Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2019

“I could have gone a second quicker”: Hamilton ignored call to stop fastest lap bid

2019 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton told his team he could have gone a second quicker after missing out on the bonus point for fastest lap by two hundredths of a second.

Mercedes told Hamilton they “won’t bother going” for the fastest lap and the bonus point which comes with it after Sebastian Vettel pitted to put on a new set of soft tyres for the final lap of the French Grand Prix.

“Of course I kept going,” Hamilton admitted afterwards. He set a lap time only fractionally slower than Vettel’s. He told his team afterwards he could have been significantly quicker if he had been able to prepare his lap properly.

“I just think you should never give up,” said Hamilton. “You should never be complacent and think ‘it’s not possible’. An extra point was available.

“Naturally the guys can’t know how I feel in the car but I felt like I had a little bit left in the tyres and there was only one more lap and I was like ‘I want to go for it, man’.

“Even during the lap they were saying ‘don’t worry, he’s got new tyres, there’s no way you can beat a soft tyre’. I still, as crazy as a driver is, just thought maybe I could get there.

“I didn’t realise I’d be so close. There’s things I could have done to have made it happen. I don’t think he had a perfect lap. I don’t think he had full deployment or something like that but still I think it’s a learning for us to continue to push.”

Team principal Toto Wolff said the team didn’t want Hamilton to risk crashing or damaging his tyres with an attempt to set the fastest lap.

“I think the biggest risk always when pushing for the fastest lap is to put it in the wall or flat-spot [a tyre],” he said.

“[But] by doing it on the last lap the flat spot argument falls away. And [Paul] Ricard having the highest safety standard he will know where to push and how much to risk. It’s different to when you push for the fastest lap in Baku or Monaco.”

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Lewis Hamilton’s team radio messages from the last lap

To Hamilton:Valtteri 16.5, Leclerc 18.4.
To Hamilton:Now we’re ahead of Norris we’re happy to go strat 14.
To Hamilton:Vettel in the pits, going for fastest lap.
To Hamilton:One more lap, one more lap.
To Hamilton:Vettel has stopped for fastest lap so we won’t bother going for it.
To Hamilton:OK soft tyre time now expected to be a 31.
Hamilton:I hear you man. If he doesn’t do the lap then maybe I’m alright.
To Hamilton:Get in there, Lewis! An absolutely blistering drive there mate. Awesome race pace.
To Hamilton:If we can go HPP three position 14.
Hamilton:Phenomenal weekend guys. Just so proud of everyone. Thank you so much for all the hard work, continued work. Let’s keep it up.
Hamilton:Was worth a try the last lap.
To Hamilton:Yeah copy Lewis, very close in fact.
Hamilton:How much was I off?
To Hamilton:A couple of hundredths.
Hamilton:You can never have a defeatist mind, you always have to go for things, dudes.
To Hamilton:Yeah, we were just saying…
Hamilton:I could have gone another second quicker if we had planned it properly.
To Hamilton:Yeah copy. It’s a lesson for us.

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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
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26 comments on ““I could have gone a second quicker”: Hamilton ignored call to stop fastest lap bid”

  1. He is really starting to get just a tiny little bit on my nerves.
    I do like and admire Lewis, but he is becoming too much like Fernando – in interviews always making himself look even better than he already looks, without any real reason why.
    Maybe he did pick up a thing or two with Nico in 2016…

    1. This was un-broadcast (on the main feed) chat between him and his engineer …

      Don’t let your bias detract from us witnessing probably one of the greatest drivers the sport will see.

    2. Is he? He castigated himself for both the lap and his poor preparation on the previous lap. I don’t recall Alonso doing that to often.
      As for making himself look better than he is, I don’t see that at all. I see it more as something Wolff has instilled in the team; ‘there is always things we can do better, and never give up’. You can see that clearly in the reply to Hamiltons message ‘you always have to go for things’. The reply being ‘yea, we were just saying’. So the team were thinking the same as Hamilton. They missed a trick and should have gone for it.

