Hamilton raised his game after losing title to Rosberg – Lowe

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s championship defeat to Nico Rosberg in 2016 drove him to a higher level, Williams technical Paddy Lowe believes.

Lowe, who worked with Hamilton at McLaren and Mercedes until 2016, said he believes losing the title to Rosberg two years ago “strengthened his focus on his approach to racing.”

Since then the 2018 champion has become even harder to beat, says Lowe.

“I think he’s driven two terrific seasons. Two of his strongest seasons of all these last two years.

“The 2016 year was one he didn’t win and he probably believes he could have won it so that was a good motivation for him to understand how to strengthen his game. And we’ve seen that the last two years.”

Lowe believes Hamilton has “outclassed” his championship rival of the last two seasons, Sebastian Vettel.

“He’s become a very difficult driver to beat. We’ve seen Sebastian has struggled to beat him this year. There have been losses in all sorts of different area but even just as a driver matching I think Lewis has outclassed Sebastian.

“That’s been one of the mismatches, there have been other mismatches in terms of the teamwork. One team has performed better than the other team top to bottom. But on top of it all is Lewis who’s just a phenomenal driver.

Hamilton, who has become the third driver in Formula 1 history to win the world championship five times, is becoming one of the sport’s greats, says Lowe.

“I think he will be seen to be one of the greatest in the sport in due course. It’s difficult to compare across eras but he’s got to end up on your fingers of one hand of the best drivers in that category, the top five.”

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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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47 comments on “Hamilton raised his game after losing title to Rosberg – Lowe”

  1. (Warning: Williams snark alert)

    Ah, so that’s William’s long game. They’ll raise their game now after losing to everyone.

    1. I feel sad while laughing at that one @phylyp

  2. We know that old saying, behind every great man is a great woman.

    I think most have noticed that Lewis has a close relationship with his girl friday, Angela Cullen, is it she who keeps his head in order to deliver the increasing consistency of the past few seasons?

    1. @frasier – Is she the blonde lady who hands him stuff getting into the car, and receives him in the pitlane if he’s retired the car? I think she’s been described as his physio (but yes, their role widens with different drivers).

      1. Yes, that’s the one

    2. Her and Marc Hynes. He’s been with Hamilton since the F3 days. (The tall guy with the beard in the background.) The three of them pretty much spend the whole season together. It obviously works.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        31st October 2018, 11:43

        Is that the same guy who beat Jenson Button to the British F3 title?

          1. Yes, same guy. Been a family friend since the early days. Usually him, Angela and Lewis on the vlogs when they are out and about between races.

  3. I thought Lewis did get a little complacent after he won the 2015 title. He thought he could beat Rosberg comfortably while performing at 90%. The last few races of 2015 and the opening few races of 2016 just showed that slight degree of distraction or complacency in Hamilton’s focus, and he paid the price for it when he narrowly missed out on the 2016 title.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still thought he was the better driver of the two in 2016, and would have won the title if it wasn’t for an engine failure at Malaysia, yet, he could have won the 2016 title with much more ease if he was 101% focused.

    I would have to agree with Lowe that the 2016 loss made him bounce back better than ever in 2017, and that same run of form has continued to 2018. If Hamilton can keep his motivation and focus up, then Vettel’s going to probably get smashed again in 2019.

    1. If Hamilton can keep his motivation and focus up, then Vettel’s going to probably get smashed again in 2019.

      @todfod – while Hamilton’s die-hard fans might like that, I want Vettel to come back in 2019 with a better mindset and give us a battle royale. I wouldn’t care too much who wins, as long as they entertain us.

      1. @todfog
        Lew did get complacent a few years back, but he was awesome this year.
        Nico would not won if not Malaysia. Webber would have won if not Korea.
        Seb would have won………have not won (enter Alonso)
        Senna if not 1989.
        Prost if not 1990.

        The list goes on .

        I am happy Nico Rosberg was F1 WDC.

        1. Why are you happy Nico won the 2016 wdc. Statistically he was the worse driver. He didn’t win the championship on his own merit, but the misfortune of his rival.

          The best he can hope for is that people forget how it happened, so he can get away with saying he beat one of the most accomplished drivers to ever grace the sport.

