Analysis: Lewis Hamilton’s 80 F1 poles – Did he always have the fastest car?
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Posted By: Editor   |  08 Oct 2018   |  4:22 pm GMT  |  602 comments

He continues to make history in Formula One with an unrivalled record in qualifying, but how much of his success has been down to the car, and who has he had to beat in order to achieve such levels of success?

“It’s been an incredible year but that number, I just thought… never in a million years did I think I would be at a figure like that,” said Lewis Hamilton moments after securing his record-extending 80th Formula One pole position.

After taking his eighth pole of the season, the championship leader now moves twelve clear of Michael Schumacher in the record books – with far fewer F1 Grands Prix – to underline his title of Formula One’s most successful qualifier. And the milestone only serves to highlight the four-time champions’ outstanding record on Saturday afternoons.

A tool that has proven vital in his quest to take a fifth world drivers’ title ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton has taken at least one pole position in every season he has competed in Formula One, with cars at varying levels of performance.

Starting his career at championship-contenders McLaren, Hamilton was quick to establish himself as a superb qualifier; It took him only six races to secure his first pole position, he had the best average qualifying position of the entire field and took more poles than his reigning champion team-mate Fernando Alonso.

The first of many: Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.

He took the most pole positions in his championship-winning 2008 season against a quick Ferrari, but perhaps gave a better demonstration of his qualifying exploits by spearheading McLaren’s recovery in a sub-par 2009 campaign. He took a further four poles in the second half of that year to help drag the Woking team back up to third in the constructors’ standings.

Easily out-performing Heikki Kovalainen, for 2010-2012 he faced a tougher challenge in 2009 champion Jenson Button but, despite being a much tougher competitor, his fellow Briton was unable to cope with Hamilton on Saturdays.

His toughest team-mate to come up against in qualifying was undoubtedly Nico Rosberg. Despite Hamilton having the overall better record during their time as team-mates (2013 – 2016), 2014 was the only year when a team-mate was able secure more poles than he could, with Rosberg out-scoring him by eleven poles to seven.

Hamilton’s most successful season for qualifying actually came during his championship defeat to Rosberg in 2016, where he claimed 12 out of 21 pole positions.

For the past two seasons, he’s faced a challenge in the form of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel – also often regarded as a mighty qualifier – but the Mercedes man has nullified that threat, as well as the one posed by his latest team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and taken 19 pole positions across 2017 and 2018.

Reflecting on his 80th pole position, taken at Suzuka last weekend, he added: “It just makes me think of all the great years that I’ve had, quite a few of those I was with McLaren, I think at least 20-odd or so I think might have been with McLaren and there were even times when we didn’t have championship-winning cars at the time but the last six years with this team has been incredible and I’m just so proud of everyone and just so grateful for everyone’s hard work which has enabled me to go out and exploit my own abilities.”

Driving for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton takes pole position ahead of team-mate Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa at the 2012 Italian Grand Prix.

Can Hamilton be the first to 100?

“That’s not the end, eighty is not the end but that is a milestone I’m very proud of.”

He already has the record for most pole positions, but could Hamilton break more ground by being the first Formula One driver to reach 100 pole positions?

It all depends on two factors; how long Mercedes can keep providing a consistent front-running car, and how long Hamilton intends to stay in the sport.

Much of Mercedes’ success in the hybrid era has been down to producing persistently strong power units but, as the competition have gradually caught up, they’ve also proved that they’re very strong in the chassis and aerodynamics departments, as witnessed with the new regulations brought in for the start of the 2017 season.

This bodes well for them being able to cope with the aerodynamic tweaks being brought in for 2019 and beyond, considering the power unit regulations may not change that much for the highly-anticipated new Concorde agreement.

Hamilton will be 34 years old when the 2019 season kicks off and, whilst he hasn’t provided any clues about how long he intends to stay in Formula One, his ventures outside of the sport suggest that he’s starting to prepare for his life after his final Grand Prix, whenever that may be.

Since the start of 2014, Hamilton’s pole position success rate stands at a hefty 51%. In a more optimistic projection, if this level of success continues then he will reach 100 pole positions in just less than two seasons’ time, roughly two-thirds of the way through the 2020 season, assuming the future Formula One calendars remain at 21 races. He is contracted to Mercedes to the end of 2020.

His overall pole position rate (during his time at Mercedes and McLaren) is around 35.5%. If Mercedes have tougher opposition over the next few years, then this may be a closer prediction, which would mean he would achieve the ‘century’ landmark around halfway through the 2021 season, when he will be 36 years old.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

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1

I think a simple change in terminology may be a solution to the debate. Let’s stop talking about the greatest of all time as that simply cannot ever be determined. Let’s instead talk about the most Successful Of All Time, I feel this caters for the greater opportunity to break records due to more races ETC. The reasons for success are simply a better all-round package than the rest and package includes the driver. % and weightings ETC are irrelevant as this term simply incapsulates the most, biggest, whatever… regardless of what the max possible was/is.

2

Just in time for this article to drop off the first page…here is a list of pole positions weighted on the amount of races per season (based on 21 races a season, i.e. a pole in 2018 counts as 1 pole, a pole in a 6 race season counts as 3.5 poles):

Hamilton 87

Fangio 87

Senna 85

M Schumacher 85

Clark 70

Vettel 60

Prost 44

Mansell 42

Moss 41

Ascari 39

Very surprised that Hamilton edged out Fangio, I thought he’d clearly be top, and surprised the top 4 are so close. Hamilton will likely pull clear from here, but you can argue your case for any of the rest of the top 5 they should have had more (Clark/Senna/Fangio all had their careers cut short, Schumacher raced for quite a few seasons when having pole wasn’t a pure test of having the fastest car).

