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Momentum swings back towards ‘mentally strong’ Hamilton
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  07 Jul 2014   |  3:36 pm GMT  |  279 comments

Over the past month or so plenty of questions have been asked of Lewis Hamilton’s mental strength. From the moment team-mate Nico Rosberg spun at Mirabeau and sealed the pole position that set him up for a game-changing win in Monaco, Hamilton has been on the rack.

Prior to yesterday the Briton had seen Rosberg bank 68 points to his 36. Hamilton been widely tipped to dominate in Canada but had to watch as his less fancied team-mate stole pole and then the lion’s share of the possible points as Hamilton suffered a brake failure. He made another mistake in qualifying in Austria and was held at bay by his team-mate, despite a determined charge.

And right up to midway through yesterday’s British Grand Prix it seemed like more pressure would be heaped upon the 2008 champion.

Saturday saw Hamilton make yet another qualifying error as he opted out of a final lap and was forced to start sixth while Rosberg started on pole. The questions about Hamilton’s mental fragility were becoming a statement: the Briton had cracked.

The race though proved different and ultimately could be as game-changing as victory in Monaco was for Rosberg, who prior to that weekend had cut a forlorn figure under the onslaught of four straight Hamilton wins.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 15.28.46

For Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff, Hamilton’s victory at his home race reversed all the speculation about the Silverstone winner’s resilience.

“Lewis drove a faultless race,” he told reporters afterwards. “But what I want to praise most of all is Lewis’ approach. He had a bad qualifying session but he arrived at the circuit [on Sunday] morning in such a positive frame of mind and determined to perform – and he did that for his home fans. It was a great performance that showed his mental strength.”

Wolff in particular pointed to Hamilton’s reaction to a problem during his first pit stop, which resulted in him being delayed at his pit box.

“One of the examples is we had another pit stop that wasn’t perfect on the left rear,” said the Mercedes boss. “The first thing he did, he came on the radio and said: ‘guys don’t worry, let’s make the next one better.’

“Different to what the perception is, he’s mentally very strong and he could cope well with having had problems.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 15.30.16

Hamilton, meanwhile, spoke of his disappointment following Saturday’s qualifying error and his determination to rectify it.

“It was a kick in the balls and I had to pick myself up. I had to pull up my socks and get on with it if I wanted to win this championship,” he said. “It’s so difficult to really explain the feelings. When you feel like the world is crumbling beneath you, somehow with your family, friends and the fans, they help pull you through. After qualifying it was so hard. I really was almost speechless when I spoke to them (him family), and it was no one else’s fault but mine.

“I was just so disappointed in myself, so coming back today my priority was to turn that serious emptiness and negativity into a positive.”

He also said he felt sure he would have had the pace and the strategy to take the fight to Rosberg had gearbox failure not stopped the German on lap 29.

“It’s the first time this year that I had the different strategy,” Hamilton said. “He was going option, option, prime and I was going option, prime, option, and if I did a good enough job on the prime – as he has done in previous races – I could have attacked him on the option. That’s what I was looking forward to, but I’ll take it as it has come. Today is more [about] just solidifying belief in myself, and that recovery … I needed it, I needed it.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 15.30.48

Rosberg, naturally, felt that he had the race under control and would have won comfortably. “I’m very confident I would have won the race,” he said. “Things were going well until that point. We had a good balance, I felt comfortable. What can I say? It’s just a reliability problem and a pity. That’s it.”

And so, once again, the title fight is finely balanced, with Hamilton now just four points adrift heading to the last two races before the summer break.

On Saturday in Silverstone, Rosberg spoke about momentum being with him, saying that he needed to maximise the opportunities available while it existed. “At the moment the momentum seems to be on my side and I just need to make the most of it because it comes and goes,” he said.

Yesterday it went, in the most debilitating style possible, and the championship battle has been reset.

The question now is whether Hamilton can stretch the feelgood factor of his home win through the coming races and also whether Rosberg can bounce back and channel some positivity from his own (second) home race in Hockenheim. For Wolff all is as it should be.

“We have seen the momentum swing to one side and then momentum swing to the other side and I guess they’re on a pretty equal level this season and it’s going to last until the last race of the season.”


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‘mentally strong’ ?!?!

