Rejuvenated Hamilton used Spanish GP as "test bench"

Lewis Hamilton says he used his drive to victory in the Spanish GP as a “test bench” as he found his Mercedes to his liking for the first time since Australia, and wanted to fully explore its potential.

Rejuvenated Hamilton used Spanish GP as "test bench"
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, on the opening lap
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, the field at the start of the race
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 2nd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, on the podium
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, celebrates with fans
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 2nd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, on the podium
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 2nd position, celebrate with the Mercedes team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Toto Wolff, Executive Director (Business), Mercedes AMG
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Hamilton said he hit the set-up sweet spot in a dominant performance in Barcelona, and with his lead secure he focussed on making mental notes about what to tell his engineers.

"I think today has really been a rejuvenating experience," he said. "People probably think it was an easy race and that I was cruising. I wasn't. 

"I was comfortable, and at no point did I feel I was going to lose it, but I was pushing every single lap, using it as test bench to understand what I liked about the balance, how can I play with it a bit more, can I squeeze any more out of it, and then just understand what I've got to get more from. 

"So when you do the debrief you can be very particular, and to the point, on what you want them to work on.

"In that meeting there were a few key points which I pointed out, like 'work on this, make that better, and I'll be faster.'

"The cool thing about being a world champion is that the team listens, naturally, to what you say, because you're not talking gibberish. 

"They go away and focus on those areas, look at the data, try to work on it, and it's an amazing process you do together. Then it comes back and it works.

"Of course they knew it would do because you said it was going to work, but they'll go away and do their expertise, come back and improve a certain area of the car, however long it's going to take, and we'll start to see the benefits."

Hamilton admitted that he hadn't been fully confident in the car in races since Australia, where he lost victory when jumped by Sebastian Vettel, as Ferrari pitted him under a virtual safety car.

"In Melbourne I was really comfortable in the car, with the balance,"he reflected. "And since then I just didn't have the confidence to attack, to lean on the car, to have the rear particularly where I wanted it. 

"For whatever reason I still didn't have that yesterday [Saturday]. It was a very nervous, snappy car throughout qualifying. But it was better than it had been in the past, but still not great. 

"And then today [I] just happened to get the right wing setting for example for the race, and the car was a little bit nicer to drive. It was a little bit more of a normal balance. 

"I was feeling comfortable and I want to push this car to the limits, I want to see how far I can push it, how far I can push myself, how consistent can I be, can I beat that time, can I improve, can I improve, can I improve, and that was mindset the whole race. It wasn't until Turn 12 on the last lap that I backed off – I had traffic so that's why I backed off."

He added that the win was a big boost after some difficult weekends in the first part of the season.

"It's the greatest feeling to come here and have that kind of performance and have a convincing win," he said. "Anybody who has a win wants to do it that way. And it's definitely a great, great feeling. I think you could probably see by my energy when I got out of the car. 

"Not every win feels as a great as that one does. To think that was my 64th, but it still feels like a first, it still feels special, it still feels unique."

shares
comments
F1 Debrief: All you need to know from the Spanish GP

Previous article

F1 Debrief: All you need to know from the Spanish GP

Next article

Sirotkin had "very painful" seat problem in Spanish GP

Sirotkin had "very painful" seat problem in Spanish GP
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021