3

i wonder how things would’ve ended if hamilton made a double move in vettel like vettel did on hamilton at suzuka. would vettel have crashed into hamilton? would the stewards have penalise hamilton?

reason i ask is that i have just read elsewhere that if any driver makes a similar move in the future, they’d be penalised.

4

like vettel did on hamilton at suzuka

??? Do you mean Sochi?

5

Interesting comment by George Russell after spending some time with LH. Apparently the work he puts in at the garage and the factory are major factors in his car being so quick. So maybe there’s another element of being a top driver.

6

@Scubian

Talent and opportunity are only a part of the equation – they mean nothing without hard work. We’ve seen enough footballers who have squandered their talent over the years, to know that is true.

7

To be fair Lewis has not always had the fastest car. Remember the McLaren of 2009? That was such a dog at the start of the season even Trulli managed to overtake him in a Toyota.

8

Folks, it is all about the 3 parts comming together as Spamlane said earlier “It’s all about the package”. Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” and this rings true to F1, no one part wins any championship, all three have to add up to better than the rest. Very simply, reduce the effectiveness of any 1 element
(car, team or driver) and they will probably no longer win either championship. All elements need to be good, but none need to be the best they just need to add up to the best.
Mathematicaly you could look at it like this (10 being best)
Team x – Car = 8, Team = 8, Driver = 7. Total = 23
Team y – Car = 9, team = 9, driver = 6, Total = 24 (would probably win despite the lower driver ranking)

9

i don’t understand why this is such an argument. fans are intertwined by the driving and not preparations leading up to the driving. if that is up for discussion then he does that better than everyone else too.

80 poles mean he drove his car on 80 saturdays, faster than the entire field. nothing else.

last time i checked, cars aren’t harvested from trees.

10

Lewis often converts those pole positions into excellent results … and as the years have gone by you could argue he has reduced his driver error rate handily. I regard his pole record as secondary to his race record. Winning pole is 99 percent about speed, how quick you are, but winning races is much more complicated than that. And I think at the sharp end of the race weekend … well that’s where this young man really fires against his peers across time.

11

i agree with you entirely and when it comes to guiding his engineers to provide the right equipment, he does that better than anyone too.

12

Indeed. Pole is only a means to an end. If you get pole, but go backwards in the race because you didn’t maximize your race pace, then it’s meaningless.

That’s why Hamilton’s qualifying loss to Rosberg in 2014 was effectively meaningless, as Hamilton would more often than not go on to win the races. That year Rosberg couldn’t match Hamilton on minimizing fuel usage, so instead he went for track position. Basically he had a weak hand, and tried to play it the best he could.

13

I do think Hamilton is a great qualifier and also like anyone with statistics such as that has benefitted from a good car.

When considering him with the greats it is interesting to note the percentage of times other drivers have been outqualified by a teammate.

Senna 11% of the time

Fangio 12%

Schumchaer (1st career) 14%

Hamilton 36%

Obviously it matters who your teammate is but it is interesting to note. Over their 4 years together Hamilton-Rosberg was 42-36, this is incredibly close and one would have to imagine that if you are including Hamilton as one of the greatest qualifiers ever then Rosberg showed himself to be a similar level.

14
Richard Mortimer

No, that’s the point. Rosberg was on pole when Lewis wasn’t! 2 drivers in the best car means one or the other was on pole.

That is not to take anything away from Nico’s achievement. But, it was different then. Not like the last couple of years where Ferrari were challenging. We’ve had 5 drivers on pole this year.

It’s only a small difference between being an all-time great. But, Nico is nowhere near that. The all time greats are the ones who are THE outstanding driver of their era, and results aren’t everything. Moss was and never won the WC. He was second 4 times running and 3rd 3 years running…

The list is:

Fangio
Moss
Clark
Stewart
Lauda
Prost
Senna
Scumacher
Alonso
Hamilton

15

That’s my point. I stated the head to head between them like any teammates, not poles. I’m just basically saying, with quite a large sample, that it is difficult to make the case that Hamilton is that much faster a qualifier than Rosberg.

16

Hamilton has probably had the fortune of spending a greater amount of time in the best – or at least very competitive – machinery than other qualifying luminaries of yesteryear. That said, I don’t believe his career stats flatter him and he can rightfully stand toe to toe with Senna, Clark & Fangio given all other factors and considering the strength of some of the drivers he has been paired with. Rosberg in particular, I believe, will be shown to have been a considerably stronger driver than most people give him credit for. 80 poles is certainly an impressive record, but strangely one that it seems could be toppled within the current group of F1 youngsters if one of them gets themselves into a dominant team/car, given the modern F1 calendar, so I’m sure that he will want to carry on pushing raising the bar higher to give these young whippersnappers something to aim for…

17

the fia decided to keep record of pole positions long before hamilton stepped foot in f1 so it has nothing to do with fortune but everything to do with driver skill.

18

That aveli… for making the most pointless comment in blog.

19

Silly…
It’s all about the package:
Car + Team + Driver (very much in that order) is what wins championships, races, and poles.

Not to take anything from Lewis’ achievements but *any* driver with a seat in F1 is ‘good’ enough to win, and take lots of poles. It’s all about Car + Team (+Driver) coming together.

To hammer home the point (because I’m in the mood to keep typing) lets make a comparison:
-Lewis Hamilton: One of the sport’s all-time greats. Maybe a bit flaky at times but he makes up for it with his ‘genius’ behind the wheel.
-Roman Grosjean: Fast and talented. Maybe a bit too flaky to make it right to the top of F1.

So… I wonder if the above opinions would be wholly reversed if in an alternate history they had started out in F1 with each-others teams? Of course they would!

