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Monday, 30 March 2015

Lewis Hamilton fumes at Mercedes engineers over team radio: 'Don't talk to me through the corners'


Lewis Hamilton fumes at Mercedes engineers over team radio: 'Don't talk to me through the corners'

Mercedes driver had a terse exchange with his team's engineers as he missed out on victory at Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton fumes at Mercedes engineers over team radio: 'Don't talk to me through the corners'
Angered: Lewis Hamilton wasn't too happy with his team engineers and wasn't afraid to speak his mind Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Lewis Hamilton bemoaned his race strategy in a series of angry radio messages during Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, as Mercedes admitted they were stunned at how quickly Ferrari have eroded their advantage.
Hamilton, who finished second behind Sebastian Vettel, sounded increasingly exasperated with the team during the race, complaining about the “confusing” communication from the pit wall.
Mercedes won the first race of the year in Melbourne by half a minute so were left scratching their heads after this “wake-up call” from Ferrari. Executives at the team stood by their strategy and conceded they were fairly beaten.
"It felt like it was lost at the first stop,” Hamilton said. “We were a little bit quicker than them through some stints but it was too big a gap to close up.

Lewis Hamilton bemoaned his race strategy
“I remember there were some conversations going on, Paddy [Lowe, technical director] had pressed the wrong button and I could hear them yapping in my ear. He was asking 'am I going to do another stop'. I thought it was my last stop so it confused me, which was not helpful."
Once the temperature cooled after the race Hamilton conceded that he may not have caught Ferrari whatever the strategy. However, during the race he repeatedly remonstrated with his engineers.
First, during his last stint, he said: “This is the wrong tyre man”. Then, when the team accidentally broadcast a message from Paddy Lowe, Hamilton added: “I can hear you. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Paddy says I might be doing another stop.”
And finally, when the team told him he would catch Vettel with five laps left, he fired back: “Don’t talk to me in a corner! I almost went off.”

Mercedes were put under pressure in Malaysia
It betrayed the fact Mercedes were put under pressure for the first time in more than a year. A seemingly shocked Lowe said the strategy was correct and the car was simply not quick enough.
“I don’t think we did a lot wrong,” he said. “Ferrari were very quick. We were always going to do three stops and with the safety car it was the right call to pit then. We lost a bit of time in traffic, but if we had had more pace we would have beaten them.”
Toto Wolff, Mercedes head of motorsport, blamed the high temperatures on their poor performance but admitted he was concerned by how quickly Ferrari had closed the gap.
“Yes, it is worrying,” Wolff said. “They have won the race. It wouldn’t be right to say that we have lost it. In hindsight it’s easy to be clever.

Mercedes were surprised at how quickly Ferrari have caught up
“We didn’t expect them to catch us this quickly. We were pretty dominant in Melbourne, we are always a little bit sceptical about our own advantage. That we’ve been caught up by a Ferrari in two weeks, that they beat us fair and square on the track, is a bit of a surprise, but equally a bit of a wake-up call, which is good for us.
“The positives are Ferrari deserved to win today. For Formula One it is positive, after all the talk we had in Melbourne, of a boring race and Mercedes running away with the championship. We had it in Bahrain last year and then there was a sensational race. It is what Formula One needed.”
Mercedes were not the only team who suffered a bruising afternoon. Red Bull finished ninth and 10th, even behind Toro Rosso, the junior outfit. Having threatened to quit F1 after being outclassed in Melbourne, Red Bull now simply have to get their heads down and desperately find a way to catch up.
“I don’t think the drivers could have done anymore today,” Christian Horner, team principal, said. “There’s plenty to understand following this weekend and plenty to address before China in two weeks.”

Reliability was once again McLaren's downfall
McLaren also struggled, with neither car finishing, but they were encouraged by the pace they showed during the race. Fernando Alonso retired on lap 21, while Jenson Button pulled into the garage on lap 41, both with engine problems.
Button said: “Fighting in the pack is the most positive thing to take away from this weekend. Hopefully, before too long, we can start to pick them off on a race-by-race basis.”
Hamilton's angry exchanges:
Hamilton: This is the wrong tyre man.
Engineer: The other was well used.
A lap later and with Vettel showing good pace Hamilton again vents his anger.
Hamilton: I can hear you (in response to one engineer trying to grab a quick word.) I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Paddy (Lowe, team technical chief) says I might be doing another stop.
Engineer: That was just miscommunication. That was just chatter.
Two laps later and Hamilton blows again.
Engineer: Lewis you are scheduled to catch Vettel with five laps remaining.
Hamilton: Don't try and talk to me through the corners. I nearly went off.

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