Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Unexpected podium down to team’s hard work, not luck – Hamilton

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says his unexpected podium finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix was down to Mercedes’ hard work, after the Red Bull drivers ahead of him retired with technical problems.

He was running fifth in the closing stages of yesterday’s race when Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were struck down by power unit faults. Hamilton said the points gained could prove vital to the outcome of the world championship.

“Every point can make a difference,” he said. “I’ve lost world titles by just one point.”

He said Mercedes’ superior reliability is the product of the team’s efforts during the off-season and allowed them to limit the damage at a time when they are not on the pace of the front-runners.

“We’re currently not necessarily, performance-wise, fighting with these guys,” said Hamilton. “But it’s a really, really great result.

“Of course we were fortunate but ultimately we’ve done a better job, we have better reliability. So I wouldn’t say that’s luck, I think this is the hard work of everyone.”

He sees a long battle ahead to reduce the performance gap to the team’s rivals while remaining competitive in the world championship.

“It is such a long season. It’s going to be such a hard battle but we love a challenge. I really do enjoy a challenge.

“And it is a privilege for all of us to be able to work with large team of people who are hungry, who are focused on a common goal. There’s no greater feeling when you all come together and you get a result like this.”

Mercedes aren’t likely to be able to fight Red Bull on outright pace in the near future, Hamilton added.

“With the performance they have, they look strong. To be able to come back strong in the next races, I think for us, we’ll just keep our head down.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, we’re not currently fighting them necessarily on-track. So that’s what we’ll focus on.”

The unexpected podium finish will be “incredibly motivating for the whole team,” said Hamilton. “Given that we have been faced with these challenges which we were not expecting, but no one’s been down during this phase where we’ve been struggling through practice. Everyone’s stayed positive, everyone’s just kept their head down and kept working. No one’s moaned.

“That’s great to see. And so whilst we don’t have the performance of these other guys, I think, in terms of our processes, in terms of squeezing absolutely everything out of the car, I think that’s what we did today and for both drivers, and I think that’s a true showing of strength within.”

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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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65 comments on “Unexpected podium down to team’s hard work, not luck – Hamilton”

    1. I think that pose is for erikje and the likes. :)

  1. Of course he was lucky that both RBRs retired due to a faulty standard element which McLaren for example was forced to replace before the race.

    Apparently these new fuel pumps can’t stand the heat of the new E10 fuel.

    1. Is it the heat or something like clogging?

      1. It runs hotter due to the raised ethanol content, which can cause a higher rate of natural vapour burn off inside the tank.

        Mark Hughes on The Race theorises that teams who managed to do multiple race simulations, including the usual fuel runout tests, would have noticed this but because of the compressed nature of the schedule the, reduced number of installed engines and the need to performance test new parts meant that Red Bull may have not done a run-down test because of the disruption to the schedule that it causes as the session is usually stopped as the car is recovered…

        1. * installed RBPT/Honda engines, for clarity…

          1. I’d reseverve this specific qualification until we’ve seen some more races though. Based upon one observation: I’d call it luck.

    2. In all other cars the fuel pump was able to stand the heat. Maybe RB went to an aggressive fuel-burning mode due to the SC. In this case he was lucky, his team was skilled enough to not make the same mistake.

      1. if it’s standard element then it has to come with some spec sheet what it can survive. if they used this pump as in spec then how RBR can be responsible for this to fail?

        1. Who tells they stayed within manufacturers recommendations? Other teams obviously did not suffer the issue, so it either is by chance (unlikely) or caused by some unique fact of RB usage.

          1. The fact that it happened so catastrophic only on redbull cars mean something different redbull in mind compared to other’s use.

            If only one car had failed, it would be chance. 3 random cars had failed probably it is due to part itself but all three on the same team/sister team… Unlikely a chance or part issue but how it is used!

            Another funny fact that is Horner refused to explain or give details about the issue despite mac’s repeated requests. So it is extremely fishy, to the point I have a feeling they may even have run out of the fuel or went extremely low to the point they couldn’t suck enough juice from the tank and hence stall on checo and try to make it to the pit in mac’s case. Don’t know if fia will require the test amount from these cars.

    3. If the issue was the fuel pump overheating and the Red Bull design puts the fuel pump in a location that makes it susceptible to that but the Mercedes design keeps it cooler then that’s not luck, that’s the design work of the Merc team being better in that regard.

    4. Yes, it was luck that the Merc and most others didn’t have fuel pump problems, and it was luck not hard work that the Merc built track rods that could withstand being dropped off the jacks, and it was luck not hard work by the Mercs that meant they didn’t have to spend half the race cooling their brakes as RB did.

    5. @silfen it was more likely to be fuel cavitation than a faulty pump, which is an issue that was predicted with the switch to e10 but RB obviously didn’t test / model this sufficiently well.

      Basically, the ethanol portion of the fuel mix evaporates more easily, especially when sloshed around in a mostly-empty tank. This can cause vapour locks in the fuel system. One way of getting over it is to have a bigger / differently-shaped / better-baffled lift-pump recess. Another is to carry a couple of Kgs more fuel than previously.