      1. I think he is one of the most honest and self critical drivers on the grid … well that’s my opinion.

        1. And it is a good one. He may not be everyone’s cup of team but he is always going on about how the whole team, him included, sit down after the race and say “what could I have done better”. That is why Mercedes and Hamilton get better and better each season.

          He did it again in his interview with FOM after this race in fact.

        2. Pure BS!

          When things are going his way, which they have been since Merc gifted him with a rear gunner (BOT) he was sure to beat, he’s fine as anyone would be.

          Merc made life very easy for him claiming they didn’t want another toxic situation like they had when ROS had a seat. Though he claimed he would welcome any driver as his teammate, he said ALO would never be his teammate. forked tongue.

          When adversity happens, such as the team makes a bad strategy call, he loses it and calls out the team for all the world to hear. When he was battling ROS for the WDC, he acted like a petulant child in many instances.

          Last year in Germany, his team ordered (not asked) him to shut off the engine in qualifying as it could ruin the engine. He refused to do so. Not excusable.

          True character is shown under duress, not when success is imminent. He’s no different than ALO or VER. Jensen he is not.

          1. I don’t think you understand that drivers react in the heat of battle.

            Jenson (I presume that’s who you were referring to) he is not. Jenson is a one-time World Champion, Lewis is a 5 soon to be 6 time World Champion. I don’t think he’ll be calling JB up for advice.

            The only BS post was yours.

          2. Jenson (I presume that’s who you were referring to) he is not.

            Certainly not, Jenson beat him in the same machinery by > 40 pts over a season

          3. How many seasons did JB and LH spend together as teammates?
            JB won one season. How many did LH win?

          4. And how many times have Schumacher, Alonso, Webber, Vettel etc ignored instructions from the pit wall and what is all this BS about him being beaten by Jenson, how many other drivers in the history of the sport have been beaten by their team mate in identical equipment.

    3. Ok this wasnt an interview. This was an unbroadcast message between Hamilton and his engineer. Dont think it matters what Hamilton does or say f1 fans will look for a way to criticise him

      1. They’re not F1 fans. For the most part they’re far right sockpuppets.

      2. And equally, don’t think it matters what Hamilton does or says, some F1 fans will look for a way to praise him.

    4. He is talking between him and his engineer right after the car, this wasn’t a press conference.

      Whatever one thinks of Hamilton, he is a perfectionist. There was a point on the line and he wanted it.

      His team probabaly did he right thing, play safe and not take risks for 1 point. But as a racing driver, you want it.

  2. Meh. What kind of F1 is this where drivers leave 1s on the table when setting fastest lap?

    Meh.

    1. The kind where you have 25 points at risk?

    2. And lost only to a racer with fresh tires by 200ths of a second.

    3. @jureo Why don’t you try actually reading the article for the answer to that question?

    4. God I swear half the people commenting here cant actually read

  3. So one Mercedes driver could have gone a second faster, the other couldn’t even keep up with slow Lewis.

  4. perfectly said Foggy. i agree 100%

  5. “I could have gone to sleep”

    – F1 Fans.

    1. @jblank You’re jinxing it for all the neutrals with the “hope the Mercs collide”, “hope Lewis slams into a barrier or his engine blows up” rhetoric. Try some reverse psychology next time, might be less tiresome ;)

    2. @jblank Just remember that Verstappen was offered a chance for Mercedes drive, but instead chose to go to Red Bull.

      You really keep blaming the wrong people/teams the current situation.

      1. I’m not “blaming” anyone, I just made a comment on the quality of the race yesterday.

        1. Yes I agree the race was somewhat boring, but as Lewis says, the blame is not with the drivers but with the technical and sporting regulations.
          However boring racing or not I still get enjoyment from the sport, but if you find it that boring why turn on the TV.

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