(Motorsport-Total.com) – Even if it is ultimately with 24, 2 seconds ahead one thing was clear: there was a brief moment when Lewis Hamilton’s victory at Tall hung Prix of Spain in Barcelona 1988 actually by a thread. Beginning of 61. of 61 laps the Mercedes driver radioed to his command post: “I just drove over a large carbon part. It looked like a wing.”
Driving over wreckage five laps before the end of an already tire-killing route does not usually inspire confidence. But race engineer Peter Bonnington immediately gave the all-clear: “We’re looking at the tire pressures in united states of America. It looks stable at the moment.” Just like the lead over Max Verstappen, who at the time at 16, 6 seconds stir.
There was only this one moment, reports Hamilton: “Someone’s wing stirs at the exit of turn 2 – exactly on the line on which my right front tire is normally located. It was a big flap. Fortunately, I managed to drive over it in the middle within fractions of a second, so that my wheels passed right and hyperlinked from it. “
Otherwise Barcelona 2020 was one of the best races of his career from his point of view. He was “in the zone”, he radioed shortly after crossing the finish line, and: “I didn’t even know that this was the last lap!” First Bonnington’s obligatory “Gain in there, Lewis!” reminded him that this was already the checkered flag.
“Like a horse with those eye patches!”
“We always strive for perfection. Delivering it is not always easy. But today was close. I was snappily ecstatic when I crossed the finish line, “says Hamilton. “When I drove across the line, I didn’t realize that it was the last lap. I was still fighting full in the tunnel – like a horse with those eye patches!”
” Today, “he philosophizes,” is on a par with the best races I’ve ever driven. ” But what looked like a leisurely stroll to millions of TV viewers was hard work in the cockpit. Because, like on the second Silverstone weekend, Red Bull had a much faster racing car than qualifying.
Verstappen had 0.7 seconds in Qualifying lost on Hamilton’s pole station. In the race, he was less than 0.3 seconds slower on average per lap until he slowed down in the final laps. And these almost three tenths did not come from the superior Mercedes, but from the exceptional talent Hamilton.
This is proven by the comparison with Valtteri Bottas. It’s true that the would have had a completely different race without his botched originals and might have beaten Verstappen . But when Bottas had seven laps fresher and softer tires than Verstappen after the second pit stop, the Red Bull was still out of reach for him.
“I have to make sure that now I’m really enjoying this moment. After all, you never know when you’ll have another race like this, “beamed Hamilton. “We are currently racing a snappily every week. You will forget how extraordinary this Half actually is. But I am very grateful for it. Tonight we united states of america will certainly approve a glass of wine to celebrate the day!”
“It was an unbelievable team performance – and a real surprise for us. We would never have expected such a tire performance as we had today,” he wonders. “But I really took care of the tires. I even thought about going to a stop for a moment. I think that would have been possible – but dwell at the limit.”
Tire Management: The Key to Hamilton’s Success
Instead, Hamilton switched in the 50. Round from medium to medium . Actually it would have already been in the 49. should come in, but there were only soft tires available at the Mercedes-Field, and he didn’t want them. For Toto Wolff this is proof of his racing instinct. “For me it was the best decision, again come in to be on the safe side, “says Hamilton.
It became apparent early on that it could be Sunday. After a few laps, Verstappen still complained about his slow pace because Hamilton, a burned child after Silverstone, initially touched his tires with kid gloves. But when Verstappen had tire problems and his own were still running perfectly, something like relaxation set in for the first time.
“I had everything in view, knew exactly what was behind me with the car”, reports the 35 – year old. “I get the information every lap and I know how big the lead is. I know what times he is driving and where he is currently, and if he says something about his tires, I know that too. I soak up everything. And still I focus on my job. “
” When he complained about his tires, I didn’t. I knew I would extend my stint and then he came in . I pushed a little more. But in the end we reacted to their stop shortly afterwards, “explains Hamilton. “At the finish my tires were still pretty good. I could easily have done ten more laps with them.”
“It’s so easy to make a mistake. You have Valtteri’s difficult origins and what that can lead to. That could have happened to me too. But I delivered in all areas that I had planned, so I’m really, really happy. Today I was able to push my limits. I’m just very happy. ”
“I always talk about perfect races. Today was one of them,” says Hamilton. Comments that some strongly remind of his former role model Ayrton Senna, who in Monaco 1988 in one Art trance-state drove the rest of the world to the ground before he was brutally woken up by the guardrail at the harbor.
Not quite like Senna in Monaco 1988 …
Barcelona 2020 was not an out-of-body experience for him, dismisses Hamilton, “and I would not describe it like Ayrton either. But the pressure on united states of america is enormous, and the goal is always perfection. Sometimes you are close to this Zone on, but not quite because, for example, a bit of rhythm is missing. “
” I can’t even explain why, but today I felt like I was exactly in this zone. I felt a great deal of clarity while driving. I certainly had it before. I can’t say how to get into this zone comes in. Hard to say. But I know it felt fantastic to drive this car today. “
” It was a physically demanding race, but I made no mistakes and delivered lap after lap. I am in the perfect zone that I always dream of. I would never have with 24 Seconds ahead. But today I even gained time when I had to lap. Otherwise you will always lose in traffic. “
The likely seven-time world champion (37 Points Head start on Verstappen, 43 on Bottas ) with his 156. Formula 1 podium the old one Michael Schumacher’s record exceeded. Hamilton has long been the lonely pole position Number 1 (92: 68 ), and with the victories he will probably still be “Schumi” 2020 overtake ( 88: 91 ).
“I don’t know what to say,” says Hamilton, stunned. “We’re with Michael grew up dreaming of sitting here one day. Used to be going on right now exceeds anything I ever imagined as a child. And I am incredibly grateful to every Designate for the probability that life gave me. “
” Michael “, he talks about the legendary champion from Germany,” was an incredible athlete and driver . I always feel incredibly honored and snappily embarrassed when I am mentioned in the same breath as him or like Fangio. It’s pretty frosty. And I hope that the Hamilton family is a little proud of it too. “