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Hamilton clarifies data sharing comments

NEWS STORY
20/02/2017

The team's 2017 contender hasn't even been unveiled, far less turned a wheel, and already the Mercedes communications department finds itself working flat-out.

Not for the first time, comments made by Lewis Hamilton have had to be clarified, as the German team attempts to smooth the waters ahead of an important couple of weeks as it prepares to defend its titles.

Speaking in an open interview at the weekend for a team sponsor, Hamilton said he was unhappy with the practice of data sharing, claiming it was unfair that drivers should have to share their hard work with rivals and at the same time making it easier for new comers to essentially 'cut and paste' other drivers tactics.

"I go out, do my laps, do all my homework, and the other guy can see everything," he said.

"I don't want to see my team mate's," he continued. "I don't feel it's fair that he brings his A-game and I should be able to study his A-game on a computer. For example when we're driving we're picking out braking points, bumps, tyre rubber marks on the track, all these different things to help get you through the corner quickest. The other driver probably naturally may be able to do more or less than you are. But because of this data they can just copy you. 'Oh he's braking five metres later there, I'll go out and I'll try braking five metres later'. So that's what I really dislike, because it enables them to get closer.

"That's what I loved about go-karting," he admitted, "you weren't able to do that and that was where just your raw talent is able to shine."

Referring to newcomers, he said: "I think it should be 'you hired me because I am the best, because I've studied, because I've won every class that I've been in, I've not missed one in terms of winning'," he said. "And you're hiring whoever the next person is because they've hopefully won some things along the way as well and you're hiring them for their ultimate skill all round. They should be able to go out there on their own and find it all themselves, without you.

"You could take a young kid from Formula 3, have them just go on a simulator and drive every single day and try and get to my lines," he added. "And eventually they'd probably get to my lines. He should have to discover them himself. You've got to find the limit yourself, that's the whole challenge of being a racing driver.

"When I get in this new car it's seeing what the limit of it is," he concluded. "If I can't do it on my own then I'm not good enough and I don't deserve to be there. And there are some drivers that don't."

Other than the fact that F3 led many to believe he was referring to Lance Stroll, the Canadian rookie who will partner Felipe Massa at Williams this year, many understood the comment to be in reference to his own team, not only in terms of former teammate Nico Rosberg but his replacement Valtteri Bottas.

On social media it soon became clear that fans felt exactly that way, that the Briton was laying down the ground rules for his new teammate and thereby creating an atmosphere before the season has even begun.

However, this morning Hamilton took to Twitter to clarify his comments, insisting it wasn't aimed at any particular team or driver.

"I wish to clarify, I have not hit out at my team at all," he wrote. "My point on data sharing is solely my feelings about the sport in general. It has been my feeling since the day I started F1 and still is 10 years later. There is zero problems in my team, zero problems with Bottas."

Fact is, this is a team sport and Mercedes wants both of its drivers to have the best possible chance of winning, and this will include sharing data. Indeed, we seem to recalls Hamilton asking for info on Rosberg's tactics during races when such things were allowed.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mickl, 25/02/2017 16:00

"Also, the point about copying racing line and braking points. That depends on driving style as well and how you want the car to handle. Few drivers are as adaptable as it's made out. I'm sure when Hamilton and Button were in the same team they would have had, comparatively, quite different lines and braking points due to their different styles. Otherwise the start grid of any race, given same weather and traffic conditions, would simply be team pairs like Noah's ark.

As an aside, I'd like that sort of data to be publicly available after any qualifying session for all to see. Then you'd see if the drivers were that adaptable."

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2. Posted by mickl, 25/02/2017 15:52

"This is a team sport as well at the end of the day and the team would want to maximise their points haul so data sharing is a natural thing to have.

I'm willing to stick my neck out and call BS on Hamilton's comment about not wanting to see his team mates data. IF he was running P2 after the 1st run on Q3. Is he saying he wouldn't want to look at the other guy's data?

Besides, you can't copy racecraft which has to be learnt and IMHO be instinctual."

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3. Posted by bevlad, 21/02/2017 6:35

""Interesting.... he probably forgot he was a rookie once and got Alonso's data to learn and improve... "

To be fair, he's not talking about sharing setup data, he's talking about racing lines and braking points which he probably didn't copy from Alonso."

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4. Posted by zalvecj, 20/02/2017 22:50

"Interesting.... he probably forgot he was a rookie once and got Alonso's data to learn and improve... "

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5. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 20/02/2017 14:05

"He has a point (on data sharing) - however, the engineers all already share data, as a team.

Another point of view is that, if your data is shared with your team-mate, and you still beat him, how much more satisfying is that, than hiding your settings to win? "

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