Pit Chat: Home truths from Hamilton and Vettel

Date published: May 15 2018

Time to take a look back at the best moments from the Spanish Grand Prix weekend…unfortunately most of them happened off the track.

But first…

Welcome to Miami

The build-up to race weekend began with the Miami Grand Prix taking one step closer to reality after the city’s commissioners unanimously voted in favour.

We were slightly looking forward to it, until we saw the potential track design that is.

Why don’t we take Baku and make the straights even longer? Great idea.

Lewis Hamilton also performed a very quick U-turn on the Grand Prix as well…

One minute…

The next…

A Lewis Hamilton designed track? We’re sure it wouldn’t favour Mercedes in any way whatsoever.

Nose job

As is tradition, the Spanish Grand Prix means upgrades, upgrades, upgrades. Ferrari’s new wing which just happened to have mirrors on it has been outlawed after one race and a lot of fuss was made over McLaren’s new nose.

Probably too much fuss!

And we knew it reminded us of something…

All these upgrades meant FIA race director Charlie Whiting doubled up as part of the paparazzi over the weekend.

And here he is picking a new background for his phone.

Congratulations to WTF1 for leaving this lovely image in our minds…

Sneaky swear

There was a couple of nice moments in the very hit-and-miss driver press conferences on Thursday.

We’re in no way slating Sergio Perez’s grasp of English, especially when it isn’t his first language, but this particular way of words did make us laugh.

Just the idea of him getting the most podiums and then having to take some kind of citizenship test to prove he is, indeed, the most Mexican out of everyone.

And we doff our caps to Carlos Sainz for managing to call his mate Fernando Alonso, in no uncertain terms, a b*stard. Que cabron!

Good fellas

But Alonso was far from a b*stard this weekend. Instead making this little kid’s dreams come true after TV cameras picked him up in the crowd cheering on his hero.

The next day…

Wonderful stuff.

He also gave a high-five to another big fan as well…

However, we’re surprised Fernando didn’t get a penalty for this false start on Sunday…

Speaking of super-fans, Thomas is reunited with Kimi!

Kimi with Thomas today 😍😍😍

A post shared by Kimi Räikkönen #bwoah 🇫🇮 🏆 (@kimi7iceman) on

Mind you, two meetings with Kimi in Spain and two DNFs. We’re sensing a pattern…

And nice work from Valtteri as well. Good bot.

FOM corner

FOM are starting to become a regular contributor to Pit Chat and, with the rather ropey launch of F1TV which resulted in customers getting their money back, they are featured once again.

First off, what did France do to p*ss them off?

And now we know who Firstname Lastname’s team-mate is…

Now this Virtual Safety Car message caught us out at first, but it does actually make sense. Surely it could be worded a bit better though?

The track officials also caught the bug…

But one thing we can definitely get behind on F1TV is unedited team radio messages. Here’s one from the China replay…

Grid girls are back!

Well, sort of…

But if grid girls aren’t allowed any more due to them not representing the values of a Liberty-owned Formula 1, cheerleaders as part of the entertainment in the fan zone is fine, is it?

We need to talk about Kevin

Seeing as we have gone a bit ratty, let’s talk about K-Mag, shall we?

Understandably, Haas boss Günther Steiner is going to stick up for his driver…

Steiner: “It seems like every time Kevin is involved in something there is a meal made out of it.”

Sorry, Günther, but there is simply no excuse for this…

Even Martin Brundle got a good dig in…

And staying on the subject of Martin Brundle, his chasing down of Carlos Sainz in true Alan Partridge style was a great highlight.

Carlos, Carlos, Carlos!

 

Spy games

Now getting a good look at what the opposition is doing is nothing new in Formula 1. But Mercedes and Ferrari ramped it up over the weekend.

And get a good eyeful of their tyres whilst you’re at it…

And just to add to the Mercedes/Pirelli line of thinking, this handshake between Niki Lauda and Pirelli boss Mario Isola will have gone down really well…

Home truths

The absolute best moment for us this weekend, though, was this brilliant exchange between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in the FIA press conference.

Just so much sense being spoken here…

Q: (Joe van Burik – Autocar NL) Considering Lewis’s pole time is three seconds quicker than last year, how bad is it in 2019 that the car will be an estimated 1.5s a lap slower?

SV: Is that a fact?

LH: That’s what they said, yeah, something like that.

SV: Really?

LH: I don’t think it’s particularly… I think in the sport and in technology we’re developing and moving forwards all the time to pull us back. I don’t think if that’s a particularly… it’s not going to make any difference if you make it… if you make us three seconds slower or a second and a half slower, it’s not going to make the racing any better and we just want to go faster, we want to improve technology, we want to push the boundaries and the limits. One of the exciting things this year has been that we are breaking records. Sebastian was just saying about the… what year was it?

SV: Well, before they introduced the chicane, I think they were doing high fifteens.

LH: It’s incredible the technology we have and what we’re doing with it. We should be at least as fast as we are this year but just making racing better. In my personal opinion.

SV: Yeah, I agree, I think… I find it a bit comical: why, in 2009 we went, let’s go less aerodynamics and better racing and so on? In fact I think it didn’t change too much. Then we said the cars are too slow, let’s put more aerodynamics and make them wider, more spectacular. All the drivers’ feedback was thank you very much, spectacular, that’s what we would like, more challenging, you see us more exhausted after the race, and now we want to make them slower again. It’s a bit like cruising to America and changing direction 100 times.

LH: Is it the same people making the decisions every time, the same group, making the decision every time the rules go… not necessarily the best?

Q: It’s with the intention of improving overtaking next year.

SV: I think you should ask us what we need to overtake.

LH: We should make the decisions.

SV: I mean we are drivers, not to say that we know everything, we don’t anything about engineering the car but we know how the cars feel, how to drive the cars. And their limitations to overtake. But we’re not really asked.

Ask them!

Not all questions get a good response, especially when the question you ask is a stupid one.

Oh, Lance

You know things are bad when Jolyon Palmer of all people is sticking the boot in after Lance Stroll’s, let’s say, unique crash during qualifying.

Palmer: “The more I see that Stroll accident, the more stupid it looks. It’s like he just chose to drive off the track.”

He is a crash expert himself after all. Remember this from Baku last year?

Ahem…

And it’s no wonder Stroll crashed out when showing this sort of awareness. It was only a massive tractor after all.

Last word

It goes to Vettel for this great comment after a rather rude question from a fan. The German immediately sensing that Kimi was probably thinking of a quick escape.

Until Monaco…

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