier-formula-e-2018/

      It’s a bit like a sugar company knocking Coca Cola, in my opinion….and possibly points to a deeper malaise within the Group.

      1. Love this!

      2. @dieterrencken Unfortunate remarks to say the least. Also McLaren must be making good money from their fE partnership, it would be unwise and lacking in transparency to join formula e.

    2. I think you’ll find that McLaren’s engine was originally a Nissan design (the VRH35L) that was developed by Nissan/TWR for use in the R390 GT1.

  2. Personally no F1 fanwould weep at the loss of the Russian Grand Prix held on the single worst Grand Prix circuit on the calendar.

    1. Well done Baku!

    2. Sochi is awful. boycott? Why? Where did they come from with boycott. Journalism these days. F1 will have to brace itself…as sochi is still a long way ahead. Are we in the 60’s? let’s fail to kill 2 people via super outdated and classic style method… Nerve agent attack in Salisbury stops f1 teams dead on their tracks? The culprit is the boredom agent.

  3. A few things are overlooked this week in the yearly poll spam* (*sarcasm).
    Almost nobody seems to notice the ridiculous amount of efficiency the Mercedes PU will be able to run the first half of the season. Mercedes will win 20 races in this tempo. Or Bottas needs a skiing accident which makes Alonso temporary driver at which suddenly wheel-nuts, batteries, oil-leaks and stuff like that get spooked at Merc to suddenly break down the car.

    I’ve read the most pathetic excuses; ”Smoke coming out of Ferrari garages”….. Scrivilo per favore: Next year™, ”RBR is bringing updates!”: That I gave a chance but then I went poking; the guy that rejected being the helpless pawn Sainz became by spilling info to Tost about the Renault engine (also a reason of the ”STR-Renault Letter”) after Horner as the ultimate middle finger send Sainz as final pawn after Palmer ran out of funds is planning something. Who?
    The rumour is Danny Ric is planning to sabotage Max Alonso 2007-style because he was promised equal treatment in car development which made him reject being the Renault pawn as he is now stuck with no team to go.
    COTD is good but not seeing the man and team who have nothing to lose this year with the team which will not have a chance for another 3 years if Verstappen doesn’t get it now.
    PS: Hi there reader, don’t scroll down, I don’t. Or watch people’s post history and do some hindsight fact-checking.

    1. Conclusion: As I should’ve shortened this; Verstappen will be Lewis his toughest opponent but Danny Ric is gonna spook him in every way possible (maybe) even screwing with the Honda deal just to not end at Renault/New Mark Webber.

      1. You could have made it even shorter, 2018: Honey Badger Turns Evil.

      2. @xiasitlo Ricciardo has the ferrari escape road. I don’t think how can ricciardo who is virtually sponsorless, risk so much. Rb will try to dupe him and he knows it hence why he’s leaving the contract talks on hold. Rosberg signed early in 2014 look what that did to him whilst lewis was still negotiating. “Steering cleaning fluid contamination” twice.

      3. @xiasitlo Lol. So glad you yourself stick to the facts and don’t expunge on rumours, like you insist others do.

    2. I enjoyed reading this three times. I found that reading it backwards the second time, it finally made sense the third time.

      1. @david-br
        Amazingly, you are right. Especially the last paragraph suddenly starts making sense, it’s like you’ve cracked a code or something.

        1. I’m now going to apply the methodology to Ferrari press releases.

    3. You shouldn’t take so many blue pills…. :)

    4. @xiasitlo – Considering MSC’s condition, perhaps this line,

      …Bottas needs a skiing accident…

      should be reconsidered.

  4. Cool story bro….

  5. Good on ya Keith! Eventually you’ll be at every race, you deserve to be there with im sure all your tireless work to the site you’ve created (Best F1 site going around). Melbourne is an awesome place to visit and would highly recommend it. Even tie it in with a little holiday here during our (Australia) summer months. Im sure a few of us here in Melbourne would be happy to show you around the most liveable city on earth

    1. @johns23 – I believe it’s Dieter (not Keith) who’ll be doing the roving reporter duties, see the article linked in the round up.

