F1 Winter Break
Is Lewis Hamilton really “Ready to finish the first Grand Prix in 15th place” ?
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Feb 2013   |  12:21 pm GMT  |  479 comments

Lewis Hamilton is doing a great deal of his work in the media at the moment setting out his stall in the early stages of the Mercedes relationship.

And an interview in today’s L’Equipe with Fred Ferret is a good example of how the 2008 world champion wants to draw some lines in the sand; to get some basic understandings out there, knowing that the world’s commentators, media and public will all have plenty of opinions and judgements on the rights and wrongs of his move down the grid, as he goes through the first year at the Mercedes team.

There is also a similar interview in today’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian equivalent of L’Equipe.

In the L’Equipe interview says that his targets are modest for 2013; to get a podium, perhaps a race win, but he is “quite prepared to finish 15th in the first race” in Melbourne on March 17.

After a couple of days of testing the new Mercedes, Hamilton admitted that the Mercedes has some catching up to do, but made it clear he is more focussed on the longer term and on 2014 in particular.

As we saw yesterday with the hiring of Rory Byrne to focus on Ferrari’s integration of the 2014 turbo engine and chassis, there is an opportunity for teams that build their own engines to get an edge in chassis design.

As for his first taste of Mercedes vs McLaren machinery, Hamilton was pretty frank,
“The McLaren was better, but that’s not a surprise. I could see last year that the Mercedes was often a second off the best; sometimes two seconds. I was prepared for that. I could tell (in Jerez test) that the Mercedes had less downforce than the McLaren. But it’s not catastrophic. I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things.

There is a fascinating passage about his thoughts on Niki Lauda, his part in getting Hamilton to Mercedes and the wider role at Mercedes,
“I’ve always respected him, but in the last few years he used to criticise me without even knowing me,” said Hamilton. Lauda has for many years had a media platform for his outspoken views with German TV rights holder RTL.

“When we met I wanted us to spend time together in order for him to understand who I was. And on my side, I wanted to know if I was going to like his character. At the end of the day, we have a lot in common. We spoke at length about things with passion and that contributed to my decision (to join Mercedes).”

Another important note to commentators, pundits and fans comes from his explanation of why he needed to leave McLaren,

“Definitely things weren’t as good as they had been at McLaren; I was driving a competitive car, I could win races, battle with Sebastian Vettel.. But I perhaps stayed there too long. I need new challenges. I can’t stay for 25 years in the same office, doing the same things. And McLaren had become a bit like an office for me; the routine, the same gym, the same factory in which I knew what was in every single corner.”

Hamilton has made another change in his management with Tom Shine (above) from XIX Entertainment coming in to look after day to day matters, replacing the veteran driver manager Didier Coton, who looks after Valterri Bottas.

Shine was senior vice president of Adidas Reebok, for 11 years, where he worked closely with Hamilton, before moving to the Los Angeles headquarters of XIX at the start of year. “The talent we have under contract is huge,” Shine told the US Sports Business Journal at the time of his move.

“The idea is to build them as brands, and bring some of the ones with marketing savvy from entertainment to sports, along with combining those disciplines.”

The Sports Business Journal noted at the time of Shine’s move to XIX, that there is a vogue at the moment for major sponsors and brands “combining sports and entertainment marketing investments. From Coke’s Olympic “Move to the Beat” music platform to Pepsi’s current “NFL Anthems” campaign, the new programs just seem to make sense, especially when big brand expenditures for music and sports programs are easily into seven figures.”

So it is interesting to note that XIX has this in mind for a Formula 1 driver like Hamilton and it will be even more interesting to see how F1’s own in-house promoter Bernie Ecclestone reacts to their initiatives around Hamilton.

Hamilton says that he wishes to bring “simplicity” to Mercedes and cites the example of the steering wheel which he feels is over-complicated. At McLaren he went through a similar process, to reduce the number of buttons.

“It was drowning in buttons; all the ones I never use, I eliminated them,” he said. “Next I moved the most important ones to the top so they were more visible. At Mercedes there are 26 of them. I’ve already got rid of six. I’m already thinking about the 2014 wheel, where there will be new functions.

“I love these kinds of details.”

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Oh, by the way-I'm getting loads more cash at Mercedes.


As if you don't want any if you make a job change.

This is getting really old with people bashing drivers (Hamilton in this case) for making team switches with money being part of the reason. Who wouldn't want more?


There it is: the first misspelling of Valtteri Bottas!:-)


Except that McLaren (belatedly) apparently offered to match what Mercedes was paying him.

However, Mercedes may not expect him to "bleed Mercedes" when cut, or be concerned that food and drink in the team HQ will "contaminate the building".


For me McLaren always appeared more a relgion than a racing team. Other teams seem all more human & down to earth to me. I will only benefit Hamilton in his further live to have left them & expeience the live outside the holy shrine


Exactly.. When you first get told- " times are tough" & you might have to take a pay cut from 10m then Mercedes comes and offer 20m then your team says ok we will give you 15M and then you say can I keep my trophies & sponsorships and they say -no you can't. Then he says well I better move on now and then they say well we will give you 21m- Mclaren end up like a bunch of beggars- & that's exactly what happened to Ron [mod]


He got as much money at McLaren


You guys, give "poor" Lewis a break. He will have enough to deal with, getting well paid for his 15th place finishes.


Yes, he will have plenty to worry about. Including maintenance of his new private jet.


We both know that even missing Q3 Lewis can make up places. Last year in the India GP the McLaren had several problems.It was a nightmare race for him. Lewis ended up fingting for position with Hulkenber and Vergne. He dragged a piece of green turf in the last laps. He still finished in P10. Lewis made that race exiting



Candice, his tires were wearing out faster than normal b/c the anti-roll bar in his car was broken! Pitting sooner would've meant pitting an extra time later on.

Don't be a muppet.


Brilliant?? he spent 10 laps on defending his position with worned out tyre and wasted 20sec++ the moment he finally pitted and came out declare he outperform the car when in true story, if he pitted earlier for fresh tyre, he would finished much higher than 10th.

His fans went on and cheers for him, i mean, how blind can people be ?


Sorry, my mistake. Anyway both of them boring races dominated by Vettel


And I will try again wih iPhone speak lol. It was the Korean Gp he had a problem with the turf but had a similar issue with the anti roll bar in Indian and Korea


I hope you will not be too disapointed it he ends up in the top 5 at Melbourne



Amazing what these bookies come up with here.

Hamilton at same odds as Perez?

I have a feeling that Button may be easy money. Button has hardly put a foot wrong when you look at his carrier moves since 2008. Guy is the Ninja of F1 moves. And considering that Ferrari and Red Bull were not an option, he has played his hands best of anyone. I have moments where I still sit here and scratch my head about how he ended up with McLaren all to him self. Just amazing! Is Button's wife Ron's daughter by any chance? 🙂


Hi goodpaul,

You can get some better odds than those according to oddschecker (mostly with betvictor)


Vettle 6/4 same

Alonso 3/1

Button 13/2 he was slightly higher before the first test

Raikkonen 14/1

Perez 18/1

Hamilton 20/1

Webber 20/1

Massa 50/1

Rosberg 80/1 This is good odds for the outside chance he is, considering Hamiltons odds and when Rosberg knows the mercedes and broke his duck last season


Odds for 2013 driver world championship

Vettle 6/4

Alonso 11/4

Button 5/1

Raikkonen 9/1

Perez 14/1

Hamilton 14/1

Webber 16/1

Rosberg 45/1


This is not as far fetched as some are making out, if you take Gary Andersons view of the first test to be an indicator.


Anderson has the Mercedes as a competitive car and hopefully it will be, as it would be brilliant to see Rosberg and Hamilton in the title fight too. I think a lot of the negative PR is coming from the Hamliton camp, so that whatever happens, he comes out looking good which is understandable. I also will be interested to see how good Rosberg really is because I don't think you can just write him off. He could really give Hamilton a headache, for this season at least.

As to the articles title question, I just cannot see Hamilton sucking it up very well if they do end up 15th in a lot of races. It has to be tough for him though, as he is under so much more media scrutiny than the others in my opinion.


Not at all. And if he does, that will be as good as a win.

But to flip it around on you - if you were to come to me and say, "Hey, I bet you a pint that Lewis will be in the Top 5." I believe I would take you up on that bet before you finished pronouncing fi...

Which reminds me, someone out there please put in a bet on Lewis for WDC so you can tell us the odds and rub it in when you cash in.


and you're point is? ...like you wouldn't move to a new job if the money was right.


He's an F1 driver, not at Journeyman accountant at Ernst & Young. Money will be a factor but to say its the main driver is disrespectful to his ambition and but gives an insight into the basis upon which those not capable of an F1 seat make their decisions.

He was also offered more at McMerc.


Please, for a moment take your eyes off the money part. It is really getting boring...


Joel, you are right. This is what I think. Lewis starts to appear to me like Jack when he moved to BAR.


Whereas as we would turn down more money if offered a new job on....what...principle?

Bring Back Murray

He's already loaded enough. Its not like he'd have been payed peanuts if he'd stayed at McClaren anyway


So you decide that he is loaded enough and that's it? End of debate? Only he can decide if he's loaded enough. We'd all love more cash, he had the oportunity to get some and fair bloody play to him.


