Drivers, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2019

Hamilton: “Work to be done” to improve qualifying pace

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is looking to raise his game in qualifying after Valtteri Bottas out-qualified him for the fourth time this year at Silverstone>

What they say

Hamilton was asked whether he’d changed his approach this year and was less concerned about preserving his car in races:

I think I was a relaxed last year. I mean every year you get more comfortable within yourself and within the methods you use and the process you go through. But look our qualifying’s not been spectacular this year. It still is not perfect. And so there’s the work to be done there.

But the races have generally been relatively strong bar that one not such great result in the last one with a mistake. In terms of looking after the car, I still look after the car. Just what I find on the weekends, we have these engines, if you look at practice one I did three laps less than Valtteri. You looks at practice two. I think I did maybe a lap more. So I’m always conscious of it.

My trust in the car is incredibly high and I know what the car’s able to do and so I guess the experience of last year it just made it me a little bit more confident to push a little bit more. And being that it is so close I need to kind of try and eke a little bit more out of the car. And if it’s not strong enough then we need to make it stronger. But the guys work with their margins and I’ve been operating within the margin and ultimately you want to get it to a point where it’s close, but safe, as possible. And I think that’s where I’m operating right now.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Keith sees no reason for Mercedes to swap Valtteri Bottas for Esteban Ocon in their driver line-up for the 2020 F1 season:

I don’t see the point of replacing Bottas with Ocon at the end of the year. Bottas isn’t exactly underperforming, he’s doing a decent job, but clearly just isn’t a match for Hamilton over a season. I don’t see what they would gain by putting Ocon in the second car. He ‘might’ be better than Bottas, although even that isn’t certain, but he is much less likely to accept a beating from Hamilton, and more likely to cause some issues. He’s already had multiple clashes with his former teammate Perez, and of course the infamous Verstappen incident.

Part of me hopes they do put Ocon in the car, because it might lead to more incidents and clearly the Hamilton/Rosberg dynamic was much more entertaining for fans than the Hamilton/Bottas love-in, but if I was team principal, there’s no way I would take the risk.
Keith Campbell (@Keithedin)

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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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  • 32 comments on “Hamilton: “Work to be done” to improve qualifying pace”

    1. Can’t be bothered watching Clarkson’s video. You can’t just attach caravans to the back of F1 cars and expect the show to be better, if it was feasible Bernie would have done it years ago.

      1. @hohum I watched but couldn’t hear anything he said, too busy staring in disbelief at the strange growths he’s now cultivating. Two words Jeremy: eyebrow clippers.

      2. I did watch it, but I wouldn’t classify his criticisms as constructive. You didn’t miss much by not watching it. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, (and excusing his very frequent repetition of the “universal adjective” ) his way of improving F1 was for Mercedes, and Ferrari to leave. I guess that would leave Red Bull dominating the series. He said he preferred tennis (ball hit to the left … ball hit to the right … ball hit to the left … ball hit to the right) to watching F1, and his son preferred to spend most of the day watching the final of the One Day Cricket (“hit to silly mid off … 4 points … hit to fine leg … 2 runs … hit to covers … 1 run … etc”) where, after quite a few hours of play, the English arguably win beat my country because … well, it’s not important (actually, I think the umpire needs to learn to count, but of course, that sounds like sour grapes) … instead of watching a 2 hour race.

        1. @drycrust – thank you for the tl;dr :)

          actually, I think the umpire needs to learn to count, but of course, that sounds like sour grapes

          Awww :( But hey, I too was rooting for you guys, and was gutted – not at your loss, but how it went down. Your team took the defeat graciously.

    2. Love your Twitter post Keith. Like when people say there’s weather coming, or weather blowing in…. There is always weather! Are you referring to rain perhaps?

    3. Regarding Clarkson’s comments, I’d rather watch The Grand Tour than F1.

    4. Clarkson should $#@% off and go watch NASCAR.

      He’s an anti-intellectual luddite who moans about clever people being boring and whines about technology, and then wonders why no one in Britain can run a $@%@*&( car company without it being bought out by foreigners.

