Hamilton glad to disprove chassis change “myth” with second on grid

2021 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he was pleased to disprove rumours about his change of chassis by taking second on the grid for the French Grand Prix.

Mercedes switched chassis between Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ahead of this weekend. The team insisted the change was not made for performance reasons, but Hamilton lagged behind Bottas in all three practice sessions.

After taking second on the grid for tomorrow’s race, Hamilton admitted “it’s been a really, really hard weekend – mentally, not physically – but trying to get the car into a happy place.”

“You wouldn’t believe how many changes I’ve made since practice one,” he explained. “Going round and round, chasing my tail, ended up coming back to something similar to where we started. But I’ve been generally unhappy in the car all weekend.”

Speaking to podium interviewer and Sky presenter Paul di Resta, Hamilton said too much had been made of his change of chassis. “I saw you coming up with some myth and I’m happy to be able to prove it wrong,” he said.

“The quality of our engineers’ work, all the cars are exactly the same.”

Hamilton qualified two-tenths of a second behind Max Verstappen. He said he lost time on the straight to Red Bull, as their rivals have fitted new engines this weekend, which in accordance with the regulations have to be of the same specification

“Congratulations to Max, he did a great job today,” said Hamilton. “They’ve been incredibly quick.

“You see they’ve got a new engine this weekend, not a new spec or anything as far as I’m aware but anyway they’re quick down the straight I think it was a lot of time on the straights today. We’ve got a race on our hands and we’re loving the battle so we’ve just got to keep fighting, keep pushing and giving it everything.”

Mercedes were slightly slower than Red Bull over the long runs in practice, Hamilton believes. “In practice it was a real struggle,” he said. “On long-run pace they were a tenth or two quicker than us.

“But my car’s in a much different place now so I’m just going to stay hopeful, do everything I can. Obviously we’re in second, you’ve got a fighting chance down to turn one and there’s going to be some interesting strategy tomorrow, and maybe a bit of rain.”

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2021 French Grand Prix

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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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44 comments on “Hamilton glad to disprove chassis change “myth” with second on grid”

  1. So he’s glad to prove that Bottas didn’t have an issue – he was just slow…?

    1. Yeah that was a little bit unseemly. He’s like, I’m faster than him in any chassis.

      1. I think you will find de Resta’s myth; amongst all the other nonsense he spouted about Mercedes during P1 and P2, was that Hamilton demanded Bottas’s chassis post Monaco, and Mercedes made him take it despite the possible problems with the chassis in Baku.
        As Rosberg remarked deadpan this morning when de Resta and the others were sill pushing the chassis angle; ‘they took a possible defective chassis and gave it to their championship contender?’

        1. Ah that’s what he was talking about then – fair enough. I thought it seemed a bit of a strange comment but that makes sense now!

      2. And.. not 1st. Weak

      3. Please bare in mind we can only ever guess the questions that Hamilton and others are answering when we see these reports/interviews.

      4. Well, honestly that’s a comment I like, if he’s a top driver he HAS to consistently beat bottas and was glad to prove it even with another chassis, a bit like schumacher in 1994 I think, there were accusations about cars not being equal, and once they swapped chassis he was still competitive and verstappen nowhere.

    2. They did not swap chassis.
      Both drivers received another chassis.
      Lewis received number 4. The one he last used last year.
      So he got one of his own chassis from the pool.

      1. Lewis received chassis #4, which he raced last year and Bottas used in Baku and said something was fundamentally wrong with the car. Bottas received chassis #6, which Lewis used for the first 6 races of 2021. So there was a swap of chassis from the last race to this race.

  2. Go Lewis go!

    1. Wher the sun don’t shine

  3. maybe a bit of rain

    Didn’t know that. Would definitely be interesting. Though I’m not sure it’s really necessary for Mercedes and Lewis, their race pace seemed around the same as Red Bull and, factoring out the actual car pace, HAM has been the best of the 4 drivers over a race distance at most races this season. The chassis comment is a real positive. Once it enters a driver’s head that there’s something wrong with the chassis, it can be a downward performance spiral.

    1. True this, I remember something with swapping chassis for vandoorne when he was alonso’s team mate.

  4. Don’t worry Lewis. Someone (**cough erikje and the like cough **) will find something else completely inane to discredit your skill.

    1. not a new spec or anything as far as I’m aware

      I pick up the glove 😜
      He really is feeling the pressure and plays the mental card again.
      His fans believe every fictional story, so go for it.
      Toto lost the flexi wing fiction, the tire pressure story, the pit gear accusation.
      Do the talking on track. There’s the fight.

