Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020

Hamilton wants more difficult weekends to prove his success “is not a car thing”

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he wants more challenging races like today’s Turkish Grand Prix so he can demonstrate his success isn’t solely due to the competitiveness of his Mercedes.

He clinched his seventh world championship by winning at Istanbul Park, which is the sixth title he has won since the V6 hybrid turbo era began seven years ago. During that time Mercedes and their drivers have won all the championship silverware.

Hamilton won from sixth on the grid following an atypically poor performance from Mercedes in qualifying. He ran no higher than fifth until the second half of the race, after which he worked his way to the front, passing Sergio Perez to win.

“I want more of these weekends,” said Hamilton. “More tricky conditions like this.

“The more opportunities like this, the more I’m able to show what I’m able to do. And today hopefully you can see… I think I deserve my respect. I think I have that with my peers, they will know how hard today is, particularly that it is not a car thing.

“I couldn’t have done this without that amazing group of people behind me. But there is another great driver who is alongside me, who has the same car who obviously didn’t finish where I finished.”

Some former drivers, including three-times world champion Jackie Stewart, have said the fact Hamilton has had the benefit of a dominant car at times in his career detracts from the scale of his achievements. Hamilton has said he won’t make similar comments about future drivers.

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“I do notice that there are these interesting comments, from past drivers particularly. I really, really promise you, and hope that I stand by my word, when I stop in 10, 20 years from now and look back, I want to be embracing and encouraging the next youngsters that are here.

F1's seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher
F1’s two seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher’s title wins compared
“Whether it’s Lando [Norris], whether its George [Russell], whoever it may be, whether it’s Max [Verstappen]. I know how hard it is to do the job and I know how this world works.

“Of course you have to have a good team and of course you have to have a great car. There is no driver that’s ever really won the championship in the past without it.”

Hamilton described how he learned at an early age the importance of having the best equipment.

“It goes back the same all the way down to karting. You’ve got to have the right equipment. I remember my first championship. I raced and the kid that won was on rocket engines, which Jenson Button’s dad had tuned.

“Those engines were real rockets compared to the cheap, crappy engine that I had which was fifth hand, there was no way I could keep up with these kids. I remember that one weekend – Kimbolton in 1992 or 1993 – he was moving on to the next class, he was selling on these engines.

“I remember my dad had to re-mortgage the house to get this £2,000 engine. But what we did that day was me and this kid, who’d been winning everything, we put his other engine that I was going to buy, that we were looking to buy, in my car and I was ahead of him all the time on track.

“So, of course, you’ve got to have the equipment, of course you’ve got to have it and that’s something that will always be in this sport. But then it’s also what you do with it that really also counts – and hopefully you can see that today.”

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61 comments on “Hamilton wants more difficult weekends to prove his success “is not a car thing””

  1. I think there aren’t that many F1 fans who would not love to see the racing to be challenging more often as well!

    The downside is that we will probably see Hamilton prevailing more often than not. Although, that is happening anyway, right. So yeah, all for it. Throw them in at the deep end. They are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, let them show us how good they are.

    1. when hamilton wins: world is like meh, he has the best car
      when ham not win: world like he has the best car so he forgot how to drive…
      when it rains, hamilton wins: meh he has the best car
      when it rains hamilton does not win 1 out of 10 wet races: meh see he is an average driver…
      today: hamilton wins when majority didnt expect him to… meh track dried, it was slicks, mercedes is the best car on dry and slicks… while everyone sliding left and right with slick wet tyres….

      1. Wet race or not, he was still driving a Mercedes. And no, I don’t say that he’s not the best or one of the best or that he doesn’t deserve his success; I think he absolutely does. But how many would bet that he’d win a championship driving a Red Bull? Or even win more than a race or two? Would he beat Verstappen driving the same car they are both equally familiar with? Would he beat Leclerc? How the hell would we know? That’s just what F1 is. Sadly, Hamilton refused to have a better teammate and vetoed Verstappen, so we’ll probably never get some answers. And yes, Verstappen would do the same (and does in Red Bull). We can be objective or subjective, in the end F1 is a specific mix of sport, business, tech development and TV show; it’s not all about merit and equal grounds. It’s not Hamilton’s fault, although I don’t think he’d really want to see things change at the moment (as in reality he does play it safe with Mercedes).

