Lewis Hamilton says that his radio messages appearing to question Mercedes’ strategy calls just show his desire to succeed.
Formula 1’s world television feed has played multiple radio messages from Hamilton this season suggesting he was unhappy with certain strategy calls made by the team after he fell behind team mate George Russell during races.
In the later laps of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Hamilton was heard telling race engineer Peter Bonnington “you guys put me in a really difficult position” after Russell pitted under a Safety Car to move into third position. Other messages not broadcast on the world feed showed Hamilton was actually referring to the need to lift and coast to reduce the temperature of his power unit.
During the Miami Grand Prix, a similar message was broadcast on the world feed where he said “the strategy’s not been too kind to me, man.” Hamilton was passed by Russell after his team mate was able to save time by pitting during a Safety Car period.
Asked by RaceFans’ Claire Cottingham whether he had any concerns about Mercedes’ strategy decisions, Hamilton says he had faith in his team’s tactical decision-making.
“Firstly, we continue to work hard,” Hamilton said. “I don’t have any problems with strategy. We learn every weekend. We had great discussions before and afterwards. We’ve been a little unfortunate.”
However, Hamilton says that viewers that hear his radio messages must keep in mind the high stress situation he and drivers are under when they make them.
“I definitely feel – it’s no secret that for those who are watching and what is broadcast, it’s hard for anybody to truly understand what it’s like in the car,” Hamilton said. “Your emotions are higher than ever, your heart rate is very high.
“Maybe a woman would understand, maybe, having to give the answers during the difficult scenarios. But it’s never the same as when you’re cool and chill and just having a normal conversation with someone than when your heart rate’s as high as it is, you don’t always have the best answers to everything.
“But also it just shows there’s a lot of passion, there’s that desire to do well.”
Hamilton also rubbished claims he had reacted negatively to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s recent suggestion that former F1 race director Michael Masi could return in the future. Masi was replaced in the aftermath of last year’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where he was found not to have followed the rules in arranging a last-lap restart, after which Hamilton lost the lead of the race and, with it, the world championship.
“I only heard of that story a couple of days ago, firstly,” said Hamilton of the report. “I haven’t spoken to anyone. I’ve not done an interview for that newspaper for probably 10 years. So it’s inaccurate, as are some of – most of – the stories.
“I don’t really have a particular feeling about it. I’ve not given it any thought. I don’t know what Mohammed has said, I’ve not read his story, I don’t know what his agenda is.”
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