Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Hamilton: Losing 2.5s to Bottas under VSC was “my fault”

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he understands why he lost time to Valtteri Bottas during the Virtual Safety Car period in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who finished second to his team mate in yesterday’s race, plans to make changes to his car’s dash display to prevent it happening again.

“I lost two-and-a-half seconds, or whatever it is, under the VSC, so had to regain that and, with only nine laps to go, that was not so easy,” he said. “So, that was my fault and something I’ll work on. There’s somethings I can fix on the dash to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Hamilton had been within two-and-a-half seconds of Bottas before the VSC period began on lap 40, but ended lap 41 three-and-a-half seconds behind his team mate.

During a VSC period drivers have to stick to a target minimum ‘delta’ time through each part of a lap. Time can be won and lost based on how quickly drivers react to the VSC period ending.

Drivers can customise their dash settings to ensure they receive the information they prefer during a VSC period. Bottas confirmed he and Hamilton use different configurations.

“It’s pretty similar but between us there are some differences,” he said. “We work with a personal electronics engineer, we work [on] starts and the dash, these kind of things.

“I’ve been pleased with the information and I think I managed to be close enough to the delta time under the VSC. It was a really important restart.”

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20 comments on “Hamilton: Losing 2.5s to Bottas under VSC was “my fault””

  1. On a related matter/side note, their steering wheel display outlooks are pretty similar to each other in terms of the size of the gear number and how the numbers around it are constructed. Nico Rosberg’s equivalent is more different, unique, and to my liking, neater than those of the current Mercedes-drivers. Out of all the current F1-drivers, my most favorite dash-outlook is that of Charles Leclerc’s.

    1. I’m surprised and impressed by this level of F1 geekerie @jerejj

      1. @tango Well, yes, and that’s because I tend to look down at the steering wheel during any car onboard footage and have been doing so for a while already, so, therefore, it’s easy to start noticing certain details on each drivers’ steering wheel most notably the DRS-indication lights and DRS-button locations. I just can’t keep my eyes off the display whenever it’s readable enough from the T-cam angle especially under the artificial lighting on the Middle Eastern venues and Singapore.

        1. This is what smartphones get you, you cant stop looking at screens.

        2. I’ll try it @jerejj . I for one always look at the following apex, as if I were driving. Which is pointless come to think of it

          1. @tango Same here although I can do both. I can focus on that as well even if I’m looking down at the steering wheel display, but TBH, I don’t really have to look ahead into the driving direction to know which way the track in question turns next due to how well I know each of the circuits, but multi-tasking to a certain extent nevertheless.

      2. @tango – seconded. I can’t even say how many screens are on the steering and how many on the car!

    2. I enjoyed it in qualifying after LeClerc crashed his dash said “stay positive”, obviously referring to the time delta caused by him bringing out the yellow flags. In my head it was his ferrari trying to cheer him up after putting it in the barriers :)

    3. Have you seen the dash after Leclerc crash.
      “stay positive” it showed, really!!

  2. Yes it’s the controls for the particle beam disintegrator. He will not be beaten by Bottas again bwahahaha.

  3. The virtual safety car always ends up with different deltas. It’s not ideal but… Oh well

  4. “Hamilton had been within two-and-a-half seconds of Bottas before the VSC period began on lap 40, but ended lap 41 three-and-a-half seconds behind his team mate.”

    … soooo, he lost a second then?

    1. Not necessarily. The gaps in the article refer to the timing at the end of each lap (note the wording). However drivers can see the gap to them and other cars at different stages over a lap in their cars. So it’s possible it was a larger gap at a different point, and then smaller at the line.

  5. From 2.5s to 3.5s gap… Doesn’t quite equate to 2.5 s lost during vsc.

    1. The article numbers are not quite right. From the telemetry (F1 app) HAM was catching BOT fast the few laps before teh accident; teh last data we got was 1.3s behind BOT when the Safety Car was announced (later converted into a VSC). At the restart, HAM was 3.5s behind according to the same telemetry info, so that is 2.3s ‘lost’. It is also possible that the telemetry Mercedes has is more accurate than the F1 app (quite likely) and HAM saw that he, in fact, ended being as close as 1.1s behind BOT before the VSC started.

  6. Jeffrey Powell
    29th April 2019, 11:44

    He caught Bottas very quickly on a circuit where slipstream and DRS are a real danger to a slower car , Lewis on paper could have caught him out on the last lap and won, ‘Old Monza Style’. Bottas appeared to have no fear of this , it just looks like they have agreed to only race on the first lap during the pit stop period or if the leading driver has to slow through a mechanical problem or is just markedly slower say on a new set of tires underperforming. Shame really but I suppose we might have to wait until they have won the MW.C but take heart at this rate it might not be that long.

    1. I do not think that is true at all. Lewis was clearly driving hard to catch Bottas and certainly would have had a good go at overtaking him if he had been close enough. The problem is that when the cars are so closely matched you need the leading driver to make a small mistake and Bottas did not do that in this race. Yes the straits enable the chasing car to use slipstream to catch up but the rest of the track leads the car to slide when you are too close and with tight corners and narrow track that is not good. I think if he had no lost the time under the VSC he would have won the race.

      1. Also, the lead driver can conserve extra battery in the places he can’t be passed to deploy in the places he can be passed. (And the chaser has to try to reverse the scenario by saving his for “surprise” attack.) This may not cancel out the tow+DRS but gives you a chance to at least keep the chaser on the outside going into the turn 1.

  7. Every single time there is a VSC he loses time. Silverstone 2015 he lost a huge amount of advantage to Rosberg, something like 4 seconds.

    It is something to look for…or not. He is winning everything the way it is anyway.

    1. I think it would also swapped back screen info from the Instagram to the race details

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