Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2018

Hamilton was ‘shouting in his car’ over final 10 laps

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton revealed he was shouting in his car during the last 10 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix as he feared a possible engine failure.

Mercedes discovered there was an “imminent” risk of power unit failure on his car during the race. Hamilton said he sensed something what wrong with his car.

“I could feel it,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been driving this engine since the beginning so I know pretty much everything there is to know about the engine and how it feels. Pretty much every note of the engine I know like the back of my hand.”

Hamilton said he had to not let the concern about his power unit distract him from driving.

“It was OK at the beginning but then I started to feel it not operating as usual in its usual harmony. For me, I can’t allow any negative or worrying thought get into my mind, so I just stay focused, I do a bit more lift-and-coasting, try to do a little bit less full throttle load even part-throttle of the load to make sure that you just go as easy as can on the engine whilst doing the job.”

Mercedes told Hamilton to make a series of settings changes to keep his power unit running. “There was a lot of great work that went on in the background with the engineers here and back in the UK who were really working on understanding what they’re going to turn down and tweak.

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“They threw a lot of balls at me whilst I was juggling all the other stuff. So there’ll be switch change, you do a default setting so you go one switch and you go plus, plus, plus, and you go to another switch and go down, down, down. Juggling that and they just kept throwing them at me.”

Hamilton was under pressure from Max Verstappen in the final laps of the race but held on to score his 10th win of the season and clinch the constructors’ championship for Mercedes.

“I’m really grateful that the engine’s finished,” he said. “For the last 10 laps I was just talking, shouting in the car like ‘come on, come on you can do it baby, you can do it, keep it together.’ Just willing on the car.

“You can just never imagine how crazy that feeling is in the car. My heart rate must have been above 190 those last 10 laps I was flat-chat trying to hold onto the car. I was already struggling with the tyres to keep the Red Bull, which was much quicker, behind and not let him get into the DRS.

“I felt awesome at the end when I managed to pull it cross in the car didn’t fail and I just felt so elated and just so grateful.”

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Author information

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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39 comments on “Hamilton was ‘shouting in his car’ over final 10 laps”

  1. Obviously I’ve been driving this engine since the beginning so I know pretty much everything there is to know about the engine and how it feels

    Given the engine restrictions and the season length I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying this season the drivers are doing the most kilometres with the same exact power unit of any time. I wonder how much this affects or improves the drivers feel for engine issues in general.

    1. I think when Hamilton says “driving this engine since the beginning” he doesn’t mean the specific engine used in that race, but more he’s been driving the Mercedes hybrid power unit since the beginning of its introduction so he has developed a strong sensitivity to them and how they feel.

      I may be wrong though, and no doubt driving the same power unit for so many kilometres they likely do gradually feel it deteriorating as they reach ner their end of life.

      1. he doesn’t mean the specific engine used in that race

        Yeah I wasn’t trying to imply that, it was more that was the jumping off point for my thought.

        1. Guys, I think Lewis meant this particular engine, He is right in fact saying he has driven it since the beginning,
          I honestly don’t think he meant the hybrid era engines, I believe he meant this engine, he watched it going in the car , did the first lap this engine ever did some races ago and nursed it all the way home in Brazil,

      2. i assumed hamilton was talking about that specific engine

  2. Interesting that Merc are claiming in all the news reports that the remote engine team helped the situation by turning things down in the engine (I quote: ‘They said that the exhaust was about to fail and we are overshooting all the temperature limits. They started to fix it by turning the whole thing down’) and nobody seems to be up in arms about Mercedes controlling the engine from a distance, despite them all doing exactly that two weeks ago when another team seemed to do it…

    Quoting from, for instance, https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/reports/f1/2018-brazilian-grand-prix-report

    1. Interesting that this conversation has been covered in threads on RaceFans already. The remote engine team provides the analysis and tells the pit wall / driver what to do.

      No conspiracy here – move along.

      1. I didn’t see that conversation. And if only people were consistent in moving along.

        1. yes we had this convo when max’s radio implied the same. marc priestly himself confirmed that there are bits of radio we haven’t heard……obviously.

    2. Did you not read the article? Hamilton clearly states he was being given instructions on what switches to change.

      1. Exactly:

        Mercedes told Hamilton to make a series of settings changes to keep his power unit running.

        So I think the answer to your question is no.

