Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2019

Vettel: Hamilton slowed because he was ‘bored and unhappy’

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel suspects Lewis Hamilton lost interest in the Australian Grand Prix and said that was the only reason he was able to close on the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton finished 20 seconds behind team mate Valtteri Bottas, who passed him at the start and went on to win the race.

Vettel took the chequered flag the race over half a minute behind Hamilton after being overtaken by Max Verstappen. At one stage he was able to get closer to Hamilton, but Vettel believes that was more down to Hamilton’s mood than the Ferrari’s pace.

“I don’t know what Lewis was doing,” said Vettel after the race. “I think he was probably bored and not happy because he lost the start.

“I think it’s not the first race where he’s doing something just to go round, he was just playing at that point,” he added.

During his second stint Hamilton told his team he had concerns about how well his tyres would last. Vettel said these comments were reported to him by Ferrari.

“I was told also on the radio that he’s complaining about his tyres but I think he made it quite safely to the end,” said Vettel. “Maybe he wasn’t too happy driving from that point onwards.”

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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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  • 38 comments on “Vettel: Hamilton slowed because he was ‘bored and unhappy’”

    1. I think he slowed down to make you lose the position to Max, given that by pushing he could have caught to Leclerc who could have ruined Lewis’ race.

    2. I have often accused Lewis of sulking and settling for points rather than pushing but I don’t think that was the case here. I don’t know what happened but there are better theories than this.
      Has Seb decided to start playing mind games and sticking the needle in to Lewis? As someone said in another thread that has never been Sebs way but perhaps he is trying a new game?

    3. Ha Ha… Was this a Driver in-joke by Vettel, or does he really not get it?

      This was Hamilton playing the role of wingman, and giving a us all a master class on how you keep that sensible gap to the lead driver.

      Its a shame Vettel couldn’t have been as magnanimous to his own team mate.

      1. Yikes… Hamilton finishes 20+ seconds off his team mate, and still people like you manage to call it a master-class.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          17th March 2019, 14:04

          @hugh11 Only thing Hamilton could achieve was P2. He did that with the smallest amount of stress on his engine. Plus he helped Verstappen pass Vettel.

          So yeah, apart from the start, it was “master-class”.

          1. He helped verstappen…. Lol.
            Fan bias is understandable. But be realistic if possible.

    4. Well, while I agree that sometimes it appears that Hamilton loses a bit of drive in situations like this, given the team found rear floor damage, and that most who stopped early seemed not to be very comfortable on their new tyres, not sure that fits here. And after that he had little to gain, so probably indeed turned the car down and drove to second.

      Might be an attempt at mind games from Vettel though, and by the way this race went, he’ll need everything he can find, so good luck.

      1. I keep reading about this floor damage to Hamiltons car. Is there actually any evidence regarding this (other than people just writing it on internet message boards). I’m not being negative towards Hamilton – I genuinely want to know.

          1. Don’t see any pictures in that tweet. Hardly citation.

            1. @jonty Oh, I see. You’re one of those people who assume everything Mercedes say is a lie. I *totally* agree that Mercedes not posting a hi-res pics if the intricate floor that is an integral part of their aerodynamics, that they normally try to keep prying eyes away from is clear evidence that they are making this up to save face for Lewis.

    5. I wish Vettel would opine on Ferraris use of team orders at the opening race of the season, with Leclerc actually being told to “back off to have some margin” when he asked if he was allowed to pass Vettel.

    6. Maybe this is Vettel’s way of saying that he was slow towards the end because he was bored and unhappy?

    7. A masterclass in how to minimize damaging questions to self – make an even bigger controversial statement about a bigger rival..

      Vettel has finally learnt how to play mind games. Problem is that Mercedes and Hamilton are masters at the game and so when they fire back, he will just have to grin and bear it.

    8. I’m seeing hairline cracks now

      And am I the only one who gets annoyed when Hamilton complains that the tyres wont last when its beyond obvious that they will. I know its to put rivals on the edge but everyone knows it now, so he just looks kinda stupid when doing it… Im pretty sure though that mercedes know when he truly means it.

      1. Yeh…a “stupid” 5 x WDC. Who’d have thunk it.
        Lewis does what he does and he’s incredibly successful. I know these digs are just people clutching at straws bit still… in your own words “it just looks kind stupid”. To each their own I guess

      2. Well, he said that when he had more than 30 laps to the flag.
        He went for tyres a lap later than Vettel, and Vettel ran out of tyres with 15 laps to go.