So because he's already "loaded" you think he shouldn't be allowed to earn any more? I take it you will be applying this same rule to the following, all of whom are earning a fair bit through sponsorships in their own countries and through other merchandise / leave alone their standard pay???













di Resta










de la Rosa


And what's wrong with that?

Bring Back Murray

Nothing if you don't mind giving up the chance to win a WDC for a midfield team


Sorry, my friend. Mclaren isn't winning anything. We've seen that movie the last 3 years. This team has lost there way ever since Whitmarsh took over.


Ferrari last won the constructors in 1983 and a WDC in 1979. Schumacher went and changed the culture over there (with help from the tech people from benneton that followed him). I imagine people said the same thing about schumi leaving after 2 consecutive championships.


For how long will he be able to constrain himself, before lashing out against the whole Mercedes team. When this guy gets things not going his way, he do react pretty hard. Wonder when he actually end up being in the 15th place in Melbourne, he will certainly show the bits he used to in his McLaren days.


I don't actually think finishing 15th in Melbourne will be what upsets him. It seems that he's already playing the long game and thinking of 2014 and is satisfied (if not exactly in love with the idea) to grind out this year.

However, if McLaren were to win the drivers' championship (not just races) I think he will find it hard to take, and that could well be compounded if Mercedes don't have a world-beater on the grid for the opening round in 2014.


I know. I expect to hear "I'm much faster than him, Do Something!!!" during the first race.

No, wait-- that was someone else. Maybe he'll complain that he "doesn't have the grip for that".... no, that was someone else too.


Haha brilliant! Don't know who you are on about ..... :p


I may be wrong (my memory may be fuzzy) but in 2009 when McLaren started with that dog of a car, he didn't lash out much and knuckled down, worked hard and eventually ended up helping the team to win races. I think recent 'misbehaviour' was due to the Hamilton-McLaren relationship souring in other ways.


In reference to Hamilton's performance during 2009, it should not be forgotten that his post-Championship year began with the Melbourne GP, where he lied to the stewards about allowing Trulli to pass under safety car conditions. He was subsequently disqualified from the race for providing misleading evidence (and supposedly considered retirement from F1).


Well remembered, he did do that and I think his moody reputation is really all because of the problems he had with his partner and the way he behaved in the media in 2011.

To be fair to him, if Nicole was my lady and she dumped me I would be pretty upset too............


That sounds most likely to me as well. Surely Mclaren caught wind of the talks Hamilton was having with Mercedes before the media speculation.

Hamilton did knuckle down in 2009 and won towards the end of the year.


Sort of true, but the start of 2009 also had the whole 'lying to officials' kerfuffle, which ended up with Ron Dennis backing away from F1 to calm the FIA's McLaren dislike.

Though in that instance Lewis was told to lie before the stewards. A lot of his stressful media appearances did seem to stem from that episode. Even with the Alonso 'warfare' he seemed a very different person after that 2009 start.

Though you're right, he didn't slam the team as much as he did in the following years. I think he accepted Jenson winning in the Brawn because he knew the McLaren didn't stand a chance that year and it was likely a one-off anyway. But his loss to the younger Vettel for year after year must be more galling.

Losing to Jenson doesn't seem to bother Lewis as much. Perhaps because Jenson was already older when he got his success and not a threat to Lewis' self-image as much as Vettel's young determined Schumacher-esque dominance (much like Alonso, Lewis seems to share his distrust of Vettel's true ability).


Yes, he did superbly in 2009 with a car that was an absolute zero. I recall him getting fined for doing donuts just to give something to the fans, since the car was a soddid wretch.

In 2012, Lewis had to learn how to deal a well oiled racist campaign and the peer pressure it exerted on the more gullible who responded with all sorts of rumours and "Lewis knowledge." Things like that place a very heavy burden on the individual. Kudos to Lewis, his come through very well indeed.


Food for thought....

Donuts and burnouts etc that arent required and that other drivers dont subject their cars to couldnt cause potential reliability issues with things like gearboxes neding to last 5 races do they.....oh wait, they do!

Thats ok but because if it breaks, then its not him, its the car, remember? ....... lol


And on top of that they didn't let him keep the trophies!


Pretty sure you're right.



He certainly does, but that sort of behavior appears to be trailing off as he gets older. We were all 22 once - the things we did then are not, generally, held against us.

The question is, can Mercedes deliver on what they 'promised' HAM? If HAM has a tantrum I do not believe we will see it until 2014 when he will expect better, and then he'll probably be very justified if they do not deliver.


No. *I was never 22. I believe I impatiently skipped right past it. Perhaps I'll go back and do it now...


A long time, I reckon.

He's maturing, but also his emphasis is clearly changing, with the Tom Shine move


Have you any proof for your theory Mr Allen? It's quite a big thing what you suggest there, that Hamilton is not commited to racing anylonger. Please show us something wich backs such a heavy suggestion up?

I did not see anything wich would point in this direction!


Of course he's committed to racing. And he thinks he can be WC again, in 2014, when all the cards will be redistributed. Otherwise he wouldn't have gone to Mercedes. So given that he felt he had to move away from the team of his youth, and there was a bit more dough, and he now loves Niki, it all fell into place.

PS Can anyone explain to me (James perhaps) how Merc was so much better than everyone else for one lonely race last year, and in the middle of the pack for the rest ? Hard to believe it was just tyres.


Wich whole other side @JamesAllen? The major difference is he has a dog and a jet now. I can see no whole other side. Ever since Hamilton joined XIX the journos where pretending, he gets a brand now, has other interests etc. But until now there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wich would reinforce this suggestions. Au contraire hamilton gotA more private person since he left McLaren.


MOst real experts ( Lowe, Whitmarsh , Neale)said what Hamilton makes outstanding as driver, is his passion for racing, his dedicatio,n and that he is willing to give always 100%

Whenever he comes in you can be sure he gave 100% and left nothing ( Lowe)

Would it be only a job for him he would have stayed at mcLaren where he was comfortable 6 would it have had much easier than at Mercedes now!


And there is where the difference between Hamilton and Vettel, for Lewis it is a job, while for Seb its his passion.


I didn't say that. No idea where you got that from.

I said he has a whole other side to his life now, but that's not the same as saying that he's not committed to racing. It's his job!



This is the same Tom Shine who's a convicted fraudster, yes?


How will you know it @JamesAllen?

IMO Hamilton will be more focused than ever on racing at Mercedes, without all those sill PR trips he had to do at McLaren.He will have a lot more time to prepare for racing ( training etc) A few private interests will not change his emphasis. there is also a live outside & after F1 wich Hamilton knows.


James I think many of us will expect Lewis to achieve a whole lot more than he has to date to make himself a worldwide brand...


You could be right, Hamilton could be one of F1's biggest stars.

To be a worldwide brand is something quite different. He will need to significantly improve his appeal to other markets/ non F1 fans. Take Beckham for example?

I disagree that it is likely that Lewis will be able to emulate Stirling s position in F1 without winning at least one more championship. Frankly in my opinion Lewis will need at least three WDC's to get there.

Another year finishing outside the top three drivers final results would be disastrous for any aspiring "World" brand.


He already is getting there...Stirling Moss is synonymous with Motorsport, speed, great racer and he w has did not win a WDC. I believe Hamilton is one of the biggest stars of F1 and in fact more of a brand than Vettel (certainly not less).

As long as he remains focused - and he is making all the right noises so far - good luck to him I say (don't under estimate all the promotional work he had to do for McLaren and now he is doing more for himself without increasing his off track duties).


Mr Allen a superb article as always thank you.

I am quite confident Lewis Hamilton will suprise many,simply he's a racer a true champion, and may I say with (balls)Hami will

do what Alonso did with the donkey of F- 2012

in to a reasanable thoroughbred,as long R.Brawn

is there, the only thing questionable N.Lauda

a yesterday man and Aldo Costa a Ferrari man

who did not made the grade.


For those who follow cricket (as I am sure UK fans would), it's like T20 vs Test cricket. T20 even the best dont have to try to hard to succeed and they get paid in $M upwards. In Test cricket the mediocre are just wiped out in no time while the best who are focussed, hard working, not-distracted by peripheral things succeed. Not saying one is better than the other, it's just two different formats and in this age there is a place for both.

Hamilton is T20, just riding on his natural talent to rake in big money without worrying too much about wins and championships. Vettel is a old-school boy in that sense.


Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.


James, excuse the bravity, but I really don't understand your comment. Do you imply that the Tom Shine move would distrct him from focusing solely on F1, that he would be happy to underachieve as long as his brand is being built up on the back of Merc?



" Button is better suited to be the lovable loser at McLaren: the classic underachiever."

Are you even serious dude?

The lovable loser? You mean the guy who won the WDC, then left the team he won it with to join McLaren and enter the 'Lions Den' where he goes on to out score the team mate who was going to SMASH and DESTROY him?

Is that the lovable loser you're talking about?

Is that the under achiever you're talking about?

You go on like Hamilton is some sort of hero cause he's achieved at the highest level and is now going on to other challenges.

Really? You mean like Button - who has achieved at the highest level and has as many WDC's to his name as Hamilton does. And not only that, he moved to a better and more successful team and put himself up against one of the best in the business.

Unlike Hamilton who is moving to a lower, less successful team. This is FAR less pressure than Button had coming into McLaren. If things don't go well for Hamilton, he can just blame the team.

