Good grief, more Hamilton sabotage theories

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I can’t help but get that creepy feeling whenever Lewis Hamilton dog-whistles that there is some sort of issue going on other than he and his team experiencing mechanical failures this year. Sure, he has borne the brunt of the issues at Mercedes in 2016 but so has Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at McLaren and many others on the grid as well as throughout history in Formula 1. Even Nico Rosberg has had his share of technical issues in the last 3-4 years as had Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen.

It can ebb and flow but it seems when Lewis has repeated failures, there is a throng of fans willing to take the bait and claim a grand conspiracy by the team to thwart his efforts. Besides being completely baseless beside Lewis having more trouble than Nico this year—which we’ve addressed above—it is without any evidence or proof of tampering and like Christian Horner once said when the same accusation was leveled at the team as Mark Webber was having more failures than Vettel—with a team of well over a thousand employees, there is no possible way you could do that and it not leak out immediately or over time. He’s right.

As many employees who have left Red Bull or even Ferrari under not-the-best terms, no one has ever brought forth proof that the team was purposely tanking a driver’s races in favor of another one. If someone from Mercedes brought a memo, data or other document that showed they were over-tightening a bolt on Lewis’s car, then I would have much more time for the conspiracies but I’ve seen nothing other than armchair conspiracies bordering on 9/11 truther proportions.

The fact is, Lewis is having the issues and he also has new kit which was upgraded and while he speaks of eight Mercedes engines, not all of them are receiving the latest advancements at the same time as he is etc. That didn’t keep him from saying:

“I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars [on the grid] and only my engines have been the ones that have been going this year,” Hamilton reporters.

“Something just doesn’t feel right but there’s nothing I can do about it.

“It’s just odd. There’s been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone.”

“something or someone doesn’t want me to win this year”

Niki Lauda wasn’t too keen on Lewis accusations and said:

“I know Lewis very well, and he will not accuse the team,” Lauda told reporters in the Sepang paddock.

“This interpretation I cannot accept. What do you guys think, suddenly we start to sabotage?

“Why? It’s completely ridiculous and stupid.

“We work for both cars in the same way. All these questions are ridiculous.”

“He can mean anybody. This is a wide interpretation,” he said.

“If I am unlucky and I can’t find an explanation I say if there is a God then I have done something wrong or he doesn’t like me.

“If a driver is upset – I have been upset a couple of times in my racing career and I said some rubbish.

“I don’t want to say Lewis said rubbish, but these things can happen.

“It’s emotion, which is fully acceptable and there is nothing wrong.”

I understand the frustration, I really do. I just don’t understand manipulating your fans into a social media narrative you would like them to proffer to put heat on the team. Why do that? To be honest, it’s a bit patronizing and belittling of your fans to get out of the car, dog-whistle conspiracy and then set back and watch the mobocracy take pot shots at Mercedes. It puts the team on the defensive and if I were a mechanic or engineer on his side of the garage, I wouldn’t care much about his title defense if I’m honest.

It’s almost like every bad race where a mechanical issue crops up, he’s in bridge burning mode. Heck, even James Allison parted ways with Ferrari and you don’t see him wandering around in the swirling embers of a burnt Italian bridge do you?

His yo-yo act with his #TeamLH mobocracy is really starting to become threadbare and I watch, as an outsider, and find it patronizing and exploitive of what otherwise is a terrific fan base. An entire throng of Hamilton fans who love his skills, his titles, his jet set lifestyle and panache as well as sublime race craft. Then the toys come out of the pram and he engages #TeamLH to start hurling eggs at Mercedes when an engine blows again.

Here’s an idea, maybe Lewis himself could crawl under the car and make a better, more reliable engine to ensure he never has a failure again? It takes a team my friend, good or bad, and a person isn’t usually defined by how well they live on success but how well they react in failure. If the world thought Vettel was a petulant young man when he was at Red Bull, what must they think of the endless hints and innuendos regarding the character and integrity of over 1,000 people at Mercedes? Think big picture Lewis, it’s not ALL about you ALL of the time.

To answer Niki’s question, maybe that “Someone” is karma.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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29 Comments on "Good grief, more Hamilton sabotage theories"

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Guy Fawkes
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Guy Fawkes

“It’s all about me” seems to be a normal state of affairs for a lot of drivers in ALL series, but Hamilton really should know better. It is definitely odd that Hamilton seems to be grabbing the short straw with the power units but that’s racing. Heck, that’s life. Odd things happen, sometimes a run of bad luck hits. Unfortunately nothing seems to make the Internet happier than strapping on a tin foil hat and running off to Conspiracyland.

