Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

“It’s crazy we’re not in this race”: Hamilton’s full Mexican GP team radio transcript

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s drive to fourth place in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix clinched his fifth world championship title. But in total contrast to a season which has already yielded nine wins, he was never in contention for victory.

This complete, unedited transcript of Hamilton’s radio communications reveals how surprisingly difficult the race was for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton’s 2018 Mexican Grand Prix team radio transcript

Fluctuating track temperatures prompted some last-minute front wing tweaks on the grid.

PRTo Hamilton:Radio check
PRTo Hamilton:Current is loud and clear.
PRTo Hamilton:Loud and clear from the garage.
PRHamilton:Right now my diff entry is set at 12. It wasn’t meant to be there, right?
PRTo Hamilton:Negative. I didn’t ask to touch it. Suggest you go back down to five.
PRHamilton:What brake balance do you think we should have for turn four? Just got a bit further forward.
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah normally we move it a couple of percent forward from turn one to turn four on the first lap. So Valtteri tried 53% into turn one and looked good.
PRHamilton:With the diff exit should we have it at 12 or take it a bit down?
PRTo Hamilton:I’d leave it at 12 today just to avoid any sliding from the rear inside.
PRHamilton:OK. And diff init, should we go up to diff init nine or not?
PRTo Hamilton:Init, stay at seven.
PRTo Hamilton:And five minutes to formation lap.
PRTo Hamilton:So Lewis I’ve left the front wing where it was when we got to the grid. Valtteri’s come down one hole compared to where he went to the grid.
PRHamilton:How much are we down?
PRTo Hamilton:You’re talking about relative front wing?
PRHamilton:Yeah, since we started.
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah we’ve come down one in total. Valtteri’s come down one in total. But the difference between us, we’re down half compared to him, he’s got the more forward brake bal.
PRHamilton:It’s feeling a bit cooler?
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah we’ve now got the cloud cover. It’s going to bounce around like this a lot I think. I can’t see any break in the cloud from now on but the grandstand…
PRHamilton:Is the wind in the same direction?
PRTo Hamilton:There’s a slight tailwind into four but it’s very, very calm. Similar direction to what we’ve had all weekend.
PRHamilton:Felt quite gusty through the Esses.
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah track temp at the moment is reading 32, so still bouncing between 30 and 35 according to the cloud cover. Wind looks relatively calm at the moment, it shows a headwind through the Esses.
PRHamilton:Tempted to put in half a hole.
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah I’ll leave that up to you. Little bit of sunlight now but that’s going to disappear soon.
PRHamilton:We’re half a hole down to him, right?
PRTo Hamilton:Affirm.
PRHamilton:But more rear bal. What do you think? I mean it felt a bit understeer in the high speed but you just changed the pressures, so…
PRTo Hamilton:Yeah, affirm. It’s just…
PRTo Hamilton:90 seconds.
PRHamilton:Put half a hole in.
PRTo Hamilton:OK.
PRTo Hamilton:So let’s go for that first bite point find. One minute.
PRTo Hamilton:45 seconds.
PRHamilton:Just move me back just a little bit.
PRTo Hamilton:30 seconds. Go for the second bite point find.
PRTo Hamilton:15 seconds.
PRTo Hamilton:Last car approaching the grid.

From third on the grid, Hamilton immediately passed slow-staritng pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo but had to give best to Max Verstappen at turn one. Worryingly for Mercedes, Verstappen soon began to edge away, while Hamilton was unable to draw clear of the other Mercedes.

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1To Hamilton:So Ricciardo car behind, one second.
1To Hamilton:So think about diff entry, think about diff mid. Ricciardo 1.4 behind, Verstappen one ahead.
2To Hamilton:Lewis go strat mode three when you can.
2To Hamilton:Ricciardo at two seconds. You can go HPP two position 10.
3To Hamilton:We are minus 20 on rear tyres. You have scope on diff entry, diff mid.
3To Hamilton:DRS has been enabled. Go HPP two position eight. Ricciardo behind at 21.7.
3To Hamilton:So Vettel currently P4, Valtteri P5.
4To Hamilton:Lewis can we have HPP two position six. Verstappen ahead doing 21.1, Ricciardo 21.3. Ricciardo 1.7 behind.
4To Hamilton:So VSC, keep the delta positive, you are staying out.
4To Hamilton:Lewis give us some feedback on balance.
4Hamilton:Balance is OK. Little bit sliding on the rear.
4To Hamilton:Copy. Let’s have the brake magic on.
4To Hamilton:So incident at your right-hand side’s just Alonso pulled over.
5To Hamilton:Shouldn’t take them long to recover the car.
6To Hamilton:VSC ending, cancel magic.
6To Hamilton:Ricciardo 1.2 behind.
6To Hamilton:Lewis menu dash position two. Ricciardo a 22.0 with that VSC, gap 1.5.
6To Hamilton:Think about coming down on your diff if you’ve got too much understeer.
6Hamilton:Tyres are quite fragile.
7To Hamilton:OK copy that Lewis. You are target minus one. Current lap seven.
7To Hamilton:Ricciardo 21.3, gap 1.8, Verstappen 21.1.
7To Hamilton:Suggest coming down on diff high speed.
7Hamilton:Bono just leave me to it for now, I’ve got it.
8To Hamilton:OK.