As far as I'm concerned, Button was FAR braver than Hamilton when it comes to moving teams!


Remember Vettel is German, you can NOT compare LH to Vettel, grow up...


I think Mr Hamilton has lost the burning desire he so clearly had in his career trajectory up to and including 2007 and 2008.

Since then, he's had his self - polished image as being the 'New Senna' somewhat tarnished. He lost out to Jenson (in more ways than merely points) and has watched Sebastian rise up as the de facto Super Star. He is now too old to go into the history books as the child prodigy he clearly believed himself to be.

I fear he is now more interested in his brand - so, look out for Lewis Hamilton sunglasses / shoes / headphones / aftershave / underwear/ pizzas / tinned peas etc etc coming out en masse over the next couple of years as he 'Does a Beckham'. I think he will occasionally throw 'freekin' tantrum', but will settle into not really being that bothered, as the Hamilton Cash Machine, cranked so readily by Messrs Fuller and Co, really gets into overdrive.

How things have changed since the days of Tazio Nuvolari.... and not for the better in some respects.


Hamilton has achieved at the highest level and is seeking a new challenge. Mercedes are hardly the worst team on the grid. Button is better suited to be the lovable loser at McLaren: the classic underachiever.

It's cheeky to criticize an F1 driver for going after money when many of these 'national heroes' live in tax havens.

Thumbs up to Hamilton for taking a bigger part in promoting his own brand. It always seemed strange that McLaren felt justified in using their drivers for promotional work and claiming all rights to any trophies.


James perhaps Lewis has greater awareness of the business opportunities that the F1 environment presents. I can't fault him for that as long as it is not a distraction


In reply to JA's second comment - I don't think Vettel has Hamilton's level of marketing power therefore that might explain why that is not one of his objectives.


No, but if you compare his objectives in becoming a worldwide brand in his own right, with Vettel's objectives, you'll see that there is a whole side to his life and activities, which isn't present in Vettel's.

I'm not saying its good or bad, just observing that it's there.


Is it just me or does anyone else feel like Lewis' new-found technical brilliance has a touch of Spinal Tap...

Mercedes: 'So Lewis, what do you think of the new car.'

LH: 'C'mon man, what's that sticker doing there. Can't you see it's not straight. Y'know these details are important.'.

Mercedes: 'OK, Lewis, we'll have a look at that. But how about the handling. Is the car responding to changes in the differential settings.'

LH: 'Differential settings?'

Mercedes: 'Yes, that dial there. You know, for the diff-er-ent-ial'.

LH: 'I didn't like that button at all. It's in the wrong place. Come to think of it, what are all these buttons. I want six buttons. With chrome on. And gold. And I'd like some buttons with diamonds in as well. Like this. I don't want twenty-six buttons. This looks seriously uncool. Let's get this right for 2014, guys. We can have some flashing LEDs. We'll need those to compete with Sebastian.'.

Mercedes: Of course, Lewis. Thanks for the feedback. We'll look into that. So what about the car, Lewis. Is it going to be quick.

LH: No. It's not as fast as last year's Maclaren. It must be the downforce. I think. Or maybe it's that sticker. Ron never used to get the sticker's wrong.


i've heard jeremy burgess (no stranger to getting the most out of his riders)say that "if a rider thinks gold plated handlebars will make him faster he will get them".

a large part of speed is comfort and happiness.

if the button is a distraction, move it!

no pun intended.


Um, we've invented a setting at 11, to make the car go faster


So, when Alonso went to Ferrari, he made the comment that with his experience, he can help the team shave three-tenths off the car lap times in development.

No one seemed to dispute this.

When Hamilton moves to Mercedes, and says he wants to help the team turn the car into a winning car, everyone starts mocking him, asking when he became an engineer, ridiculing him for paying attention to detail, or simplifying his controls.

Is it really that inconceivable that he's been paying attention his entire racing career, and actually knows what he's doing, or is there some type of double-standard being applied?


Genius post.

Although I do remember Schumacher struggling to keep his hands on the wheel most GP's so maybe Mercedes just have a tendency to over-complicate things.


I think you are being very disingenuous ...


To be fair I don't think Lewis's technical ability is as bad as some make out, though I agree it's not his strongest area in the sense that his natural driving ability and racecraft are stronger.

That said, I found these set of posts really amusing and a good laugh. Regarding the Ross Brawn quote/statement, maybe a career in the Communications Department of an F1 team - including helping draft the press releases - awaits!


This button goes to 11.


Keep It Simple Silly - wikipedia describes it as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960 and alternatively represented by the KISS acronym coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others). Looks like some pretty serious and intelligent characters hold this principle in high regard. What do you have to your name @AdrianP to make fun of this principle?


I prefer what I was told whenever I tried to overcomplicate things, which was 'Keep It Simple Stupid', but yes; it is a damn good principle to have.

Generally - but by no means always - simple things are more efficient and much more reliable, and so end up being better.

If Lewis can help get rid of a bit of chaff at Mercedes then more power to him.



Everything should be as simple as necessary, but not simpler.

The last part of the sentence is vital.


Adrian, you are very smart.

So you are sat here being a comedian on the comments section.

Meanwhile, Lewis is ... ?


You are of course quite right that I'd love to have half of Lewis' driving talent and also wouldn't mind his job (...let alone the salary...!).


I wonder what half of Lewis driving talent really entails? Seeing as driving an F1 car requires both brains, fitness and coordination?


or his missus (?)


You've got it wrong mate. He's not talking about how un-cool they look. There are just too many of them. 26 buttons on one small steering wheel. He does this for ease and efficiency while driving at 200mph.


That is the funniest thing I read so far this year.


Well at least he never requested a dial that can go up to 11!! Now that would be very Spinal Tap!


Hilarious. I'm splitting my sides. You should write jokes for Tarby ...


Let's not throw him in at the deep end...


brilliant....simply brilliant. thanks!!!


Quite funny, but if Lewis wons 1-2 WDCs in the next 3-4 years, it will also be one of the most idiotic posts ever!


995 ASCII characters just died an embarrassing death.


Amusing but a little insulting...


Lol at the flashing LEDS!


I guess we'll find out come Silverstone, if he has to drive his car out of the garage under a model of Stonehenge that's slightly too small for the car to get through, and then has his grid girl and mechanics replaced with a team of elves.

Mike from Colombia

I think it is just your stereotyping Hamilton as you would like to imagine him and others of his background.....poorly educated, superficial, does not understand technical words, and badly spoken.

The excerpt was about Hamilton's comments on the McLaren versus the Mercedes and given that Hamilton put the 2012 car on pole 7 times, won 4 times and would have won the championship if it was not down to reliability and team errors....I think he should be listened to.

Mercedes need to make the team work more effectively to get the best out of the drivers and in turn to make the car faster. Steering wheel buttons was an example that was easy and harmless to quote....what did we expect - public details on ride height, wing setting and brake bias?


Stereotypes! Stereotypes!! Stereotypes!!!

You hit the nail on the head. Its easy to see through the veil of words.


well said!


That was not the intention at all and I hope you are not right.

I don't think Hamilton comes from a vastly more underprivileged background than say e.g. Jenson Button or Robert Kubica or indeed Michael Schumacher (I may be wrong). If anything, I would have thought the opposite, given that he seems to have been picked up by Maclaren at an early stage.

The sticker example was fact rather than artistic license.

Mike from Colombia

The background I was referring to was not the underprivileged one.


I mean that spotting whether stickers were in the right place was given as one of the examples of Lewis' attention to technical detail.


Button or Schumacher did not come from the county estate!


"The sticker example was fact rather than artistic license."

How is that exactly, seeing as you made the whole thing up?


Quite right! - Too much complexity at the wheel can impact negatively on the driving. To quote Ford's motto " Simple is efficient!"


Bit narrow minded. F1 drivers are hugely intelligent in terms of understanding their machinery and to insinuate that Lewis is all about a sticker is rather childish. Suppose that's how F1 fans have become now with a number of immature and frankly disrespectful posts. Whoever the posters favourite driver is it appears that gives a free for all to slate their rival / fellow driver. I for one appreciate all the drivers are there on merit despite money help but feel opinions on people or assumptions shouldn't be made by the fact you don't like them. Granted all fans are allowed their favourite but when has disrespecting another driver done anything to elevate their drivers status ?


I appreciate that the 'sticker' business is a bit childish...

...but that's apparently the example that has been given of Lewis' attention to technical detail! Cf. the interview with Ross Brawn quoted above - I think this originally emanated from a comment by Hamilton himself.

I yield to few in my admiration for Hamilton's driving skills and speed, but I do find this idea which seems to be floating around that he is going to bring a substantial technical impetus to Mercedes a little hard to swallow. This is, after all, the same person who did not seem to realise that he should not be tweeting telemetry. Unfortunately, Lewis seems to set himself up for these things: he cannot seem to accept that he's not the best in every single area. It would be much more sensible for him to emphasise his strengths and work on his weaknesses rather than trying to suggest that he will inevitably bring to Mercedes what Schumacher brought to Ferrari in terms of galvanizing the technical team. Not all drivers are equal on the technical side of things.

So there was a semi-serious point to it all.


Hamilton comes from the team of Formula 1's very own Adrian Monk. What did you expect? That he wouldn't see it?


Schumacher must have been pretty bad .at least the last few years, if you look at the progress Mercedes made.


