Lewis Hamilton has openly admitted he rarely gets behind the wheel of the Mercedes AMG F1 simulator as its something he doesn’t enjoy. Much of the legwork on simulator car/track setup is done by Anthony Davidson for Hamilton. Lewis has been known to refer to the simulator as a “very bad computer game” and clams it gives him motion sickness.
“I hardly ever drive on the simulator. I maybe do 20 laps a year, maybe. I have no interest in the simulator,” reported motorsportweek in 2021. However following Max Verstappen winning three races in a row Hamilton admitted ahead of the 2021 Austrian GP he’d been forced to spend time in the simulator.
Hamilton hates sim work
“Well, I can’t say that I’ve necessarily enjoyed the sim work,” said Lewis
“Particularly after the last few difficult races we had, I went in to try and see if there’s any way I could try and help the team just be better prepared.
“I think there’s been a couple of good things from it, but not life changing. I’ll continue to work with Anthony [Davidson] and the drivers on there that do a lot of work.
Hamilton believes Davidson and the other Mercedes test drivers are betted suited to the sim work and argues his time is better spent communicating to them where the car setup requires work.
“I think just working on the processes of how we communicate with them on their program. So we’re getting the right things tested. I think overall, it’s been positive.”
Verstappen sees the sim as vital
Despite having the luxury of 8 time F1 race winner Daniel Ricciardo as Red Bull’s third driver, Max Verstappen reveals he prefers to do the race sim work himself rather than delegate it to the Aussie.
With the incremental restrictions the Formula One teams face with the spending cap, restricted wind tunnel and CFD time, the simulator is becoming an evermore important tool for the teams to setup and develop their cars.
The state of the art simulators are something far more advanced than the best rigs used by even professional gamers and Red Bull together with their rolling road have one of the best amongst the entire Formula e field.
In an interview with speedweek Verstappen explains why he takes on the burden of doing most of his own simulator work.
Red Bull sim ‘one of the best’ in F1
“Our simulator is one of the best in this sport,” he said. “The days are very long, but it’s undoubtedly worth it.
“I also don’t want a test driver to take over the simulator sessions, like other teams do. I want to do it myself, because everyone has their own driving style.”
The Dutch world champion has a state of the art sim rig at his home as fans will now know Verstappen’s recent participation in the Virtual 24 hours of Le Mans.
Verstappen explains: “It helps me maintain my focus. You can’t do much else when you’re at home and I do enjoy sim racing.”
Russell sim work may give him the edge over Hamilton
That said, Max was clearly irritated with the organisers of the Virtual Le Mans race when the server running his game disconnected hi for several minutes from the race. Verstappen retired 2 laps down during the night and described the race organisation as a “clown show”.
As part of the younger generation of F1 drivers, George Russell will also have been groomed in his younger. years in the art of simulator work for his team and it could be this was the difference between how quickly he adapted to the new Mercedes ground effect car when compared to Lewis Hamilton’s relative poor performances.
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) January 24, 2023