Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Hamilton: Three-car pass was like Talladega Nights

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton described his pass on three cars during the Bahrain Grand Prix as being like something out of the film Talladega Nights.

The Mercedes driver took Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon in a single “exhilarating” move on the pit straight at the start of lap five.

“I kind of relate it to Talladega Nights, ‘Shake n Bake’,” said Hamilton, “it was really one of those slingshots they talk about.”

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix in pictures
“When I pulled out from behind Fernando I didn’t know the other two would be overtaking. I was quite far behind them but the slingshot I got from Fernando put me onto the others. And I was like ‘I’ve got to go for this, I’ve already spent a ridiculous amount of laps trying to get past these guys and I should’ve been quicker. It was getting in the way of me catching the guys in front.

“It was a nice risk to take but it worked out pretty well. I was really surprised that I got to the apex just nicely. In those scenarios you’re usually on the dirty side, go too deep or something, but it was definitely cool.”

Despite the progress he made with the pass, Hamilton said his failure to make up more places on the first lap cost him a chance to win. The Mercedes driver got off the line well but then lost several of the places he had gained.

“If there was a chance of a race win I lost it in the first eight laps,” he said.

“I had a really good start, I opted to go down the inside of Magnussen but I saw him move and then I couldn’t come across the left as I had another guy on the left. And then I was on the defence for ages and come around in bloody 10th and certainly it took a long time to get through.”

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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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57 comments on “Hamilton: Three-car pass was like Talladega Nights”

  1. Car or no car advantage, that was a ballsy move from Lewis. He just about made it and was in danger of going onto the grass. It was an all or nothing move. Somehow, i do not see Bottas doing the same thing if the opportunity was
    presented him. Max, yes. Vettel, yes. Maybe Ricciardo. But certainly not Bottas.

    1. Guybrush Threepwood
      9th April 2018, 21:35

      Ricciardo yes more than anyone. How do I know? Because he had already made that same move last year at Baku – only with a wall on the outside and in an under powered car.

    2. Ricciardo already did something like that in Baku last year.

    3. Bottas did have the chance GT,He bottled it and was quite happy finishing 2nd,will never be a champion.

      1. Bottas did have the chance Kb,He bottled it and was quite happy finishing 2nd,will never be a champion.

  2. This demonstrates how calculating, cerebral, and aware Lewis is in high demanding situations. This is what makes him and others, great champions.

    1. You made me laugh hard. He was yelling half of the race asking his engineer about his lap time and strategies. Hamilton is good but he’s a guy guided by his team, he’s emotional not “cerebral”.

      1. he’s emotional not “cerebral”

        Just because you are emotional, does not mean you are not cerebral. That was an overtake judged to perfection – irrespective of DRS (which the cars he overtook also had), and irrespective of car advantage.

      2. Agreed. Most races, especially when its not going his way, you can sense a real panic and unease in Lewis’s voice. Certainly not the calm presence of a great like Schumacher or Senna, who you feel could just be left alone to win.

        1. Senna and calm = not so much. Selective memory maybe?

      3. @miani

        He was yelling half of the race asking his engineer about his lap time and strategies.

        Because the radio wasn’t working properly and they couldn’t hear him. Surely you’re not blaming that on his intellect?

        1. Never underestimate what people are willing to blame Hamilton for

      4. @miani Conversely we barely heard any communication from Bottas over the broadcast, I can’t help but wonder if more emotion from him to drive the race engineering team would have had him pushing several laps earlier onto the back of Vettel – this in part is where Bottas / Mercedes let the race go and not just Bottas half-baked attempt at a pace.

      5. He was asking for strategy information, and the team was having problems communicating it.

        Go read Will Buxton’s column on Hamilton from 2014. You might find it enlightening, although you’ll probably dismiss it as fanboyism.

    2. @woolfy1 i cant agree with that statement. last year in Canada lewis was leading comfortably but he still wanted to know what vettel was doing every lap throughout the whole race. lewis wants to be updated all the time.

      1. So what? How are you going to drive in a 20 car field without updates. Is he going to imagine that somehow Vettel is doing a certain strategy? Come on guys. Nothing to debate here. No driver is a god and certainly Ham shouldn’t be held to those standards. If I were Hamilton I would do the same thing proudly. What’s the point of having information in your fingertips and not requesting your team for it.

    3. On the contrary, thanks to the computer to car comms via the pit engineer we are deprived from seeing what Lewis could really do if the decisions were up to him. I’d guess he’d mess up almost as much as impress if left to his own. i.e destroying tyres and damaging engines in some races and looking after them well in others. In Melbourne he’s already said he didn’t want to pit when he did, and also wanted to push harder, but we don’t know how that wold have turned out thanks to them being under full management of pit software.

