Lack of ‘Confidence Builder’ Behind Hamilton’s Poor Pace Compared to Bottas: Mercedes

Published 05/27/2021, 6:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

Mercedes had one of their worst outings in their F1 history at the Monaco Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, while a disastrous pit stop in Lap 31 ended Valtteri Bottas’ race.


Article continues below this ad

Many fans wondered how it could go so wrong for the Silver Arrows. In their regular post-race debrief, Mercedes’ Motorsport Strategy Director, James Vowles, answered questions that Mercedes received. He highlighted why Hamilton struggled more than Bottas in the Principality, and what went wrong in the team’s tire situation.

Lewis Hamilton wasn’t too confident with the car, according to Vowles


Article continues below this ad

Although he didn’t finish in Monaco, Valtteri Bottas looked quicker than Lewis Hamilton all weekend. In fact, the Finn qualified in third on Saturday while Hamilton qualified seventh.

Vowles revealed Hamilton struggled in Monaco because he wasn’t as confident with the car on a track which is all about confidence.

“One of the issues you have in Monaco is it’s a confidence builder. You need laps, you need consistent laps, you need confidence that the car is giving you everything you want out of it,” said Vowles.

If you can carry just a kilometer per hour or two more speed through turn one, two, three for example, you just generate another temperature level, another degree or two which then gives you more grip through the next sequence.

“If you don’t have confidence in the car and you don’t trust it, you go down the spiral in the other way and you lose grip.”


Would Lewis Hamilton Be Regarded Differently Had He Not Won the 2008 World Championship?

10 months ago

Vowles: Hamilton was content with the performance on Thursday

Vowles revealed that Lewis was happy with the car on Thursday. Across the practice sessions, Hamilton finished no lower than fifth, and within half a second of the session leader.

“On Thursday Lewis was actually very happy. His car was working well and the times he was setting would have put him fastest across those sessions,” said Vowles.


Article continues below this ad

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton reacts after qualifying in pole position REUTERS/Emilio Morenatti

The Briton also clarified the difference in setup for both cars. “The setup between the two cars wasn’t dramatically different as we went into qualifying and race,” said Vowles.

“Really, what had changed is just we weren’t able to extract everything from the car and the tires as we wanted anymore.”


Article continues below this ad

Although street circuits are a weakness for the Silver Arrows, they will hope to return stronger in Baku. Can the Silver Arrows reclaim the championship lead in the “Land of Fire”?


Sanket Nair

116 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.