Hamilton wasn’t left to it for long as it soon became clear he needed a fresh set of tyres. Mercedes were the first of the front-running teams to bring their drivers in, and it soon became clear they were struggling with their rubber.

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8Hamilton:Left-front is opening up.
8To Hamilton:OK copy.
8To Hamilton:So Verstappen 20.9, Ricciardo 21.6, gap to Ricciardo 1.9.
9To Hamilton:Go menu dash position three.
9Hamilton:Front’s opening a lot.
9To Hamilton:Copy that, Lewis.
9To Hamilton:Target minus three. Starting lap 10.
9To Hamilton:Ricciardo 21.9, gap 1.6.
10Hamilton:The car’s not turning.
11To Hamilton:OK, copy, it won’t be long.
11To Hamilton:Strat mode 10, box, box.
11To Hamilton:So racing Hulkenberg on exit, we’ll need to pass Sainz on Track
11To Hamilton:So Sainz in the pit lane
11To Hamilton:Out lap critical, Hulkenberg with traffic.
11To Hamilton:B-bal for turn one.
11To Hamilton:Hulkenberg car behind.
12To Hamilton:So safe to Ricciardo by 1.4.
12To Hamilton:Ricciardo in the pit lane now.
12To Hamilton:Strat mode three.
13To Hamilton:And we are going to the end so normal tag level, tag one.
13To Hamilton:Verstappen in the pit lane now.
13To Hamilton:So Verstappen ahead three seconds.
13To Hamilton:Just think about going up on entry and mid.
13To Hamilton:Check diff entry, it’s an error.
14To Hamilton:So Verstappen car ahead, Raikkonen car ahead of him, he is yet to stop.
15To Hamilton:So Raikkonen 1.9 ahead, he is yet to stop, used ultra.
16To Hamilton:And Ricciardo car behind.

Hamilton managed to pass Kimi Raikkonen, who was still running on older tyres, but early in his second stint he realised his tyres weren’t going to last. Ricciardo began to close in again, but a Virtual Safety Car period triggered by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s retirement gave Hamilton some breathing space.

16To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 0.6 behind us.
17To Hamilton:And Ricciardo has come through as well.
18To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 1.2 behind.
18To Hamilton:So Verstappen 20.4, Ricciardo 22.5, gap to Ricciardo 2.4 seconds.
18Hamilton:How’s Valtteri getting on with that tyre?
19To Hamilton:Valtteri has also stopped, he is progressing well on the super. His ultra also dropped so just need to look after this one.
20To Hamilton:So Ricciardo is a 21.9, gap 2.5.
20To Hamilton:Ricciardo 21.8, gap 2.3.
21To Hamilton:And HPP three position one.
21Hamilton:This tyre doesn’t feel great.
22To Hamilton:Copy. Ricciardo 21.5, gap 2.4, update us on your tag mode.
22Hamilton:This honestly doesn’t feel like a tyre that can go [to the end]
22To Hamilton:OK copy. The only other option we have is another ultra. Didn’t go too well.
22Hamilton:The front is opening a little bit.
23To Hamilton:OK copy. Ricciardo’s a 21.3, gap’s 2.1.
23To Hamilton:HPP shift position four.
24Hamilton:Struggling, man.
24To Hamilton:So Ricciardo at 1.4. Last lap was a 21.4.
24Hamilton:My left-front is opening up.
25To Hamilton:OK Lewis so tyre appearances looks similar to others around us. We’ll update you in about 10 laps’ time if the plan changes.
25To Hamilton:Ricciardo 21.4, gap 1.6.
25To Hamilton:So a lot of backmarker traffic coming up.
26To Hamilton:Ricciardo 21.7, gap 1.5.
26Hamilton:Left-front opening a lot.
26To Hamilton:Copy that last message Lewis. Others are being affected too.
26To Hamilton:Ricciardo’s at 21.9, gap is 1.8.
27To Hamilton:Ricciardo 22.1, gap 1.7.
28To Hamilton:Ricciardo a 22.8, gap 2.7.
29Hamilton:Big vibration from the fronts, big blistering.
29To Hamilton:Copy.
29To Hamilton:We’re going to have yellow, yellow.
30To Hamilton:VSC, VSC, keep the delta positive.
30To Hamilton:And brake magic on.
30Hamilton:These fronts are really stuffed.
30To Hamilton:Copy Lewis we’re seeing a lot of that on other cars as well, Ricciardo and Vettel.
30Hamilton:Are we coming in?
30To Hamilton:Negative, staying out, staying out.
30To Hamilton:So Perez leaving the pit lane now.
31To Hamilton:Just keep an eye on that front-left caliper.
31Hamilton:Times been OK so far? Delta segments?
31To Hamilton:It’s all been good, all good.
31To Hamilton:VSC ending, cancel brake magic.