        1. .

          Sadly, Hamilton refused to have a better teammate and vetoed Verstappen, so we’ll probably never get some answers.

          ?

          It was Max who chickened out of going to Merc. Lauda tried to get him.

          Max had the best car this weekend, but messed up

          1. This is no true the only time Niki went for Max was in F3 but RB could give Max a seat and Mercedes didn’t.

          2. Uh, are you daft?
            Not a single racing driver alive would refuse that Merc seat…

          3. Sadly he vetoed not only Verstappen, but anybody mildly competitive.
            Now we’re stuck with the sorry excuse of a pilot that Bottas is.

        2. So you think Mercedes would love to have another Lewis Vs Rosberg with crashes and conflict (and there most certainly would be). Lauda may have tried to get him, but I guarantee, Toto would never push for that pairing. They already have 7 CWC with one good year that wasn’t Lewis getting DWC. They don’t need two contenders.

        3. @Dex –

          Lewis never vetoed Verstappen going to Mercedes, nor did he refuse to have a better teammate; so that is pure nonsense you just spouted.

          It’s not like Albon os better than Bottas, is he?

          Furthermore, if Lewis was driving a Red Bull this weekend, he would have lapped the whole field whilst winning.

          That’s a fact.

      2. Maybe the majority did not think he would @mysticus. I actually did, although I doubted it for a few laps when he did get passed after initially getting away from the grid well.

        Apart from that, not sure what you want to say, and how it relates to my comment. I mean, aren’t most of us conflicted between seeing the heights Hamilton gets to and at the other hand hoping to see him being challenged more often to get to see the absolute best of all drivers. And yeah, since Hamilton is the best, he is up there more often than not.

        1. I def didn’t think he wanted to or could win this race… So many laps be suffered and been passed, and seeing front runners getting as much as a pit stop time to him… I m sure many thought too. My comment was not directed to you personally, sorry for the misunderstanding, it is just like bottas style, “to whom it may concern”. And as you can see too may sour grapes still.

      3. Well as they say. You are as good as your last race

    2. If Max had been Lewis team mate doubt he had won as many championships, let alone if Lewis stay in mclaren is not ALL about the car but most of it

  2. A lot of his wins on wet tracks would’ve been won by similar or bigger gaps than this if not for Safety Cars. Japan ’07, Japan ’14, Brazil’16..

    if one thing, he was even more superior when things were tricky.

  3. Hats off to Hamilton. And Leclerc, even with the last lap lock-up.

    Vettel finally performed as one would expect from a 4x champion. Steady drive looking for opportunities.

  4. Roscoe wearing the team set-up shirt, though.

  5. I keep saying, Lewis has to go to Ferrari and win there. Otherwise he will always be known as the Mercedes era champ, the stuttgart engine Brackley chassis and aero champ.

    1. Nonsense. Alonso, Vettel- all great drivers in their own who chased that dream and ended up in purgatory. The days of Ferrari being a top team that challenges consistently for the championship ended somewhere between 2008-2012. Even when they had a car capable like 2017/2018- team and driver errors nipped that in the bud. When history reviews success Ferrari will be long gone (IMO) and no one will give one jot whether Hamilton won with a Mercedes or Ferrari.

    2. I have a theory.

      Had vettel only won 3 world championships, he might have won a 4th at Ferrari by now.
      However as he’s on 4 titles, Ferrari would sooner he didn’t get the 5th title to equal or better their all time hero, Juan Manuel Fangio. Vettel was a sucker to join Ferrari. Had he remained at Redbull, he might have had his 5th title by now.