Thanks for at least clarifying and I appreciate our opinion. I myself think Hamilton is a fantastic driver as Alonso and Vettel are. How these guys compare to each other behind the scenes development wise,not a clue! (For all I know which ain't much is, I can't distinguish on quotes alone as to who is the best development wise between button,de la rosa or whoever). Admittedly Lewis makes errors as we all do and the over simplification may be a bit too far but to me if a guys doing 180mph then he is far more qualified as to what works to make him go faster.

The bottom line is its easy to armchair judge but I can also see your sense of humour implied in the comment so I'm not totally oblivious to your humour with underlying context but feel the guys all put their lives on the line for what they love as well as what we love (pure racing) so I tend to get grouchy when I perceive a comment to knock a driver without merit : D

Good luck to whoever u support tho and I hope it's a cracking season with drama fairness and wheel to wheel tight racing throughout the field !


I am quite sure that he deliberately tweeted the telemetry. He hasn't told anyone he didn't know it was wrong for anyone to claim so.

Things werent going well at McLaren, he was given slow car parts, felt very wronged and told the World about it.

It was a quarrell that burst into the open. I don't see how anyone who is neither Lewis nor McLaren can take sides, afterall both sides took care to bury the matter.


I admire and respect your comments but if the fact that he appeared not to know that tweeting the telemetry was wrong as being one of the reasons you doubt what kind of technical impetus he brings to Mercedes then you must be one of those once bitten twice shy people I've heard about.

He did something wrong. No I won't use the excuse that he was young...but I will say we have no idea why he did what he did. Was it spite? Was it him being childish and immature as some would have you believe? I personally think there was more going on behind the scenes than what we are led to believe and although he is no angel neither are McLaren..remember those incidents about spygate/ and then LH being coerced to lie when questioned by his "mentor" a few years ago.

I agree with you in that he should emphasise his strengths and work on his weaknesses but disagree with your point of him not accepting that he's not the best in every single area. Although that may sound like he's a bit "up" himself, why shouldn't he be? No one else is going to blow his own trumpet so to speak and there are plenty out there who behave alot worse claiming to be the second coming.

Not to defend you but I did enjoy how one person managed to indirectly insinuate that your were taking a pop at him due to his socio/economic back ground!!!


The fact is that only the teams he's driven for know how good or bad he is technically. A driver of his calibre knows how the car feels, and can interpret that information very well such that the enginers will understand the requirement.


There really wasn't.


Hear hear! A driver like Lewis has had enough experience to understand how the car is performing and give the right type of feedback to the engineers. Ross Brawn is not a bullshit merchant and goes about his work in a calm methodical manner. Personally I wish the team well.


Aussie F1 Fan. I think the problem is yours rather than Lewis's for misinterpreting what is going on. - Are you sure you didn't make it up! In any event it's a well know fact that the soft and super soft tyres lose their edge very quickly. They may go on to produce the fastest lap because the times are relative, and the track is rubbering in as the race progresses. It's a learning curve and I can see you still have some way to go.


This is the same Lewis that tells the engineers on the radio that his tyres are gone after 4 laps and then proceeds to set fastest laps on those tyres right?

Just checking........


Possibly a bit harsh but none the less that has made me laugh especially the last line


Sorry mate, its just you unfortunately!


That´s what Lewis has in mid. He wants to remove all the "useless" buttons and instead he would add a CD player or maybe an Ipod with loud speakers to listen Spinal Tap. However I think Iron Maden would be the right choice for an F1 race



Doesn't take much to be a formula 1 driver, does it? Either formula 1 fans have become more juvenile than i thought or i greatly over estimate the skill set required to drive a formula 1 car and win a championship in the process.


We are just joking. The same way we joke when we saw the buttons in Raikkonen´s wheel. He came up with few funny names for them like Ice Cream or Jenson Button. Just have fun with the rest of us.



Gonna be a character-building season for Lewis and his fans lol


Or very depressing for his detactors, when he is successfull!


If this is the level of biting satire aimed at Lewis throughout the year then I think we'll probably pull through 🙂


AdrianP... that really made me laugh...lets hope he's not got rid of the 'Go' button...


I do (seriously) wonder when Lewis says "I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things" what sort of suggestions a driver can bring to the table that the designer, engineers and aerodynamicists can't?


You have to check with Alonso, who had been termed as that he brought 0.1 to 0.1 secs of technical knowledge to Ferrari.


It's called feedback. You can have all the sensors you want on the car and collect huge amounts of data, run endless simulations with your mathematical modelling but nothing beats actually driving the car on track fast. He does not need to know how to fix it he just has to know what is wrong.

Do you think he walked around the McLaren garage/factory with his eyes closed? He knows what Mercedes are doing that is different to McLaren, it stands to reason he would have some ideas on improving the Merc.


I sort of get where you are coming from but still....he drives it, where as they design and build it. What I mean is, it's like architects...sure they know their stuff and yesthe building looks nice, is very environmentally friendly has lots of green credentials etc...but they arent the ones who have to work in the building..or in this case drive at +150mph speeds. So yes his input is needed...no point building the damn thing and expect the bloke who's driving it not to have an idea or two.


Agree. An architect can build a great house, but if you are the one living in it, you can point out all the things that need improving.


Not really, no. 'His new found technical brilliance' will not be so new. F1 drivers are probably all technically brilliant. HAM's never been mentioned as a great development driver, I'll grant you, but then you wonder how much input he had at McLaren given the way they do things. He has enough experieince now to be an asset to any team in F1 technically and that was part of the reason for his move, according to the man himself.


Well if Lewis has some development/ technical brilliance, he either didn't share it with team Macca, or it wasn't any good since they haven't won a championship in years?


KRB, that is not correct. Reread my comment and yours and you should see this.


JEZ, your argument is like someone saying b/c they personally haven't seen an atom, that it doesn't exist, and it's not possible that one could ever exist. It's just silly.


Wayne, your post implys that Hamiltons imput will make a big difference. It hasn't previously made one so it is unlikely to do so in the future.


Are you joking? They didn't win it for 7 or 8 years BEFORE Lewis either! Was this their drivers' fault as well?


Ross Brawn's press conference

“He's very straightforward, I have to say. In many ways, he's very simple, very straightforward. He's never short of detail in telling you what he thinks, and what level you need to go to. He's interested in everything about the car, he's interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork. He's got a very good eye for detail, and so I think he's going to be a very involved member of the team, which is what we wanted.

“He is clearly a very talented driver, but F1 is about so much more. There are a lot of highly talented drivers that don't have the rest of it, and I think he's got the rest of it as well. I think we've made it very clear to Lewis that he's part of the solution. You have a choice in a team: Are you the problem, or are you the solution? And he's part of the solution to get us where we want to be. And I think he knows that and he understands that, and I think he's relishing it. It's correct that he gives us reference points and helps us understand what we have to focus on. I think some of it we knew already, and that's why we restructured the aero group. I welcome that approach. It needs to be positive, it needs to be constructive. Criticism of the right sort is always helpful to a team to drive it forward.”

and reading between the lines

'In many ways, he's very simple... he's interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork... There are a lot of highly talented drivers that don't have the rest of it...'.


Ok, the joke was was cheap, sarcastic, stereotypical and opportunistic the first time - now you;re just milking it.


Clearly you don't think it takes much to win a Formula 1 Championship do you? Afterall, if a guy who does not understand "diff-er-ent-ial" settings like Lewis Hamilton did it, who can't?



Mark in Australia

I think Lewis' technical input will be slightly better qualified than that... But I do take your point on board all the same!!!


LH: I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things. First, there's the stickers. Second, let's sort out these buttons. Third... ummm... well, I'm not sure that I should really be saying this but at Maclaren, Jenson was always going on about this special thing they had called downforce. He said that's what made the car quick. Have you thought about that guys?


It's easier for Lewis to improve stickers and button than Hulkenberg to "improve" the size of his feet.


So Lewis wants a button that makes the car go faster? He should've stayed at McLaren then.


Enzo: "Ringo" -No it's Always a case of 1 less Button makes a car faster.


He got rid of 2 of those not neccesarry Buttons by leaving McLaren


Always work with a drummer!


Jenson Button? Downforce??


I thought I was the only one shocked to hear that. Lol!


Well if Hamilton wants to build a team from the ground up, he's starting in the right place. Yes currently McLaren have a competitive car it seems, but they have a nasty habit of dropping the ball, and they haven't won a championship since 2008. It is a pity because Hamilton could have been looking at a third drivers championship this year had McLaren done things properly. My main worry is have they got adequate talent in the aero design department because without that they are nowhere. Despite the early test problems they do seem to have a reliable car so they need to refine it quickly. Potentially they are in the position to make the biggest gains providing they develop in the right direction. It seems as though Hamilton has some key ideas in mind that may help to guide them in the right direction. Ultimately I think Hamilton will give them three years to come good.

Bring Back Murray

And by then has given up 3 years in the prime of his career when he should have been at the top end fighting for WDCs


Suddenly it makes sense. Michael, one of the greatest drivers ever, was slow coz the freaking buttons were in the wrong spots the whole time !!

Seriously tho, he'll have so many people at Merc and XIX continually saying "Relax Lewis, it's 2014 when it will all come together" that he'll be content just to do his "I'm here to improve things" media-routine during 2013.

