Lewis Hamilton says that he and Mercedes have to work on improving their radio communications during Grand Prix races.
Hamilton was left frustrated by the lack of information coming from the team pit wall in Bahrain. He found it hard to get clear answers from his race engineer about how hard he should be pushing in the second half of the race.
“When you’re trying to catch [someone] who is 25 seconds ahead, to know exactly what to need do to not kill your tyres but make it so you can still catch him in the end, it’s difficult.
“It was just difficult to know how hard to lean on the tyres in the early phases,” Hamilton explained.
But the pit wall didn’t always have the answers Hamilton needed needed during the race. They were themselves unsure about Ferrari’s strategy for Sebastian Vettel.
“At one point I understood that [Ferrari] were doing two stops, and that there’s no way they’re going to get to the end on the one stop.
“[In that case] I’ve got to save tyres so that when we’re at the end and he catches me I can still fight.”
Much of the problem was a technical issue with Hamilton’s microphone. The pit wall was having trouble getting the information they needed from Hamilton.
“The radio wasn’t working properly,” he confirmed. “There were some frustrating points in the race where they couldn’t hear me.
“They couldn’t hear me. I could hear them, but they were always coming back saying ‘I can’t hear you’.
“In the heat of the moment it’s difficult to know what information you need to give,” he said. “And when you’re trying to give feedback out of a corner, you’re taking your mind off driving the perfect line.”
As a result, Hamilton grew increasingly testy as the race wore on. He had already been angered by problems during the Australian Grand Prix, where a strategic misfire meant he was overtaken by Vettel during a virtual safety car period.
“It’s very marginal now,” he commented. “It really highlights or magnifies the importance of communications.
“These small little things that can make a difference of seven points or not,” he pointed out. “These races we can’t afford to be losing to Ferrari.
“If you look at the last race, we should have won that race,” he added. “And through struggling to understand how we operate, communicate, we lost it.”
Hamilton said that he and his race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington would now review what happened in the two races of 2018 so far before the next Grand Prix in China.
“We’re going to sit down and discuss it and try to work on the points and improve, and I have no doubt we will,” he said.
“Different drivers like different feedback. I don’t have a ton. There are times you need more.
“I don’t want them to talk to me all the time when they don’t need to. It’s just working out a rapport that works best.”
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