      Right now the only reason to join Ferrari is for the quodos of being part of their history, you wouldn’t go there to actually win a championship.

      1. @Ajaxn.
        “Vettel was a sucker to join Ferrari. Had he remained at Redbull, he might have had his 5th title by now.”
        Simply impossible. Vettel left Red Bull because he got comprehensively beaten by Daniel Ricciardo in 2014. So since Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have been a long way off getting a title due to the lack of performance with the Mercedes – and also the Ferrari for the majority of the time, there is no ‘might’ to this. It would be impossible for Vettel to win the title. The only driver who may have won in a Red Bull is Lewis Hamilton, but even that is unlikely given the superiority of the Mercedes (and Ferrari in 2017/2018 too).

      2. Ajaxn, why do you think that Ferrari consider Fangio to be their all time hero?

        Fangio really didn’t like Ferrari that much – he only drove for them because they were the most competitive team at the time – and the feeling was somewhat mutual, with Enzo never getting on particularly well with Fangio either.

        Fangio also publicly talked about how he was never particularly happy about driving for Ferrari, and indeed Enzo himself publicly acknowledged that there was basically no way that they were going to be able to keep him for 1957 given that Fangio never really trusted the team and got on very badly with the team manager.

        With that in mind, why would Ferrari treat Fangio as an “all time hero” when it’s quite well known that he disliked the team and they never really liked him all that much either?

    3. Rodber, do you also apply that logic to other drivers as well – is Senna “the McLaren era champion”, or Clark “the Lotus era champion”?

      There are far more drivers who didn’t win a title with Ferrari than there are drivers who did – do you say that the legacy of those championship winning drivers who didn’t drive for Ferrari and didn’t win a title with Ferrari are also diminished?

      1. Ham has nothing left to prove at Merc, Anon.
        If he wins another 3 titles there people will still say, “It’s the car”.
        But if he did a real Schumacher, and went to Ferrari and galvanised them and lifted them up from where they are and took them to the top and won. Now that would silence everyone.

        Two things stand in his way. One, he is not the driver who can do that.
        And two, Schumacher had a lot going in his favour, as you well know, not least the secret compound Bridgestones that not other team could even inspect, etc etc.

        Still, would be nice to see Ham try, even if he fails he would win over millions.

        1. Rodber, why does he need to go to Ferrari to do that when people didn’t say that about other drivers before him though?

          Would you also insist on other drivers that they have to go to Ferrari and win there if they achieved multiple WDCs for another team without driving for Ferrari? Again, do you think that it was somehow a flaw in the career of other drivers that they only won championships with a single team and never won one with Ferrari?

          1. I guess it boils down to Ferrari being in a class of one as a historical F1 team. It has an aura still, a standing, a buzz, that makes it special even when it doesn’t measure up to WCC holders of the moment.
            Glamour is not easy to attain with money or even with success. Ferrari has it, win or lose.

        2. Um, Hamilton already left his initial World Championship team (McLaren) for Mercedes, then “galvanised them and lifted them up from where they are and took them to the top and won” – he’s won with two different marques in two different eras of F1… in fact no other driver has won two seasons further apart (2008-2020). He has nothing left to prove that he hasn’t conclusively proven throughout his career already, and anyone that would be “won over” by him joining Ferrari either has an axe to grind or hasn’t been paying attention in the first place.

          Don’t get me wrong, I understand why some would like to see him go there, as a nod to history, or of completing a ‘set’ of teams, but ultimately its just a reflection of the entitlement associated with the brand and its fans. The idea they’re in a class of one is crass (though I suppose you could call them that seeing as they’ve been F1’s favoured team both politically and financially for years) – sure, they’re famous, but they’re no classier than any other team, and often much less so.