20

@spamlane – I think youre point is mostly correct, all 3 need to be pretty damn good to win, it is a Team effort, but you may have over stated your point a little and readers are taking it very literally. I think reworded like this would be more politically correct. – Not to take anything from Lewis’ achievements but *MANY* drivers with a seat in F1 are ‘good’ enough to win, and take lots of poles. It’s all about Car + Team (+Driver) coming together.” – all 3 need to be close to the best. An excellent driver will get something extra out of a less than great car (Alonso/Mclaren) but a not so great driver will not do well regardless of team and car.

21

@spamlane

Two letters and an apostrophe missing right at the end – n’t

22

If Grosjean started out against Alonso, he would have been destroyed – in fact, that’s exactly what happened in 2009. The opinions would not be wholly reversed.

23

ifs never occur!

24

Spamlane. You’re theory relies on all F1 drivers being equal, but we know that’s not true.

If Grosjean was capable of performing at Lewis’ level, then he would be in a top team. But he isn’t, so he’s not.

25

There are several examples of top drivers right now not getting into top teams. Yes, you need to be good to get into a top team, but you also need luck, timing and management to align, just ask Ricciardo, Alonso, ETC. Fantastic drivers, arguably as good as Ham, but some have to find alternatives, some don’t even get a drive and some have to go for a development career in a second tear team. To say “If Grosjean was capable of performing at Lewis’ level, then he would be in a top team. But he isn’t, so he’s not.” Implies that all drivers of a certain capability would be in the top team which is simply in-correct and a simplistic view of a very complicated business.

26

Hamilton beay Alonso in his rookie year, despite all the cheating and pressure Alonso desperately kicked up in his desperation to win.

Ricci has been slaughtered by Max these last 2 seasons, thats why he is, likr Alonso, going backwards to hide in midfield mediocrity, because he is exposed as inferior at the very top level.

27

@MCG

I hear what you are saying, but I don’t think Alonso or Ricciardo are particularly good examples. Ricci had an opportunity to remain in a top team (Red Bull). Apparently they offered him everything he asked for ref contract length etc but he still decided to run away – only time will tell whether that was a wise decision. As for Alonso – he has no one to blame but himself for his lack of a decent seat. It’s very well documented how he has burnt his bridges.

28

“Not to take anything from Lewis’ achievements but *any* driver with a seat in F1 is ‘good’ enough to win, and take lots of poles. It’s all about Car + Team (+Driver) coming together.”

If that was the case, why would a very successful company like Mercedes pay a driver £40+ million a year when they could have employed *any* other for a lot less, thus increasing their profits? Don’t you think their shareholders would have had something to say about that? The simple fact is that companies will always employ the best personnel to further enhance their product

29

i can promise you that when hamilton wasn’t st mercedes, they weren’t winning, when hamilton left mclaren, they aren’t winning either. so hamilton must’ve brought the car to mercedes, in that he guided the engineers to produce it. here’s what russell had to say about that.

“He is portrayed as a guy who from the outside maybe doesn’t look as interested in F1 as he does other aspects of life, but he is extremely motivated and really works hard to get the best out of all of his people.

“Just seeing how he approaches situations and the relationships was a great insight for me.

“My goal is to become F1 world champion one day and to do that I have to be the best, and learning from someone like the Mercedes team and from Lewis is a great opportunity and showed me that you cannot just rely on talent alone.” “

30

All this talk about did he have the fastest car…we will never know, but it is almost always the driver and car both win the championship, indicating that almost always the driver has the fastest car…or maybe the driver makes it the fastest (Who knows)
Since 1990 only 3 drivers have won the championship in a car that did not win the championship.
1994 – Schumacher in Benneton Ford – Manufacturer Williams Renault
1999 – Hakkinan in Mclaren Mercedes – Manufacturer Ferrari
2008 – Hamilton in Mclaren Mercedes – Manufacturer Ferrari
In all above they finished 2nd in Manufacturer

in all other years since 1990 the driver and manufacturer champions have been one and the same.
This tells me that generally no matter how good the driver is, he pretty much needs the best equipment to win and we will never know who the GOAT is until we put them all in the same car at the same point in their careers at the same time and see who wins and we know that can’t happen. Hamilton is arguably the best of his era and amongst the best of all time, but he has almost always had the best car and has finished 1st in the 2nd car and 2nd in the 1st car, so still not a fact.
Most of the stats today are skewed by the number of races, as such stats should be presented as % as this would be a little less skewed but still not perfect.

31

i don’t understand your logic nor have i ever seen f1 cars being judged on a dyano. i see f1 cars being driven while electronic timers used to measure their laptimes. so it’s all about driving. nothing to do with preparations, diet endurance training strength training reaction time training choice of team consultation with engineers before and after race. it’s all about driving and if it was about preparation then hamilton does that better than any driver in the history of the sport. plus he does it without a training while running his fashion shows and energy drink business.

32

McLaren had the best car in 1999, they didn’t win constructors because of unreliability and errors. Same with 2008, they had the best car, but driving errors from Hamilton and a subpar Kovoleinen were factors in McLaren not winning constructors championships.

33

which instrument is used to determine the best car and who guides the engineers to build the cars?

34

If it was unreliable it wasn’t the best car!

35

Exactly !!!

36

So in other words, if a minardi was the most reliable car then they would be the best? Your logic is flawed.

37

@Racer416 – No, your logic is flawed, My logic definately does not imply what you said. Obvioulsy a more reliable car was better than the McLaren in 1999

38

Really unfair to previous drivers who never had as many races in a season as today. A percentage of poles per races driven gives a totally different result.