      1. @johns23 @phylyp That’s how the plans stand at present, yes.

        1. @keithcollantine Have you considered providing some different tiers for supporters, as in, a 2 / 5 /10 Pound/Euro/Dollar addition to the current one? Possibly providing some special access to the paddock through Dieter and you? Could be in the shape of providing Racefans questions for certain interviews, maybe some sort of meet & greet at a circuit, etc. This could also give the Racefans community even more of a public face, I believe – thus attracting more people to the community.

          Personally I would opt for a higher monthly plan even without any boons – as I perceive the value that Racefans brings to be higher then the monthly 1 Euro.

      2. No Dieter at Melbourne – it’s too expensive.

  6. Thanks for the cotd @keithcollantine

  7. Regarding the Autosport-article: To some extent, I still wish that Mclaren did continue with Honda beyond last season as due to not doing so they lost their ‘de facto’ works team status as well, which is very much necessary to have a realistic chance at winning the Championships in F1 these days, but still, though, I can understand why they lost their patience and faith towards Honda.

    1. @jerejj Honestly I don’t see a Renault or an Honda engine win the championship in these regulations. It’s all about surviving until next regulations and prepare for those. And it will be decided this year. If the regulations go to a more standardized and simplified engine McLaren could well produce its own engine or maybe have a works partner with a new entrant beyond those regulations.

    2. McLaren were sold snake oil for three straight years, and the team’s very survival was on the line. There was no way the Honda scam would have continued.

  8. The Autosport article explains perfectly why Ron Dennis was so adamant on McLaren being works team.

    I still think McLaren switching to Honda for 2015 is still the right move. Without benefit of hindsight, no one really expect Honda will underperform *that* badly at the end of 2014, and even at the end of 2015 its still hard to believe if someone said at the end of 2017 McLaren Honda would be still struggling to finish races. While McLaren must be sharing some of the blame for the failure (the debate is how much), there’s no reason to expect why Honda, a big name in automotive industry, no stranger on building F1 engine, last involvement in building F1 engine is actually not that long ago (only 6 year since 2008), actually dominating previous turbo era F1 and returning to new turbo era, and have experience in building electric hybrid cars is failing that badly.

    1. Do you think anyone else would have come into F1 and challenged Mercedes, given they are close to perfection and were protected by the token system. Ford, VW, GM, Toyota ? Without a fluke, McLaren would have probably been in the same boat using any of those.
      Formula 1 is more secretive than the rest of the car industry which would have seen Honda take a lot from others. The first Tesla’s of each model sold privately ended up in Germany to be reverse engineered.

      1. Many people blaming the token system, but Honda’s engine failure is something so basic that no one should expect those kind of failures in the first place. Token system only enforced once a manufacturer entry is official. Let’s say a new manufacturer joins F1 next year, then it’s their responsibility to make their first engine performance at least on par with this year competition (plus some extra performance improvement to compete with next year version of current competitors). Before next year season start, they have unlimited tokens.

        I think most of us understand (and expect) if Honda will be weaker than Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault in 2015, what we don’t expect is they are that *much* slower (to the point it’s questionable if they can fight with 2014 engines) and worse, not being able to finish one race distance while the requirements is actually to last 5 race. Token system can’t be blamed when you can’t even make an engine that worthy of being in a F1 car.