          There’s also a venerable list of multiple F1 champions who never raced for them and suffer no ill-effects to their legacy or ‘glamour’ – Senna (McLaren-only), Clark (Lotus-only), Stewart, Brabham, Fittipaldi, Hakkinen (McLaren only), Piquet, G. Hill. Plus, there’s a growing list of multiple F1 champions who joined them but didn’t add to their legacy there – Prost, Alonso (Renault-only) and now Vettel (Red Bull-only) – I’m not sure Hamilton would want to add to that trend just to satisfy his ‘critics’…

  6. Hamilton deserves the respect he has earned. He hasn’t simply been given the fastest car to drive, he has built it along with his team. Mercedes is not the team they are just because they have the money, they have been so consistently excellent because of their leadership and their team culture. Hamilton is emblematic of that culture, I think he and Wolff and Lauda built a great deal of that too. On the day, Hamilton is the most versatile of all the drivers on the grid and of his generation. His problem solving toolbox is so extensive. He has matured from a hot pilot to a maestro. His talent got him into the kart, his tenacity got him into the series, his savvy got him into the top car, his speed got him the wins. But to win 7 world championships over two teams requires everything. Including the car to do it.

    I stay agnostic in my F1 perspective because I genuinely like too many of those drivers to choose, and usually cheer for underdogs. I enjoy appreciating every display of excellence without reservation. But Hamilton deserves his due, and it is amazing to be watching an era of F1 that a lot of people probably didn’t think possible again after Schumacher and Ferrari. Many congratulations to Hamilton, in my mind he is the best driver since Senna and maybe the best of all time.

    1. I kind of agree with you. I think Mercedes adapted their design to exploit the best of Hamilton. When he first joined them they had so many issues with brake failures, which leads me to think that element of the car was under designed and under utilised.

      They of course soon improved this area, because Hamilton was so reliant on his braking skills to over take. It wouldn’t surprise me to learned they improved in other areas, balance and handling, as a direct result of tayloring the car to Hamilton’s driving skills. Building the car around the driver.

    2. Agreed. They complement each other well as Wolff has said.

  7. I really hope the now 2022 regulations bring more of this kind of difficulty with less aero to lean on. Not having tire warmers should be interesting too.

  8. Isn’t it funny that when a driver wants to prove their success isn’t a car thing they never want to go to a slower car?

    Ofcourse his success is a car thing. Not to take anything away from his achievements, he’s still a great driver, but if he was in a much slower car he wouldn’t be doing much better than for example Alonso did at McLaren or Raikkonen did at Renault, or is doing at Alfa…

    He knows it too, which is why despite his words, he’d never give up the car.

    1. Yes, I agree. If he really wants to prove it’s “not a car thing,” he should switch to Haas, or Alfa, or any team that’s not Merc, Red Bull, or Ferrari. Then we could see his greatness.

      But he won’t give up that seat.

    2. It’s not about just the car – it’s the team environment.

      And Ferrari’s team environment is still cancerous.

    3. He beat Alonso in equal machinery. Point?

      1. He did not. They got same points, same number of victories but Alonso didnt had the support from the team after Hungary . Also you can read a very well made article by Mark Hughes about that year.

    4. Perfectly said lunarslide.

  9. “” I think I deserve my respect”

    Yes you do, without doubt, but this comes off a bit like King Joffrey yelling “I AM THE KING” to Tyrion? haha

    Man, I just wish Lewis would stop worrying (or responding to) about about what “some” people say about his achievements. Who cares when you’re the most successfully driver in the history of F1, of course there’d be unflattering comments from time to time, not everyone will laud over you.

    Car or team regardless, the job still needs to be done, and he’s delivered. So he deserves every bit of his success.

    Is he the greatest? Who knows, I dont think we should care really. He’s produced the goods, and won whats ahead of him, in consistent fashion, with excellent drives on many occasions. That all you can really ask from a top line driver. I dont care much for his personality, but he is certainly one of the best drivers to have driven an F1 car.

    Congrats to Lewis and Mercedes.

    1. @Jay Menon
      Yes, I think Lewis doesn’t need to justify his achievements. But the critics are correct to a large degree.