1. Fangio 56%

2. Clark 45%

3. Ascari 43%

4. Senna 40%

5. Hamilton 35%

6. Vettel 25%

7. Moss 24%

8. Schumacher 22%

9. D. Hill 17%

10. Stewart 17%

39

there isn’t a table of percentages. why would it be a disadvantage to take part in fewer races, stressing your body less?

we have all seen and heard drivers explain their physical experience of a race. so why does taking part in more races not count as a disadvantage?

is that not why the official f1 site and all other historic records don’t show percentages?

percentages has never been measured until hamilton destroyed that pole record and looks set to double it.

none of the drivers who have driven in the same era as hamilton haven’t scored half as many pole positions so why are you all of a sudden using percentages. is it because the official numbers don’t serve your purpose?

40

I prefer weighting the number of poles to the amount of races per season (e.g. a pole in a season with 10 races is worth twice as much as a pole in a season with 20 races).

I started doing this (I already did it for wins) and from the looks of things Fangio will be difficult to top (he has 86 “weighted” poles”), but Senna and Schumacher might come close. Hamilton won’t be there yet but will probably pass it before he retires.

41

what is the official method?

why don’t the decide who’s on pole by measuring the intensity of light reflected from the drivers’ skin?

42

@ Andrew – You method amounts to exactly the same thing as what Yogi did just a different numeric representation and should produce exactly the same list in the same order.

43

No it’s not the same, as it records pole positions recorded as an absolute, not a percentage. My ranking doesn’t care how many races Fangio achieved his poles in, just uplifts the amount he got. Schumacher will almost certainly be higher up the list because of the volume of poles he had, even if his % is low.

44

Ok, i’d like to see your list

45

Correct, it is all about percentage based performance, and when done this way you are right, a very different picture and it is always about how a team performs, not about the driver alone.

46

i have never seen the word percentage anywhere in the historic records and the formats of those records were decided by a group of smart people.

47

Literal number mean very little. Its like comparing at the Nominal GDP of the countries.

48

If you then look at races won per races driven where the actual points are handed out and championships won the order changes slightly btu still led by,

1. Fangio 47%

2. Ascari 40%

3. Clark 34%

4. Hamilton 31%

5. Schumacher 29%

6. Stewart 27%

7. Prost 25%

8. Senna 25%

9. Moss 24%

10. Vettel 24%

49

Nice stats. While these imply that Fangio is/was the best ever and Hamilton is better than Senna ETC. What they actually show is that Fangio was an integral part of a winning TEAM for a higher percentage of races ETC.
We will never be able to categorically state which driver is the GOAT, it simply can’t be done factually or statistically, I know Fans all want their driver to be the best, but it will only ever be opinion as they will never race against each other on even terms.

50

there isn’t a table of percentages in any of the official fia website. do you understand what impact each race has on the drivers’ bodies?

the more races you take part in, the worse the effect so those who took part in fewer races had it easier.

51

Many drivers in the 50s, 60s and 70s actually took part in more races per year than current f1 drivers because many did f1,f2, indycar, sports cars, CanAm etc.

Some drivers actually did 2, 3 races in one day. Not to mention that a GP in the 50s could sometimes nudge 3 hours.

52

Some drivers actually did 2, 3 races in one day

So what are you saying then Luke – the cars were easier to drive? Because the drivers were certainly not fitter then compared to now….

53

percentages are not the best way of comparing results.

54

it’s an achievement in itself to drive so many races in a single season.

so in that regard, the oldtime drivers had it easier.

55

Now remove any shared drive wins from Fangio & Ascari, and recalculate.

Nevermind that Fangio chased the best car his entire career, and Ascari was in machinery that obliterated everyone by over a minute regularly in 1952-53.

56

Krb, that’s nothing, the PU era Mercs are all a minute per lap faster than the opposition!

57

because hamilton guides them to extract the best from each member of the team. something others aren’t as good at either.

58

This argument has a serious flaw that’s never mentioned: if you have a competitive car, you’re still up against at least one person who has the same level of car, often more. But if you have an uncompetitive car for a season or two, those percentages are going to plummet seriously when the number of races is higher. Unless you happen to be an outstanding qualifier and can still achieve a few poles in certain conditions. (Like Hamilton.)

59

drivers are part of the teams and they contribute to their cars performance.

that explains why mclaren fell so far back while mercedes have made so much progress.

60

Out of contect here but I want to say this somewhere:
Just to put a perspective on the issue with Team favouring one driver over another.
We will use Mercedes as the example as the Hamilton being favoured over Bottas seems to be the pertinent one.
Mercedes F1, are in the Business of Manufacturing F1 cars and attempting to win the Manufacturers title on the back of these cars.
Mercedes are not in the business of winning Drivers titles, that is secondary to their business.
They employ 2 operators to operate there cars as best possible in order to try and earn Manufacturer points. The operators are paid a salary and personal points to operate these cars.
There is a maximum of 25 points per car per race.
To date there have been 17 races in 2018 which equites to a maximum possible earning of 425 points per car I.E. 425 = 100% performance.
Hamilton has earned 331 points or 77.9% of potential earnings for Mercedes F1.
Bottas has earned 207 points or 48.7% of potential earning for Mercedes.
Now, if you and I did the same job at let’s say, a Bank. You earned a 77.9% profit for that Bank and I earned a 48.7% profit for that bank…Who would they promote/favour?
I.E. Had Bottas earned more points, he would be favoured, it is up to him to put himself ahead of his Team Mate as Hamilton has done.

61

@ MCG….Despite that, you are assuming that Bottas has had the same car and the same advantages as Hamilton. We know that this is not the case and that Hamilton takes team priority as openly observed recently.