It's 2014 where, if the car isn't competitive, things will start to get ugly as the media will start to ask some interesting "what went wrong" questions to Lewis, Lauda, Brawn, etc etc etc.


Mercedes keeps talking earlier about next season's car being their focus.

in 2010 they started focusing on the 2011 car about 3/4 in to the season. In 2011 they started focusing on the 2012 car 2/3 of the season in. In 2012, they started focusing on the 2013 car halfway in to the season.

Now they just seem to have skipped the entire 2013 season, already bigging up the 2014 car. This team is doomed, they have never shown any potential to be champions on merit and 2009 was one of the biggest flukes ever in F1.


Except Lauda is already bigging up this years car...


I'm not sure I've ever seen Mercedes say that they don't expect to have a competitive car this year, or that they expect to have an advantage in 2014 (in fact I'm pretty sure they've played down the 2014 advantage).

Th media have been throwing them this lifeline and I guess they've just let all the hype around 2014 build up. It's a win win situation, I suppose. If they're competitive this year everybody will be super shocked and talking about it. If not then they'll just be where people have been expecting them to be already.


Agree completely, the facts support this 100%


Hamilton will be lucky to get a podium this year I think. I'm very intrigued to see how he and Rosberg compare - hopefully Rosberg will keep him honest.



With you on this, perhaps James could tell us whether the rest of Europe has forgotten there are 2 Mercedes entered or whether it's Britain being nauseatingly xenaphobic again.

I mean, Rosberg scored the highest result in the Williams driver test I believe. So there's not going to be a great deal Hamilton can tell the engineers Rosberg can't. Are we all so sure that there's only going to be one driver at Mercedes scoring any results.

Remember China last year, the Mercs were dialled in, qualified 1 and 2. Rosberg was on pole, half a second quicker. He drove away from the field and won in a class of his own. The guy in the other Mercedes? Some bloke called Michael Schumacher.


@ Diesel...whats with the appologist (assuming you're from Britain) remarks? If Britain choses to support a British driver, then why not? No one bats an eye-lid when the whole of Brazil gets behind a Brazilian or Germany supports a German so why have a go at the British? And just to clarify there are plenty of people in Britain who support drivers of other nationalities, and even more who have a a bit of common sense to respect the person on their ability to pilot such machines where ever they come from. Perhaps you should stop believing the Daily Mail and other senationalist papers?

Also that "other bloke" you refer to was indeed a one Michael Schumacher but lets not forget, he came back into the sport as an old man compared to the young bucks he was racing against. The machines have changed alot over the period he was absent for, as have the rules....and lets not forget his reaction times too (although they're still better than most average 20something drivers!!)

I'd like to see Nico (who I also admire as a driver) come back to the sport after a long absence a lot older than those around him and in different machineary to what he is used to. Good as he is - a 7 time champion he ain't..well not yet anyway.


While I know Nico Rosberg is quite technically minded what Lewis Hamilton will have is the experience of driving a proper front running car with high levels of downforce. Personally I think Nico Rosberg is very underrated and given the chance will deliver as he did in China last year, and the Mercedes car was only good while the double DRS held an advantage, but as the other teams developed higher levels of downforce they were quickly overtaken.


@Dave C.

Trashed? Really. By trashed you mean Webber outscored Rosberg 7 to 4 points,

If this is your thesis.....

Besides, look closer at what is happening at RB.

Vettel clearly the number one driver at that team.


I think Rosberg will scratch his head many times coming season as of why his new team mate is beating him.

Rosberg is a very talented driver and he did well against Michael, but Hamilton is no Michael at the age of 42. Hamilton is in his prime. Maybe Rosberg will be the victor after 19 races, but that can only be after he stepped up his game significantly compared to the previous 3 years.


I dont rate Rosberg much at all, and dont see why anyone else should.

So if he beats Hamilton often then that really lowers my opinion of Lewis. I hope to see LH beat him.


Rosberg very talented? is this the same Rosberg that got thrashed by Webber when both at Williams? The Webber thats been trounced by Vettel 4 years on the trot, now imagine if Rosberg were to race Vettel??

Tornillo Amarillo

It is like Lewis brand this year is more important than on track performance, like we should expect that he can progress with the business but not in the sport, at least this year, and maybe for 3 years. Too much blah-blah.

Maybe many fans of Lewis will be cheering Kimi this year.


Actually, The Brand in F1 is of utmost importance. I think you are all missing the point. As happened with M.Schumacher, build the brand to attract the sponsorship money to increase the development budget to improve performance to increase wins to improve the brand image to attract more sponsorship money etc etc. Whilst Mercedes haven't written off 2013, they have set modest targets with the aim off building the team, drivers and cars for going all out in 2014. Lewis's part in that is to build his brand this year so that they attract the sponsorship revenue to have the development funds to spend big on the 2014 car and season. I think you will find that Lewis knows what the score is for the next few years and is doing his bit to deliver.

Bring Back Murray

Well Lewis is the one who's going to end up with a half-full trophy cabinet when it should be packed to the brim


Hmm, not so much.

In fact, Kimi's arrogant attitude from last season has driven me away from him as a fan. I think he has taken the "cool" tag a little too far...



Or maybe he just want a little peace from trying to concentrate in his job?

If I were concentrating at something and my colleague came around telling me this and that and all sorts of details which I already know how to, I would get pretty annoyed as well and send him away before he messes up the task I'm doing.

His engineer was trying to be helpful but he wasn't, Kimi told him to stay off (certainly wasn't his first time, just go to YouTube and dig up his comments). He just wanted some peace that's all.

Chill out!


Joel, Kimi isn't the only one that have a dislike for his engineers to come on the radio and tell him what to do. Yes there are 23 other drivers also doing the same job but they are not all the same. Alonso also shows a dislike for the same radio messages I didn't see you saying he is arrogant. Just do a search for Australia 2010, you'll hear Alonso telling his engineer to stop the radio.

So why is Kimi singled out as being arrogant?


There are 23 other drivers doing the same job that Kimi is doing, he ain't the only one.

Bertie Wants A Kracker

I never seem to get this drift of Kimi's arrogance while he's going flat out on the racing line... All you couch copping F1 lords think that in those adrenalin pumping split seconds, Kimi should have had a polite conversation with Simon Rennie minding all his p's and q's and saying thank yous. That's crazy. Guessing you've never tried any adventure/ thrill seeking/ competetive sport.


God help people who tolerate with you when you are in "adventure/ thrill seeking/ competetive sport" mode.


He's not arrogant - he is very blunt no doubt and definitely lacks tact at times. But he's the most honest bloke in the field that let's " his driving talk Eloquently "

Tornillo Amarillo

I understand you, but to say "let me alone, I know what I'm doing" and win the race is actually pretty cool. Lotus appears to be competitive at the front this year, but not sure for Lewis.


Insult?? Winning is above all. Who cares about your dignity when people only cheers for winner?? If the driver felt uncomfortable it will cost them win in the end.

FYI, kimi been like that since sauber days....apparently all his engineers were impressed with him rather than upset.


Kimi is just one part of a complex team structure, although an important part.

Just so he could be perceived cool, he shouldn't be insulting his team members IN PUBLIC. I know how hard it is to work with people with such attitude - run across such people in work now and then. Whether he won the race or not, the fact is - he did lose a lot.


GO KIMI! Kimi does it on the track, and seems pretty popular with the fans with his no bs style.


There's no doubt that Lewis Hamilton is a brand, and I happen to think there may be a few envious guys out there. Unfortunately F1 is a lottery as it doesn't matter if you are the fastest driver because unless you have the fastest car in these aero dependant times there's absolutely no chance. In that environment, personally I dont' blame him maximising his earnings potential, and let's not forget he is now the highest paid driver in F1. - I wonder why? All this aside I think he is serious as Mercedes are serious about winning in F1. Red Bull will not have him partnered against Vettel because sparks would fly and I think Vettel would be up against it most of the time.


Do we have to feel sorry for him now then.


I think 15th was an ill advised soundbite to trott out. He should be looking at 7th realistically given the form of Mercedes for most of last year. 15th would be a big step back for the team.

As for his comments ref the wheel, I like that kind ideology. There is no need to be too complicated with processes and I hope that is something Lewis can bring in as a general concept within the team if he feels it helps.


Very droll AdrianP, but check any driving sims forum and check the massive numbers of posts about different steering wheels, custom force-feedback settings, joypad mappings - you name it and that's just the armchair racers trying to sort out their controls so they can get the best lap times. How many racing sim fans would seeth if the game had a default controller setup and that was that?

Please give the real F1 drivers some credit for knowing what makes a difference to them when they're in the car. This sort of thing is pretty standard and you'll often find differences in the way two drivers in the same team use the same wheel (e.g. I'm pretty sure Massa and Alonso configure theirs slightly differently).


Well said.


Just has to be careful he doesn't tick off the engineers by voicing too many ideas too soon. He's the driver, not the chief designer. They'll accommodate him but you don't want them losing the initiative.

If he's accepted it's going to be a non-WDC year, maybe he should take it more slowly and tactfully. You can often get others to arrive at your idea like it was theirs.

Talking to the press about how he's doing a better design than Mercedes' best designers isn't wise IMO. Whatever happens behind the scenes, in public he should just be the driver and let Mercedes take credit for the car.


Agreed. I think he should be much more measured, but then, the press is always prodding him. He is the most interviewed and talked about F1 driver by quite some margin.

