Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Hamilton wants to sort new Mercedes deal so he can “focus more”

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton indicated he is moving closer to agreeing terms with Mercedes to extend his contract beyond the end of the current season.

In brief

Hamilton wants to sort deal and “focus”

During the FIA press conference after yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix Hamilton said his representatives will meet with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff today. He later stated that “wasn’t a subtle hint” and it is “just another one of the meetings that we’re having.”

However he admitted the subject of his future was on his mind and he’s keen to finalise the arrangements so he can put more of his energies elsewhere.

“It’s always something that’s at the back of your mind so once that’s done, then you’re able to then focus more and think about the future,” he said. “As I said I’m working as hard as I can with this team and I see so much strength within the team, I think they’re still so hungry.”

Mercedes achieved their best result of the season so far in Spain. “When we go back right now there’ll be a great energy within the office,” said Hamilton, “but these guys, they’ll take two seconds to enjoy themselves and be happy and then they’ll be back down into the books and trying to figure out how we can win the next race so that’s what I love about them.”

Zhou “had to take avoiding action”

Zhou Guanyu dismissed Yuki Tsunoda’s claim he intentionally left the circuit as their pair fought for position to create the impression his rival hadn’t left him enough space. Tsunoda was given a five-second penalty after Zhou took to the run-off at turn one.

“It was very straightforward,” Zhou explained. “I was ahead before braking into turn one and then mid-corner I was actually giving a lot of space and then I just saw he wasn’t stopping, tried to release the brake and run me off. I had to take avoiding action in the escape road, otherwise we will be clashing together.

“So that was tricky after that because I had so much rubbish on my tyres. But in the end I was able to keep it behind in the right position and get the points position back.”

“Back to the drawing board” for Haas

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said they will have to rethink their approach to tyre management after both his drivers finished lower than they started. Nico Hulkenberg lost seven places and finished 15th. Kevin Magnussen took the chequered flag three places behind him.

“Quite a disappointing result today, we just couldn’t get the tyres to stay alive,” said Steiner. “We did one more pit stop than everyone else, but even if we hadn’t stopped, we would’ve gone slower and ended up there anyway.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and try to find a solution to our tyre degradation.”

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Comment of the day

Charles Leclerc’s strategy made no sense to @Tifoso1989:

starting on hards and stopping early with no sign of tyre issues is pointless. His times were consistent albeit a bit slow which is understandable due to the delta between the compounds.

It would have made more sense to start him on the softs.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ratboy and Davef1!

On this day in motorsport

  • 40 years ago today Michele Alboreto scored Tyrrell’s final win in F1’s last race at Long Beach

Author information

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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13 comments on “Hamilton wants to sort new Mercedes deal so he can “focus more””

  1. On this day in motorsport, Michele Alboreto won in DETROIT and not F1’s final race in Long Beach (which was won by Watson a couple months earlier).

  2. Don’t ruin WEC. You almost made it perfect with all the manufacturers and rules…..
    At least other Alfa had pace..
    Imagine hearing 24h race first time in 1923 even if you haven’t even seen a car.

    1. The 3m29.504s laptime is quite striking, they’re so much slower than the LMP1 cars were!

      Maybe it’s for the best, as it was becoming a bit too much for the ACO at a Grade 2 track.

  3. Zhou indeed had to take avoiding actions because of Tsunoda’s understeer, meaning if contact had happened, the latter would’ve been equally at fault for not being in full control of his car.

    Indeed a perfect repudiation since pit stop amounts have never automatically meant a race is exciting per se.
    However, this one was decently exciting because of variable strategies rather than a straightforward medium-hard, etc., & also good amount of racing from P2 downwards.

    Yes, Leclerc’s strategy was questionable, given he started on the hardest compound.

    1. Zhou indeed had to take avoiding actions because of Tsunoda’s understeer, meaning if contact had happened, the latter would’ve been equally at fault for not being in full control of his car.

      F1 drivers love to claim understeer when running wide to defend a position, but somehow they always seem to manage just fine when trying to overtake on the inside. As for Tsunoda… everyone saw what he did when Pérez came up behind him. Such an “independent” team.

      Indycar – even in Detroit – once more showed that proper racing rules always results in better on track action for drivers and fans alike. And they don’t even need DRS.

  4. Thank you for the COTD !

  5. I would so like to like Haas as the plucky underdog (and having a Danish driver…) but they are not really making it easier for me by having the same type of problem seasons in and out.

    Maybe there’s something wrong with that drawing board, that they keep returning to, that needs looking at?

  6. That race was the perfect repudiation of the clueless idea that forcing everyone to make two pit stops would automatically make all races exciting.

    This ‘race’ wasn’t exciting – but it wasn’t because of the number of pit stops. It was because of the cars, the rules, the track and the truly excessive amount of management that teams can do at all times. It is not a sport – it is a mathematical exercise conducted by computers.
    I’d love to know of even one person who has ever said that “forcing everyone to make two pit stops would automatically make all races exciting.”

    I would say, though, that more stops do create more variables – and that is at least potentially more exciting. Unpredictable and rewarding are perhaps better terms than exciting, though.

  7. I do have this weird feeling that Hamilton may still jump ship to Ferrari. He’s almost at the end of his career and I think he’ll always regret not racing in red if he doesn’t. Surely it must be on his mind at least a little.

    1. Any chance of Hamilton heading to Ferrari died in Barcelona, after suffering serious injuries at Monaco.

  8. I always roll my eyes when various people on Sky constantly push the idea of having forcing everyone to run all 3 compounds to ensure every race is 2 stops because the number of pit stops isn’t usually the thing that makes a race good or bad & indeed over the years i’ve seen just as many very good 0-1 stop races as I have very bad 2-3+ stop races.

    The thing that can make racing more interesting when it comes to strategy is when there is multiple viable options or when it’s marginal between 1-2 stops which then encourages different teams/drivers try different things. Or of course when you have a situation like Montreal in 2010 where the circuit and/or weather conditions throw everyone a curveball (In that case higher than expected tyre wear) and nobody is really sure how to manage it.

    I’ve said this before but I think the biggest mistake that was made after Montreal 2010 is trying to artificially emulate that everywhere with the High-deg tyre philosophy as all it did was take something that was as good as it was because it was unexpected & turn it into something everyone was expecting & therefore planned how to deal with. Thats why you had so much focus on tyre management in those early years of the Pirelli era, Everyone knew the tyres were going to act a certain way so everyone spent most there time focussing on how to cope with it.
    You never had that at Montreal 2010 because nobody turned up to that weekend expecting tyre wear to be as big a factor as it was & it’s that unexpected element & everyone having to figure it out on the fly that made that race as good as it was.

    1. throw everyone a curveball … and nobody is really sure how to manage it.

      That, right there, is the secret sauce that makes any F1 race good.
      Management/data/simulation/communication is the opposite of that. There is simply too much of it, and it’s ruining both the sport and the show.

  9. The problem is, people who aren’t racing engineers keep thinking they can engineer spontaneity and unpredictability.

    The race engineer’s job is to remove as many variables as possible from the equation– so they’re going to do their jobs, and minimize the impact of any regulation that consistently tries to enforce unpredictable behavior.

    It’s funny when pundits and armchair experts think they can outsmart some of the smartest engineers on the planet.

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