62

Imagine if Dee Dee was good enough to have a whole team built around him…

Of course that would make him immediately bang average right?

Oh the amusement.

😀

63

doesn’t matter how hard you try, there isn’t anyone in this who believes bottas is as good a driver as hamilton. not one.

64

There has been NOTHING to suggest Bottas having a different car, ever. Bottas himself knows this, and told Wolff recently that he knows why he was subject to the team orders, and that he needs to perform in the first half of the season to avoid it happening again next year.

https://tinyurl.com/bottas-perform-early-season

65

😀

Just to remind you, our resident oracle is NEVER wrong. Even when he is.

66

Hmmm, kenneth now I freely admit to being a Hamilton fan, but likewise I am an admirer of Fernando, Daniel, Carlos, Nico (both Hulkenberg and Rosberg) but I like to feel I am dispassionate and objective enough to see both side of an individual.
The curious thing is that while I have noticed in your posts an obvious intelligence, an effective turn of phrase and an admittedly broad knowledge of your subject you seem incapable being objective in terms of Mr Hamilton.

If there is a possible negative connotation to any of his actions, comments, decisions, behaviour and now achievements you can be counted upon to be to be right on point with espousing it. I remember disagreeing with your assertion after Baku last year when you ascribed Vettel’s petulant shunt into Hamilton (borne of his own poor anticipation and perceived gamesmanship by his rival) to unsporting behaviour on his part (still don’t recollect anyone other than Sebastian or yourself and those that liked your comment hold this view well actually only you and the likers as Sebastian later admitted to his mistake and apologised to Lewis for the false accusation.

Similarly I see no evidence for your assertion made here that Bottas has been playing with a rigged deck and this is the only reason that Hamilton had built up such a lead in points and specifically here pole positions this season that it became obvious to issue team orders in his favour at this point of the season.

67

blacbul67, that sir, is an excellent post. Well done. Sadly I think it will fall on deaf ears and eyes so blinkered they may as well be lumps of coal.

😀

Anyway, great post, really. He can’t even see the ridiculousness of what he’s saying. Why on earth would Mercedes risk the WCC (which until recently was still close) by giving Bottas inferior equipment? It’s an utterly ridiculous fabrication.

But I’m sure you’ve seen enough to know this is the norm!

😀

68

Thanks The Exigency, I hope it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears but that’s me once again I try to give folk the benefit of the doubt before condemning them in perpetuity. This is my concern with his posts. The unrelenting negative, or at best, begrudging nature of his observation and opinion of Hamilton actually in my mind calls into question the validity of his other views, a shame as he is, as i say an articulate and knowledgeable chap.

69

Kenneth, you ‘know’ that Valterri doesn’t have the same car as Lewis?! You have no reason to even suspect that’s true, let alone know that it is. More lies from you….

70

Also note that Bottas beat hamilton in 3 of the first 7 races and would have been 4 of 7 but for the puncture in round 4. Hardly the stats of someone who is being disadvantaged by his team. It is only after this point that Hamilton creeps and then leaps ahead.

71

Actually, we don’t know that Bottas has not had the same car and advantage, that is entirely your opinion and holds very little water. If it were the case then there is a strong argument that Bottas is actually better than Hamilton as he has managed to take a couple of poles from Hamilton and has had to let Hamilton win, pretty damn good for someone who has not had the same car and advantages.
We cannot say that either Hamilton or Bottas were favoured early season as again that would just be opinion.
Right now, Hamilton is far ahead and thus being favoured “as openly observed recently” as he has earned that privilege. Next year may be different, that is up to Bottas.
He has not always been favoured. E.G. when he and Niko were fighting for the title neither appeared to be favoured as they were both in the hunt.
NB! While I acknowledge that Hamilton is exceptionally good, I am not a Hamilton fan, I am an F1 fan looking at it through clear glasses.

72

through clear glasses.

@MCG.

Whatever you do don’t mention clear glasses in front of Kenneth. He’s got a real thing about the way Hamilton dresses (I think he’s jealous) and that gets him revved up like you wouldn’t believe 🤓

73

I’ll keep that in mind, Kenneth, you an Aussie mate?

74

@TimW

Lol – apparently Ricci’s tatt’s are discreet – apart from the great big one on his leg and I noticed another on his hand the other day. He’s trying to emulate Hamilton – I’ve said it all along!

75

C63, remember when Kenneth used to give Lewis stick about his tatoos? That all finished when some pointed out that Ricciardo had a few tats himself, at which point body art suddenly became perfectly acceptable!

76

Now, if you and I did the same job at let’s say, a Bank.

Or flipping cheese burgers!

77

@Jungle – you don’t flip cheeseburgers. You don’t put the cheese on until the end.

78

@ Jungle & Brian – Touché, Guess who I would favour in my Burger Joint

79

I’d be favouring you over Jungle in my birger shop…

80

I don’t think Hamilton is he best qualifier of all time, that would be Senna. Being beaten by Rosberg, who was beaten by Webber says it all.

81

rosberg best schumacher 3 seasons to nil.

82

Um yes, a Schumacher well past his prime….

83

Gawd, the ol’ Webber beat Rosberg canard. Yeah, Rosberg’s rookie season, and it ended up 7-4 in points.

That’s the same as saying Ricciardo beat Verstappen, Perez beat Ocon, Barrichello beat Hulkenburg, and they all would again forevermore. That’s nonsense.

Rosberg was a better all around driver than Webber. Rosberg won a number of junior titles, while Webber flubbed his. If they had stayed teammates, I have no doubt that he would beat him more times than not.

84

You forgot the Max Verstappen factor. I think Lewis’ skills will only decline as he reaches his mid thirties while Max hasn’t peaked yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if Verstappen begins to dominate in the next 2 years and if he does, 100 wins and poles are not out of the question.