    2. @sonicslv that is the documentary we need, not Grand Prix Driver. Lets fast forward to the end of the season, and STR-Honda managed to keep the momentum from testing and they have performed all year (bare in mind STR performing does not mean finishing ahead of McLaren, that is a ridiculous comparison). If you ask anyone here (myself included) who is to blame for the McLaren-Honda failure, pretty much all of us would say Honda, after all McLaren pointed fingers at them, the constant radio messages, etc, and it appears to the public eye that they have accepted those accusations (maybe this is down to culture as well, I don’t know), but all of a sudden they break their links with their previous partners, they join a new one in the form of STR and most of the problems disappear, that is intriguing to say the least, and that is something that I would like to see researched upon for the future, maybe with the new RaceFans department of Motorsport journalism investigation (good idea hey @keithcollantine). How was that relationship, what differs from STR (the margins things is just excuses, a good one, but still), why have Honda failed so drastically, considering their experience and how have they managed to turn a ticking bomb into a engine that works

      There is no doubt that to succeed in this era, you have to be a works team, McLaren realised that soon enough, but they failed, or their partner failed. The thing is they seem to have offered that advantage to RedBull, and we all know how powerful they can be, while reverting to the role of a customer that offers slim chances to future success.

      1. I totally agree. I have had my doubts since the beginning. I remember Yasuhisa Arai somewhere at the beginning of the 2015 season saying that the zero-size philosophy was complicating things because of being too restrictive. So I wonder if McLaren have lost the opportunitty to make a works team function properly just because they kind of treated Honda like if they were just an engine supplier, and instead of collaborating they just demanded. If you notice, they spent the first two seasons giving excuses based on how hard it was to communicate between the two parties. Yes, since then Honda have improved their operation in UK, but you don’t hear anyone at STR complaining about communication issues. Instead we are hearing about how works setup is providing the needed collaboration between chassis and engine departments.

        1. @colinmcrui Communication is definitely a big problem. But what I’m afraid of, it’s more about culture. As an Asian myself, the culture here is always saying “yes” first and “no” is like a taboo to be spoken. When finally its clear that they can’t actually fulfill what being asked for (and often when its all already far too late), they just say “I don’t know” or at best “sorry”. Then it’s deflecting the responsibility with “we can’t change the past, so let’s find a solution” or “let’s not blaming people but find solution instead”. In the article Franz Tost seems very happy because their engineers can ask anything, but let’s see how their 2019 car project goes.

      2. @johnmilk To be fair, Grand Prix Driver target audience seems for casual people and their story is a generic story about how F1 team prepares a new season. What we (fanatics) want is specific McLaren story, which is never in the producers mind in the first place (and I doubt McLaren and Honda willing to tell it to public).

        STR Honda test result, while looks much better than McLaren Honda, is actually nothing special. Yes they rack kilometers (with rumors they used 5 engines in testing) but it shouldn’t be seen as glorious achievement in the first place. Besides after 4 year, Honda should be able to make something that actually capable running long distance without failure. Its not that McLaren is blameless, but its very hard to not pointing finger at Honda because it’s their part on the car that failing. Unless you’re conspiracy theory nuts, we have no reason to suspect either one of them sabotaging the project. Actually at this point it’s very hard to deduce the problem unless you have insider info because the whole thing is just bizarre.

        It would be nice if someday we got the complete story about the failure of McLaren-Honda. Maybe in 20 years?

        1. @sonicslv hence the “fast forward”, this is hypothetical

          Besides after 4 year…

          We see that a lot, but that was said previously, after 1st, 2nd and at the start of the 3rd, I don’t think time was the issue, Honda failed for some other reason, and that is what I want to know, especially if they perform this year.

          I’m taking a sceptic point of view on my comment that is all, no conspiracy theory, not blaming McLaren (or at least not as much as I, considering the info available, blame Honda). I’m genuinely intrigued and curious to understand that relationship, but all this curiosity is based in the assumption that Honda will keep the momentum from testing and actually deliver a working PU to STR, which we do not know if that will happen.

          1. @johnmilk Yes I agree. I don’t mean to imply you making a conspiracy theory. In fact, I agree with what you said. Sorry for the confusion. STR testing sure paint a lot better picture for Honda, and McLaren’s actually makes them look worse. Let’s see how things unfold this year.