JH with his talent LH should be aeons ahead in the standings

but he is not

the last you should start the art. is mentally strong.

just MO


He beat him in an unfair fight, in Bahrain!


“mentally strong Lulu?” that’s some saying that can only be expected fro on this site.

This post will most probably not be allowed to stand!.

Torchwood Five

We will all apply our own ideas of momentum.

After Australia, Hamilton’s run of four wins were considered his momentum because he eventually reeled Rosberg back in, but the momentum was also with Nico as he remained in the lead in the points for most of that run.

So now, Nico has momentum as he is still leading, and Lewis has momentum because he now is only four points adrift of his team-mate.


tom clarkson is confused. just before the restart he stopped the commentary just to say how he felt sorry for kvyat because he spent a lot of time studying he clean side of the grid slot only to be ruined by the changes in position for the restart, like the cars would start back on the slots. cringe cringe cringe.


talking mental strength i see on 1 to 5 scale Rosberg has 5 Lewis has 3.



F1 is for “smart” people: after 2 or 3 consecutive mistakes demostrating how voluble the Britton can be, now is time for the “high revs.” after ROS mechanical failure. ” C’mon Lewis you were faster than your team mate, and you even would be the Winner at home GP without ROS problems”. OMG I miss that kind of “illnes” of non realism in my country. Repeat with me: HAM is better than ROS, HAM is better than ROS; HAM is better than ROS. HAM right now is focused, strong & calmed driver and ROS had well to be afraid of him, HAM right now is focused, strong & calmed driver and ROS had well to be afraid of him, HAM right now is focused, strong & calmed driver and ROS had well to be afraid of him. If a “normal” or a non English Champion driver needs 1 or 2 mistakes to be the evil centre of the earth for some Anglo Media, HAM needs maybe 1000. Everything has sense, since the first day he put his feet in this sport, the “Shumacher succesor” need to be pushed to the max as a great product he is. Maybe he is not what their media say, but he sells & he sells really well.


Wow Sergio….. Just

To add unlike Schumacher, Alonso – maybe Vettel too, but judging by his luck this year RB can’t build 2 fast cars at once – Hamilton has never had the luxury of no.1 status in a team.

That’s important.


hamilton specifically doesn’t want number status.


It’s funny how Lewis’ 2nd pitstop was faster (by approx 1 second I think?? – maybe someone can clarify that) when the mechanics were likely taking their time as Lewis >40 secs over Bottas. IMO they should probably take their time over all of his pitstops…


i think the first one was so slow because hamilton had done 24 laps on a clockwise circuit so the left rear was stuck more than it normally does and slowed them down a bit.


I cringed at all the prost/senna comparisons of Lewis/Niko. But Niko is so like Alain Prost, intelligent and consistent, always there to capitalise on errors. Anyone agree? I think he would have won on Sunday to without his issue.

Having said thta, being British, I am happy to see Lewis right back there!!

Mike from Medellin

Prost was actually fast and was a standout driver for many years. To compare either Rosberg with him in an insult.

The only comparison that I can think of is help from the FIA. Prost with Balestre and Nico with the Derek Warwick and Derek Daly. That’s where the similarities end.


I cringe when people talk about Rosbergs intelligents……

We’re does that even come from?

I have already rated him a 10 for this season so far for delivering the results he has but struggle to see how his intelligents can be judged.

Is a driver not a doctor…….

If fossil fuel ran our tomorrow how useful would his intelligence be.

Genuinely trying not to get into this backwards and forwards debate ref these guys mindset but some of the posts being generated.

We need to turn this amateur psychology stuff on our selves methinks.

Kieran Donnelly

Double-points, double-points, double-points,

Double-points, double-points, double-poiiiii-nts,

Double-points, double-points, double-points,

Double-points, doouuu-ble points!

While I do think Lewis is probably the more consistently faster driver overall, regardless of the way the chips fall between now and then, the double-points of the last race really leave everything wide open. Whether the fans (Nico’s, Lewis’ or neutrals) really accept a champion who is only that by virtue of the double points is open to question – I guess it doesn’t matter. That winner will go down in the records as the champions in any case.


we’ll see.


The gloves are off!

May the real WDC please stand up!….


