Hamilton desperate to banish poor Monaco performances


Following the Spanish GP two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton revealed that on five occasions he had a car good enough to win in Monaco, but had failed to do so.

“It depends purely on driving skill and courage behind the wheel. That what makes it so special for me,” says Hamilton about Monaco. He clearly sees it as a race weekend, where he should be doing well.

But if one of the newest of Monaco’s F1 residents is to turn his fortunes around at his home town GP, he will need to summon up his immense driving powers and go where he has never gone before. Lewis has never been quickest over the Saturday single lap shoot out in Monte Carlo, and his single win in eight attempts in the principality came from a rain affected race in 2008.

The British champion’s debut year in Monaco saw him pitted against Fernando Alonso, whom many believe to be the greatest driver of the current generation. The McLaren’s were dominant, and Lewis qualified second – a highly commendable 0.179s behind Alonso who claimed pole position.

On Sunday, the McLaren duo ran away with the race and in fact only Felipe Massa managed to remain on the same lap by the scruff of his neck – finishing third and almost 1m10s down on the leader.

In 2008, Hamilton was the best of the rest on Saturday behind two the dominant Ferrari’s of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. On Sunday, the weather played a crucial role in shaking up the usual Monaco procession from lights out to chequered flag.

Sunday morning had seen intermittent showers soak the track, and another spell of rain just 20 minutes before the off, saw most drivers on the grid opt for the less severe of the available wet weather tyres.

When the lights went out, Hamilton brilliantly passed Raikkonen before St Devote, but made a mistake and collided with the barriers at Tabac on lap six. He returned to the pits for a check-up, was fitted with a new set of tyres and fuelled to go further into the race than originally planned.

Due to the gap the leaders had built quickly, Lewis emerged having just lost three places and was down to fifth.

Both Coulthard and Sebastian Bourdais lost control of their cars, hitting the barrier at Massenet – seconds apart on lap 8. This required the marshals to separate the cars before they could be removed from the circuit. The safety car was deployed.

Lewis gratefully closed a gap of over thirty seconds to the leader Massa over the three laps the safety controlled the race.

When the circuit went green, Massa again took off and a fuel heavy Hamilton fell quickly behind the leader on track. Kimi in second however was issued a drive through penalty for failing to have his tyres fitted on the grid before the three minute formation lap warning

Massa then misjudged St Devote and took to the escape road, handing Kubica the lead. Such was the gap from the leading two, Massa re-joined second and claimed the lead again when Kubica pitted on lap 26.

However, when Massa was forced to stop on lap 33, Hamilton emerged ahead of the Ferrari at the front of the race.

Lewis built up sufficient a lead over Massa to make his second stop and still return in the lead of the race. A late safety car didn’t affect matters at the business end of the field, though Lewis suffered a final lap puncture and limped home just three seconds ahead of Robert Kubica.

Lewis clocked up his first victory in Monaco in his second year in Formula One, and he won a race which is still remembered as a ‘stand out’ occasion when compared to the usual processions in the principality.

Here is Hamilton’s complete Monaco record

  • 2007 Q2 – P2
  • 2008 Q3 – P1
  • 2009 Q15 – P12
  • 2010 Q5 – P5
  • 2011 Q9 – P6
  • 2012 Q4 – P5
  • 2013 Q2 – P4
  • 2014 Q2 – P2

This qualifying record is hardly stellar by Hamilton’s own standards and his tally against team mates in Monaco stands at 3-5 against him.

By comparison, Lewis is one of an elite club of F1 drivers who have claimed five or more pole positions at one circuit.

  1. Schumacher – Suzuka (8), Barcelona (7), Hungaroring (7), Montreal (6), Sepang (5), Imola (5)
  2. Senna – Imola (8), Adelaide (6), Monza (5), Monaco (5)
  3. Fangio – Monza (5)
  4. Hamilton Shanghai (5)

The world champion will be desperate to top the time sheets on Saturday this year, putting him in the best position to win the Monaco GP.