    3. @sonicslv #metoo.
      I enjoyed that bit where Tost goes on a scripted dig at renault, he loved to deliver that, and I enjoyed to read. Already designing next years car! STR seldomly have had pu supplier stability.

      1. @peartree At this point, I’m more interested in hearing Renault’s board of directors opinion (not Abiteoul) on Red Bull. First RBR and now STR totally humiliating them. I won’t be surprised if their primary mission of having F1 team again is to beat RBR.

        1. @sonicslv indeed, str and rb have made sure that, no matter what achievements it won’t be for Renault, speaking of cyril he partly to blame he started the RB renault feud that started the tag heuer cover up.
          McLaren might be interested in flying the flag, however McLaren seems to be more apt in crash landing.
          In the end the only Renault name is Enstone’s, I’d say Enstone are happy with the current situation, as it stands their job is safe.

  9. Am I the only one amused a couple of leftists succeeded in getting grid girls abolished but can’t succeed in getting the Russian, Bahreini or Abu Dhabi GPs off the calendar. Surely those are really supporting inequality whilst the other is just, well, a job. Money always wins I guess…

    If the above offends you please do accept that I won’t apologize for my opinion.

    1. That would make sense if it were the leftists that got the grid girls abolished.
      Hint: it weren’t.

    2. Are you sure they are even trying? Primary targets for the leftists are usually white-male-english speaking groups/ organizations who care everything about image I’m not sure if F1 was dominated by say the Eastern European region, language and culture or maybe even the French, that grid girls would have been banned.

      1. @flatsix Leftism and grid girls? Seriously that’s hilarious. And because one can’t ditch Bahrain grand prix or whatever means nothing must be done for grid girls? Nice logic. Also, the ‘a couple of’ is comforting you with the false assumption that only a small vocal leftist part of f1 fans successfully drived the entire community into removing grid girls but you got no stat to support that.

        1. @spoutnik So here’s a couple of numbers;

          -PlanetF1, 10835 voters, 79% says they should’ve stayed.
          -F1i.com reports 82% of voters on its site wanted to keep grid girls.
          -Speedcafe.com 82,67% votes for them to stay out of 7033 voters.
          -Racingnews.nl 88% votes for them to stay, does not show total voters.
          -Telegraph.co.uk 77% voted for them to stay, total voters 12k.
          -BBCSport 60% voted for them to stay.
          -Even on this site out of 607 voters 47% voted that they did not have a problem with grid girls.

          What I mean by my comment is mostly that the extreme left feminists choose to battle fights of no importance and ignore actual things that would change an average woman her life, you know like woman unfriendly religions, or sharia law, or the fact being gay is still punishable by death in 10 countries. But who cares, right? It’s more important pretty girls don’t appear on the grid because some can’t raise their daughters right to respect all and respect everyones choices.

          1. @flatsix You can’t just compile a few thousands answers and extrapolate to the 500 millions of F1 watchers. There’s just no stat about that, the numbers you crunched represent less than 1 percent of the viewers.
            And when you imply those people ignore real world problems like the ones you cite you’re wrong to assume that those people are in charge and are deciding whether to keep making business with Saudi Arabia for example but it is not the case. But we shouldn’t go further on that as racefans is not the place for it.
            Also it’s wrong to think so-called small leftists feminist group drived F1 into banning grid girls. It is a commercial choice from Liberty hoping to reach larger female audience and the recent surge about female rights was just a trigger for them to transform F1 into a more polished, all-audience entertainment and that’s pretty it. Complain about the people in charge if you don’t like this decision.

          2. @spoutnik With the polls I just wanted to illustrate a large enough part of fans saw no problem in having grid girls. I’m nor against nor in favor of having them, I couldn’t care less. What I do care about is how a small minority manages to scream loud enough to create a change that affects millions, all the while continuing to claim they are the only correct ones and act like their proof is factual whilst in reality they act on nothing but assumptions made from their skewed POV.

