Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2018

‘It’s insane how little we were pushing’ – Hamilton

2018 Monaco Grand Prix reaction

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Lewis Hamilton says the on-track action of the Monaco Grand Prix failed to live up to its glamorous billing after he was forced to ‘back off massively’ throughout the race.

After an uneventful drive to third where he was unable to challenge the leading duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton told race engineer Peter Bonnington over team radio that it was “the most boring race I think I’ve ever participated in”.

Speaking to the media after the race, Hamilton explained that he had to drive especially conservatively due to graining on the front tyres.

“It’s just insane how little we were pushing,” says Hamiton “The least that I can probably ever remember. Just trying to stop the fronts from graining.

“And even when I did it, when I wasn’t pushing, the tyre grained. So it was just an unusual race where you weren’t pushing.”

Describing Monaco as the “most special race of the year”, Hamilton believes the action on the track is not befitting of the race’s high profile.

“I just remember driving thinking that it’s a shame that the race is not as exciting as the whole spectacle and what the track is like,” Hamilton says. “In qualifying, it’s epic. Through practice, there’s nothing like it. But unfortunately in the race, I think Formula One needs to apply a different schedule or something to a different race.

“You shouldn’t be able to do a one stop here. Did any of you (the media) find that exciting at all? On the racing driver point of view, we just weren’t ever pushing. The beginning was a feeler, but then you just back off massively. Particularly more hardcore for us, because we were struggling with our tyres.”

After being unable to challenge Ricciardo and Vettel ahead, Hamilton says he is still happy with the result from this weekend.

“I really, really am happy with the weekend,” Hamilton says.

“To come away with third after this difficult weekend for us car wise – we were the third quickest team this weekend and we almost got second so I’m really happy in that respect. I’m really happy for Daniel because he’s a great dude.”

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  • 31 comments on “‘It’s insane how little we were pushing’ – Hamilton”

    1. Is it an unfair impression or every time HAM does not win his comments are mostly detrimental of engines, tyres, blue flags?
      And the comment on tyres make no sense. One, why the other drivers cope better with tyres. Two, how better would a monaco GP be with more pit stops?

      1. I don’t think he’s bashing anything at all. I think he’s just explaining how little they were pushing and how that made the race boring ( which it did ). When they are not on the limit there’s less mistakes, less tension and to be honest the result was set after the first pit stops.

        The times don’t lie and the leaders were all being caught by every other car on the track. Ocon closed up a nearly 20 second gap due to how slow the pace was. It’s no ones fault, it’s just a fact.

        I agree that the race didn’t live up to the hype. Qualifying is often one of the best of the year so it’s a shame the race doesn’t always match that.

        1. Was the lack of pace by leaders not due to RIC problems?

      2. Apparently this race illustrated most clearly the negative effect of this tyre-wear regime on racing, this ill thought-out brainwave from Bernie is like all his gimmicks making things worse rather than better and should be abandoned. The motoGP model is far better, teams/riders choose the tyre combination they think they can win with, different strategies mean places change throughout the race.

      3. Was thinking the same thing and was about to post something about it, but dropped it. It’s like impossible to say if HAM’s complaining OR just expressing his thoughts.

        1. I think Hamilton makes a valid point, Monaco could have been a more excisting race if they weren’t forced to manage their tires . Whomever supplies the tires should have this in mind.

          Max Vess proved it is possible for the higher powered cars to overtake. Also Hamilton’s focus throughout the race was on finishing, and not losing too much points to Vettel, as such he was prepared to take another pit stop if he had to.

        2. it’s not difficult to understand. Really. Hamilton is complaining that the race was dull to race (and watch) but happy enough with the points outcome.

          I kind of wonder in these situations, without the team strategist ‘advice’ and precautions, whether drivers might not be tempted to risk a 2-stop say in part just for some more excitement. Surely Hamilton would have preferred to pit, put on fast tyres and try to gain the front? I mean they would drive more for the pleasure of racing, even if they knew the odds were against them. It would have added hugely to the race too.

    2. Spends the whole race driving slow to stop the tyres graining but complains that there was only one pit stop, unfortunately until the track is modified to provide a genuine passing opportunity, keeping track position will dictate the race.