85

f1 results are not based on what you think. they are based on what actually happens on track.

86

exactly. drivers skills peak and they decline like any athlete. to assume Hamilton will maintain same performance level until his late thirties is not realistic.

87

Racer416, but Verstappen got beat by Ricciardo, who got beat by Kvyat…..

88

He got beat by Ricciardo, really? Maybe in an alternate universe.

89

Racer416, umm you might like to check out the 2015 final championship standings….

90

Max doesn’t even have a single pole to his name yet never mind 100. Yes he is still young and could have a lot of years in the sport, but OTOH if Hamilton/Merc can continue their dominance right up to the 2021 changes Max will have spent 6 years in F1 playing bridesmaid and his career stats will mediocre at best.. Takes a lot of winning after 120GPs to drag your percentages up..

91

It is always the case, when you are dominating, people don’t realize how special that individual is. I don’t think Michael Schumacher was celebrated as he is now.

To judge how special he is, you need to listen to the previous Championships (except Sir Jackie Steward no longer the most successful British driver and declared himself the most successful Irish driver), his current team mate and previous team and his competitors, how they praise his racing prowess. They speak highly of him. Sir Sterling Moss, said there are racers and great/good drivers. Throughout Moss’s life he said he knows only three racers and plenty of great drivers and LH is one of the three racers that he knows.

In 2013 Merc was no where in terms of the pace and he managed to score 5 poles and since the car was not great in the long run, he only won one race.

He is now matured, playing a long game and I belief loosing a championship in 2016 thought him that. Most of the moves he make now are calculated. He no longer chases the fastest lap or creating huge between him and second place. He lives to fight another day and picks his battles like when he was passed by Vettel in Belgian GP, did not fight since it was pointless.

He is becoming a complete racer, great in qualifying, great in managing the tyres and long run consistency and great at taking the calculated chances.

Long live Hamster, you are on your way to 100 poles.

92
Richard Mortimer

Good points:

Think Jackie must have said “best ever Scottish driver!” He’s a Scot, but then, so was Jim Clark!

He only lost in 2016 as he retired from the Malaysian GP, I think it was!

93

Lot of respect for Stirling but you gotta take what even he says with a pinch of salt.. I remember during the middle of the RBR dominance he described Vettel as a “modern Fangio”… and comparison that seems ridiculously optimistic now.

94

Stewart called himself Irish? What?

95
Richard Mortimer

Could not say Scottish as that is Jim Clark!

96

Some people are so salty about Lewis Hamilton all of the time.

97

@ Bingo…so people are not free to voice a different opinion?

98

Kenny boy, AKA Grammar Queen, AKA The Oracle, AKA Mr. Salty…

Silly me, I thought they were all facts? Now it’s opinion? Funny how you get so up in arms about freedom of speach yet when someone dares to say anything remotely negative about Dee Dee you jump down their throat.

#teamdoublestandards

99

people are not free to voice a different opinion?

As you are so keen on freedom of speech kenneth, is it now safe to assume that you will stop counting the comments from those who’s opinions you disagree with? Or is it only the opinions you agree with that deserve to be heard?

100

Sure they are but Bingos point remains “some people are so salty about lewis Hamilton” and you Ken are the saltiest of them all.
Never have you had anything even remotely positive to say about Lewis. On the contrary you take every opportunity to spit your salt in his direction. Maybe Lewis isn’t the greatest of all time, MAYBE, but you got to say he is worth mentioning amongst the very top names in history… don’t expect you to acknowledge this but you’d gain a bit respect if you could acknowledge what everyone else knows.

101

The short answer is of course no he hasn’t always had the fastest car. Starting at the beginning, 07/08 the Mclaren and Ferrari were pretty evenly matched, which one was faster varied through the year and type of track. To all the people saying Hamilton and Alonso are better drivers than Raikkonen and Massa I say this, now maybe yes, but Raikkonen back then was on top of his game (although not 08) and pre-crash Massa was also a different driver. Ferrari was possibly a shade faster in 2008, but then if we are being honest, Ferraris errors / reliability lost that for Massas as much as Hamilton and Mclaren won it. All in all not much in it.

2009 Hamilton took some poles and wins in the second half of the season. Mclaren came back from their shocking start to the season. They out developed a cash / resource strapped Brawn team and Red Bull who were having their first season at the front. Ferrari were in the same boat and also finished the season far more strongly, but taking nothing away from Hamilton he had some excellent drives and destroyed Kovealinen (whatever happened to him by the way?).

2010 Mclaren had a good car, not as fast as the Red Bull or Ferrari but not by much. They had the advantage of the f-duct at the start of the year till everyone else made one. In my opinion Mclaren gave up on the season too early, and shot themselves in the foot as they ended up still in the hunt at the end, had they continued to push to the finish things may have been different.

2011 I think Lewis had a pretty poor year, the car wasn’t great (it still won 6 races though) and he was outperformed by Jenson (taking nothing away from him). Car was slower then the Red Bull but probably faster than the Ferrari.

2012 was a bit more of a return to form, retirements didn’t help the overall result. Car was overall slower than the Red Bull, sometimes quicker though depending on circuit, probably on a par with the Ferrari.

2013, Mercedes year one. Nothing could look near the Red Bull (Vettel’s one anyway). If my memory serves correctly the Mercedes was a bit hot or cold, very quick in quali at some tracks but the race pace didn’t back it up. Overall him and Nico were pretty equal, Lewis out pole positioned him 5-3, Nico beat him on race wins 2-1, finished pretty close on points but Nico had the worse reliability. So overall no it wasn’t the fastest car but it was a pretty handy qualifier at times.