Malunda Wanda
Guest
Malunda Wanda

You don’t become a multi world champion by assuming shit happens. You get to the bottom of why that shit happens & find solutions. Ask Lewis, Alonso, Vettel, etc. When they all felt something was gravely amiss in their teams they pushed to find solutions; when that didn’t work, they walked. In all likelihood, Lewis is looking for a solution & so is the team. But to claim this is all down to luck is a theory as much as the rest of the conspiracies.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

That’s a good point Malunda, and I doubt anyone else in Mercedes is shrugging this off as ‘shit happens’. The thing that I’ve found irritating is the ongoing implication that the team, or members of the team are biased against him.
Patently that’s hasn’t been the case, though if he consistently shows, through his comments and messages, that he mistrusts the team, he will lose their support. Even then I doubt any of the Mercedes team would be as unprofessional as to give less than 100% in getting to the bottom of why all the P.U’s aren’t equally reliable.

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Let’s keep in mind while we’re pondering why ‘all the bad luck’ happens to Lewis, that his teammate was innocently driving and got punted from behind, spun, and last. It wasn’t exactly skip-down-the-yellow-brick-road for Nico.

PetaJ
Guest
PetaJ

Quite right. Not on this site nor any others that I read has anyone mentioned that from P2 Nico got bashed back to P21 through no fault of his own and finished in P3 in spite of a 10sec penalty. I’d call that superb driving.

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust
Yes the someone / something could be karma or it could be him. I too have been around racing a long time and I have heard over and over that you win a race by going as slow as you can. Meaning that you go fast enough to beat your opponents but if possible you save the breaks, transmission, tires, engine, electronics, etc…you get the picture. Why on earth would you push the race car to a 21 second lead on a track that is 140 degrees? You would think a multi time world champion would know that, or is… Read more »
Michael
Guest
Michael

Spot on. Couldn’t add anything, you made every point crystal clear. Well done.

Negative Camber
Guest
And in fairness to Lewis, he’s been really really good at car sympathy, tire management, brake management. At the risk of sounding like an unyielding fan, I think he’s one of the better drivers out there at that type of resource management these days. Whether or not he did a good job of it in Malaysia, I don’t know as I don’t have the telemetry the team has. You bring up a really good point though. You’ll recall that Nico was asking about turning the engine up and they eventually said he could for two laps. I wonder if Lewis… Read more »
longshot
Guest
longshot

From my memory of the radio messages, yes the team was definitely telling Lewis to push. The Sky commentaters took it as evidence that Lewis was going to stop again for fresh tyres.

Also, their refusal to allow Rosberg to turn his engine up only came after Lewis’s engine had blown up – which is fair enough, you don’t want two cars flaming out on the same day.

MIE
Editor

Lewis had three complete power units fitted at Spa, so had an extra power unit when compared to Rosberg for the final races. As a result he has possibly been using the more powerful engine modes for longer than Rosberg, and in the extreme heat on Sunday, perhaps this contributed to the failure.

PetaJ
Guest
PetaJ

Actually Paddy Lowe said in a post-race interview that Lewis was ‘almost certainly’ going to have to pit again so he obviously was pushing to avoid the undercut.

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

After the race, Martin Brundle did elude to Mercedes saying they are using more engine powerful throughout the race than previously.

Malunda Wanda
Guest
Malunda Wanda

Do I take it that in your estimation Lewis Hamilton is your professional jester? A Buffoon? What does that make you?

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust

That makes me very tired of Lewis Hamilton and his genuine brat attitude. I did not call him a jester. You need some wit about you to be a jester.

#thenyoungestchampionnowvettel
Guest
#thenyoungestchampionnowvettel

#monaco2015
#formulaapartheidbytotoloo

mini696
Member

Maybe the someone is God.

Malunda Wanda
Guest
Malunda Wanda
Did Hamilton go against team advice in his push to create a gap to Vastappen? Have the other drivers with Mercedes engines encountered similar problems? What explains the isolation of the problems to Hamilton’s car? Could it be his driving style, in which case; has the team mapped his driving style to engine response or stresses to understand if his style is the issue? Has the team advised him to change his driving style or could they consider designing a car that suits his driving style? If these questions and many more haven’t been answered; room for speculation allows your… Read more »
PetaJ
Guest
PetaJ

Wrong I am afraid. Jenson’s win with Brawn in 2009 was in a Mercedes who then bought the team from Brawn.

