Is Hamilton still Hamilton Without Alonso’s Set-up?

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Many emails, posts and accusations are pointing to a different Lewis Hamilton of late. Perhaps one could argue that Lewis is the best thing in F1 since…well…Since Schumacher. But does that tell the whole tale?

The last three races Lewis has finished 6th, 2nd and 4th respectively behind his teammate Fernando Alonso. Many have speculated that Lewis was enjoying the set-up data of Fernando’s car and that this stopped after the Hungarian GP. If this is true, could this be why Lewis has not been beating his teammate as he was earlier this year?

Some will argue that it is a clear indication that Lewis has enjoyed the technical data of a twice-world-champ who knows a thing or two about car set-up. That he has been riding the coattails of Fernando and when that stopped, the true Lewis has come out. There is no question that Fernando has vastly greater experience with car set-up and technical data in F1 due to experience but is this really true?

Others will argue that Lewis is still finishing good and that the Set-up data has nothing to do with his slump in performance compared to a seemingly resurgent Fernando. That Fernando is just mad and driving on sheer emotion hence his 1st corner nudging of Lewis last week.

Which ever camp you reside in, there is no question that Fernando has stuck it to the lad since Hungary. The bigger question is can Lewis topple a two-time champ at his own game with his own technical feedback and direction for car set-up? One part of me says that Fernando’s biggest challenger is his teammate for the WDC. That being the case, the young man needs to learn his own craft instead of enjoying Fernando’s race craft and set-up. It took Fernando several years to learn this part of the trade and in the end; learning this part of the trade in 2007 just may make an unbearably strong Lewis for 2008.

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12 Comments on "Is Hamilton still Hamilton Without Alonso’s Set-up?"

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Srehman
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Srehman
I agree with that analysis, NC. Whether it is coincidence or lack of set-up data, Lewis has clearly been second-best to Alonso for the last few races. More than one commentator are suggesting it is the latter. Clearly the kid can drive, but can he propel the car above and beyond its own limitations? What separates Schumi from Hamilton right now is that for much of his career, Schumi had an inferior car to his main competitor, and yet lifted it beyond its limitations. Additionally, he also had a hand in developing the dominant Ferrari team of the early 2000s.… Read more »
Architrion
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Architrion
I have a different point of view. From onboard camera you can see a completely different Alonso, softer than last year. Nevermore that hard turn in steering. I believe that first half of the championship was used on some type of reeducation. Hamilton didn’t need to pass it as GP2 uses Bridgestones. Now Alonso has found the key about the tyres (which I believe that are really bad), feels confident, sweet (as you can notice by the few front tyre blocking from him, comparing to Hamilton) and fast. And the result has benn seen… as he predicted when season started… Read more »
Negative Camber
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I’ll let Grace speak for herself but she did mention ealry on that Alonso was struggling with the tires and that he would surge forward in the European races. It could very well be a combination of the two but it does make you wonder. The last three races may shed light on it but I am probably not alone in suggesting that it would take a 2-time champ half a season to come to grips with a car. I honestly think Alonso is a better driver than that. I am no Alonso sycophant but let’s give the guy credit… Read more »
Grace
Editor

No comment. Okay that would be a lie I think that Alonso has come to terms with the tire and the car at the same time Lewis has sort of fallen a bit. This is probably due a bit to being personally hurt by the whole spy gate thing and not getting as much help from Alonso.

Remember tho, he is a rookie. The whole point of this year is for him to learn from the master how to drive the heck out of car. He can’t help it that the master thought he would suck this year.

Architrion
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Architrion

Another point I’d like to share. The car development is in Alonso and Pedro’s hands, as a logical consequence on Hamilton’s lack of experience.
I believe that as the car improves in the way Fernando and Pedro are searching for, maybe Lewis is feeling less comfortable with the car. Sure some of the improves on the package don’t make Hamilton happy, as he said after Spa race, revisiting his words about the car.

JYS Fan
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JYS Fan

Apparently Alonso was paying his mechanics a bonus when he out qualified and/or beat Hamilton. But Ron Dennis has stopped the practice.

It seems that Senna also did this…

John “very interesting” Stone

Lucas S.
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Lucas S.
I read somewhere that a lot of drivers have given the mechanics a “bonus” when they finish or qualify well. This seem like a very nice gesture from the guy making millions to the guys who I assume make a lot less and work hard to give him a good race car. However I can see that it might be a very divisive force on the team. Solution: The teams themselves give the crew a bonus when EITHER driver does well. This means you Ron, jean todt, the flav or anyone else. Some teams may already do this, I don’t… Read more »
Negative Camber
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John,

Do you have a link to that story?

Srehman
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Srehman

Apparently, to paraphrase JPM, Ron is Hamilton’s daddy.

Who’s YOUR daddy, Alonso?

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_2744838,00.html

Grace
Editor

But F1, unlike other series with multiple driver teams run two completely seperate teams. So if Alonso wants to give his guys a bonus and Lewis doesn’t thats perfectly fine. It would be just Ferrari do it and McLaren not doing it. If you want the bonus go to Ferrari. Now I think the idea that Fred’s team would purposefully hold up Lewis just to get the bonus is a bit crazy because they still value the constructors championship over the drivers.

LennyKey
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LennyKey

I still believe that LH is a very good driver, but please, a monkey could drive that McLaren and win. Do we not remember 1996 when JV first took to the track in a Williams that was the bees knees? I do think that LH is better than JV in a lot of ways, but only time will tell. Can he take a team that hasn’t won and build them into a winner? Probablly not.. but would I put him on my team if I knew I had a really good development man, yes.

Negative Camber
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I think LH is the real deal. Development is not a trait that just comes naturally to everyone but I am guessing he will get his head around it. There is no doubt that coming into the best car has its benefits. If he were in a Spyker with Adrian, he would be learning a host of different skills. Just as Alonso did with Minardi, I think that seat time in an inferior car can be invaluable.