Spanish GP winner Lewis Hamilton explains tense radio messages with race engineer
Four wins in a row for the new championship leader but Hamilton insists he "needs to figure out where I'm losing my time" to Rosberg
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 12/05/14 11:20am
With the outcome of Sunday's Barcelona race once again coming down to a straight duel between the Mercedes' of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the battle between the pair increased in intensity from the middle stint onwards when they adopted different tyre strategies.
The race-leading Hamilton took on the faster medium tyres for the second stint and was told he needed to increase his then four-second advantage over the sister car by three seconds before his switch to the harder tyres at his next stop, by which time Rosberg would have access to the quicker compound.
Hamilton, however, failed to shake Rosberg off and approaching his final stop became engaged in a series of agitated-sounding conversations with his race engineer Peter Bonnington.
The key disagreement centred on proposed tweaks to his front-wing settings with Hamilton being told "three turns down the for next stop" only to reply with "no, not three, why are you doing that? I want the normal two".
Hamilton, who was later heard questioning the length of his elongated final pitstop after losing further time to his team-mate, admitted afterwards that he had been fighting his W05 throughout the race in comparison to Rosberg, but insisted had no issue with the pitwall communications.
"Generally this weekend he [Rosberg] has [had the better package], or from yesterday. So today I knew it was going to be difficult and I just generally struggled," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
"Then back-and-forth [with the pitwall], they were taking three holes out for the prime tyre - I don't know if they did in the end, but I had understeer. So if they had taken even more out I'd have struggled even more.
"But the communication is really, really important with your engineer and here is a really difficult circuit because there is so much going on. But they did a great job, we'll work on it for sure."
Hamilton eventually crossed the line just 0.6 seconds in front of Rosberg to claim his fourth straight victory - and the lead of the World Championship for the first time in two years.
Nonetheless, the 29-year-old claimed he had work to do on his race pace in the wake of his team-mate's latest victory near-miss.
"Particularly in Bahrain and here, Nico generally had the advantage on me," Hamilton argued. "So really trying to remain ahead. Fortunately the starts have been great, I've been really, really happy with them this year, but I've got to figure out where I'm losing my time."
However, after withstanding all the pressure the German driver could throw at him for the second time this season, Hamilton added: "What's really comforting for me is I've been able to just keep it together when the pressure has been on to the maximum.
"As you can see today, it can still go either way. When you don't get the car right on it, Nico's going to be right there. So this year requires me to be 100% at my max every race."
Hamilton's victory maintained Mercedes' 100% winning start to the season, the Brackley team becoming the first since Michael Schumacher's all-conquering Ferrari in 2004 to win the season's first five races.
It also marked the British driver's own victory on Spanish soil and he admitted he was savouring the sustained success.
"Getting my first grand prix win here after eight years, it's very difficult to put into words the feelings when you come to a race and have a result like this," Hamilton explained in the post-race press conference.
"Never have I had a car like this and a gap like this in Formula 1 before. Nico did a fantastic job today, he was very quick. I struggled to keep him behind, but I'm grateful that I was able to.
"But I just feel such a huge blessing for not only me but all the guys in the team because of all the hard work they've done for many years now and finally they've started to see the fruits of their labour.
"For me, I'm enjoying every moment, every step of the way and today it's really great we have our board members and bosses from Mercedes [here]. Every time [Mercedes Chairman] Dr Zetsche came last year we generally had a bad race so it was really important to get a good result for him and get rid of that bad luck that he thought he was bringing."
Hamilton's tense radio exchanges
Engineer: "The rear tyres are cool, we are not sure if we are over protecting them."
Hamilton: "No! I already have oversteer, I am not going to open up my diff and give myself more."
Engineer: "Lewis, zero to Nico last lap, gap 3.8."
Hamilton: "Where have you been the last few laps?"
Engineer: "Just letting you get through the traffic."
Engineer:" Three turns down the for next stop."
Hamilton: "No, not three, why are you doing that? I want the normal two."
Hamilton: "How was last lap? Was it too slow?"
Engineer: "No pace was good at the end of the stint."
Hamilton: "Then why did you bring me?"
Engineer: "We are keeping you on the optimum strategy. Gap to Nico four seconds."
Hamilton: "It used to be 5.2."
Hamilton: "How much time did I lose in the pit-stop?"
Engineer: "Nico lost more in traffic, don't worry about that now."