      The reality is that it is a manufacturer’s championship but called a “driver’s championship”. If a team can produce a car that is massively quicker than the others, then all a professional F1 driver needs is a weak or No.2 teammate and they can easily win the championship. It is the ideal scenario for any driver – have the best car and have a compliant teammate. In this case, Bottas is a very good driver, but is made to look worse than he is because Lewis is a simply amazing driver and Mercedes do not allow Bottas freedom with strategy.

      Just look at Button when he won his championship – Brawn deliberately wrecked Barrichello (think Spain 2009 – but it was done in a way where the average observer who only has average IQ could not understand). Just look at Vettel when he won his championships at Red Bull. He had the best car and a strong teammate. BUT, his teammate was made to be a No.2 driver, with all the attention on Vettel, and with strategies deliberately designed to compromise his teammate (Webber) right from 2009. Now Vettel this season has been given a taste of being a No.2 driver, with a couple of bizarre pit calls designed to disadvantage him and help Leclerc (the opposite of what Ferrari were doing in 2019).

    2. I concur with you mate

  10. When you have a teammate that is so pathetic he spins 6 times in a race, and have had arguably the most superior car in F1 history it’s going to be difficult to prove there aren’t going to be many “tough weekends”.
    Until he was able to use DRS he couldn’t get past Vettel. He had a great race despite spinning a couple of times but Perez, LeClerc and Vettel were more impressive today.

  11. BWAHAHAHAHHA. Right. Good one Lewis. Couldn’t pass Seb until it dried out, but you want more competition.

    1. I see that this toxic extremist is back – this forum has enough nationalistic hatred and xenophobia, so take it elsewhere.

      1. Poor anon, thinking he controls the interwebs. You’re right about it being toxic around here though. Better keep pushing for that knighthood. What a sad group.

    2. “After that of course you can very quickly catch up with the guys but you can’t pass. It’s just one line around here and already that line is very slippery. So it’s super-frustrating, we were just waiting for people to pit or whatever.”

      – Max Verstappen, spun out when trying to overtake, flat-spotting his tyres.

      It’s almost as if there’s some kind of strategic thinking involved, and not just pushing for the overtake. Who knew?

  12. Brazil 2008 was beaten by Vettel in the Toro Rosso!

  13. Hope in vain! The Hamilton mockers, knockers & deniers will now be quiet. Very quiet.
    Now you can truly stop the best car nonsense too.
    Wet weather. Atrocious track even in the dry.
    Best ever driver in the wet. Best ever tyre manager. Zero foolish moves on other cars.
    Truly a veritable masterclass! What a magnificent way to clinch his 7th WDC!

  14. A worthy teammate would be a start! Or he could move to Ferrari and prove he doesn’t need a 0.5-1 second car advantage….

  15. A lot of viewers value ‘triumph over adversity’ more than pure results, it’s an appreciation for someone’s personality and their humanity. Just look at Vettel in late 2013, he was widely booed for his unrelenting (and seemingly unvalued) success. It’s just human nature.

    So when Lewis drives the best car, in the best team and with a boat-load of talent, it doesn’t look as though Lewis has had to deal with a lot of adversity. Indeed, he’s made it look so easy that it’s just become dull and difficult to value.

    I don’t want to take anything away from him, he fell into the right seat at the right time, delivered pretty much everything possible with his enormous talents and his achievements have broken every record.

    That said, it’s no surprise people point towards the car. For example, if Vettel had had the Mercedes for the past 7 seasons, I’d bet he’d be on a similar number of championships, such is the dominance of that team.

    1. @joshgeake
      Probably not, given the fact Vettel wasn’t able to beat Hamilton despite having the overall best car in 2018.
      Your point is invalid.

      1. “your point is invalid”

        Everyone knows the Mercedes was the best car that season. It’s only after the season that, for some reason, everyone reports the Ferrari as being the better car. It’s a mystery.