          1. Rosberg’s title is in no way diminished by misfortune or excuses of people like you. 385 > 380 and that is what the title is based on. Common knowledge.
            I don’t think Rosberg has to worry about saying anything, fact is he is a WDC. He finally beat a childhood rival, that’s it. That must have been his goal and once he accomplished it, he was done. Nothing you say can diminish the facts.

          2. @dbhenry Ofcourse it is diminished by misfortune. Only in Motorsport is a competitior exposed to a risk entirely out of his control. And his rival succumbed to said risk. I make no excuses. I state facts. You can disagree with my perception of his wdc. But the facts remain. In F1 drivers are unfortunately compared to each other, this includes their performances. If you believe Nico was the better driver in 2016, then we have nothing else to discuss.

          3. Oh come on @dbHenry, you know better than that. No-one can talk about Senna’s championships without talking about Prost and vice versa. I don’t care which side of the argument you land on, you are a fool to believe that winning a world championship is all that will be remembered of your legacy, and no-one will be interested in the how and whys.

      2. Don’t worry, next year Ferrari will produce a race car with 80hp advantage so Vettel could cruise without competition to win :-)

    2. Rosberg won 2016 fair and square. Had a 9 win to 6 win advantage going into the final 4 races.

      Rosberg simply did what he had to do in the final 4 races and bring the car home with no risk.

      I can’t see someone like Schumacher giving away the 2016 title like Hammy did.

      1. Schumacher would never have let that championship slip away. He was an even more dubious driver than Rosberg. I am happy we have such a positive driver in Lewis that can win championships fairly.

      2. @ anon.

        Firstly, his name is Lewis Hamilton.

        Secondly, you are right. Michael Schumacher probably would have driven into Nico to have won the title.

  4. It is Lowe of course who tried to order Hamilton to surrender to Rosberg in that last race to ensure Rosberg got the title. Hamilton told him to shove it, and rightly so in that circumstance where there was no risk in the constructors championship and Rosberg just squeaked it.

    I read Lowe’s comment in that light.

    1. No, The order came from Wolff. It was disputed by Lowe. Think there is a clip on youtube from that years Autosport Awards where Lowe was asked about Hamilton refusing the order, and Lowe’s reply was something along the lines that he refused it because it was a stupid order.

      1. +1 That’s what I remember too.

        Lowe has a point. Yes Hamilton lost the title because of reliability issues. But had he been beating Rosberg more convincingly that season, which was possible, he’d still have won. Or put another way, Rosberg did the best job possible, Lewis did what he thought was needed to win the title and no more, two titles against Rosberg already had left him a little complacent.

        1. The moment you said but, your argument lost all its value. Should have left it at the first sentence. Hamilton lost the championship due to reliability issues, otherwise he would have won it.

          Rosberg did the best job possible. I admire him for his volition. But he isn’t a deserving champion because of it. We want to see the best driver win. It’s unfortunate reliability is a part of the sport.

          1. 385 > 380

          2. @gufdamm That’s not in dispute, but the question is the point Lowe was making, namely that Hamilton himself came to the conclusion that had performed (even) better against Rosberg in 2016, he’d have won despite the mechanical failures. And that idea has pushed him to another level over the last two seasons. It’s fairly plane that Hamilton drove better than Rosberg in 2016, shown for example by the higher number of race wins despite losing the championship. But it’s also clear that Hamilton has made fewer mistakes since, especially this year.

          3. @dbhenry Daniel has suffered 7 dnfs so far this season. If his competitor been coming second in the races he won, and won the races he dnf he would still be losing the championship. Lewis did what he had to do to win the 2016 championship net his reliability issues. What more else could he have done? The point Lowe makes is sounds clever until you apply the circumstances that lead to lewis losing the championship. That dnf alone awarded Nico atleast 3 races he only needed to come second. In 2016 that means he didn’t have to try.

    2. Hammy lost anyway despite trying to crash Rosberg into the pack behind him.

      The better man won in 2016.

      Hammy lost in 2016 because he blew 7 starts, crashed in Baku qualifying, spat the dummy in Shanghai, should have been punished for crashing in Spain.