During the last F1 weekend in Barcelona, there was paddock criticism for Lewis regarding his preparation.

Speaking to the Express, Damon Hill observes: “The impression Lewis gives is that he wants to enjoy his life – he has been successful and he wants to enjoy all the fruits of fame and that’s great. But his first task is to win races, that’s where everything comes from.

“What he has to do is work out what’s at stake. He is on target to become one of the most successful racing drivers.

“It’s whether you want to dedicate yourself to that task and play afterwards.”

Lewis appears to have responded to his critics and been head, down in terms of social media since Barcelona; his activity on twitter has more than halved.

The news today is that Lewis has signed a new three year deal with Mercedes reportedly worth £60m. £20m a year ‘basic remuneration’ , a figure previously reported by TJ13 amidst wild claims Hamilton would accept no less than £52m p.a. Bonus and performance payments will see this rise to a maximum of £25m.

The £20m a year, is reportedly less than the amounts both Alonso and Vettel are being guaranteed by Ferrari and McLaren.

Ahead of this weekends much awaited event, Lewis has played his first card in the team mate mind games. He informed the press in Barcelona he would be delivering his qualifying laps before Nico, though at present, showers are forecast for Saturday afternoon.


36 responses to “Hamilton desperate to banish poor Monaco performances

  1. At long last Lewis Hamilton has signed the Mercedes contract. That will have put a stop to rumours of him moving to Ferrari and Alonso getting his seat.
    It’s rumoured he’s getting $100m for 3 years, which is less than Vettel is getting at Ferrari, which should also put a stop to claims that Hamilton was being greedy.

    • Money figures are all over the place, Gregor. As noted at TJ13 earlier, the press has great difficulty in discerning the differences between currency units. Rest assured that Lewis, Fernando, and Sebastian are likely within a few million of one another with differences to be realized in bonus clauses.

  2. Does this announcement now officially make Vettel the highest paid, and therefore the best, driver in F1?

    • No. Vettel is highly paid because he does the best interviews, tells funny stories, his impressions are spot on.

    • How tawdry to equate the heft of a driver’s paycheque and his skill – smh.

      I believe you’ll find the best and most accurate measure of a driver’s talent is the raw count and summation of their social medium followers.

  3. There’s seems to be a lot of speculation as to the value of the contract. Sky reports that the basic minimum is £25m. They also state that the contract he signed in 2013 was worth around £60m. So going by the figures stated in this article, it would seem that he has/was given a pay cut. Now I find that hard to believe given his team-mate was given a significant pay rise last year.

    I guess until he or the team comes out and says what it is, it will remain purely speculation.

    • It’s called market economy. Lewis signed the contract when it was clear that the Mercedes would win even if it was piloted by Marcus Ericsson. Nico signed before they won the first title. It’s a simple question of supply and demand.

      • Hippo, Nico signed in Monaco last year after they had already won 5 races. I also think they knew they had the most dominant car from the first installation laps in testing.

        • First we don’t know how much the contracts with any of the drivers, be it Vettel or Hamilton or anyone else, are worth.

          Second, if it was just a question of market forces, demand and supply, quality of the car or team, etc. then Mercedes would be able to charge their drivers for letting them race.

          At the end of the day, what matters is whether a team considers it worthwhile signing a driver at all and then for one, two, or three years. Look at the driver pairings at Mclaren, Sauber, Ferrari, Lotus, etc. and you can see how drivers with “equal” status in the team are reportedly worth different amounts.

        • That’s all jolly well, but Red Bull had out-developed the competition often enough over previous years that back in the day things weren’t a given yet. The real dominance of Merc didn’t become clear until after the summer break when it became clear that even Red Bulls traditional trickery over the summer couldn’t help them close the gap.

          • “The Merc dominance didn’t become clear until after the summer break”……

            Is that suppose to be a joke Hippo? You and practically declared the season over long before the summer break, especially after witnessing what happened in Bahrain.