Member

Good point. What I’m wondering is why would people think Mercedes would shoot themselves in foot in Malaysia.

PetaJ
Guest
PetaJ
Malaysia is actually the last place that Mercedes would have sabotaged Lewis even if they would do it at all. He has a huge following out there and it is also the home of Petronas. You mention Nico’s DNF in the deciding race in Abu Dhabi 2014. In terms of conspiracy theories it could be argued that Mercedes were taking no chances on Lewis not winning the WDC hence Nico’s DNF. Lewis needs to be very careful on this one because if he is right, and Mercedes is favouring Nico this year, it totally devalues his own two WDCs with… Read more »
eggoman
Guest
eggoman

If there’s any truth to sabotage Lewis would only be a one time world champion.

Paul
Guest
Paul
NC, please do not misrepresent someone by making selective quotes. If you actually listen to the interview with Lewis he says to Tom Clarkson from BBC “I definitely don’t feel something or someone doesn’t want me to win”. Clarkson then goes on to misrepresent Lewis’ comment both to his fellow broadcasters, and then in an interview with Toto Wolff saying to Toto “Lewis says someone or something doesn’t want him to win” Tom Clarkson is the one dog whistling here. Lewis’s comment previously about wanting to understand why he is having a disproportionate number of failures out of the Merc… Read more »
jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

The ‘sumthin’s not right'(sic) and ‘it feels like someone or something doesn’t want mecto win this year’ come from an interview with the Sky pitlane crew during the race. So he did say that, but perhaps not to Clarkson.

Mike
Member
Mike
Top Reasons Seasoned F1 Fans Might Question ‘Luck’ Explanation. I reading some fairly crazy things come Monday morning regarding Lewis having another engine failure. From Lewis’ inability to ‘manage’ a race to the Russian government hacking into the Merc engine mapping systems to change the world order. What i can’t stand are perspectives based on emotion that wrap themselves in the justification blanket of ‘facts’ to establish a hill to plant a flag on. We are seeing it in politics here in the States like no other time in history. I want to say first off that I believe Negative… Read more »
Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Agreed and I don’t think there would be anything that hard to believe or even wrong with Merc saying ‘Lewis has done great, we’re going to win this year, Nico has been patient and it would be great to have a German driver win so we’re going to put our best resources, on the rare occassions we have to chose, behind Nico this year’. That’s a far cry from loosening the oil cooler on Lewis’ motor before the race, and it might be happening.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

Really great post Todd, then again when do you write a bad one. ;-) I can’t for the life of me figure out why Ham defaults this tactic when things go wrong, not every time mind you but enough that it is becoming a pattern. It was the same at McLaren and eventually the team tired of it and dare I say lost a bit of respect for him. Btw great points about Vettel, Alonso, Webber, and Kimi all true and spot on…

meine
Member
meine

There are some exceptions where drivers were sabotaged, I think of Alonso at his first stint at McLaren when lights suddenly fell on his McLaren before the race.

Also drivers not liked by their mechanics will not get the best job possible (Nigel Mansell?) maybe that is a fear Lewis has.

Paul Riseborough
Guest
Paul Riseborough

Good grief – how many of the people commenting on this have actually listened to what Lewis said to Tom Clarkson? Go to the interview here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p049thmn#play and listen to what Lewis says at 7:35 into the podcast. Then listen to what Tom Clarkson asks Toto at 11:13 and tell me if you think Tom Clarkson is misrepresenting Lewis to suit his own narrative.

Paul Riseborough
Guest
Paul Riseborough
The main issue for me is the lack or journalistic standards shown by the BBC’s Tom Clarkson in reporting this. Go to the BBC’s chequered flag podcast for the Malaysia GP, forward to 7:35 and listen to what Lewis actually said in the interview with the the BBC’s Tom Clarkson “…I definitely don’t feel something or someone doesn’t want me to wind this year (laughs)”. Tom Clarkson then runs to Toto Wolff and says at 11:13 “..Lewis says he thinks someone doesn’t want him to win the world championship this year” Either Tom Clarkson can’t understand double negatives or he… Read more »