Mike from Colombia

Attitudes of the some "fans" is much more cruel than the press when it comes to Hamilton.


To be honest, I do have some concerns relating to Lewis' move to Mercedes for not only does his career path remind some of the fans of Jacques' career but also last year, he said he always loses money at the casino i.e not too much luck.

However, whenever am reminded of his father and Eddie Jordan saying they believe he could help Mercedes become champions >>>> then I do get some good vibes back.

Also this maybe a coincidence but the last pilot to replace the Kaiser went on to win the driver's title, the following year and that was the iceman in 2007.

Lastly, when Lewis won the 2008 title, he had a Finnish teammate in Heikki and with Rosberg being of dual citizenship >>> well you know the rest


Well, that settles it...


Goferet, you've done it again 🙂


Hahaha - spot on. And the pope has announced his retirement which indicates that Ferrari and Italy expect a bad year.


Ouch lol, but I have to second that 🙂


I hope it has an impact on Vettel too



I hadn't heard that. The pope's German isn't he? If so, then that's got to have an impact on Mercedes too.


At least he's not being bullish about Mercedes' potential in 2013 - which is shrewd, at least for Hamilton. Last year and the year before he was anything but shrewd, with various offhand comments and tweets that simply shouldn't have been made. Nevertheless, already he is saying one thing, and Lauda another. This may need addressing, regardless of where he finishes,



Nice dream you had last night before your mom woke you up. Please share your dream from tonight.


This was a response to @AdrianP


He's easy to criticise and I'm sure commercial reasons were not furthest from his mind in making his decision, but credit to him for taking the road less-travelled and apparently having a sensible attitude toward it. I'm not sure he has the human or technical qualities to alone turn Mercedes around, but if he does his job as well as everyone knows he can, and the other big names at Mercedes do theirs, I think he'll make more than a few eat their words.


Good for Lewis.

He's investing a big part of his career with Mercedes. He should open his mouth and use his profile to get what he wants.

And saying everything at McLaren became the same? Like being almost good enough but never looking like winning championships? That's what he's saying. And that's why he left.

Its better better to be fifteenth and improving than perpetually third best.

Its always entertaining when Webber says what he thinks. And Kimi. Brilliant if Lewis does too. Does anyone enjoy all the banal team-speak from drivers?


I give it 3 yrs. If by 2015 Mercedes are not in a position to win the world title, LH will be knocking on the doors of RBR.



I think we need to face up to the serious situation here. We can be honest and say that 2013 Lewis will not walk away with the WDC. Which means really all this hype and talk about Mercedes in 2014 better materialize. Otherwise, 2015 Lewis may be knocking at doors of teams because Toto Wolff bought the team for 1 Euro.

And to make a point about this Mercedes 2014 hype - are we really to believe that others are going to be asleep here and Mercedes is just going to have a cake walk season?

Conspiracy theory #27. Bernie has his team put together a script to make Mercedes WDC for fear of driving away a manufacturer. After all, Bernie understands ROI, and knows Mercedes needs to show it on paper. After all, each Mercedes board meeting where F1 is mentioned someone brings up VW Group and now BMW and their success and profitability without being in F1. Where is the case for our F1 participation...Mercedes board will ask.

The more I think about it, the more I am impressed with Lewis, Toto and company. They are in a no-turning back, WDC/WCC or bust scenario. Their survival depends on it, and certainly lack of investment or bad drivers are not going to be an acceptable excuse. It's yet another huge story line, that just keeps getting huge-er! 🙂


I thought he did knock on their door, but they didn't open it.


True, but apparently Webber was the only one there that day and he thought it was Marko at the door 😉


No, he isn't ready to finish 15th. I think his decision is largely influenced by his desire to be in the car with the best engine, which is still the Mercedes.

I hear that's the kind of logic Senna applied, and Lewis does oh-so-love being like Senna.


No way, its because there were no better alternatives for his future.

And what makes you think the Merc engine is currently the best?


I hate to break it to you, but he was already in a car with arguably the best engine, only it had a much better chassis too.

He clearly wanted to leave McLaren, and Ferrari and RBR were out. That left Mercedes, with the *hope* that things will turn out well next year.

Agreed, Lewis might not be ready to finish 15th - or even 8th - but given his options he'll have to live with what he has for now and hope that Mercedes lives up to the hype in 2014.

I'd be surprised if there was ever a driver didn't want to be in the car with the best engine.



Renault is known to be behind Mercedes and Ferrari, and Vettel is very happy being at RBR.


You'd be happy at RBR too if you were winning consecutive WDCs!

You make a good point, but I'm sure Vettel wouldn't turn down a Red Bull with a Mercedes or Ferrari engine - the thing would be virtually unbeatable!


If Lewis had used Senna's logic, he would have offered to drive for Red Bull for free...


Keep in mind that Lewis called RB a drink company. Later his management team asked RB if they wanted Lewis and they say no.



Quite the opposite of Ayrton then, isnt she?


There's plenty of difference between saying you're going to do stuff in an interview and doing it in real life. Senna didn't actually drive for free, plus Williams had a seat open and were openly courting Senna.


I would love to know how Rosberg is feeling now.

The language being used in the media and Lewis' immediate rallying calls within the team seem to be leaving Nico out in the cold. Any progress made by the team in the near and distant future will be attributed to Hamilton coming onboard. How can Nico possibly benefit from this relationship unless he can dominate Hamilton and wrestle the team into his corner?


I like Roseberg, but he needs to grow up and get involved this year. The past 3years he costed and always seem to have a 'what ever...' attitude about him.

He is capable, but unless behind the scenes he was ignored by Mercedes these past 3yrs (only schmacher had a say in all things) he needs to impose himself - get involved.

he needs to take a leaf from Hamilton me thinks and step from under his fathers influence/shadow - he needs to man up - be a part of it - as opposed to a passenger which is what he's been these past 3 years.

Ihope thats the way he's thinking.


This is a huge opportunity for Nico and I'd imagine that he is tougher to beat than Button. And Lewis still has button problems...


I suspect that for now Nico is taking it all in his stride, just like when there were questions about how he'd deal with Michael as a team mate.


I have a feeling the results may be rather different with this team mate..


James I have a feeling your very right..


I expect that, but no 17:3 in qualifying (or even 16:3 for this year). Rosberg is better over a single lap than Button, that's for sure.


What if Rosberg beats Hamilton hands down? That would put several drivers' performance into a whole new perpective, I guess.

But to be honest, I'm with you James. In 2012 Schumacher was not looking bad against Rosberg. If he hadn't been plagued by an unreliable car (not only in the races, but also in qualifying) and strange decisions of race stewards, he could have well beat him. And this is one sign that Rosberg may be very good (he has had some very strong races for Williams, remember), but not as good as Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton. But I guess we're talking about about two tenths of a second here, not a pretty large margin.


subtly understated...


I bet Mercedes will be keen to find out how different this car is from McLaren from the man who has driven a McL thoughout his F1 life - as you know McL was ,generally speaking, the fastest car for most of last season.


Yes. Nico can judge the step the W04 is over the W03 and Hamilton can judge based on the Mclaren. This has to give the team some insight on where they are.


And add the Aldo Costa effect as well from a Ferrari aspect comparison.


Ross: So, what's you feedback on the car Lewis?

Lewis: That sticker needs to be a little to the left. Also, can you put some social media buttons on the steering wheel so I can tweet my fans while I am driving. And one more thing, the car needs more downforce.... OK, gotta run, I have some XIX functions to attend with Nicole. Tweet me if anything comes up. Cheers.


I thought the first response might have been that the brakes need a bit of a looking over..but maybe that's just me.


I guess when the car was parked up in the garage with brake failure and he had the best part of the day just hanging around waiting he might just have resorted to looking at stickers on the car.


i think mercedes have again failed to rectify the chassis' hunger for tyres and it still lacks downforce.

it's not looking that promising for hammy or rosberg.


I think both problems are actually correlated. So improving downforce might help solve the tyre problem..


Its too early to tell, after all Jerez was not exactly the best track for tyre assessment because of its abrasive track surface.

If you also noticed. Lewis changed his assessment of the w04 after his long haul run on the last day, from "lacking downforce" to "I couldn't ask for more..."

Loaded statement if you ask me...


Bear in mind that the effect will have been greatly exaggerated in Jerez due the the documented issues with the abrasiveness of the circuit. If a car is *slightly* harder on its tyres on a standard track than the others, it's most likely to be *much* harder on the tyres on a more abrasive track.


Well we shall know at the last test in barca won't we? They have said that they have a five element front wing that they didn't run as yet and the rear is last year's version too.


They ran that new FW on the last two days of Jerez.

Riccardo Consulini

LOL. Very good and funny post. Keep it up.


Well played Lewis. He will be well-served to continue low expectations for 2013, I've no doubt (like others) he has had one eye on 2014 throughout his decision to move to Mercedes.

I wish him all the luck, and more importantly, patience, to see 2013 to the end without a win. I'll be impressed if he keeps it this cool for more than half the season though before his frustrations with a slower car in the midfield.


JA.F1 - great headline!


I can't agree at all.

The removal and re-organisation of buttons and switches on the wheel is a world away from 'moving stickers and adding diamonds'.