          • There was still a chance for an RB bounce-back a la 2009. Maybe not enough to win the title but to challenge anyway. The thing is. Merc didn’t have a title to show when Nico signed, they had when Lewis signed and simple market economics dictate that Lewis was in a worse negotiating position, especially as it became clear that even if he left the team, Nico would still be able to win it for them. And if you’re expendable, your position is a weak one to begin with.

            On the other hand, he’s still making 100.000.000 dollars in three years. I would drive a pink Yugo for that money.

      • Market value:
        Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said the team had “taken the right amount of time” with the contract negotiations and “not rushed ourselves.”
        “The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand and that recognises and respects the MARKET VALUE of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One,” he added.
        “Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a GREAT PERSONALITY for the company. Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to race with the strongest driver pairing in Formula One and to more historic achievements together.”

      • Does that mean we’re going to see Mercedes also announce that they’ve signed Marcus Ericsson to replace Nico then seeing as Nico’s been beaten by a Ferrari twice now? Ericsson’s sponsorship money would help them fund Hamilton’s pay-packet too…

    • The Telegraph is reporting that “It will take the reigning champion onto a par with Sebastian Vettel as the best paid driver in Formula One, and should keep him at Mercedes until the end of 2018, by which time he will be 34 and in the latter years of his career. When bonuses are taken into account, Telegraph Sport understands his contract will be worth just over £30 million a season, a significant upgrade on his current deal, which is worth £21 million a year.”

      • Sadly, the Muppet writing (if we can call it that) for the Telegraph finds it hard to “understand” anything other than he is a shameless cheerleader for the King of Bling. Nuff said really……

  4. Ha! He is still getting paid less than Vettel and Alonso, I’m sure that would bother him since he is the best out there at the moment. How long until Alonso stops being credited with the “best driver of the current generation”? Not much pressure on him, no need to win titles, races, and even points for years and he;s still the best. I guess all that matters is what his peers think, I know he is still being voted the best, but that has to change.

    • Don’t think drivers (peers) have a vote. Believe it is TPs, but could be wrong. Best drivers of this generation are Hamilton and Vettel and we should be happy for that.

    • I bet he gets more in personal sponsorship, though. And all without a Deutsch Vermogensberatung in sight!

  5. In 2007, it has been claimed that Lewis was denied a win by the McLaren team to keep Alonso happy as the unofficial no 1 driver.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6696391.stm “McLaren insist Lewis Hamilton is free to race for the world title even though they imposed team orders to stop him fighting for victory in Monaco.
    Fernando Alonso led Hamilton to a one-two and team boss Ron Dennis said he had prevented his drivers from racing after their first pit stops.,” Dennis said.
    But Dennis admitted he “virtually had to decide in advance” which one of the drivers would win in Monaco.”

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/05/28/outrage-over-mclaren-team-orders/ “McLaren are under investigation for allegedly using team orders to influence the outcome of yesterday’s race in favour of Fernando Alonso over Lewis Hamilton.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Monaco_Grand_Prix “Qualifying was dominated throughout by the two McLarens of Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Despite Hamilton setting fastest times for the first session, Alonso outpaced him in the final stages to take pole position, with Hamilton being held up slightly by Mark Webber.” and “After the race, FIA launched an investigation of the McLaren team for giving out team orders, to the effect of asking Hamilton not to attempt to race or overtake Alonso.[5] Ecclestone said McLaren “could be excluded from the championship or they could have points deducted”.[6] McLaren were later cleared of any wrongdoing by the FIA.[7]”

    • I remember that race. Big Ron didn’t want his two fighting cocks to crash around the principality, and asked both of them to back down and “consolidate” (as Merc management would say nowadays). Neither listened, and they went even quicker than before (I remember some incredible sliding around the Pool — that was clearly a race of egos). After the race, both admitted they ignored the team order. Hamilton talked about needing to force Alonso into an error, so kept pushing harder.

