Hamilton: Vettel’s SF90 was better over kerbs than W10

Date published: January 5 2020

Lewis Hamilton says there are “fundamental” improvements to be made for Mercedes’ 2020 car, and it seems cornering is one of the main areas.

For the Silver Arrows it was another year of dominance though with Hamilton securing a sixth Drivers’ Championship, while Mercedes took a sixth consecutive Constructors’ crown.

But the Briton is adamant that the W10 wasn’t perfect, and he made a comparison to how Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari drove smoothly over the kerbs in 2019, while his W10 was quite a handful.

“It was a better car than last year [2018],” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Many things that I asked for in the briefings with the engineers last year have gone into the 2019 car. But many things regarding aerodynamics and driving dynamics have a long lead.

“But there are still fundamental things in the car that are not yet perfect. For example, the characteristics of bumps or curbs are still not spectacular.

“When I look at the on-board camera footage of the Ferrari as [Sebastian] Vettel drives over it, his car is much quieter. For me, the car moves so much that sometimes I can barely see the curb.

“We are stronger when you look at other aspects.

“It becomes more difficult to understand the tyres since there is so much involved.

“It’s fascinating when you look at it. The temperature of the brakes, of the tyre itself, the pressure of the air in the tyre: the engineers are miles ahead of me in that regard. Yet they cannot calculate what I do in the car.

“We may communicate with each other on a different frequency, but we still know where to find each other. The most important thing is to be clear about what they can take from my impression.”

Hamilton won 11 races as he strolled to the 2019 title, yet he only started from pole five times across the 21 races and admits that he didn’t find “100%” from the W10 over one lap.

“It was pretty quick in the racing trim. From Bahrain I knew how to handle the tyres in the race,” he said.

“In qualifying, I didn’t make it 100 percent by the end of the season. There are moments when you think you understand everything, and then you come on a new route and everything is different again.

“In the course of a year there were bumps that did not exist before, you try to understand how the tyres react to one type of asphalt. That is the art. I still want to work my way into how the grip develops over the circuits.”

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