    3. Ugh. Tin foil everywhere.

    4. Either way, I’d still rather they take away the ‘control centres’. We need a bit of unreliability.
      Just think if Hamilton had just had to guess which engine modes to use…
      Get it wrong, fight Verstsppen or possibly blow up the engine.
      Get it wrong, absolute genious.
      Have the control centre tell him what to do? Remove all jeopardy.
      It’s bad for the show! :)

      1. @eurobrun – I rather like the idea of tweaking and modifying the way an engine is working whilst simultaneously travelling at 200-300kph and pulling multiple Gs on the curves. It’s a skill!
        If not for reports like this one from Dieter and Keith, we wouldn’t know about the dramas involved. It reminds me of the sort of support that the Apollo 13 astronauts received, where lives were on the line rather that championship points.
        It underlines the simple fact that F1 is a team sport where the team can be huge, and (mostly) not physically at the track. We’re a long way from Farina and Fangio in time and technology.

        1. “rather than championship points”.

      2. “We need a bit of unreliability”

        Please don’t say this to Danny Ric.

    5. Lewis has stated that he was given the instructions to scroll though pages of settings and turn things down , The FIA would be taking their trophy back had any rules been broken.

      1. sorry,
        my last comment for @hahostolze

        1. @hahostolze

          “They threw a lot of balls at me whilst I was juggling all the other stuff. So there’ll be switch change, you do a default setting so you go one switch and you go plus, plus, plus, and you go to another switch and go down, down, down. Juggling that and they just kept throwing them at me.”

  3. Sounds more than fair to me.
    I talk to my car sometimes and it is just a Peugeot 107.
    Can’t imagine how intense it must be to feel the performance dropping off when you are in a race.

    This would be a better story if he said the car was talking to him :)

  4. RebelAngelFloyd (@)
    13th November 2018, 15:40

    The usual proclaiming of Hamilton.
    When he doesn’t win with 20+ seconds, it is the mantra of car/balance etc.

    1. or it’s people seeing conspiracy theories everywhere. it was pretty clear they had a problem with the engine, they told him to make all kind of changes to the settings, the drop in performance was quite evident and he did say over the radio he has some problems.
      but to some it will always be “merc playing games”

      1. @terro well said. Ham and Merc are champions because they play the game so well… they have been peerless and have nothing left to prove, but still people try to find a reason to bash them… madness…

    2. Most likely it is with a superior car like that. It was actually weird seeing a Red Bull pass the Mercedes, no?

  5. For some reason when he says he was shouting Im imagining Jeremy Clarkson hollering “Coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmme Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!! Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!!!!”

  6. Number 44 Mercedes shouted to the engine and it held together, she truly is the 2nd coming of Christ and really enjoyed the balls she had to juggle.

    1. Who are you talking about?

    2. I think you’re trying to be sarcastic, but english can be a tricky language to get it just right in.

      You left out the part where Hamilton had to enter a number of override settings to keep his engine from failing while racing around Interlagos.

      And your translation software screwed up your pronouns.

      1. Spank you so much I will check this.

  7. If the engine was about to blow up, then that is a sure engine change for Abu Dhabi.

    1. Not necessarily. One of the other power units could still have enough mileage left on it.

      He did mention that he was ” … really grateful that the engine’s finished,”. Whether he means he’s grateful the engine finished the race, or that he doesn’t have to use it again isn’t entirely clear.

      Although if next year’s engine is ready for testing, maybe they should put that in his car, set it up for overtaking, and start him from the back.

      1. Grat – ” … really grateful that the engine’s finished,” – I read that to mean that the engine had done its full mileage and the final race would use one of the other engines. The engine used in Brazil may have been the “least bad” of the remaining engines though, in which case they might feel that a new one would be worth the grid penalty. Will be interesting to see what happens.
        If they took a punt on some of next year’s updates that would be interesting, there’s no danger of losing anything except face; there’s an opportunity to get some real-world testing done before next season.

        1. He was using PU #3 which was used at Spa and Monza, it is nowhere near the end of its life cycle. Also they said the issue was to do with the exhaust, so there’s a chance it wasn’t damaged and can be used in Abu Dhabi

          1. KGN11 – Thanks for that info.

  8. engine problems are usually how they get beaten…….

  9. What is the issue?

    Engine team provided a solution to fix the problem, Hamilton applied it in the settings menu and in the manner of great car whisperer willed it to the end.

    Can they change the exhaust without any penalties?

    Was a nice win, one of those that was won in a fun way.

  10. Peter Waters (@)
    14th November 2018, 22:08

    Yes, they can change the whole exhaust system without incurring a penalty.

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