      So, Judge, Hamilton these past two years ain’t the first top driver publicly admitting not giving a fig about a team order…

      • In 2007, Hamilton had qualified second with a heavier fuel load than Alonso.

        The team orders preventing Hamilton winning at Monaco may have cost Hamilton the 2007 title.

        Some of the statements made after the race were quite interesting:

        Dennis admitted he “virtually had to decide in advance” which one of the drivers would win in Monaco.
        Dennis said “This circuit has to be addressed in a team way, and that is why we have won 14 races here.
        “I don’t like to slow drivers down, to be frustrated or see these things happen.
        “There will be places where they will be free to race, but this is not one of them because one driver pushing another will induce a mistake, and then you’ve a car out.
        “Everybody would then say ‘what an idiot the team principal of McLaren is for allowing his cars to compete to a level where one of them is in the barrier’.

        Hamilton said: “It is something I have to live with. I’ve number two on my car and I am the number two driver.” “But at the end of the day I’m a rookie, and finishing second in what is my first Monaco Grand Prix, I really can’t complain.
        “Coming into the season I expected to be number two driver. I’m a rookie, it’s my first season, and I’m just pleased to be here.
        “I’m still living the dream. I’ve been on the podium in my first five Grands Prix, and I hope to continue with that.”

    • Funny how McLaren in the end got excluded from the championship anyway..

      Anyway, the intention to influence the outcome was there so id say its surprising nothing came of it. Especially considering the excessive penalties in hungary.

  6. f1fantic reports that Hamilton has given a press conference today, where “Hamilton confirmed this year he has the choice of which order the two Mercedes will run in. He and Rosberg alternate the choice from race to race.
    “I do have the choice this year which is good,” he said. “It’s lucky that I get that in a sense that at the first race we tossed a coin, I guess Nico perhaps won in the first race and chose to go second. ”
    “From race to race there’s pros and cons of going, being the first car or being one of the latter cars in qualifying and naturally here, yellow flags and all this kind of thing are an issue.”
    “To be honest you could get it wrong either way, you could decide to go first and then on your lap there happens to be a yellow flag. So I don’t know, I think we’ll collectively, as a team – me and my engineers – decide.”

    So it seems there has NOT been any decision yet on whether he will run last in Q3.

    Incidentally, the forecast is for a wet and cool Monaco from tomorrow to Sunday.

    • …Haha – maybe Lewis is thinking about changing his mind. His comments from Barcelona suggesting he would run before Nico have been reported in a number of publications/

  7. When it was Red Bull vs Ferrari. Red Bull were always stronger after the summer break, winning most races, which is why Hippo said that. Even if Hamilton did in reality take a pay cut, like Button did, they wouldn’t say it like that in the media, but just give a sum figure. Hamilton will have more going for him in sponsorships, maybe a rap album, and all the jewerly he’s got since winning his 2nd title. I don’t think Hamilton will end his career at Mercedes so he will likely be pushing for mega bucks in his next deal, after he’s got some more DC’s in the bag.
    Vettel is the most successful driver out there, with 4 titles and a bunch of records.

    • This will probably get deleted, [mod] continuous reference to rap music and jewellery.

  8. Well, at least Hamilton can just focus on his driving now. The deal is signed, which can only be positive news for him as that’s the one main distraction he’s had to deal with thus far. And Alonso can officially forget about driving a Mercedes car next season hahahaha

  9. The headline seems quite sensacionalist. Desperate, banish, poor. Seems like he’s pulling his hair out thinking about it. I get it the reasoning behind it, of course. I’m just being picky.

    Anyhow, Hill is joining the long list of people who have advice for Hamilton. Nothing new.

    • ..Sensationalist???… not really when you compare Hamilton to a number of other driver’s Monaco performances – and his negative 3-5 score against team mates – but more importantly Lewis’ epic performances elsewhere.

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