      1. What are you trying to say? That Hamilton gets/needs more help from software compared to everyone else on the grid?

        History has shown that Hamilton was one of the first (in the no re-fuel era) to develop driving techniques to conserve fuel. So I’d argue that there is a lot of evidence that he can be cerebral and strategic, which the skills to execute them also.

        But I guess it all depends on what you CHOOSE to believe

  3. Guy in a car 1.5 + seconds faster than the others drives past them in a straight line by using an artificial flappy wing. Excuse me if I don’t find it that impressive. On the BBC they have an article discussing whether it was one of the best overtakes of all time. Ridiculous.

    1. I bet you struggle to keep it together on a normal highway. No one cares what you think is impressive.

      1. Robert McKay
        9th April 2018, 21:47

        Was it a cool moment? Undoubtedly.

        Was it one of the best overtakes of all time? Not for me, no.

      2. Touched a nerve did I? I hold a racing license actually, although only do historic motorsport nothing like this, and have never had an accident on the road or otherwise. So yeah I don’t struggle to keep it together. But if I was racing and drove past three much slower cars in a straight line I would not be impressed with myself. If you don’t like opinions that don’t agree with yours I suggest you move to North Korea or something.

        1. You struggle to hold it together in an on-line comment section. So I’ll go with Pat’s evaluation.

          1. @david-br How exactly do I struggle to hold it together?

    2. All 4 cars had DRS enabled, so it didn’t factor into his pass.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th April 2018, 22:11

      @tflb they weren’t that thrilled on Sky Sports:-) I’m new to Sky courtesy of ESPN – are they against Lewis?

      Anyway, it doesn’t matter how fast the car was or that he had a flappy wing since all except the front car had flappy wings and some of those cars probably had equal or better speeds on the straights. I think the difference between those cars on the finish line and different parts of the track is very small.

      1. @freelittlebirds No Sky are very firmly in the pro-Hamilton camp!

    4. @tflb The pass itself all came down to the braking into T1, that was the most impressive part, could very easily have ended up in a cloud of tyre smoke.

      1. joe pineapples
        10th April 2018, 10:21


    5. @tflb
      No more impressive than the way Schumacher used to dive in between backmarkers who seemed scared to get in his way but held everyone else up.
      Ocon and Hulkenburg certainly wern’t going to make Lewis’ job as hard as Lewis did for Max.

      Note that Hulkenburg was 100 seconds slower over the race and the other two were even further behind.
      Even Gasly in 4th finished 56 seconds behind Lewis. These times are huge. Ferrari and Merc are racing in a different class within this Formula.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    9th April 2018, 21:40

    My view on this overtake is that it was smart thinking by Hamilton, rather that a really impressive overtake. He could basically see the other cars squabbling for position and will have worked out that given his speed advantage, he could get them. But as they were fighting for position, they will have lost a bit of speed. This pass won’t have been that difficult. But Hamilton judged it to perfection. But I think it is being rather overlooked in terms of being an absolutely stunning overtake.

    1. Absolutely.

    2. Were you of the same opinion when Ricciardo did the same last year in Baku?…,. Asking for a friend

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        10th April 2018, 9:21

        I think it was possibly a bit overlooked as massa’s rear damper was broken at that stage. Although he also had to overtake stroll, who had far quicker straight line speed.

        I still think it was a little more impressive though. The 2 Renault engined cars that Hamilton overtook will have had nothing like the speed and Ocon changed his line so much that he will have lost a huge amount of speed too.

    3. @thegianthogweed Agreed, it was an instinctive, opportunistic move the pace advantage was clearly but as I mentioned above getting it slowed in time for T1 was the most impressive part.

  5. Dayum, son! That Mer-cedes boy wuz drivin’ that thing like he stole it! You know wut us Aly-bamy boys say- if you ain’t first, you’re last!

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th April 2018, 22:01

      ha-ha :-)

  6. His car was quicker? Yeah, but on the straight they are all the same.
    Wasn’t he overtaken by Verstappen moments before?
    Smart thinking, good driving.

    1. Yes Verstappen’s overtake in slower car was much more impressive but sadly for him nobody moved out of his way like they did for Lewis and Max gets called the ‘d#ckhead’. Lewis just wants everything his own way. If only Ocon and Hulkenburg had squeezed him him out, then he’d have been the d#ckhead.

  7. pastaman (@)
    9th April 2018, 23:13

    Shake and bake!

  8. Neil (@neilosjames)
    9th April 2018, 23:51

    Great to watch, and a very well-executed, brave move.

    Yes he had DRS (like Alonso and Hulkenberg did), but he also had to judge a late-braking move down the dirty side of the track just after a VSC period will have messed up his and everyone else’s brake and tyre temperatures. So it was more than just a standard highway pass…

  9. I dont think it was impressive, he was bold for sure but he has the best car in the grid and that straight is so wide that 5 cars can run at the same time. May be this is impressive for his fans.