To suggest Lewis Hamilton doesn't understand differential and is only interested in flashing lights is simply ridiculous, even if it was an ill-judged attempt at humour.

In my mind, there is no-one who is going to know better what buttons are useful, and which positions are easily reachable, than the driver, so this is exactly the kind of feedback the people that design and build the wheels need.


Buttons and Stickers, the inside story.

Seems the majority of posters here don’t get it. The sticker is actually very important. True, it does not make the car any faster but to dismiss it is to show the lack of understanding behind the comment.

The fact that someone fitted the sticker incorrectly and the fact that no one in quality control picked up the error indicates a culture within the organisation of that’s good enough, it’s not important.

You absolutely do not want that mentality anywhere near an F1 team. To be successful the whole team has to be dedicated, motivated, have pride in their work and strive for perfection. Go to Ferrari, McLaren or Red Bull and see if you can spot some dodgy stickers, not a chance, that is no accident.

If you have a dial with 10 settings, no problem you should be able to grasp what each setting does. Now we add another dial with 10 setting, we now have 100 possible combinations of settings, a bit more to remember here. Now we add 10 buttons. This gives us just over 1 thousand combinations on the buttons alone, add in the two dials and we now have 100 thousand different possible combinations. The possible combination of settings becomes far too large for anybody to comprehend, certainly not when you are concentrating on racing. This is of course an extreme exaggeration as not every button/dial will actually interact, however it should be clear that too many dials and buttons may not be such a good thing.

Lewis is spot on, on both counts and is doing exactly what he said he would, that is improve the Mercedes F1 team. Unfortunate from too far behind the leaders to make the difference this year.

We have to wait until 2014 for a serious challenge.


+1 again

A serious bizniz needs serious people, hope team Mercedes sees it that way and not the way of the naysayers 'its only a sticker...'

My prediction for this season is that Hamilton will do a Hill at Merc (he who acheived the most amazing result in f1 history when he nearly won a race in an Arrows....an Arrows!!!) and drag that team to the front of the field they way Hill dragged Jorden to 3rd in the constructers.

But 1st things 1st..... get team Mercedes serious.

yeah, that was a great post Jake



I love your comment.


I see that the 'sticker' reference was a bit cryptic.

It refers to this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/feb/08/lewis-hamilton-mercedes-ross-brawn

(and I think an earlier interview with Lewis which I cannot now locate)

The flashing LEDs was a reference to Vettel's helmet and Lewis' obsession with not be able to compete on an even footing with Vettel.

The diamonds was artistic license borne from Lewis' stud earrings.

The point that I was trying to convey is that Hamilton has obviously been trying to play up his technical input and the idea that he can 'build' a team and car like Michael Schumacher did, but the examples which have been given of his technical input seem faintly ridiculous.


The point is Lewis has achieved way more than you have and another company is willing to pay him a lot of money to bring his talents, knowledge and experience to the table.


It just wasn't a good post. It is ridiculous to claim that the number of buttons on the steering wheel does not slow a driver down. It is worse to rinse down a driver who follows a principle that is used in fighter jets, rockets etc. Perhaps, by your reckoning, astronauts are a bit addled too?


It was in perfectly good humour! Why so serious?


Whatever bro, it was the best post of 2013 so far


"I was driving a competitive car, I could win races, battle with Sebastian Vettel."

Begs the question why Lewis left really. He's acknowedlged that McLaren will almost certainly have a superior car in 2013. I'm not such a massive Lewis fan at present (in all honesty I think if he was as good as people say he'd have at least 2 WDC - I have my own opinion rather than taking what pundits say as gospel!), but is he one of the top 4 or 5 drivers in F1? Probably yes. So I find myself stuggling to understand his Mercedes move. Drivers like Alonso, Button, Prost, Senna and Raikkonen all made career moves for better cars. Lewis has moved to a worse car. The only person I've seen do that with any continued success in my 25 years watching F1 is probably Schumacher, but unlike Hamilton, Michael was a double world champ and took an entire team of extremely talented people with him. Lewis hasn't.

All that said I'm really really looking forward to seeing what Lewis can do in a moderate car, because that's what seperates the men from the boys in F1. We've seen Alonso go well in a Renault, Vettel in a Torro Rosso, Button in a BAR/Honda - none of which were true front running cars, but they all showed what they could do. For me 2013 will be the season that makes or breaks Lewis. It's the season where he has a chance to really shine. If the Mercedes is genuinely still a second off the pace and Lewis can pick up regular podiums and 3 or 4 wins and no one, not even I, would be able to doubt his talent as one of the finest in the sport. If Rosberg finishes ahead of him though, well then that throws a completely different complection on how good Lewis is.

This has the potential to be the most interesting season in F1 for several years, I really can't wait to see how it pans out!


There was slightly better cars called rb6,7 & 8in his way don't ya think


I agree the RB6 & RB7 were faster, but last years McLaren was the fastest car on the grid. A mix of reliability, operational and decision making lost the title for McLaren last season. But lets not forget what Alonso managed to achieve in cars which weren't fastest.


I'd rather call it a mix of Sam Michael, Martin Whitmarsh and Maldonardo di Rambo. 😉


Prost to Ferrari for 1990 was to a better car?!? Same with Mansell from Williams to Ferrari. Sometimes you have to take a step back before you advance once more.


Hamilton is devinitefely a top 3 driver, and if not for bad relability ot McLaren many costly operational errors 2012, Hamilton would be 2x WDC now.

IMO he was not happy at McLaren anylonger, even a superior car and more money,could not convince him to stay there. Looks like he wanted to get out there, as sooon as he had the chance, even at the price of having a worse car.

Since Hamilton made the decission to leave McLaren, he seems to be in a better place personally and a much happpier than at the last few years.


So he just needs to get 1 win in 8 seasons like Button? Or 1 win and a bunch of middle of the pack finishes like Vettel? Don't forget how the Renaults when Alonso won were very good cars, making Fisichella and Trulli into race winners.


It's not all about the finishing positions, but also the performance on race day, the qualifying, how they perform in the wet (which helps level the cars performances somewhat).

All of the drivers I listed have put in good performances in non-front running cars. We've never seen Lewis in a non-front running car.

So what would I expect from a great driver in the 4th or 5th best car on the grid (pressuming the status quo remains)? I'd expect him to be able to win 3 or 4 races and pick up a good number of podiums. Just as I'd expect Button, Vettel and Alonso to fight for the title if they've all got cars that are fairly similar in speed.

etc etc


You clearly weren't watching the first half if 2009 if you think Lewis has never been in an uncompetitive car.


At the moment the Merc is probably sitting around 5th, definetly behind the Red Bull, McLaren, ferrari and Lotus. That means there are 8 drivers sitting in faster cars at every GP. Lets say its a good day for Lewis and two front runners are having a bad day, another two come together and have to pit and yet another two have mechanical issues and DNF. Even with all this luck Lewis is still only third or fourth (depending on the other Merc).

At the moment they are probably down a second a lap. Thats a full minute down at full distance, Lewis is good but no one can expect to take 4 GPs with a car that slow.


@ Philippe H

Everyone keeps saying that Lewis is so much faster than Jenson, Mark and Kimi though? And they're all rearded as quicker than Rosberg. So why should it be wrong for him to demonstrate that this season? Alonso and Vettel have demonstrated in recent years that they're a good margin quicker than their team mates. So why shouldn't putting Lewis into a car that's half a second or so off the pace see him pull the car up into positions that allow him to challenge for a few wins and some podiums? Perhaps 3 or 4 is too high a number, but the general point remains. I expect Lewis to show his real value this season, and by that I mean, not just be a tenth ahead of Rosberg, but to be 6 and 7 tenths up on Nico, because Nico is a three or four tenths slower than the drivers I mention above, who are in turn a couple of tenths slower than Lewis.

It's going to be an interesting season, and the driver moves always really help show up relative performance.


3 or 4 wins, seriously? Hamilton won 4 last year, button 3, Alonso 3, Webber 2, Raikkonen 1... You really think anyone can win 3 or 4 races in the 4th or 5th best car? Perhaps if the 5th car is just 3 tenths of the pace, otherwise you're being ludicrous!


James - posting from my email address (without the underscore) results in my post not being displayed. Has it somehow been added to a spam blacklist or something?



No. I don't know why that should be, but it's good that you have found your own solution!


Well, the downside is that I don't get email alerts to replies as the email address doesn't exist!

I could create a new account, but seems a bit like overkill for one news site (despite it being the F1 site I enjoy reading the most!)

Any chance you could forward the query on to whomever administers the wordpress side of the site? It's definitely something about the email address (I've ruled out the browser, pc, location, etc) so I wonder if I've accidentally (or automatically) been put on a blacklist somewhere.


I had the same issue with my previous email address. Fortunately, I changed ISP and got a new email address and the new one works (for now) but there has to be some technical reason why the site is blocking email accounts that used to work fine. You should invetigate and address it before it spreads wider and seriously impacts your fans' ability to interact with the site. I'm sure Adrien Newey doesn't adopt the "She'll be right, mate" approach when very small glitches appear in his carefulyl crafted output.


Maybe you've found a fix for anyone else who has a problem posting!


The "over-buttoned" steering wheel seems to be Schumy's legacy. I remember Alonso having to eliminate many of them when he arrived to Ferrari because the steering wheel had not changed a lot since Schumy left and it was full of buttons with functions that would never be used.