      1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
        28th May 2018, 9:23

        I’ll never be happy with Monaco if they don’t put at least a safe passing point. The whole build up and glamour makes really no sense @emu55 since we all know that the race is a parade. You win by taking the pole and making having no problems (both mistakes or technical). May sound blasphemy, but Montecarlo is the antithesis of racing to me. Change the layout at the end of the tunnel and I’ll change my mind. Or put sprinkles to make the track artificially wet, dunno.

    3. The simulation I am more curious about would be a Hamilton v. Prost or Lauda.
      Hamilton’s complaints sometimes sound like a lack of ability to adapt oneself to the car/setup limitations.
      He seems to be the best driver one coud give a perfect car, but one of the worst to improve a setup.

      1. James Allison- one of the most highly rated engineers/technical directors on the grid- speaks highly of Hamilton’s contributions to setup and improving the car.
        Paddy Lowe- who worked with Senna, Button and other world champions- speaks highly of Hamilton’s contributions to the team and the car.
        ‘Gus Maia’- an armchair critic- thinks Hamilton “cannot adapt to a bad car” and is “one of the worst to improve setup“.


        1. Can you post some interviews or something where they say that? I’m not saying you’re wrong. Just that I don’t remember hearing things like that about hamilton.

        2. Well, as a professional armchair analyst I really do not have any inside information on HAM contributions.
          But I remember that even ROS was faster on adapting to problems from inside the car – If my memory does not fail – in Sochi and Baku.
          Apparently today Ricciardo had almost had to type code onto the steering wheel to win the race.
          In sum, HAM is not mostly know by his engineer/adapting skills, and we’ve seen situations in which HAM could not found a solution on a sub-optimal car.
          p.s.: I can only thank you for reckoning me a title i’ve study very long to obtain – armchair critic.

      2. Kerry Maxwell
        27th May 2018, 22:58

        My guess is that it would go like virtually every other match between an elite modern athlete and an athlete from a generation ago.

      3. @gus Maia. You can’t be serious, Hamilton not able to adapt. 🙄I don’t think he’ll be 4 time world champion if that was true. And plenty of times he has left his teammates behind in changing conditions……i.e rain

      4. As the championship leader, i think Hamilton’s concerns was not finishing and giving up points to his rivals. I think he would have taken another pip stop rather than risk the tires giving up on him. His focus wasnt on the race, so much as the championship.

    4. GtisBetter (@)
      27th May 2018, 21:56

      So if I get this, Lewis is saying that he couldn’t push, cause the tires where graining fast, but because pirelli made sure they don’t explode, you could go on really long. You just had to go slow. And it’s pirelli’s fault, cause they should make tires that make it impossible to go that long. But also are very safe, just in case you don’t listen to Pirelli and go way longer then they recommend.

      It is of course not the fault of all the f1 teams deciding that going slow and pit once is better then go fast on this track where it’s impossible to overtake by design.

    5. Hamiltons smart and at Monaco, from git go, knew in 2018 would not suit their cars and so it became a points collection race. My guess is that the fast tracks will give Mercedes the best chance for 25points. Ferrari close and either team could win but REDBULL now will reverse roles struggling to collect top five points unless both Ferraris and both Mercedes all fail to finish. Unlikely. DanniRic exemplifies how great winning is but was outdone by Will Power and his victory at the INDY500. The look in HIS eyes was one of intense disbelief while realizing what he had accomplished. Sort of scary actually but very satisfying

      Two great drivers winning the big two races this Memorial Day weekend.

    6. That’s not a “f1 teams decision”. It’s a fact.

    7. Qualified third, finished third, Hamilton makes a good point about the Pirelli rubber. “Soft” — ordinary, hyper, super, extra, max, ultra, whatever. Red, white, purple, yellow, who cares? Pirelli can’t produce an F1 racing tyre worth a slow speed circuit. Degradation, graining, heat levels, punctures, warm-up procedures, all killed any possibility of a decent race.
      Cost-cutting might be a “good idea”, but this Pirelli monopoly is a disaster. A “tyre war” is now a necessity. The cost of rubber is minimal compared to front wings and other very expensive gimmicks, and drivers (to use an Americanism) could “keep the pedal to the metal” and *drive* — rather than talk over the “team radio” and be told “you’re OK, not winning, not catching, not losing, but preserve your tyres.” It’s getting totally ridiculous.

      1. Agreed!!

    8. I can understand his frustration but they were the tram to pull the trigger first so what did they expect?

      They knew they were going to have a graining problem. Perhaps he should be discussing their decisions internally instead of just saying it was boring.