After the VSC period Sebastian Vettel passed Ricciardo and soon began to chase down the increasingly tyre-troubled Hamilton.

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31To Hamilton:You’ve got Perez behind who’s a lapped car, he is on used ultra, he just stopped for those. Ricciardo gap to him currently three seconds.
32Hamilton:Lost the tones.
32Hamilton:You guys there?
32To Hamilton:Copy Lewis, we’re just having a look into it.
32Hamilton:It’s come back.
33To Hamilton:OK copy.
33To Hamilton:Gap to Ricciardo 3.8.
34To Hamilton:So Vettel now the car behind, 4.1 seconds.
35To Hamilton:Lewis go menu dash position two. Vettel is a 21.3, gap 4.0.
35Hamilton:You guys, left-front’s going to be bald.
35To Hamilton:OK copy.
35To Hamilton:Go menu dash position three. Vettel was a 20.9. Gap at 3.3.
35Hamilton:I can’t manage that time.
35To Hamilton:Copy Lewis we understand.
36To Hamilton:So Vettel at 20.7, gap 2.4.
36Hamilton:Feel like I’m driving bald tyres.
36To Hamilton:Copy, understood.
37To Hamilton:OK Lewis so SAN mode two. Target minus 12.
37To Hamilton:So Vettel 1.3 behind.
38To Hamilton:Vettel at 0.9.

Vettel made his way by Hamilton, who was soon alarmed to discover Ricciardo was taking over a second per lap out of him.

38To Hamilton:Lewis we’ve got Ricciardo behind, six seconds, he was 21.5 last lap.
40To Hamilton:Ricciardo a 21.7, gap is at 4.4.
40Hamilton:How’s it gone from six seconds to 4.4?
40To Hamilton:Ricciardo’s pace is picking up so the fronts may have cleaned on his car.
40To Hamilton:We have reports of debris between turns three and four.
41To Hamilton:Ricciardo a 20.7, gap at 3.2.
41Hamilton:You’re either giving me the wrong times, man, I just did a 21.8, how can he gain a second in a lap?
41To Hamilton:Ricciardo a 20.8.
42To Hamilton:Ricciardo a 20.9, gap 2.3.
42Hamilton:Big vibration.
42To Hamilton:Copy that Lewis we’re monitoring the vibrations.
42Hamilton:Is anyone else struggling like this?
42To Hamilton:No I think it’s just you and Valtteri, Lewis, that’s struggling. Ricciardo a 21.2, gap 1.5.
43To Hamilton:So Ricciardo will have DRS.
44Hamilton:Can’t see him.
44To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 0.4.
44To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 0.9.
45To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 0.5.
45To Hamilton:Ricciardo at 0.7.
46Hamilton:Got fucking nothing left, guys. These tyres are dead.
46To Hamilton:Copy, Lewis, we’re looking at the options.

When Ricciardo passed Hamilton, Mercedes bowed to the inevitable and brought him in for a second stop. Realistically his hopes of beating the Red Bulls or Ferraris were now over.

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46To Hamilton:OK Lewis so box, box.
46Hamilton:Put more front wing in. Put a hole of front wing in.
46To Hamilton:Copy.
47To Hamilton:Out-lap normal. Got 24 laps remaining.
47To Hamilton:You will be all clear on exit.
47Hamilton:Valtteri struggling like me?
47To Hamilton:Exactly the same.
47Hamilton:Just floating around on these tyres.
47To Hamilton:OK copy Lewis. So Valtteri is in the pits now. Vettel has also stopped for the ultra.
47To Hamilton:Lewis so we have Raikkonen doing 20.8 on 30-lap used super. He’s just on our pit window. Just on our Safety Car window, correction. So it’s a long way to go on this tyre. 22 laps remaining.
47Hamilton:What position am I?
48To Hamilton:Currently P5. There’s no threat from behind, Lewis, we just need to get these tyres ramped in very slowly, treat them well.
48Hamilton:I’ve actually been treating all the tyres well, they’re just going off.
48To Hamilton:So we’ve only got Ricciardo and Raikkonen who’ve remained with the one-stop.