      He has as much business talking about making F1 better as Boris Johnson has talking about foreign policy. Most of the rules he’s whining about were created by his heroes being $@#%$ in the first place.

      Clarkson used to be entertaining– Now he’s just a whinging talking head trying to be relevant.

      1. Agreed, I used to find him amusing on Top Gear years ago, these days he just seems a total bore.

    5. Clarkson – now as irrelevant as a v12 motor in an F1 car.

      Dangerous driving and wheel banging are not F1 driving skills. Wheel to wheel racing without contact are.

      1. Ok but forgetting the goofiness and the entertainment aspect of Clarkson’s video, for that is what he does and should be no surprise, I don’t have a lot of issue with what he is saying. Oh of course we don’t need literally a lot of ‘wheel banging’ so much so that the cars need be stronger to withstand that behaviour without ‘bits flying off’ but… he references Villeneuve/Arneaux and that to me was the most significant thing he said.

        Note…we still talk about Villenueve/Arneaux to this day. And if anything, we just saw some of that type of racing in Austria and again at Silverstone between Verstappen/Leclerc. And it was exciting. And memorable. I think that is the gist of what Clarkson is saying. Note also, after Villeneuve/Arneaux and their epic duel, they both went into a TV tent and rewatched those laps arm in arm having a royal laugh about it, and in the last few races while we didn’t have that, we certainly had Max and Charles both enjoying the duels and the freedom to race afforded by F1/the stewards. Good hard respectful racing. Memorable stuff. I think we will only see more and more of that, especially once 2021 comes. And I think Clarkson will change his tune and become a fan again. Stripped down, many people would agree with the gist of what JC is saying if not quite said the same way.

        1. @robbie, the lines between the act and the actual character behind it do seem to be difficult to separate, given that he has also talked about how he likes the crash fests that are most Formula E races – some of his previous comments about how to “liven up F1” have leant more towards the “entertaining crashes” side as well.

          The other thing is, whilst we talk about Arnoux and Villeneuve, at the same time much of that was because of the fact that it was so unusual for drivers to drive like that, before or after that race. When interlocking the wheels usually resulted in a major accident, and quite a few drivers had been injured or killed in such incidents, that sort of heavy wheel banging behaviour wasn’t really that common given that quite a lot of drivers wouldn’t last long enough to make it into F1 if they drove like that, given it ran the risk of such an accident occurring.

          The thing is, Clarkson’s attitude and comments – not just here, but in the past as well – have pointed towards more of a cheap thrill attitude towards the sport, wanting constant high octane drama that ends up being overdone to the point where it makes those moments that should stand out look mundane due to sensory oversaturation (perhaps something of a metaphor for how his own presenting career has gone, where the need to constantly top the previous action piece has instead made it all blend into a meaningless jumble of shouting).

    6. I thoroughly agree with the COTD. The only reason to justify replacing VB with EO would be if the former started to underperform massively in the latter half of the season, but other than that, no reason to alter the line-up for next season. I hope Ocon gets back to an F1 race-drive, but not at the expense of either Bottas or Hulkenberg.

    7. It’s kinda hilarious that rant by Keith given how often there are errors on this site.

    8. Regarding COTD: An argument to replace Bottas is to ensure the future. What if HAM stops or changes team? Mercedes doesn’t come across as a team that does not think a few steps ahead. Either Leclerc, Verstappen or Ocon will be needed at some point

      1. If Hamilton suddenly retires and Bottas is still in the other seat there will be 18 + 1 F1 drivers queuing up to get in that Mercedes. I don’t see Mercedes having a problem filling Hamilton’s seat.
        The question Wolff has is whether Bottas is that safe pair of hands you need in a No2 for if and when your lead driver leaves. He has is proving he is at the moment; but the question is; will he tail off again as he has done in the second half of the season?