    9. Maybe Monaco needs a tire that will last the entire race with NO pit stops. For a long time, now, I have felt that Pirelli is allowed to have too much influence over the sport by making in-season changes to the tires and having too much say in which tire compounds will be available. Seems to me that if Pirelli is going to make ten different tires, the teams should be allowed to use any tire they choose at every race from among those ten. Not practical? Reduce the number of compounds. It’s out of hand.

      1. Yep. Produce three tires, soft medium, hard and use the same tires at all the tracks. Let the teams chose what they want to run, with no requirement to run two compounds. Will the strategies converge? Sure, but so what, they do now. Saves lots of money and make the races more interesting. This false requirement to run two compounds is simply to make the show interesting; it would be interesting without that requirement. So, either have several tire suppliers or make the single supplier just supply, instead of trying to make the tires somehow make close racing. Pirelli would look better, the racing would be racing, it would save money, and we would have a better show.

    10. RIC was absolutely pushing the tyres through the last few twisty sections to maintain his advantage over VET before the straights and his tyres looked much better. Perhaps that might’ve worked for HAM et al.

      Also, RIC seemed to have more oversteer which might also have kept his front tyres in better shape comparably.

      Just guessing, though.

    11. I still don’t get why nobody (in the top 10) tried a 2 stopper. Yes, overtaking sucks, but if fresh tyres are 4 seconds a lap quicker for over 15 laps.. Bottas had a massive gap (about 30 seconds at a certain point, still over 20 seconds with 25 laps to go) on P6. This would have been a free pitstop, as you lose about 18-19 seconds in Monaco.

      1. But you’d have to overtake the cars behind, and it’s nigh on impossible to do so. That’s the only reason Daniel managed to win.

        I’m in the camp where the tyre manufacturers supply the tyres, give a choice of compounds and the teams decide the fastest way for them to get from green light to chequered flag with a single compound. Caveat being that you have to qualify on the same compound but can start the race on new tyres if you want.

        Go soft with many stops, so qualify well? Or go hard without stopping and qualify poorly?
        What’s the point in being able to use a hard tyre in Q2 to start the race and then get pole with soft tyres in Q3?

        But the one thing we desperately need are tyres that are less temperature sensitive. Soft tyres wear out faster, but they should be bloody fast until there’s no tread depth. Hard tyres should be able to last an entire Grand Prix with less grip. No tyre should be so thoroughly delicate it can’t be raced on, and the current generation tyres are a badly thought out choice.

        1. Well, it wasn’t up to Ricciardo to make that second stop, but Bottas in fifth had a massive gap on the number 6, big enough for a free pitstop until lap 57. Bottas was aat this point on 39 laps old Super Softs. A pitstop from Bottas would have forced Raikkonen to stop. This strategy would have opened the way for Mercedes to change those awfully graining Ultra’s on Hamilton’s car. Vettel would probably counter Hamilton’s stop, and Ricciardo might have done the same, but could have chosen not to due to his technical issues.

          But if you hear Mercedes and Ferrari complaining about a boring race, well, a second stop from Bottas would have triggered more stops, and more pressure on Ricciardo. They were all driving 1:18’s/1:19’s, where Verstappen was doing 1:14’s on 15 lap old Hypers in clean air. If Bottas were the only one to have stopped, he would have closed the gap to Raikkonen in 4-5 laps after his pitstop. And if you can go 4-5 seconds a lap faster than the Ferrari in front of you, chances are you get a chance to overtake, even at Monaco.

          My point, Mercedes was way to conservative.

    12. this is the non winning Hamilton opening his mouth again. ive seen about 20 more boring races with Hamilton winning and then celebrating like he won the best race in the world.

    13. It was just a Sunday cruise. They barely braked into corners, they were not using their tires in the corners at all. They were just coasting past the corners. It was painful to watch from the onboards. (it was so visible in Vettel’s onboards) It was not racing.

      Verstappen was driving 3.5 seconds a lap faster than the front of the field well after his pitstop. Be it 3, it would have taken him 7 laps, 9% of the race to get back the time lost during the pitstop. 7 laps, 9% distance. That is ridiculously little time. That’s how slow the front was going… yet he had no chance to overtake. You have to be 5+ seconds a lap faster to overtake. That is 7% faster. Well, you would not be allowed to participate if you qualified 7% off the pole time.

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