      The fact that the issues occurred at almost exactly the same point in the last few laps would seem to support this explanation.

    6. Is it really luck if you’re driving as fast as you can and you have gaps in both ways by a fair margin and manage to do pitstops quite well and not to do anything risky to possibly throw away your points?

    7. @silfen except that there are now multiple reports in both the Dutch and English speaking press that the failure was not caused by the FIA standard parts, whilst Horner is reported as saying that they have now ruled out that it was the standardised part that failed.

      Furthermore, the claim that McLaren had to change the standardised part of the fuel pump system is dubious, if not probably wrong. Because that inspection took place under parc ferme conditions, if the pump was changed, McLaren would have had to list that amongst the list of components that were changed in parc ferme – but the FIA’s records show that McLaren didn’t change the fuel pump. In fact, no team is listed as having changed any fuel pump components in parc ferme.

      Wherever the part failure occurred, Horner’s comments indicate it wasn’t an FIA standardised part that failed – it’s now considered more likely to have been one of the open source components that failed, which Red Bull would be responsible for designing.

  2. Mr Scallywag
    21st March 2022, 8:29

    So Malaysia 2016…

    1. 1 Like = 1 Prayer

    2. funny you mentioned that it was an actual luck! it wasnt both cars had the same issue, it was ham had it while not pushing but comfortably ahead of everyone… he wasnt racing like max who thinks first corner is the last corner… or who doesnt learn first time or 2nd but 3rd time is the charm sort of attitude gets u the result… probably more luck that lewis garage changed with nico’s one and problems on lewis’ car started happening more than not. lewis knows well to win first you need to finish first. does max know this? i doubt that, he relies on his luck or masi to do the job for him…

      1. Deep breaths, my friend, deep breaths.

        1. Good advice.

      2. So it wasn’t that Lewis lost 50 points in bad starts that season, it was only the engine?

        This guy watches only F1 stats instead of races

      3. Yes, ofc, when it’s your driver it’s bad luck, when it’s others it’s hard work.

  3. What work exactly are Mercedes doing that resulted in two faster cars retiring from the race yesterday?

    1. Their hard work was to be in the position to get the podium in this situation.

      They easily could have been far away due to their bouncing-problems, or out due to some boucing-caused failure or some other reliability issue.

    2. Building cars that didn’t retire

      1. Exactly. To win, first they have to manage to finish a race. It does t matter how far you sprint if you can’t make it to the line at the end.

        1. But it’s still luck if someone in front of you retires.
          It makes you win some places.

          No matter wich teams it concerns

          1. it does happen to all teams, and it happens to balance itself out in the long run… there is karma for everything :) ask alonso where palmer is?

          2. Well, alonso had a technical issue and retired as well after palmer that race, double karma then.

          3. If 3 out of 4 of the same power units fail that’s no more luck than only finishing ahead because the other cars are slower

    3. “It’s bad luck only when Hamilton retires, otherwise is Merc and Ham skill” -mystic one, 2022

      1. Yes, prob the most biased on the site.

  4. If the Merc team must have been praying hard for RB DNF then yeah this checks.

  5. Really…? I guess if it hadn’t been for the team work they’d have been more than half a minute adrift, is that what Lewis is saying?

    1. I’m not sure, I’d have to listen to the interview again. But my guess is as he referenced reliability when discussing hard work he was saying reliability. Possibly because the Merc fuel pump stayed cool, their brakes stayed cool and they did not build chocolate track rods that broke when coming off the jacks?

  6. lol What is he smoking? It was huge luck that delivered that podium.

    1. Why? Cause they build the second-fastest car, which was able to survive a full race length?

  7. Its today luck. Yesterday it was the car the other day it was something else. This F1 IS a constructors sport. They build extremely fast cars at the edge of technology. While trying to maintain control of said machinery and ensure reliability. Hence its not down to just luck.

    1. Yes, edge is the word here considering red bulls lasted like 95% of the race, seems like something was done toooooooo close to the limit.

  8. He is correct, given he’s talking specifically about reliability. A driver couldn’t race without a car/team behind them. If a team creates a car that can’t finish the race due to reliability issues, then the cars behind that inherit those positions did a better job with reliability in that race.

    From a performance perspective, it’s obviously the opposite, and Mercedes haven’t done a good a job as their main rivals at the start of the season. Which Hamilton acknowledged.

  9. As neither a big fan, nor a hater of LH, I’m a neutral in the whole “LH vs everyone else” world, I find it highly amusing reading all the fan boys and haters arguing over subjects that will never have a definite conclusion to the answer.

    Luck, skill, hard work, whatever it was (I couldn’t care what it was), it’s already adding up to be another exciting F1 season. I just hope Mclaren can sort out their problems quickly and it was good to see that although LH did out qualify GR, GR certainly held his own against the 7 time WDC.

  10. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    21st March 2022, 11:27

    Yes the Red Bulls retiring was good luck for the Mercedes, but I think he means the team put some serious effort into being the third best team to pick up the pieces. Those who took interest in testing and even fp1 would have seen that Mercedes were nowhere until they made some sort of breakthrough Friday evening / Saturday morning. -That will be the hard work he’s referring to.

