Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

Hamilton ‘only did practice starts from pole’

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he has only practised starting from pole position this weekend as he strives to avoid another poor getaway.

The Mercedes driver has lost at least five places on lap one in four races so far this year, ruining his chance of victory on each occasion. However he said he was so confident of qualifying at the head of the field this weekend he did all his practice starts from the pole position slot.

“I’ve been doing my practice starts from the pole slot all weekend as I wasn’t planning on being anywhere else for tomorrow,” said Hamilton after qualifying.

“I came here knowing that was a big part of what I needed this weekend and, now I’ve got that, I can focus on the race. Getting away in front will be the next important step. You need a big pace delta to overtake here, so the start will be crucial.”

To take the title Hamilton needs to win the race with Nico Rosberg finishing outside the top three. But despite having qualified ahead of his team mate Hamilton continues to indicate he is not planning to try to back him into the chasing pack.

“Tonight I need to look at strategy and how things need to work for me to get the win,” he said. “At the moment, my pace is that little bit better.”

“But I can’t control what happens behind me. All I can do is focus on my own race. You never know what might get thrown into the mix, so I’m just hoping my car is as beautiful as it has been so far this weekend and aiming for the win.”

No double points, no sleepless night?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2014
Hamilton feared losing the 2014 title due to double points
It’s the second time the Mercedes team mates have arrived at the final race contesting the championship. However on the previous occasion Hamilton was ahead of Rosberg and the final race offered twice as many points.

“It’s a much different scenario to 2014,” said Hamilton, reflecting on how little he had slept on the night before that race.

“Obviously the reasoning of not being able to sleep then was because I’d worked so hard during the year and again, faced lots of different challenges throughout the year and I had more wins and yet that double points system could have just thrown everything into the wind.”

“It wasn’t really deserving, so that was really the only thing, and having lost the championship in 2007, knowing what that feels like, so it just played on my mind, but I have everything to gain tomorrow so it’s just the complete opposite in the spectrum and yeah, super-excited about it.”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Hamilton ‘only did practice starts from pole’”

  1. Mind blowing pole but I wonder why Rosberg was so slow in a track where he is really strong.

    1. From watching qualy he made a mistake in S3 on every lap FOM showed, in Q1/2/3. Pressure causing him to tense up maybe?

      1. Maybe it was another gust of wind that no one else saw?

        1. no, Nico just isn’t as good as Lewis, been like that for many many years too. Funny watching people try to convince themselves about certain realities though. The excuses are the real entertainment this year. Funny how Lewis stopped having bad starts after he lost the championship. Although that said, Nico is gonna look real second hand if he doesn’t beat Lewis to the first corner in the race. It would not be good for Nico’s cred if he looked second hand. All depends on whether or not Lewis gets the right clutch settings/readings.

          1. Maybe you should remember that Lewis made his debut with the fastest car on the grid and that he had a competitive car (at least for occasional wins) EVERY year of his career. Or that McLaren had to put Kovalainen beside him to let him win his 1st title without inner competition. But these are all excuses for you, so, don’t mind about them.
            I actually do think that Lewis is one of the fastest drivers, but comments like yours, that continuously throws mud at Nico, are worth of such replies.

        2. @falken seriously? you didnt see his rear right tyre was at least 1.5 psi lower than left… most likely the culprit!

  2. “I’ve been doing my practice starts from the pole slot all weekend as I wasn’t planning on being anywhere else for tomorrow”

    I really don’t understand how LH fans can deal with such childish and arrogant statements without losing their unshakeable enthusiasm. It’s starting to be pathetic, and it would be like this even if LH wins the title, at the end.

    1. Context can be your friend, if you would only read & comprehend… did you miss the second part of the statement?

      ““I came here knowing that was a big part of what I needed this weekend and, now I’ve got that, I can focus on the race.”

      I don’t see anything remotely childish or arrogant about it at all. He knew how important it was for him to get pole… this is a difficult track to overtake on, & only a win keeps him in the title hunt. Planning on, & preparing for starting anywhere but first would be completely pointless for any driver who’s been remotely competitive, let alone a three time world champion who’s barely in with a shot at the title, & who knows that the only other guy who can take it from him is sat across the garage. Lewis knew what he needed & was determined to get it. But some of you will always find stuff to criticize in any innocuous statement Lewis Hamilton makes.

      1. I can see that situation and I agree with almost everything you wrote but, anyhow, I don’t see any reason for brag about it. Nobody is doubting about Lewis’ confidence and determination, here. And I’d say that even if it was another driver.
        You could not believe, but I was an admirer of Lewis, before he started acting like this. I’m not a fan, I don’t have favorite drivers, so I use to judge them for their behaviours on track and off (out?).
        Anyway, I comprehend my comments can seem like the ones by many “haters” out there, who just love to criticize, so I accept such objections, as soon as it come from reasonable interlocutors.

    2. I really don’t understand how LH fans can deal with such childish and arrogant statements

      It’s because in our world everybody is allowed to be confident. Imagine it was one of the other drivers, then you’ll see it’s not childish or arrogant.

    3. That’s not childishness or arrogance, it’s confidence.

      1. Didn’t mean that practicing only from pole was childish and arrogant, I was referring to boast about it, with clear intent of diminishing his team-mate ;-)

  3. It is obvious regular people (non-competition drivers) rarely grasp the mindset of a top level athlete. There is nothing short of preparing for the obvious: “I will practice starting from pole because I will be on the pole because I am the best driver in the field and I am going to win the championship.” Every driver in the field must be thinking the same or plan on not having a job for much longer. Excuses are for the second place.

    1. ^ This. Or as @keithcollantine put it, it’s confidence. Even in these years of Mercedes dominance, the non-Merc drivers who won only did so because they were confident and assertive enough to seize the opportunity that came their way. Wallflowers don’t even make it into the big leagues.

      Being confident doesn’t preclude someone from being arrogant/childish either, but this is the mark of someone who has thrown down the gauntlet.

  4. That is funny. Lewis vs Nico… I am gonna enjoy watching todays race…

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