        1. @joshgeake
          Quite the opposite, actually.
          Everyone knows Ferrari was the best car for at least three quarters of 2018. It’s only after Hamilton brutally kicked Vettel’s bum that, for some reason, everyone reports Mercedes as the best car.
          And it’s not even a mystery.

      2. Mercedes quickest in Australia with Vettel jumping into the lead with a fortunate VSC allowing him to pit, Bahrain had Bottas all over the back of Vettel at the end with Vettel doing well to hold him off despite being much slower, in China Hamilton got outqualified by Bottas with Bottas leading the race when safety car came out Mercedes didn’t pit the RBRs did gifting them the win.

        Mercedes were always quickest but Hamilton underperformed and team made blunders.

  16. Turkish GP really was a funny story, bTW.
    Verstappen brags all the time about how easy it supposedly is to win in a Mercedes car and how 90% (or 60%, as he corrects later) would be champion in that car, yet this weekend he had the absolute best machine and failed to deliver both in quali and race.
    Eventually, it must not be THAT easy to deliver, when you are expected to, huh maxi?

  17. “It’s not the car, it’s me. But I won’t drive any other car to prove it…”

    1. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
      16th November 2020, 13:01

      LH has nothing to prove himself. Yesterday’s results….prove it by itself.

      Even when the Mercs are falling behind in 6 and 9 LH still not only laps his teammate, he takes the win.

      He has won in every season. Tell me he had a dominant car for 13 years.

      1. He hasn’t had a dominant car for 13 years. He’s had a dominant car for 7 years. Every year since 2014.
        He’s got 9 other F1 teams to choose from if he wants a challenge and to prove that it’s not the car. They’d all have him.

        1. Say what you like about Hamilton but he’s a competitor – he wants to win in a fair fight against worthy opponents, not drop down to a weaker team to artificially increase the challenge (it’s a bit churlish to suggest a 7-time world champion should do this at the height of his powers). His battles (both intra-team and vs Ferrari/RB) against Alonso, Massa, Button, Vettel, Rosberg, and now Max are what make F1 exciting, and he’s essentially expressing he wants more of that – to prove himself even more comprehensively than he already has.

          He’s already done an ‘Alonso’ (a top-3 talent outperforming a bad car), most notably in 2009, and in some ways I miss the exceptional underdog drives he delivered in the McLaren years and even the 2013 Merc (the year he *just* kept the career race-winning streak alive by winning the Hungarian GP) – but it’s not a coincidence that he’s ended up in such a dominant car.

  18. Haters will be haters and nit pick. Hamilton has proved so many times what he is capable of. I actually expected him to come in 5th and win the title, for him to have won by 26 seconds, whilst other drivers were still struggling in arguably better packages for this race is staggering.

    Plus he clearly understands what is required to win and is very cognizant of what’s needed to be successful in motorsports. Earliest memory from his karting days. He takes none of this for granted.

    So continue nit picking, if the up and coming young drivers get to be in a similar position to Hamilton good luck! You have exceptionally big shoes to fill.

  19. It’s always a car thing with F1 though – it’s exceptionally rare for an outright slower car to win a race, let alone a championship. In his case, the Mercedes car advantage is so large nobody is able to quite overhaul them comprehensively and it’s been like that for a long time. I can’t imagine him wanting more direct competition is a genuine hope, as at the moment he’s racking up all the big numbers without much in the way of a fight.

    That’s not taking anything away from the dude though, he still needs to drive it and he’s a mighty fine driver making the most of an exceptionally mighty car. But I got to admit I don’t think he’s had to work as hard for it as other champions. Which is more fault of the rules, fault of the other teams than him or Mercedes.

  20. So to summarize:

    Stroll, Perez and Verstappen doing well in qualifying = The car
    Hamilton not doing well in qualifying = The car
    Vettel, Perez and Leclerc doing well in the race = The car
    Hamilton doing well in the race = The driving (except in the beginning when he was doing bad it was the car)

    1. Actually its a combination of car and driver in all instances

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