Lewis Hamilton: “I had a big flat spot – and I mean seriously big!”


Großer Preis von Mexiko 2016, Freitag. Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton was happy with his performance at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday, and praised the strong car he had under him for the whole of the race weekend.

The Brit did exactly what he needed to keep the title battle alive, getting another good start off the line, before cruising to victory after recovering from an initial lock up at the first corner, due to what the current world champion described as a glazed right brake disc.

Hamilton is very much aware that poor starts have lost him valuable points in this championship and has been working hard to ensure he makes no further mistakes in that area.

“This weekend I’ve had really good pace.

“The car felt really strong from start to finish – night and day compared to last year. I had a good start – but it’s such a long way down to Turn One that everyone just got the tow on me.

“The right front brake disc had glazed on the formation lap and I couldn’t un-glaze it. I thought it might be okay – but when I hit the brakes it just locked up as the temperature came up and I went flying across the grass.”

The Brit ran wide and onto the grass following his lock up, but was able to return to the track and retain his lead. An inevitable flat spot from the mistake made things tricky for the triple world champion as he worked hard to deal with the resulting vibrations.

Luckily Hamilton was able to manage the issue and was able to continue on without straying from the team’s pre-race strategy.

“I was lucky to get across and re-join on the other side of the track.

“I had a big flat spot – and I mean seriously big. I could barely see the end of each straight with the vibrations and I genuinely didn’t know if my suspension was going to last.

“I was really lucky not to catch it again and either destroy the tyre or have to come in for an early stop.

“Luckily, I got it under control and was cruising from quite early on.”

In taking the 51st victory of his career on Sunday, Hamilton equals the career wins tally of Alain Prost, a statistic the Brit was honoured to achieve. Only Michael Schumacher now has more than him.

Estoril, Portugal, 24th - 26th September 1993, RD14. Alain Prost. Photo: LAT Photographic/Williams F1. Credit: Williams Martini Racing
Estoril, Portugal, 24th – 26th September 1993, RD14. Alain Prost. Photo: LAT Photographic/Williams F1. Credit: Williams Martini Racing

“It’s kinda crazy to think I now have 51 wins. It’s a shame these results are coming so late in the season – possibly too late.”

Having suffered from a number of technical issues this season, Hamilton had recovered from his early season woes to take back the lead in the championship.

However, a number of poor starts and a badly timed retirement due to an engine failure in Malaysia, have seen Hamilton lose valuable points to rival Nico Rosberg since the summer break, and the German now has a nineteen point lead over the Brit with just two races remaining.

He certainly has not made things easy for himself, but the highly technical and mechanical nature of this sport often lends itself to faults that are out of a driver’s control, and this has also added to Hamilton’s extra struggles this year, a fact the Brit has already come to terms with.

“You can look back and say that maybe if Malaysia didn’t happen then I’d be in a different position right now. But that’s motor racing. All I can do is my best and hope things go as they have done for the past two weekends.

“History has shown that it’s never too late – that’s why I keep pushing and doing everything I can to repeat weekends like this. I hadn’t won here before so it’s a great feeling to do that in front of this incredible crowd.”

Although his team-mate has the upper hand going into the final races, Hamilton has vowed to give it everything, and do all he can to put pressure on his rival.

The Brit has never won a race in Brazil, but will be hoping to reverse that statistic in two weeks’ time, and after two straight wins on the bounce, will be feeling confident that a third is definitely possible.

“Now my sights are fully set on Brazil. I’ve never won there either – but if I can take this kind of performance into the next weekend I’ll be in a good position.

“Ultimately, as long as I feel I did the best I could in these final races, I can be happy at the end of the season.”