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Rediff.com  » Sports » F1 pit lane tales: Hamilton's mind is his own business

F1 pit lane tales: Hamilton's mind is his own business

May 09, 2014 09:39 IST

F1 pit lane tales: Hamilton's mind is his own business

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Title-chasing Lewis Hamilton has ruled out enlisting the services of a sports psychologist even if his Mercedes Formula One bosses have consulted one in their quest to make the championship-leading team even stronger.

Ceri Evans, a former New Zealand soccer captain who went on to work with the All Blacks before they won the 2011 rugby World Cup, worked with the team throughout the weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai last month.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff and technical director Paddy Lowe are keen on using sports psychology to help engineers and mechanics but there has been no suggestion of extending that to drivers.

Hamilton, the 2008 champion who has won the last three races and could take the overall lead on Sunday from team mate Nico Rosberg, made clear at the Spanish Grand Prix on Thursday that he would do his own thing.

"It has zero impact on me. Zero," he told reporters. "I don't speak to anyone like that. It was really for the team. The team want to be the best everywhere.

"It's sometimes good to get outsiders' points of view on the way you carry yourself, the way the team communicates and all those different things. I'm sure they are just trying to make sure they are doing everything as good as they could do.

"For me as a driver, it's not something I feel I need," added the Briton.

"I've been racing since I was eight years old and I've won every championship that I've competed in at some point in my life and all I've needed is me and my family."

Hamilton, who has spent time relaxing with his on-off-on girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger in California since China, said life was ‘incredible’ at the moment.

"Of course when you're winning, that's when everything's great," he said.

"I think now we're just trying to keep our heads down and just remain focused and not get carried away with what we've experienced in the last couple of months. But I'm very excited for this weekend and what's to come."

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Image: Lewis Hamilton with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger
Photographs: Getty Images

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Alonso plays down chances of podium in home race

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Formula One leaders Mercedes singled out Ferrari as their main championship challengers on Thursday but Fernando Alonso was quick to play down his chances of a top three finish at his home Spanish Grand Prix.

Alonso has not won since he triumphed in front of his home fans at the Circuit de Catalunya last year and Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg remain the overwhelming favourites for Sunday's race.

Mercedes have won all four races so far but Alonso's third place in China last month indicated Ferrari had taken a step in the right direction - an improvement recognised by Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.

"I think it will be Ferrari," the Austrian said when asked who would be his team's main title rivals. "They are the only other team to have everything, car and powertrain, in-house. And I reckon Alonso to be a real race monster who can achieve everything."

Alonso recognised the compliment but refused to go along with it.

"If they count on us for the championship fight it's good news because they respect us," he told a news conference. "But we need to deliver if we want to become really a threat. We are working on that.

"We are not in a position that we are happy with," he said. "We start with some deficit to the top teams and especially Mercedes."

Ferrari are fourth overall in the constructors' standings, with 52 points to Mercedes 154. Champions Red Bull are second on 57 and Mercedes-powered Force India third on 54.

Asked whether another podium was within his reach this weekend, Alonso shook his head.

"I don't think so. We cannot start the weekend thinking to be on the podium or thinking to win the race. That will be creating false targets to everyone," he said.

"We know it's going to be a tough weekend and it's not going to be easy. Anything can happen but today sitting here if I tell you I will fight for the podium, probably I will lie to you and I don't want to do so for all the people coming."

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Image: Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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Mercedes to blow their own trumpet in testing

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Formula One pacesetters Mercedes will try out a new 'megaphone' style exhaust in testing next week as the sport seeks ways of raising noise levels and placating fans angered by the new quieter V6 engines.

The team said on their Twitter feed that the 'prototype solution' to boost tailpipe noise would be put on the car at a scheduled test in Barcelona after Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, the fifth race of the year.

Reports had earlier suggested they could do so in Friday practice but a spokesman said that would not happen.

German media quoted Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff earlier in the week as saying that possible solutions ranged from the very complex to putting a "simple megaphone at the back".

Formula One has ditched the raucous, screaming 2.4 litre V8 engines with their twin exhausts this season in favour of turbocharged 1.6 litre V6 power units with energy recovery systems and a single tailpipe.

Critics panned the softer sound at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with promoters complaining and the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone saying the noise needed to be louder.


Image: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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