Following his second stop Mercedes initially tried to keep within range of Raikkonen to stand a chance of jumping the Ferrari if the Safety Car came out and he pitted. But Hamilton wasn’t convinced this was worthwhile. He only needed seventh to be certain of the title even if Vettel won the race.

48To Hamilton:OK Lewis go strat mode three we’ll just use the PU, we just want to keep Raikkonen inside our Safety Car window. See what we can do with the cars just outside our pit window, Ricciardo yet to stop.
48Hamilton:What times are they all doing?
49To Hamilton:So Raikkonen is a 21.3 at the moment but don’t want to stress the tyres too much.
49Hamilton:I don’t really want to push to the end.
49To Hamilton:Copy Lewis so we’ve just got Raikkonen on our Safety Car window.
50Hamilton:Is that really important right now?
50To Hamilton:Something’s definitely not right when I’ve got fresh tyres and I can’t match their times.
50To Hamilton:Copy Lewis. Just keep the PU turned up and look after the tyres.
51Hamilton:Were the tyres finished?
51Hamilton:The super-soft?
51To Hamilton:Affirm, they were.
51To Hamilton:Raikkonen was a 21.1.
51Hamilton:Is Valtteri doing the same thing?
52To Hamilton:Affirm, that’s all he’s got.
52Hamilton:The left-front’s opening already.
52To Hamilton:OK copy Lewis let’s just focus on the management then. Keep it strat three.
52Hamilton:Where is the damage being done? I’m not pushing through corners.
52To Hamilton:OK copy Lewis. You can go to strat mode six, just need to manage this to the end.
52To Hamilton:No threat from behind. Valtteri 18 seconds, he’s doing 21.7.
53To Hamilton:Valtteri doing 22.0, gap is 18 seconds.
53Hamilton:Is his front tyre opening as well?
53To Hamilton:Yeah copy Lewis exactly the same.

With 16 laps to go Hamilton’s third set of tyres were dropping off. He was soon losing ground to Verstappen more quickly than Raikkonen, whose tyres were older than his.

55Hamilton:What’s happening up front?
55To Hamilton:OK Lewis so we’ve got Verstappen P1, just in free air. Ricciardo P2, Vettel has converted to a two-stop, he’s just behind Ricciardo.
55Hamilton:It’s crazy that we’re not in this race. Car is just… got no grip.
56To Hamilton:Yeah copy Lewis, we’re feeling the same.
57Hamilton:Even driving this slow I’ve still got not grip.
57To Hamilton:OK copy. Go menu dash position two.
57Hamilton:How’s Valtteri getting on?
57To Hamilton:Valtteri’s a 24.0. Gap is 20.2.
58To Hamilton:I think Valtteri’s struggling both axles.
59Hamilton:Are we the only ones in the race having this problem?
59To Hamilton:Only ones out of the top six.
59Hamilton:Every time I’m pushing it’s graining.
60To Hamilton:Just keep an eye out for oil, Ricciardo may have PU issue.
60To Hamilton:So confirmed, Ricciardo PU issue.
61To Hamilton:So we’ve got a yellow down at turn three.
61To Hamilton:VSC, keep your delta positive.
61Hamilton:Could we have pitted for new tyres?
61To Hamilton:Negative Lewis, we’d’ve been going to the hyper-soft.
61Hamilton:How many laps are left?
62To Hamilton:There’ll be nine when you cross the line.
62To Hamilton:Cancel magic, VSC ending.
62To Hamilton:We are all clear behind, 12 seconds.
62To Hamilton:You’ve got Grosjean who’s just pitted for a new hyper.
63To Hamilton:Seven laps remaining.
65To Hamilton:Six laps remaining.
67To Hamilton:Four laps remaining.
67To Hamilton:So got this group of backmarkers ahead. Verstappen, race leader, is 14 seconds behind.
67Hamilton:Are we getting lapped?
68To Hamilton:Just depends on progress you make through backmarker traffic.
68Hamilton:I don’t even know if the tyres are working.
68To Hamilton:Probably not, Lewis, probably not.
69To Hamilton:You’ve got three to go.
69Hamilton:How’s Valtteri doing on the hyper?
69To Hamilton:Valtteri’s now in the 21s so that’s also gone off.
70To Hamilton:Valtteri still 19 seconds behind.
71To Hamilton:One more lap.