        So, don’t say “the tyres will last”, it doesnt depend on the tyres, but on the way you use them.
        Hamilton’s lasted until the flag because he managed them too. Vettel didn’t.

        The gap between this two guys only gets bigger.

      3. I can think of two reasons he said that (other than the floor damage)

        1) He was hoping that Bottas, who has historically been harder on his tires than Hamilton, might agree, whereby Bottas would have pitted, Hamilton would have stayed out, and since they’d still be running 1-2 Mercedes would have left the order as is.

        2) Goading Vettel into pushing and burning up his tires, thereby leaving him vulnerable to Verstappen, Leclerc, etc.

    9. GtisBetter (@)
      17th March 2019, 11:16

      I think it’s true. Verstappen came close, but he knew Lewis was just toying and had plenty of speed and tyres left. After the early pitstop Lewis knew he wasn’t in it to win, so he just drove around a bit, while he could go faster.

      1. @passingisoverrated

        Verstappen came close, but he knew Lewis was just toying and had plenty of speed and tyres left

        Verstappen said as much in a post race interview, I think everyone can see who is the team to beat. But Merc are not unbeatable, they just make fewer mistakes.

        1. Don’t fool yourself, they are unbeatable.

        2. F1oSaurus (@)
          17th March 2019, 14:07

          @johnrkh In fact, that’s how they won last years title too. At least 7 races with blunders from Vettel. Estimates are up to 142 points lost/given to Hamilton. If he had just kept the car on track and kept his eyes out for the rules, he would have won the WDC.

          Also, they were similarly faster than Ferrari in Q3 last year too and then Ferrari had the fastest car for the rest of the season. So to claim that Mercedes is well ahead of Ferrari is way too premature.

    10. No Seb. Hamilton had floor damage

      1. Have you got a source for this – genuinely interested.

          1. That’s a statement with no evidence. I don’t believe them because he had no contact and didn’t have any offs.

    11. It might be true. No way that Seb could knew what Lewis feeling, but it might be true…

    12. After the race Lewis seemed to know exactly what the problem was, but never shared the knowledge, so I’m guessing it was a setup error or car problem. For Mercedes it’s the ideal result though, gets Bottas’s confidence up.

    13. Come on, guys. It’s so obvious I what’s going on. Vettel and Hamilton are seasoned multiple WDC winners. They know very well the battle is 21 races long. And Hamilton knows his battle to the championship this year will not be with Bottas, rather with Vettel. So a long as Vettel finishes lower why not turn the engine down and save some life out of it. Vettel knows this because he too knows it’s a season long battle and and is just cracking wise about it.

    14. F1oSaurus (@)
      17th March 2019, 14:10

      At that point Hamilton was clearly managing his tyres. While at the same time keeping the gap to Vettel and Verstappen to hold on to P2. He didn’t have to do more, so why would he?

      It’s those little things that Hamilton does seem to understand while Vettel never gets it.

      1. exactly. The race was done. He was already p2 with a long way to the flag on worn tyres. why push?

        maybe that’s why he ended the race 40 sec ahead of vettel, who is complaining here that he was just driving around.

    15. The mind game is strong this season.

    16. Vettel has a good sense of humour sometimes, also probably half-true in this case. Lewis lost the race at the start, looked slower and had the situation compounded by pitting to cover Vettel (not needed surely: why pit to take on slower tyres when the faster set are still going strong? how could Vettel achieve an undercut being slower? or where they covering a potential 2-stopper or SC?)

      1. vettel was the fastest guy on track on his first lap after the pit.
        the thing is, why would he push those tyres if he had to do 40 laps on it? only if another pit stop was on his plans. and it wasn’t.

        hamilton was managing the tyres from the go after the pit stop, and that’s what vettel is complaining here.
        one got to the end opening a 40 sec gap to the other so…

        1. Wasn’t Bottas faster still a few laps later after Vettel’s stop? True that might not have applied to Hamilton. Or maybe it was Hamilton slowing down Vettel relative to Bottas after he pitted too.

    17. Man Hamilton’s already inside Vettel’s head and we’re only one race in. Good job Bottas has found his form again because I’ve got a feeling we still have the 2018 spec Vettel here and Ferrari are handicapping LeClerc.

    18. Vettel… are you perchance familiar with the psychiatric term “projection”? :)

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