2014 onwards the Mercedes had been clearly the quickest car. This year has been the closest, pretty even at the start of the year, Ferrari had the upper hand for a while, but now Mercedes are comfortably back on top again. I also think the last two seasons Lewis has been at his absolute best. Rosberg said it himself, you have to be on your A-game all the time and make no mistakes if you want to beat him. Rosberg managed that once but since then Hamilton’s form has been imperious, he hasn’t had any of the strange off weekends where he got all sulky and indifferent. Vettel on the other hand has made critical errors, errors you may get away with normally, but not against Hamilton in his current streak.

His career is quite reflective of Schumachers actually, won a title early in his career with the fastest car. Then had a few seasons of performing well in not the fastest car before going on to dominate for a period of time. Schumacher went from 1994 to 2006 being in the championship hunt every year apart from two (1996 and 2005), not counting 1999 where he would have been had it not been for his injury. A lot of that is of course down to having consistently good if not the best cars, but only Hamilton can hold a candle to that kind of consistency, indeed Hamilton I believe I am correct in saying, is the only driver ever to take a win and pole in every season he has competed, that kind of says it all really.

102

That’s an interesting comment, Darren. Schumacher achieved at least one GP win in 15 consecutive seasons, and at least one pole in 13. Hamilton has been in F1 for 12 seasons and has achieved at least one race win and one pole every year. Both men have incredible records.

I think we’re reaching the point when we have to acknowledge that Hamilton’s record is on a level with Schumacher’s, even statistically, which I never expected to see again in my lifetime. If you take into account that Schumacher demanded contractual #1 status in his team and Hamilton apparently does not, their records are even more comparable. Rosberg took 22 race wins as Hamilton’s team mate and Button took 8. Just imagine – Hamilton could already have exceeded 100 GP wins by now if he had been as ruthless, but he seems to be in it for the racing.

103

To all the people saying Hamilton and Alonso are better drivers than Raikkonen and Massa I say this, now maybe yes, but Raikkonen back then was on top of his game (although not 08) and pre-crash Massa was also a different driver.

I know this theory is put forward (mainly by Kimi fans to be honest), but it just doesn’t pass muster. Massa’s most competitive period vs Alonso was the first half of 2010 i.e. when he was allowed to compete against Alonso, right after his accident. Surely if his accident we affecting his performances, this would be the time they would manifest most clearly? After that his performances tailed off significantly. And Kimi’s performances vs Alonso map up almost perfectly with Massa’s, assuming both are at a similar performance level (which seems likely given 2007-09).

104

but perhaps gave a better demonstration of his qualifying exploits by spearheading McLaren’s recovery in a sub-par 2009 campaign. He took a further four poles in the second half of that year to help drag the Woking team back up to third in the constructors’ standings.

McLaren that year was one of the few / only team to use KERS which Lewis used to good effect in qualifying on pole on tracks involving long straights. I wanted to point that went on expected lines than the quote above that seeks to state that he qualified against odds. While saying that LH and VES are the two best qualifiers presently.

105

McLaren that year was one of the few / only team to use KERS which Lewis used to good effect in qualifying on pole on tracks involving long straights.

Yeah, like Singapore…

106

You are correct, Mclaren, Ferrari and Renault were the only teams to use KERS in 2009. I think they spent too much time or placed too much importance in developing the KERS and the rest of the car suffered. Brawn nailed the double diffuser and Red Bull had an all round good car which was more important than 80bhp.

107

About this “fastest car” stuff. If it was all down to the car, it would be a Mercedes front row lock out at every race – and a one-two finish at every race, with Lewis and Valtteri always scrapping. That’s not the case though, and I believe pinning success on the “fastest car” is a disservice to the driver – whichever team is dominating in any given era.

108

too may fail to understand that hamilton is the best driver to have stepped foot in f1, with the evidence poking them in the eye. qualifying is all about driving ability and he has done that better than anyone has ever dreamt of. he is on course to double the previous record and people still insist on saying he is one of the greats. he is not just one of the greats, he is the best ever. if the word great refers to the size of his achievements, why not assess him by his achievements? why make excuses not to do so?
there isn’t a driver who can brake as well as he does, nor is there a driver who can drive in the wet or defend or overtake as well as he does. he does all these things about driving better than anyone in the history of the sport yet, there is a but! i guess they will one day come to that realisation. i understand some are just slower in realising.

109

Nice patronising line at the end there, I’m sure it will help your comment be taken more seriously.

110

Aveli’s comment is serious enough and taken as such.

111

Qualifying, as opposed to race winning, is a better indication of Best (or Fastest) Driver because there far lesser ‘external factors’ influencing the outcomes. Factors like safety cars, changable weather, reliability, strategy, etc. etc.

112

Yes ofcourse. But….still you need a car that is capable of pole. Alonso said he drove one of his best laps in Japan and still was out in Q3.

Hamilton is one of the greats but not because he has achieved 80+ poles or 5-10 WDC.

113

Alonso said

Alonso says all sorts of things all of the time. I’m surprised you would pay him any heed.

114

That’s not the point… the point is that you can drive a better lap the the man on pole and still be out in Q3 because your car isn’t fast enough.

I have nothing against Hamilton let me be clear, I think he is one of the greats, and his 80 poles are amazing.

But you have to put it into context, just as the 7 titles of Schumacher.

In 2014-2016 Hamilton had almost a 50% chance of getting pole at every GP, and still people find it amazing when he scored a pole under these percentages.

115

@ C63…Just like you but at least Alonso is a driver!

116

People in glass houses kenneth…..

117

ESPN did a good article about Alonso’s ridiculously self-aggrandising quotes; apparently he’s nailed the best lap of his career 4-5 times in the last two years.