I reckon they should take a leave out of Apple.

Steve Jobs disliked traditional phones with numerous buttons, so he wanted to create a phone with just one button and voila! iPhone changed the whole mobile world.

Mercedes needs a wheel with just one button that can do everything. Maybe just put Siri into the car and have the drivers voice-control various functions. 😀


I'm guessing the steering wheel is dveloped with each driver in mind. Bearing in mind he's taking over from Schumacher so what if he wants less dials on it compared to Schumacher. If he chooses to have 50 dials or just 5 it's up to him he's the one driving the car.


this was in response to Post 3


What's become clear in the past three years is that Merc certainly need more input to turn their around. The more input from Lewis, the merrier.

Anything to turn that car around....


I strongly suspect,

these 26 buttons on the steering wheel were the legacy of Schumacher. He always liked to tinker with his car attempting to push it further performance wise. Just remember the astonished comment by Davidson on Schumi's Monaco pole lap - where Schumi adjusted the brake balance while negotiating a corner at >100 mph (where Perez crashed earlier).

Hamilton is rather more used to McLaren way, where the car is put in front of you - and you drive it, without much thinking about what's under the hood, and receiving instructions from the pit regarding diff settings.


Well one thing for sure: the car is going to save some weight from having dozons of buttons! 😀


"At Mercedes there are 26 of them. I’ve already got rid of six."

No wonder "The Legend" ran into the back of other cars, twice, fiddling with his toys.


It's common practice in engineering to give people who complain continually a button/dial to play with. It does not have to do anything you just tell them it does. It reduces the complaints.

I guess Schumacher complained a lot.



Just too funny!


Meanwhile, was surprised Lewis didn’t get the number 1 drive at Mercedes on the spot like a certain Schumi

However, seeing as Lewis has had his best seasons as the number 2 driver, I guess it's okay e.g. 2007, 2010, 2012


You want a good one goferet? Here's one ... Lewis won the WDC the last time he drove with a double-digit number on his car (#22 in 2008). In his six seasons in F1, Lewis has been #2, #22, #1, #2, #3, and #4. Could also say his best seasons have been those where he drove an even-numbered car.


Hamilton has No.10 on the car, it has been 5 years since his 2008 World Championship, 10 divided by 5 equal 2. Possibly Hamilton will win his second world championship in 2013.


Teams are going to hire scientists of Einstein's level to win anything now.......


There has never been a number one at mercedes.


Indeed, Button took it with him to McLaren at the end of 2009.


James, clearly Lewis will have knowledge about the current McLaren car, and potentially some very sensitive information in his head that he could use to influence the Mercedes car.

At what point does this information cross the line of industrial espionage? Lewis can't un-learn knowledge he has gained at McLaren, but as a driver in transition are there any boundaries about what information he can use?


Could this be a big reason why Ron Dennis would be 'a touch peeved' that Lewis left for Mercedes??


It's an accepted part of F1that drivers take info in their heads. It's not acceptable to walk out with CAD files and drawings...!

This is why no-one patents anything in F1 - the idea gets copied really quickly anyway!


Unless you count Williams of course James, did they not patent the KERS flywheel?


Could it also be said that engineers take it as a compliment when other engineers copy their ideas?


I am not surprised at the number of buttons considering Schumi was driving it earlier. I so remember reading an article on the Ferrari F430. Apparently Schumacher suggested to seperate the traction control settings from the e-diff settings which resulted in an additional button on the dash.

He probably took the same approach at Mercedes and before he knew, he had 26 knobs to play with !



You should know that Rory Byrne actually never left Ferrari's payroll. He kept on a role as a consultant ever since he left his active role as chief designer at the end of 2006. Having said this, I am sure he did NOT design the lame donkeys that were both 2005 and 2006 cars, he must have taken a back seat and let the children play. But then was certainly a major driving force behind the carbon chassis designed for the Enzo successor and after finshing this off in the 2nd half of last year Monty must have thought what a great waste it would represent to have someone like Rory do too much scuba diving in some thai paradise resort....


2006 Ferrari was hardly a "lame donkey", it was the pacesetter for much of the season and was a match for the Renault.


And McLaren copied their designs.


With all this talk about brand Hamilton, do you see him going off to race in America eventually? I think he'd want to get a couple more championships under his belt first, but if he achieved that, I could just about see a move on the cards...


We do say he maintained his links....he stayed on primarily with links to road car side.

I'm told he will be at Geneva show


"I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things."

Lewis has presumably got to be careful that those ideas don't come from McLaren or he will probably be in breach of some confidentiality clauses.


When de la Rosa left McLaren he tipped Sauber off about the F-Duct, and lo and behold it appeared on their car pretty sharpish. If he didn't get into trouble for that I doubt anything Lewis takes with him is going to land him in any trouble.


Nice reminder about the Sauber F-duct. 🙂


Lewis had no access to any important data on the current McLaren. What is wrong with accepting the possibility that he has independent ideas?


I don't think there are such clauses.He can use his knowledge wherever he goes.


I doubt confidentiality clauses can work in F1. Teams copy each others technolgy all the time. The dividing line is, not to steal files and documents.

The case most similar to Lewis current claims are Alonso's claims to have brought sixth tenths of a second to McLaren. Only thing is those six tenths came from a Ferarri and Alonso had never been in the employ of Ferarri, so ye olde espionage trap was sprung, someone had to have stolen PHYSICAL files. Alonso huffed off and McLaren sat in the naughty room and paid 100 thousand big ones in fines.


For that matter. The track engineer that Webber had in the RB just went to Lotus. I bet that guy also has 2 or 3 things to share with none other than James Allison. I don´t see anything wrong with that. Nor I see anything wrong if Lewis wants to share some info he may have about McLaren.


I made a comment when Lewis to Mercedes was announced along the lines of will we see any of Lewis' Mclaren DNA cross over to AMG and cited the steering wheel as an example.

Mclaren usually have very clutter free cars, look at their respective suspension layouts this year and last year, the AMG one has parts everywhere.

The sticker thing could be as simple as one catches his eyeline or they sit proud which may sound no big deal but add that up to every sticker on the car and you might be losing 0.1 points of downforce.

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.

This clip Lewis briefly talks about the Mclaren steering wheel


Now look at that picture of the Mercedes one.


@ Dan Butcher: Good post, thank you.

Tornillo Amarillo

+1 yes now it's clear the difference between steering wheels... Tks.


Is the media,and certain journalists, the ones that can't let this issue go.

Can't wait to see him winning with Mercedes to read the articles.


I love Lewis, he's a fantastic racing driver and competitor, but... he talks too much. [mod]

I want to add, it's depressing that we're only one test into the season, and we've had the first reference to a driver as a 'brand'.

I do think he will improve Mercedes' results. How many think he'll win a few races with them this year? I reckon he'll win one, maybe two.


I think Lewis problem is he doesn´t think twice before saying or doing something. For example he called RB a drink company, he posted telemetry in twitter, he drove and made some spins in the streets of Melbourne that got him in troble with police there a few years ago right before a race. Lewis could avoid these kind of problems if he hires a good PR agent who could give him the right advice all the time


Good point. Can you imagine one of your friends as a 'brand'?? You'd probably be nothing but just another groupie stat to them.


Maybe that's why he seems to be getting on with Niki Lauda 🙂


"He talks too much" meaning that you don't like press conferences or articles written about what the drivers say at them? Or is it just this particular driver?

Says the guy visiting an F1 news site. No one forced him to click the "Read More" link. 🙂


It's more the fault of the journalists, they ask too much 😉 And write too much articles;)


Well he has to, because the teams for which he works require him to do media and he can't exactly sit there and say nothing.

If you drive for Marussia, you don't get interviewed or quoted so much. Twas ever thus.


*Pop Quiz*

What do the following drivers have in common?




Yes, all former Merc pilots that so happened to go down as legends


I like statistics in F1, they offer great insights into how F1 has evolved and how one (driver or team) has achieved. However, when it gets to the point of being relied on as a crystal ball continuously, it does get a bit silly and tiring.


Schumacher is a legend, but not because of anything he did with Mercedes. It all happened before he went there.

Fangio won titles with cars from a couple of manufacturers, so the Mercedes link is weak.

Moss' legacy with Mercedes has more to do with the Milli Millia (if spelling of this is off its because I haven't had coffee yet) not F1.


Pop Quiz: What do these two people have in common?

Paddy Hopkirk


We both drive a Mini, except he drove it fast and well and I commute to work everyday.

Besides, in your list of three, one of them arguably had his legacy dented by a stint in the Merc.


Lewis is a fantastic F1 driver.

In his first year, poor McLaren strategy and management cost him the title.

In his second year, he just got the title despite more errors by McLaren.

Since then he has possible lost another two potential sure-wins of the title due to incompetence by the McLaren team.

Just get off his back and let him get on with the job. He adds immense value to the F1 show, and deserves every penny he makes inside and outside of it.


In 2008 Lewis arguably lost more points through driving errors than the team cost him (crashing into Raikkonen in the pit lane etc)

In 2010 Vettel should have been champion taking the whole season into account by pretty much any measure.

In 2012 he was badly let down for sure, but it would have put him in the title hunt at best, it's not like he would have walked away with it 2011 style.


In my opinion he lost 2007 & 2010 all by himself. 2012 was mclarens fault.

Youll never convince me otherwise