            And indeed then I continue saying this small group of shouters, proclaiming themselves as the heroes that are put on this earth to free woman from the male tyranny, hardly ever make any comment whatsoever about how in many countries women are treated as second rate citizens. They pretend there is a wage gap, a rape culture and several others myths easily proved wrong with a couple of simple facts, but fighting against actual abuse, not so much.

            To answer your last paragraph, do you really think they’d have banned the grid girls if there wasn’t the nonsense screeching from that small group? I mean literally nobody cared. To me those that say ‘I don’t want my daughter to aspire being a grid girl, but an engineer’ are the real sexists. Those are people raising their children that being a grid girl (or model, or …) is not okay, and you shouldn’t respect others their choices.

          3. @flatsix I don’t understand your fixation on a powerless small group but anyways Grid girls subject is a very opportunistic move from Liberty and those people wouldn’t care less (as they do on other subjects) if there wasn’t a commercial opportunity.
            I for one wasn’t too bothered by grid girls (there are more pressing problems in F1) but for example my wife welcomed this decision and always found there was not enough women in the sport, the only one being depicted are ‘no name grid girl’ or ‘wife of xxx’ – not especially interesting. Is the grid girls ban answering to that? not sure but it’s a part of a whole. If it can drive more women into following the sport then Liberty’s gamble could return dividends.
            And please stop with activists and stuff it’s nonsense, there are all kinds of vocal activisms from all sides, always. People in charge just pick opportunities, you’d better point to them instead, they are responsible and no one else.

    3. @flatsix

      It’s very simple: Just as with the grid girls, right wing fascists are desperately trying to prevent change and keep the current status. Only when right wing fascists are completely extinct races like Russia, Bahrein etc. will be banned.

      1. Hear hear.

      2. Always nice when my very sensible comment about your reaction being improper gets deleted,…

    4. hardly a discussion we want to have here or opinion enriching this site.

    5. @flatsix I like that after note. In html or whatever, it would be a button to press and add that.

    6. leftists succeeded in getting grid girls abolished

      Wait it was leftists?

      So what you are saying is if you’re not leftist you’re sexist. I like it :)

    7. Amused or bemused? In a sense it’s a difference between token change and real change. Easy to drop the grid girls, not so easy to drop the big money. I don’t understand your point about inequality. If you go by the Gini index, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey all have worse inequality than Russia.

      1. @david-br Couple of days ago we had two figures released in my country.

        1) 1/3 woman work halftime or less.
        2) Women on average get paid less than men do. (It is still beyond me how you could ever make a study that manages to compare a male and female that have the exact same experience and do the exact same job for exactly the same time)

        But if you point out that those two could have anything to do with each other you’re a bigot.

        There are absolutely countries where woman or minorities do not get the same chances the male or majority population does enjoy. But when one says to me men are privileged in western society I simply ask which right one believes woman do not have that men do? Or which right a man or woman of coloured skin does not have that others do?

        1. Well they are linked, just not in the way you’re suggesting. The fact women worked more at home in the past means they are less able to set the conditions for work, including wage levels, in the present, and still occupy fewer management positions, meaning men tend to decide what men and women get paid. It’s not necessarily deliberate (though often is) – it may just be unperceived bias, people don’t realise they’re discriminating.

  10. @keithcollantine is there a workaround for RaceFans supporter not to charge the credit card but take PayPal balance instead? I had a subscription to other sites that utilize recurly which just do that seamlessly.

    1. @ruliemaulana Thanks for asking, I’ll drop you an email about this.

      1. Also is there an easy way to check whether I paid my annual sub – think it was £12 for 2018. I had a new debit card in late Jan/Feb but not sure where the amount was debited. Wife keeps the account so don’t want to “disturb” her !

  11. “Every now and then you call upon it and you don’t actually extract it, but it was a perfect lap. I am ecstatic.”

    Hamilton after the 2017 Azerbaijan quali.

    But the more interesting question I have: What could AlphaZero do in that car?

    1. Talk about pedantic.

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