Despite a gruelling race in which he came close to being lapped, Hamilton survived to the end and clinched his fifth world championship title.

71To Hamilton:That’s it Lewis! That’s P4 and the 2018 world championship! Five-time mate! Five times!
71To Hamilton:Championship wasn’t won today, mate but it was won through a season of solid work and some fucking great driving.
71To Hamilton:OK Lewis if you can go HPP eight to 13. And strat mode 12. You’ll be going to the stadium.
71Hamilton:Thank you guys so much for all your hard work. That was a tough weekend but as you say it’s a whole year of great work.
71To Hamilton:Yeah well done Lewis. Stop there in the stadium and take the applause of the crowd.

Hamilton was also played a pre-recorded message from actor Will Smith at the end of the race which said: “Hey Lewis, congrats man! That’s how you do it, baby. Just like I taught you, that’s how you do it, just like that, that how you supposed to drive.”

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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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22 comments on ““It’s crazy we’re not in this race”: Hamilton’s full Mexican GP team radio transcript”

  1. Interesting.

    1. Yeah, from the clips that are played out on air during the race I can see how a lot of people think Lewis is just whinging lots to his engineers, but when you see a full transcript like this you can see there is a lot of back and forth and they’re really trying to work through the issues.

  2. Wow, that is some good insight. This, coupled with the radio transcript from Verstappen’s qualifying brings a whole new dimension to the Grand Prix. Thank you and keep it up!

  3. Awesome stuff thanks :)

  4. We’re going to have yellow, yellow….VSC, VSC, keep the delta positive….And brake magic on….VSC ending, cancel brake magic.

    It sounds as though they have a computer controlling the speed of the car under Virtual Safety Car conditions.

    1. I think it’s more so a type of brake mapping that helps keep the brakes/tires warm with minimal driver intervention. I would imagine a setting that would turn regen on high while perhaps lightly engaging/disengaging the carbon brakes throughout the VSC.

      Although such a system may be dangerously skirting the rules about traction control so… what do I know? I’m just a spectator and this is just conjecture lol.

      1. Yes, I did speculate on the meanings of the terms too. I hadn’t thought about traction control, but I had wondered if it sort of did … nah! The FIA can peruse the engine management software so that wouldn’t happen.

  5. Bald tyres. Nice.

  6. I’ve gone to F1 panel discussions in London on Wednesday, James Allison was there and he said they now know exactly what happened in that race and why. He didn’t want to go into details but I hope it comes out at some point.

  7. Awesome content. These team radio conversations give us fans (especially those who are relatively new ) very good insight on race management and execution. Quite amazing I must say!

  8. People used to call out Rosberg for needing ‘coaching’ in races, but as you can see it was also Hamilton.

    1. What??? Have you ever seen a full race radio transcript from Rosberg? I sure haven’t. This is pretty std chatter during a race especially when you consider what was at stake and the bad race the Mercs were having.

    2. Must be new to F1

    3. The reaching continues……

  9. digitlarurouni
    2nd November 2018, 12:54

    Dumb question I am sure. But how come they don’t broadcast these while the race is on?

    Is it because of the following:
    – rival teams will know what’s going on
    – too much chatter will distract fans from the race on tv?

    Epic work on getting the transcript out. Fascinating to no end!@

    1. Too much chatter for fans is the answer.
      Rivals teams hear all radio communications.

  10. To Hamilton: So got this group of backmarkers ahead. Verstappen, race leader, is 14 seconds behind.
    67 Hamilton: Are we getting lapped?

    being lapped.. that would have hurt as WDC.

  11. This is really superhuman, how can anybody talk that much and still be able to drive?

  12. NotArseneWenger
    3rd November 2018, 4:09

    Wow. No wonder drivers engaged in on-track battles with their competitors will sometimes say “leave me alone now”. This is too much natter-natter when one is strapped to a moving bomb driving at 300kph!

  13. iirc MotoGp rejected this kind of driver coaching and remains in a different league entertainment wise.
    At least we can start worshipping race engineers as well as drivers as they clearly make world champions in modern F1.

  14. Given the altitude affected the aero and combustion/power, could it be that Merc’s new and contoversial wheel/tire cooling that made Lewis world champion was also affected?
    This championship was always going to be about Mercedes getting Lewis the massive tire advantage he’s often enjoyed.

Comments are closed.