The important thing to note here, far more than all the tabloid-level amateur psychology nonsense that the F1 press generates, is that Lewis was lucky. Not lucky to win – he may well have been able to do that anyway. But lucky that Nico didn’t finish second. Because had he done so, he’d still be 22 points ahead in the WDC. So, good for Lewis, he had a great stroke of luck. Sorry for Nico, he did extremely well up to that point in the weekend – at least as well as Lewis.

I don’t want to get into the mental strength/hunger to win debate. Unlike the F1 press and the chattering classes I don’t feel qualified to talk about it.


I agree.

Hamilton needed this result has it is.

While I do understand the bravado to the press and during the podium interview I was genuinely surprised we never got a ‘woo hooo! ‘ from Hamilton when he drove past Rosbergs stricken Merc then got the radio message to confirm he was out.

I would have done a donut on the main straight on the same lap – he had enough time.


and then breakdown soon after the doughnut.


With regard to 2014’s catch phrase, kimi must be of very weak ‘mental state’ as he has been consistently beaten by nando this season… Where’s all the “kimi is faster than you” posts? 9 races in and he quite simply does not pose any threat against nando. Even f1’s “mentally weakest, lead footed” driver, lewis hamilton (ahem) has never faced such a slump in performance in comparison to his team mate.


A question to the learned… Which other driver (past or present) has won atleast one race in every season that he has competed in? Amongst all th drivers that are currently racing I think it is only vettel? For the moment anyways


It’s actually Hamilton. Vettel did two years with Torro Roso, but only won once. Hamilton has always won a grand prix every year, and last year was his worst when he won only once.


I haven’t looked up any stat’s but I would happily bet that Hamilton has won at least one race in every season he has competed in F1.

As for Vettel, I agree with you – that stat’ is in serious danger of ending. 🙂

German Samurai

People read too much into this because these two guys are fighting over 1 and 2.

Imagine they are fighting over 5 and 6. You would shrug your shoulders and say another underwhelming performance by Hamilton against his journeyman teammate. Bottled it again in qualifying and was behind Rosberg when Rosberg went out of the race.

Barely got the better of Button between 2010 and 2012 and has barely got the better of Rosberg from 2013-14. This championship has been handed to Hamilton on a platter. He has the most dominant car of all time and all he has to do is beat Rosberg who has never really distinguished himself. A 43 year old Schumacher was quicker than Rosberg in 2012.


If rosberg wins it will continue the tradition of Germans winning titles in cars that have a ridiculous advantage……if Hamilton gets some more failures then we can assume that the proud tradition of German drivers winning world titles due to recieving priority treatment over their teammate.


so why are you not talking about this who are actually fighting over 5th and 6th this season?


Hamilton mentally strong, year right. A mentally strong driver just gets on with it, not sook about it.


Regardless of MBs drivers’ mental status, with this year’s format we are 9 races down with only 4 points apart (out of 326), 9 races to go with a reasonable probability of having a similar outcome, and then the season’s end double header, it will be fun to watch

Maybe Bernie consults a crystal ball when coming up with his dumb, unpopular ideas


+2 What does ‘mentally strong/weak’ means? What does it have to do with ‘racing’ nowadays?

I don’t understand, sounds offensive to me; these guys are driving at high speed and while managing multiple buttons and listening/talking to their engineers on the radio…

So is having a set back now considered a defect?


Well done Lewis, back to where you belong 🙂 This will help your WDC campaign in 2014.

Go on.

I like the new version or layout of this James Allen website.

But about the ‘white background’ is really hurting my eyes, anyone else feels the same way?


Well after reading ” …I guess they’re on a pretty equal level this season and it’s going to last until the last race of the season.” what do we do if one or the other lucks the championship just because they happen to win the double pointer finale? The ridiculousness of this situation and almost sadistic manipulation of the championship (anyone seen the film ‘Hunger Games’) for crude excitement is just pathetic, we spend the whole year watching these guys slug it out only to have the whole thing stabbed in the back by BEs showmanship in the last frame… this is not what gets me up at 1am in New Zealand every 2 weeks.

James, please, we need a poll (as if it were necessary), just to let the sport know this is not ok and will screw us around too much – if the sport is asking questions of its self, here is one answer.


Congrats to Lewis, but let’s not have things get out of hand. His main competition retired with a mechanical problem. He then cruised to the win.

You want a “great race”? See 1987 where the British driver was delayed with a wheel problem, then came back to win in amazing style.