      1. BTW, Lewis did great today. Fine lap but just not fast enough.
        And the Bottas tow helped.

        1. Exactly – Bottas gave him a tow and he still didn’t get pole.

      2. I read it three times erikje and it’s still as comprehensible as Donald Trump on a sugar high.

        1. I will try to explain then :)
          I did not know I would encounter Trump specialists.
          It’s an engine freeze, so a new spec is not allowed. Lewis subtly suggests this.
          For sure enough for a new fictional story by Toto or Lewis.
          They just lost the old ones :)

          1. New specs ARE allowed for the purpose of reliability.
            Still…I’m really enjoying your sourness Erik. Keep it up son, you’re great value.

          2. OK, that dispersed some of the confusion, thanks! At Baku Horner expressed surprise that Mercedes changed engine ‘early’ in the season, presumably to make up the speed deficit they were expecting. So I don’t see a big deal in Red Bull being faster this race with their new engine. Is Hamilton’s comment a hint at maybe Red Bull a dabbling in the dark arts (again)? Maybe.

            I’m still confused about the ‘mental card’ bit of your first comment, though. It seems to me like Hamilton was feeling mental pressure, like he said, precisely because he was trailing to Bottas every practice session.

          3. @deanr, no new specs are allowed.
            Read the regulations or stay in your fantasy world.
            Indeed changes are allowed to solve problems. You have to document the changes to fia.
            But no new spec.
            Try again :)

    2. @rockgod No, the only thing certain is that Hamilton will downplay other’s skills (Verstappen faster because of a new engine), and slam anyone who dare say anything less than glorifying like deResta, which is what his fans are mostly about too. Here even BEFORE they’ve said anything, that’s how they eager they are to bash others.

  5. Wow engine modes do make a difference then!

  6. Where can we see the straightline speed? Want to know how much faster Verstappen was versus Hamilton.

    1. Not sure the top speed would help. According to commentary over the weekend Max in particular is getting all his time exiting the corners onto the straight. Basically getting up to speed earlier by coming out of the corners faster. It does look the most planted and grippy. Which should help him if the Mercs are in DRS range.

      1. It was the same at Baku. They had a ridiculous amount of traction compared to everyone else.

        1. Lower tire preassures would help with traction. its been suggested they were running the tires outside of that specified by pirelli.

        2. I think traction has often been a strength of red bull at least in recent years.

    2. 328 Max. 322 Ham.

      1. 323 Ham

  7. I wasn’t aware there was even ‘a myth’ to begin with? So reading this would seem like an unnecessary dig at Bottas? But I guess I’m reading this out of context maybe

    1. The myth was created by Lewis fans. Suggesting they “swapped” chassis. That is not the case. Both received another chassis. Lewis received his own tub 4 last used in 2020 Bahrein.

      1. Well given The Race, Formula1.com. Planet F1, ESPN, Sky, de Resta, etc all carried the story you are either saying that all these publications and people are Ham fans, or you are just spouting your usual nonsense. I’ll go with the second given your track record.

        1. your prerogative..
          But sky ( Ham fans) came with the story. Fia documented the changes so you can check for yourself.
          ( probably to much work i guess, prejudice is simpler for you;)

          1. Are you saying that the tub from last year is the same as this season?

      2. Azerbaijan Grand Prix:
        Hamilton – Chassis 6
        Bottas – Chassis 4

        French Grand Prix
        Hamilton – Chassis 4
        Bottas – Chassis 6

        How is this not a swap?

    2. Me neither. Where did deResta say it?

  8. According to Horner, RB runs less rear wing that is why they are a bit quicker on the straight. Since their chassis handles very well in slow and fast corners they can afford to.

    1. This implies RB are now running less rear wing, to compenstate for less flex on this rear. This means they have noticed the difference in straight speeds compared the flex wings, and running less down on the rears makes up for what the had before.

      In theory Mercedes could do the same, however i wonder if Mercedes now benifits on the twisty parts where they need more grip, or if those twisty parts of the track are so slow that there would be no significant down force to help in those areas?

      1. In the twisty parts the flex front wing seems to work better indeed ;)

  9. What is so exciting that we have the 2 best drivers in almost equal cars competing. I think the Mercedes has a bit more grunt but the RB handles a bit better…

  10. I don’t think it disproves anything. It’s the chassis Bottas said had something “fundamentally wrong”, and Hamilton struggled all through practice to unlock its performance.

    To me the difference is that Hamilton, through skill and experience, was actually able to unlock the performance of that chassis—whereas Bottas was not. But I still don’t believe this is a huge shortcoming of Bottas, when a driver of Hamilton’s caliber struggles with it too. If anything, it proves there’s still something fundamentally wrong with the chassis.

    1. This is possible.

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