  11. This is part of the sport (or any sport really) putting yourself in a position to be able to take advantage of a changing situation. Unknowns happen in every race and they were there to capitalise which comes from hard work.

    It would be great if they can improve to also contend at the top, three competitive teams would be fantastic!

  12. I think I’d rather have the RedBull problems instead of the Merc ones, they seem like an easy fix in comparison.
    I’m a RBR fan and I don’t think Lewis was lucky. It’s different if you have a tyre blow out or get taken out by another car, but to have parts fail through design faults you just have to take it on the chin that you couldn’t finish.
    Max was really unlucky with DNF’s (apart from Monza) last year but Bahrain was different on Sunday.

    1. I’m not so sure about how difficult it will be for Mercedes to remedy their issues. As far as I can tell their entire problem comes down to their suspension and the ‘porpoising’ problem. After watching the cars yesterday it looks like they are having to run higher spring rates, and a higher ride height, than most other teams to keep the problem under control. This makes the car a lot more difficult to drive and reduces the amount of downforce the underfloor can create. To compensate for this reduced downforce they have to run higher wing angles and that makes the car more draggy and slower down the straights.
      It’s obviously not an easy fix as otherwise they’d have already done it, but to my eyes all their problems seem to be linked to the porpoising.
      I hope I’m right and Mercedes manage to fix it soon because a 3 team, 6 driver, scrap for the titles would make for a superb season.

      1. @SammyH
        Agreed, I hope it does become a 3 team battle at some point. I was looking at the trend of slower teams all being Merc powered. Surely they don’t all have the same porpoising? Anyone got any info on where the Merc engine lies with performance?

    2. Agreed. Mercedes problems lies in their pursuit of the slim side pods, and it’s incompatibility with channeling the vortices required to combat the porpoising effect. They need to seriously rethink their design philosophy.

      1. They do have the advantage of being so slim that they can do whatever they want in that area, if indeed that is the problem.

        1. i dont mercedes problem is too serious… they probably have too much downforce and unbalanced suspension setup combined with the wing. i m very sure they already know what the problem is, due to limited testing and budget, they wont bring in the solution quick enough like next race… hopefully they will be back in 3-4 races.

          what will be interesting is that if redbul will be able to fix their issues :) or will be taking grid penalties every other race after half way

    3. I’d say monza was unlucky too, what put verstappen in that position? A 9 sec stop.

  13. Joe Cointreau
    21st March 2022, 15:50

    If Red Bull didn’t build a 55 lap car for a 57 lap race, you would have been fourth. It was luck.

    1. If Mercedes student build a car that wasn’t the fastest then Ferrari and Red Bull wouldn’t be fighting for the win, those lucky beggers!

  14. “Of course we were fortunate…” is the closest LH is going to get to calling it luck when it comes to relating it to beating Max/RBR.

    Of course you were lucky LH, as there were two cars in front of you that dnf’d with only a small number of laps to go. If your’s and GR’s car were the ones to dnf handing places to the cars behind, you would have called them lucky, especially if Max was one of the drivers to benefit. On pure pace alone, they had your number in the same way Ferrari had RBR’s. But of course no surprise to hear LH sound like there is no other place than 5th/6th (or hoping for lucky 3rd/4th) they’d rather be, such is the great joy the challenge brings, lol.

    Something tells me LH would rather have the problems RBR had in Bahrain, and be starting on front rows, than to have the problems they are having at Mercedes, who may also yet have their own reliability issues as they develop this car. That is, as they develop it towards the moving targets that will be RBR and Ferrari who have started on a better footing from which to advance themselves.

    Let’s see what they can do, but to me they went from being utterly dominant in 2020, to losing that domination and being challenged strongly all season in 2021, to now lagging behind Ferrari and RBR (assuming RBR’s issues will be readily solved of course). Mercedes hard work is obviously no guarantee, for as LH and all of us know, they are all working hard on every team. LH/Mercedes doesn’t have a monopoly on hard work just because two RBR cars had an extremely rare dnf in race one of this entirely new chapter.

    1. So whether its luck depends on which driver is involved? Really?

      Of course one can say all teams were lucky, that RB messed up to finish the race with their cars. Merc simply achieved to have the 2nd fastest car which was able to survive the whole race. And Hamilton achieved to be faster than his teammate.

      1. It’s not what he said, but ironically it’s what other mercedes’ fans seem to be saying.

        1. I have not read something like this from Merc fans here. Dont know your sources though

  15. No no, that was luck.

  16. Of course, getting free positions due to issues on other cars is not luck. It’s totally under Mercedes’ control if other cars have issues or not.
    Had Mercedes worked a little harder, both Ferraris would have issues too. And if they didn’t work as hard as they did, maybe only one of the RBRs would stop at the side of the track.

    I look forward to the rest of the season, to watch how many cars will retire due to Mercedes’ hard work.

  17. Gag me with a spoon.

  18. of course it’s luck, since his team has worked equally hard with RBR retirement or without. Simple logic.

    1. Well, then its also luck that not every other team build a faster car.

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