Lol…. is this spam!

honestly talking about the mental state of these guys is crazy – they drive super go carts at over 200mph for a living, like boxers, moto gp ridrs etc these guys are not all there many unstable. Which is why so many fall once their careers are over.

sooner or later though sanity will hit them and the risks out weigh outside commitments. Lets enjoy them while we can shall we.

mentally strong…. I swear….. need a pair of role eyes.


I think you got it wrong here Thompson mate. Can you tell us which F1 drivers have fallen over. I know in other sports it’s common, but F1 drivers tend to do rather well even in after life.


James hunt was one…. Drank and smoked himself to death.

Some have died young or injured themselves persuing an adrenalin rush.

Many thankfully are from privilege backgrounds so have no financial issues. But you also have manywho have had short carriers suffering aswell.


I’m not sure what “role eyes” are, but otherwise think you’re right Thompson.

We’re watching a bunch of narrowly focused super ego’s at work, its wrong to take anything they say or do too seriously or out of its motorsport context.

but enough about The JA on F1 followers…..


By far the best comment of the thread, Jakobus!


I don’t think he mentally cracked in qually at Silverstone, he just thought it was too wet to improve



Poor judgement – for sure.

Daft not to continue the lap – definitely.

Mentally cracking – no way.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing……

kenneth chapman

@C63 hahaha…..arrogance, he thought that he had it in the bag!!!

kenneth chapman

@ C63 …i think that you nailed it. it was RB pit wall that took the decision not to send ricci out again. wise? in hindsight, probably not and the RB pit wall have already acknowedged that fact. the difference however is that hamilton took that decision on his ‘tod malone’ arrogantly believing that he had it ‘in the bag’.

keep in mind that my original post was not meant to be offensive and was partially TIC. obviously my communication skills are sadly lacking!!!! mia culpa.



I think that’s a bit harsh. Hamilton was a bit daft not to finish the lap but I don’t think he was arrogant – he simply concluded he had pole and the chances of improving his lap time did not exist, so he pulled in.

But if he was arrogant, then we must conclude Ricky was as well – he didn’t even bother leaving the pits , presumably assuming that Seb was wasting his time. You might say it was Red Bulls decision for Ricky to stay put and perhaps it was. But if that were the case then surely Hamiltons error of judgement is even easier to forgive. RBR are a team who are very good at thinking on their feet and yet their combined strategy team and their #1 driver didn’t think it was worth another run!

Hindsight makes everyone an expert, but these sort of conditions can make fools of some very clever people.


Why is it that the “media” arrive at a completely different conclusion to that which should be arrived at following very simple steps? Usually in the instances where Hamilton is involved. Odd that!!



Yeah…very odd….but I have my suspicions…..


It’s way too early to say this, but the mistake in qualifying by Lewis could serve be a moment analogous to Senna’s crash in the dying laps of Monaco while leading by more than half a minute in 1988.

Senna was humiliated by this mistake, as we all know, and was very emotional about it. He then recovered, won 6 of the next 8 races in a span in which Prost couldn’t touch him on pace, and then beat him for the title. Senna always goes back to the crash at Monaco as the turning point for him and credits it for helping him get stronger mentally.

Lewis really came back on Sunday maybe his most determined, focused drive in his career. He was 2-3 tenths quicker than Rosberg after about the first 6 laps of the first run (the first six laps of which, Nico was able to respond), and you don’t maintain that kind of pace for 2/3 of a run without being in a very focused rythm. I think, as he said, this was a real wakeup moment for him. And he is traditionally very quick on the tracks that are coming up in the next four races (Hockenheim, Hungary, Spa, Monza). This could be the beginning of a real tear for him. Rosberg better be on his A-game, or he could be put on a real back foot very quickly.


There will be swings and both drivers have made mistakes this year.

However, I look as below:

– Take the 3 DNF’s out for each MERC drivers. 6 races head to head Hamilton has 4 and Rosberg has only 2.

– Hamilton has 2 DNF while Rosberg has 1 DNF and second partial problem but got 18 points. Hamilton has slightly poorer luck.

– Nico is just 4 point ahead which is nothing considering MERC’s advantage this season.

2 drivers have to keep their head down & work hard and hope there is no further DNFs.

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