      1. Hamilton 5 – rosberg 1 End of story.

        1. And still I find Rosberg much better World Champion than Hamilton and Vettel. It’s not about the count but about what it has taken to achieve it.

          I also believe that Merc might have compromised Rosberg’s 2014 and 2015 seasons for pure marketing reasons. At least this is what I could conclude for the 2014 press. Expectations were that Rosberg will be very popular among fans due to his multi cultural background but this doesn’t prove to be the case as he appeared to be bit irritating fellow. After Spa all Merc did was putting Rosberg in disadvantage. Nevertheless he came back.

          In my view it’s simply that Hamilton has always been the better marketing machine – he is very smart on the emotional side. That’s made him the preferable title contender. For now he’s simply won two real championships and received 3 grants with no competition.

          In 80s, 90s and 00s we had 6-7 different champions per decade. In the 10s we’ll only have 3 – mostly backed by non-paying fans that have very little understanding of the sport. This is what I can see around myself.

      2. anon

        *Lewis Hamilton.

        1. Don’t bother, he’ll start calling him by his middle name again, let his obvious bias show, so people don’t get hoodwinked into spending too much time reading his garbage

  5. Agreed.

  6. Lewis is 1 of those guys who knows how to get back on that proverbial horse and ride the legs off of it. Lewis and merc (including mclaren) are a very well oiled precise machine. They go together like the perfect piston in the perfect valve…hehehehe!

  7. Rosberg was in an equal car to Hammy in 2016 and beat him.

    Vettel was in an inferior car to Hammy in 2017 and lost to him.

    Vettel was in an inferior car to Hammy in 2018 and lost to him.

    1. Oh dear, anon… you seem to have reverted to type… ;-)

    2. anon
      *Lewis Hamilton.

      Lewis would have won the title in the Ferrari this year, and probably last year as well. I suspect you know that. I predict more suffering for you over the next few seasons. Enjoy!

      1. It’s a nickname.

        Like Schuey. This is Hammy.

    3. The Ferrari this year was faster, on average at 9 venues so far this year, and equal with Mercedes at 1.

      So out of 20 races, the Ferrari has been faster or equal at 10.

      Definitely the inferior car. (Rolls eyes)

    4. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      1st November 2018, 15:00

      How is a far that failed 8 times to 1 equal? Delusional anon trolling away as usual.

  8. Hamilton, who has become the third driver in Formula 1 history to win the world championship three times


  9. I actually think he has driven his worst two seasons out of the last two years…hehe /s

    I think he’s driven two terrific seasons. Two of his strongest seasons of all these last two years.

  10. Lewis Lost 2016 championship to clutch and Engine related issues and not to Nico.
    Arguably he should have got on top of those clutch issues earlier which destroyed his race starts (better start was 90% of the Victory in 2016 as only 2 cars were capable of winning races and the car leading got the best stretegy). But those engine reliability issues just sealed the championship for Nico.

    1. Hammy blew 7 starts in 2016 effectively giving Rosberg the win before the first corner.

      This was the first season of manual clutches, designed to force the driver to have more control over the starts rather than letting a computer do everything for them.

      Rosberg didn’t buckle under pressure at the start of races but Hammy did.

      Hammy did have one mechanical DNF in 2016, but Rosberg was taken out by Hammy in Spain (accident that was 100% Hammy’s fault). In that respect it’s even because Rosberg was robbed of a win in Spain. Rosberg didn’t even win Malaysia 2016, so Hammy was lucky in that respect.

      The better man won in 2016. No ifs, no buts.

      1. accident that was 100% Hammy’s fault

        (insert Charles Jolly laugh here)

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        1st November 2018, 15:02

        Remind me how many times Rosberg had to start from the back of the grid in 2016?

  11. I’m happy Nico Rosberg is living his best life right now, but we need him in the sport again. Besides Vettel, I don’t see any driver with the ability to put up a sustained challenge to Hamilton in a good car. Maybe if Verstappen could get into a Ferrari, he might develop into that, but right now I don’t see him with the maturity of a Rosberg to handle a season of pressure at the front.

    If you look at Rosberg’s results again a slew of top drivers, e.g., Webber, Hamilton, Schumacher, it’s a shame he won’t really be remembered as one of the greats, but his life and his choice.

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