    1. May be this is impressive for his fans.

      not his fan and can’t confirm.

      1. because tbh that was pretty impressive – maybe not as good as Fangio’s drive in DE in 1957 but that’s not a fair comparison

  10. It was much more a case of right place, right time, than it being a calculated move. He had a massive speed advantage and those slower cars were falling over themselves. Exciting to look at, but nothing special.

    1. I disagree, in my opinion the move itself wasn’t that much to write home about, but the fact that Hamilton recognized what was going on, saw the opportunity and put his car in the right place at the right time instead of just passing Alonso and tucking in behind Hulkenburg like he was supposed to, was very impressive.

  11. It was a nice move.. not great and with a lot of luck.. the luck of a champion probably.

  12. Remarkable enough all commentators hailed the overtake Hamilton made on 3 cars as the overtake of the year, while they condemned Max’s overtake on Hamilton as an overagressive immature fault.
    Comparing 2 photographs of the first line up of the overtakes everyone can see that Ham. starts his overtake on the exact same spot as Max did. An areal view of both moves show exactly the same trajectory of what follows and video comparison shows Ham. finalizing his overtake at the outer white line on the left hand of the following corner. Ham. was able to make the overtake because Ocon darted to off the left and backed out as did the other participants by braking.
    So, concluding my observation I think that Ham. was able to make his overtake because the other participants were mature enough to take their loss and not wrecklessly defending their positions while Ham. was childish enough to deny Max’s overtake on him.

  13. Califormula1fan
    10th April 2018, 11:02

    Once upon a time, long before I was a fan of Formula 1, I was at a famous hotel in Shanghai waiting for a friend. While I waited in the lobby, a fellow wearing a Ferrari jacket was sitting next to me. It was the weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix, and I asked him “Are you with the Ferrari team?”, “Yes.” He replied. “Oh, what’s your job on the team?” I asked. “I drive the car.” He answered. Just then, a gaggle of Ferrari folks appeared, and one woman called out, “Michael, what are you doing? It’s time to go!”

    Yes indeed; I had talked to Michael himself. His answer has stuck with me. Yes, he was on the team and his job was driving the car.

    His answer colors my view of the sport as a team sport: driving is a team position, important, visible, uniquely skilled, and often enormously confident, no doubt. But there was never a great driver who became great without a great team working with him. It is difficult to separate one from the other.

    I don’t think Lewis, Seb or Fernando would answer the question any different from Michael: they all are keenly aware it is a team sport.

    I don’t think there are more than five drivers on the grid that could win a WDC in a Mercedes, and probably only three that could win it in this year’s Ferrari. Maybe next year McLaren will be ascendant?

    In any case; it takes a team to win in Formula 1.

  14. Didn’t all three cars finish a lap down? They wern’t even in the same F1 race as Merc and Ferrari. That tells you all you need to know. They were sitting ducks who also moved out of his way to avoid collision, ironic huh Lewis?

    The BBC are comparing this to Mansell on Piquet and Senna on Prost in equal cars.
    Like @tflb says it’s a sad state when we now have to look to back-markers being overtaken to big-up the sport.
    Prepare to be ‘stunned’ the day Vettel overtakes 2 Williams at once. How about we just have reverse grids and every race we’ll have org#sms

  15. Great move but Hamilton is so so cautious when starting in the middle of the pack nowadays. I wonder if this is what how Max will be like in 9 years time!

  16. 919EVO would’ve shaked and baked 4 of them including lewis’ Merc

  17. @tflb
    If you could brake so late within such a tight angle and not loose the car then speak if not shut it and let those who enjoyed the move enjoy it

    1. So to hold an opinion I have to be an F1 driver do I? I guess that disqualifies you then as well. The main purpose of comments sections is debate so don’t tell people to shut up, rather make a relevant point in a civil manner. You failed on both counts.

  18. For me it was really more opportunistic than extraordinary, like he said, he had more traction than the others, more slipstream, almost no marbles on the dirty side, and the most important, I think all drivers being overtaken knew that was pointless to fight with Hamilton, due to the performance difference. Why fight for position with him if you are going to be overtaken by him anyway on the following lap? No comparison really with the Piquet , Mansell and Prost moves.

  19. Ricciardo did it last year in Baku; Lewis was very very cautious in the first laps, got passed by Alonso and Max, but i think it was the right thing to do.
    The move though was awesome. DRS or not. More so because he has been very cautious lately. Last year especially in contrast with Vettel which had a few banzai moves. Maybe he feels/knows he won’t enjoy the same car advantage this year. Bodes well for the rest of the season.

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