118

hamilton guides on his engineers providing him with the best equipment to perform at his best.

before he went there, those engineers didn’t produce the best car. you can tell how mclaren fell apart as soon as he left.

119

Had nothing to do with the hybrid era of course. And Mercedes spending way more than it’s competitors (Ferrari/Renault) on it’s engine. Noooo it’s all Hamilton of course. A driver telling schooled engineers how to build a fast car… yep makes total sense.

But how come he didn’t manage to make the McLaren better in his last 3 years there?

120

That’s a bit like suggesting the best tennis player is the one with the best serve.

In the modern tennis game, an excellent service will get you well down the way to winning, but you need to back that up with the ability to deal with the rest of the game. Tennis fans can probably list a series of players with better serves than Federer but I doubt they’d rank any of them as better than him.

What’s interesting is that Hamilton can find time on a changing track due to his skill set. In predictable conditions others can match and beat him.

Hamilton is not the perfect qualifier, sometimes his technique lets him down, it is in the nature of driving exploring the limits that sometimes it will go astray, but overall the proof is in the pudding.

121

Well said !!!

122

There is no doubt that the Mercedes is the fastest car. This year we have had a sniffing of competition from the Ferrari’s but Merc has developed an incredibly quick car and continued to develop it over the season to be able to beat the prancing horses.
If we take Lewis out of that car and just focus on Bottas, the argument ‘that it’s all the car’ become a bit silly because I think that Vettel and Kimi would be in front. Bottas is good and on certain tracks he is blisteringly quick (Russia). But he not fast enough to get the best out of that car. Lewis has the ability to extract the maximum from the car – no matter what the car. If the car is already fast, it’s a perfect combination. In Lewis’ last year at McLaren, Lewis got the most out of that car even when it wasn’t perfect. Jenson struggled to get the best out of that car when it wasn’t a perfect setup but Lewis pulled wins out of the hat while driving a dog.
Mercedes have just done the business thing – fastest driver in the fastest car. Combine those and all of a sudden you are breaking records for poles/wins etc.

123

My only criticism of your comment is that I do not believe that Mercedes had the fastest car all season. In fact, Ferrari had the fastest car on the grid ( according to all reports and folks on the grid ) up and thru Monza. It was Hamilton’s victory in Monza plus the spurred on development of the Mercedes car since then that caused Mercedes car and Hamilton to vaunt past their Ferrari counterparts in 2018.

124

There is no doubt that the Mercedes is the fastest car.

No idea what season you’ve been watching, but over the 17 races we’ve had the Ferrari has been the faster car at more of them. It has beaten the Merc in terms of avg. qualifying slot this season, and that with a driving pair that is not as good in qualifying as the Mercedes duo.

125

Not a Hamilton fan at all, but I would say this: Lewis is a great racing driver, but his speed is underlined by his exceptional form over a single lap.

No doubt that the cars Mercedes produced from 2014 – 2016 were untouchable, but it’s not as if Lewis’ team-mate during that period was a slouch — far from it. It may have taken until 2016 for Nico Rosberg to get near Hamilton’s level in terms of consistency in races, but throughout their partnership (especially during the start of the Hybrid era) the German was always very competitive in qualifying (and no, Nico was never a cheat. Sorry, Lewis fanboys).

This year and in 2017, Mercedes and Ferrari produced cars that were/are within the same level of performance as each other (up until SG maybe, when Mercedes stole the momentum and sailed ahead). But Lewis still managed/manages to get more out of his package than Sebastian Vettel is able to on Saturdays (and often on Sundays, as well); and Sebastian proved to be a master of qualifying during his time with Red Bull (or is it being proven now that it was all about those Adrian Newey cars?).

So yes, like him or not, Lewis is brilliant qualifier. Hence all the pole positions to his name.

PS: I don’t think its accurate to compare Hamilton’s qualifying prowess vs that of Fernando Alonso’s. Since on the flip side, although the Spaniard is a brilliant Sunday driver (as Montezemolo put it: on race-day he is M Schumacher + Lauda combined), in qualifying he is above average at best. Similar story with Jenson Button.

126

Never a cheat? Dude, was with you up until that point. Nico is fast but was a cheat and scum. Hated coming second, especially to Hamilton. Sawed away at the wheel in mirabeau, forcing a locked then reversing on to a live track ensuring yellow flags were waved. All the while lewis was 2 tenths up on pole. Willfully admitted crashing into lewis several times (spa 14, austria 16 and spain 16. Not even gonna bother with the number of times he’s forced lewis wide etc.

Then there’s the mechanic swap. Constant moaning about every little thing.

127

Amen, Oblah .

128

@Oblah – You got Hamilton coloured glasses mate?. Hamilton did exactly the same to Nico over the years. Go check the history properly without bias. They were both as much to blame.

129

@MCG – do you have “I hate Hamilton” coloured glasses? That’s an utterly ridiculous statement. Lewis did “exactly the same to Nico”??? When???

Let’s take one incident (you can choose others to discuss to, please be my guest…) when has Lewis intentionally parked his car on the track to force a yellow flag in order to stop Nico getting pole?

I await you pointing me in the right direction with great interest. And indeed any other actual examples of Lewis doing any of the intentionally shady things Nico did to him during their time together…

130

I know some folks like to begrudge the man his position in F1 but the man is there for a reason. I am not one to pull stats but it would be interesting if someone more enterprising can pull the data on where Hamilton’s team mates placed for each pole that hamilton got and see if his teammates would have gotten the pole if if he wasn’t there. Clear example of this is Bottas this year. While a good driver…Ferrari/Redbull would have eaten him up me thinks.

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