Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Monza, 2018

Hamilton wants more Monza-style fights with Ferrari

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he wants to have more race-long battles with Ferrari of the kind he had in the Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes comfortably out-paced their rivals in the last two races, leaving Hamilton poised to wrap his fifth world championship title. However he was hoping for closer fights with Ferrari.

“When we were having a race like Monza, for me, I loved that race and I would have been happy to have that every race following that,” he said.

“And I thought that was how it was going to be, being that they were so strong in the previous two races. They’ve just lost a lot of performance and then it’s obviously been a little bit difficult for them.

“Of course I would love to have a race right to the end. Every single race I want battles like Monza and other ones that have been like that, those are the races that I love and welcome them more and more. But unfortunately it just isn’t the case and I can’t let that take away from the great job that we’re doing and from our happiness.”

The championship leaders crossed swords during the Russian Grand Prix. Hamilton described racing wheel-to-wheel with his championship rival as the “ultimate challenge”.

“I love that we have those races and those battles and I wish to have more of them. Always being able to go head-to-head with the guy you’re competing with and see who brakes earliest and who falters is the ultimate challenge, really, of your mental stability under that pressure.

“I always welcome them and I’m grateful that we’ve had some of those moments like in the last race which the strategy didn’t work out well but it gave me the opportunity to show my ability at those precious moments.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 32 comments on “Hamilton wants more Monza-style fights with Ferrari”

    1. You mean more assists from his #2?

      1. @phylyp: Not Lewis’ #2, Bottas is his #1. Make it so, #1!

      2. are you talking about Bottas or Vettel?

        1. @johnmilk – I said assists, so Bottas. If I meant Vettel I’d have said hara-kiri ;-)

          1. subtle I missed that one

          2. That is hilarious, well played.

    2. “Of course I would love to have a race right to the end. Every single race I want battles like Monza and other ones that have been like that, those are the races that I love and welcome them more and more.

      As long as he wins :)

      1. That’s the best part of racing right to the end. Losing right at the end (or beginning or middle) is not nearly as much fun. Ask Seb.

          1. Or indeed Lewis himself (2007 & 2016)

    3. I’m sure he does!

      Having a car with a small advantage but ultimately winning is far better for his precious image than cruising around at the front unchallenged.

      Must be ‘terrible’ for a guy who tries so hard to be ‘cool’ in his social life, winning in such a (currently) dull sport.

    4. How has Mercedes managed to gain 0.5 secs so late in the season. This cannot be, Ferrari has lost time but they are not complaining about it why not revert their car back to Spa spec?
      Mercedes have not gained 0.5 secs on RBR, only Ferrari.

      1. We know from the GPS data that Ferrari have lost their acceleration boost that they used to have in the second third of the longer straights – that’s for sure, the acceleration profile was quite notable – but as to where it came from and why they’ve lost it is pure speculation. They also seem to have reverted to an older aero package, probably because the newer one was matched to the extra power.

        Also of note, Ferrari turned down their engine a lot more in practice – and further speculation is that they are concerned for the life of their engines.

        However, that’s not the full story – Mercedes seem to have made a whole raft of small improvements, particularly around their management of tyres, and Red Bull similarly have made some tweaks to their aero – most notably (to my eyes – I haven’t seen this written elsewhere, not that I look) their rake seems to have increased even more and they seem to be running lower.

        So it’s a bit of both!

        1. *Ferrari have, through this year, always turned down their engines a lot more in practice

        2. Peter Windsor and Scarbs were still speculating on the FIA being unhappy with Ferraris battery setup/deployment after long standing rumors of extra sensors and ongoing investigating.

          They speculated they allowed Ferrari to run with it the rest of the 2nd engine life cycle but wanted it changed when they introduced their third ICE of the season. The first two races with the new engine showed no change from the 2nd engine and so they stepped in and again asked them to change the way something was operating in the MGU-K/MGU-H/battery store.

          There is nothing concrete on this of course, but would fit with the reduction in useable energy for long periods of time. With this power reduction of course comes the need to reduce wing to maintain the same speed down the straights, and so now you’re fighting with more sliding in the corners and increased tire wear. And finally add to this that Ferrari is stuck with huge amounts of the softest compound tire for several races because of their selections being made months ago under the rules, and they are now compounding many problems at once.

          Or even if you disregard those rumors and stick with Ferrari having engine life concerns and thus limiting power levels, the rest of the knockdown issues I mentioned would still follow that. However since they also have dropped back in Quali, and that being the one place they would still likely push their engine, it seems to be a more fundamental problem and less of a durability driven concern.

    5. Well at least these fights are much better then driving away in the distance because the extreme power differences the last years..

    6. If Hamilton wanted a fight he would have allowed his team to sign Riccairdo on equal terms. Or moved to Red Bull and take on Verstappen. He’s had the best engine his whole career.

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        9th October 2018, 10:33

        His team didn’t want Ricciardo, how can you have 2 of the most expensive drivers in one team? Noone else on the grid is doing it so why single out Mercedes?

        And Red Bull don’t want him as they are all in with Verstappen. Apart from that, when is the last time they even thought about hiring somone outside of the RB program? Unless you believe Alonso on that…

        1. Not that I think it ever was a realistic possibility, Ricciardo to Merc. But they surely were prepared to have 2 of the most expensive drivers with Hamilton and Rosberg

          1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
            9th October 2018, 14:11

            Rosberg’s salary in 2016 was approx 16m. Ricciardo’s new deal is rumoured to be 70m across 2 years.

            Now couple that with Rosberg’s tenure with the team building up to that amount, his input in their ascendancy as opposed to a brand new driver who would not be able to outperform Lewis anyway and the two scenario’s are completely incomparable.

            1. @ftruth I’m talking about the new deal that Rosberg signed but never was put into effect because he retired.

            2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
              9th October 2018, 14:32

              @johnmilk the new contract was worth £18m a year, still significantly less to the tune of almost half what Ricciardo wants and again, that number was only achieved due to his tenure with the team as a kind of ‘loyalty bonus’.

            3. @ftruth I had the idea it was around the 50m for some reason, and didn’t bother to check if I’m hones as I was quite sure about that figure, I stand corrected in that case.

            4. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
              10th October 2018, 10:00

              @johnmilk fair mate 👍

      2. Big Joe
        So what you are saying is Hamilton ALSO knows how to chose the best team with the best car to drive for?
        Wow…. he is obviously such a complete champion. Knows how to control, manage AND win in ALL areas of the sport!
        Thanks for pointing that out!!

    7. We want that too

    8. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      9th October 2018, 15:34

      I think we all agree with what Lewis is saying but in order for that to happen he would need a teammate like Rosberg back instead of a little Toto Wolff lap dog in Valtteri.

    9. joe pineapples
      9th October 2018, 19:48

      Hopefully next years front wing design will take us one step closer to better battles and more of them.

    10. Battle? I wasn’t aware that sitting in another cars drs and saving fuel whilst they punched a hole in the air for you then turning up all the engine tricks towards the end and just blasting into the lead (again with drs) was a ‘battle’. Nice pass on Vettel at start though. Fairs fair.

    11. Arggh, Belgium SPA race is more entertaining. Last year Mercedes won on side by side straight, this year Vettel revenge overtook Hamilton..

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