        1. Dont agree at all. Not just any driver will do. There were lots of races they wouldnt have won if not for Hamilton. They will need an ace. There are only three aces at the moment (ham, ver, lec)

          1. Think you missed my point. Everyone will want that seat. Mercedes will have the pick of the best starting with Max, Vettel, Alonso and depending on how Ferrari are doing; Leclerc. And by the time Hamilton does decide to move on we may have a couple of more names to add to that list.

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            21st July 2019, 20:39

            Leclerc needs a lot more time to prove his ability. He has made 2 far bigger mistakes than Bottas has all season. Over his first 6 weekends, only one looked outstanding while 2 were very poor. He looks to have been great recently, but if I’m honest, Vettel was unlucky in Austria and didn’t other times I think it is also related to Vettel underperforming that is making Leclerc look so good. I don’t think he is anywhere near Verstappen yet (consistently anyway) and Hamilton is better still.

      2. Mercedes would be able to secure Max. The only reason he isn’t already in the team is because Lewis is.

        1. I don’t see LH leaving Merc any time soon, or at least if I were him I’d be sitting there pretty confident of a WDC this year and next, and then I’d be pretty stoked about 2021 and to experience the totally new and unprecedented chapter knowing they will still have one of, if the best PUs on the grid. VB has had enough time now to show if he can take the challenge to LH, and the answer is no, and I don’t see how Ocon would make a difference there. Of course having not seen Ocon in a Merc perhaps he would surprise, but for now I think LH is there for at least two more seasons after this and so VB or Ocon will just be there to try to keep up the Constructors tally, but unfortunately not to challenge LH. Perhaps Merc might aggressively go after a Max or a Charles if for example Ferrari or RBR legitimately challenges their domination and they feel the need for something more like two number ones to stave off the competition rather than LH and a seat filler. Then they might also have a more solid driver for when LH does leave. I just think it could be another four or five years of LH at Mercedes, for standing where we are now, why would he leave that car/team any time soon, and why wouldn’t he want to be there for the new era that should create racing more for which the drivers have been asking.

          1. All sensible points @Robbie. I really don’t see what would be gained by replacing Bottas with Ocon.

            Ocon probably deserves a drive in F1 but I expect it will be in another team. Someone like Racing Point.

      3. I think Mercedes have options. I assume George Russell is on their books, he might even be a better bet than Ocon

    9. Surely thinking of the future if Hamilton leaves they already have a replacement in place with Bottas who is now well established within the team, all they would need to do is import another driver for the second seat …. just a thought.

    10. Merc will be thinking that Ocon is a better choice to have in the car should Hamilton not renew his contract.
      I believe they will keep Bottas if they’re confident H will sign but they need to bring in Ocon or swipe Max if not.

      1. So let me get this stright, you’re saying come the next round of pay negotiations Mercedes will be looking to save money and have options if Hamilton, their six times world champion doesn’t take a pay cut ? -)

        I think before then Red Bull will have a challenging car worthy of the top spot, that’s when Mercedes will really need Hamilton to make the difference.

        1. ???
          Who said anything about a pay cut? Hamilton May retire if he doesn’t like the look of this new rules or if Merc sells the racing team on. He may decide to race elsewhere, but I doubt it.
          So – just to get this straight – I’m not thinking about budgets or pay cuts and I have no idea how you got there.

          1. My bad. I should have done more to convey humour. ?-)


            [btw the only reason i can think why Hamilton might leave Mercedes is a pay cut, and even then it would have to be a substancial cut before he would consider a rival team’s offer. ]

    11. Jeremy Clarkson is a loathsome toad whose constant petulant commentary is as welcome as a flatulent dog in a small room.
      He is literally wrong about nearly everything.

      1. …. and on that bomb shell, 8-)

    12. Re the COTD, I agree 100% with everything @Keithedin said. In actual fact, I typed up a response in very similar terms and didn’t post it, I’m a fan of Bottas (and I think that is well known) so I’m glad someone sees the lie of the land the way I do.

    Comments are closed.