Hamilton on Russia: ‘I was lacking the pace from Saturday’

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So rare are weekends when Lewis Hamilton is “off the boil” or just not on top of his game that when they do occur, they stand out.

Hamilton’s run of form saw him finish no worse than second in each of his last seven Grands Prix, dating to last year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. Additionally, he’d been on the front row each of the last nine races, the last six of 2016 and first three of 2017.

Statistically, his worst races of late were at Singapore, when he started and finished third, and then at Malaysia, where a sure win went away with his engine failure that was all-but the final coffin in his World Championship hopes despite the pole.

Since that point, Hamilton went four-for-four in wins and poles to end 2016, and kicked off this year with two more poles, a win in China and second on the grid and the flag in Bahrain. Bahrain was the first time new teammate Valtteri Bottas out-qualified him, and that was down to a sterling lap that netted the Finn his first career pole.

But in terms of being second to his teammate, Bottas had the edge all weekend on Hamilton, who qualified and finished fourth and lost the pace from Friday.

He explained what happened in a Q&A with Mercedes’ official website that posted today.

“The car was exactly the same in the race. Friday was a lot different. Then, going into Saturday and Sunday, the car was in the opposite direction,” Hamilton said.

“In general I was lacking the pace from Saturday onwards. I think I had the temperature issues from lap five onwards. From then it was a lot of turning down the settings.”

The engine overheating issue that occurred during the race also scuppered Hamilton’s pace. Hamilton said the team doesn’t know yet what caused the issue.

Hamilton added, “I was slow from yesterday onwards. As I said, I think I could have matched the times of the guys at the front. But whether or not we would have lasted as long with the setup that I had, I don’t know. With the backing off for the temperature I was losing a second at least.”

Hamilton re-iterated it was a speed issue and not a reliability one for why he was off pace.

“Right now we need to understand where the speed was this weekend – where I went wrong with the setup – and then come back for the next race,” he said. “I’m still second in the championship. That’s not the end of the world but, of course, I need to recover the pace I had previously.

“This weekend was not a reliability issue. It was pure pace based on the tires, temperatures and being comfortable in the car. There is no reason for me to think about reliability. I think we have had the strongest reliability so far.

“I don’t know right now (what happened) but we will do some work to fully understand it. I have some ideas but there is some work to be done to figure it out.”

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.

Mercedes F1 engine chief warns against underestimating Honda

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Mercedes Formula 1 engine chief Andy Cowell has warned against underestimating the threat of Honda despite its ongoing power unit struggles, tipping the Japanese manufacturer to bounce back in the near future.

Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2015, supplying V6 turbo power units to the McLaren team, but has struggled for either performance or reliability through that period.

The struggles have led McLaren – currently sat bottom of the constructors’ championship – to consider cutting ties for 2018 given how far adrift compared to the other three engine suppliers Honda has been.

Mercedes has been the benchmark for engine performance since the change in regulation for 2014, but Cowell feels that Honda could make up ground quickly, with the removal of the token system for 2017 helping performance to converge through the field.

“I think collectively we’ve helped with convergence in Formula 1 in the opening season, performance development through the year,” Cowell said.

“But then the opportunity to do a big change with Honda coming in, we all agreed that Honda could have that same opportunity to change everything in the first year and then the request came from manufacturers in addition to Honda saying ‘please can we take this crazy token table away because it’s bad for the sport?’

“It’s bad if somebody can’t train to get better and so we agreed, yeah, take the table away because it’s better for the sport because it means that you can innovate, you can introduce whatever you like.

“I think none of us should underestimate the technical prowess of Honda and of McLaren and I think my money is on that combination coming good and coming good pretty quickly. No pressure…”

Williams happy to ‘hold off’ on 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams is happy to “hold off” on making a decision on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2018 as it focuses on improving its on-track displays after a tough start to the season.

Williams currently fields Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, a mix of experience and youth, but has failed to keep up with midfield front-runner Force India through the first half of the year.

Force India sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of Williams, who leads a tight-knit group down to Renault in eighth place, 15 points adrift.

While Stroll looks set to continue with Williams and Massa has hinted he may look to continue through to 2018 despite initially planning to retire at the end of last season, deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that no decision about next year’s line-up will come any time soon.

“There’s a lot of talk already isn’t there, about drivers across the paddock. For us, we’ve decided we’re going to hold off a bit on our driver decision,” Williams said.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands on the race track at the moment and to be distracted by those kinds of conversations isn’t something that we want to be happening at the moment.

“[Force India’s] got a nice points haul on us at the moment we need to focus on, rather than anything else.”

Nico Rosberg visits Stanford University, considering study options

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University after visiting the college earlier this week as part of his tour around California.

Rosberg sensationally announced his retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden world title last November, wanting to spend more time with his young family.

The German has been enjoying his retirement, recently embarking on a tour of Silicon Valley and California that saw him hold meetings with electric car giant Tesla, among other companies.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Rosberg spoke warmly about a visit to Stanford, revealing that he is considering some study options in the near future at the historic institution.

Rosberg was previously offered a scholarship to study engineering at Imperial College London when he was younger, only to turn it down in order to embark on a racing career. He also reportedly holds the highest ever score on Williams’ engineering aptitude test.

Should Nico sign up to a course at Stanford, we imagine he’d take things one class at a time…