Lewis Hamilton using "freebie" grands prix for F1 2020 experiments

Lewis Hamilton says wrapping up the 2019 Formula 1 title early has given him and Mercedes two "freebies" in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to experiment ahead of next season

Lewis Hamilton using "freebie" grands prix for F1 2020 experiments

Hamilton clinched his sixth world championship at the last race in the United States, while Mercedes wrapped up the constructors' crown in Japan a month ago.

The Briton said it made no difference to his personal motivation coming to the Brazilian Grand Prix and "doesn't make it easier" on-track, but does give him and his team the opportunity to trial new things without it impacting this season.

"It's almost a different approach now for me, because we can be a little bit more aggressive," said Hamilton.

"We can try some different strategies, we can try some different ways how we go about our weekend and the process.

"We've basically got two freebies to try some new things that can take place next year.

"Next year we have even less testing before the first race. I think it's only six days as opposed to eight.

"So every tiny bit of an advantage you can gain in changing things and adapting and being dynamic, hopefully could pay dividends next year.

"That's our goal."

One key operational difference for Mercedes at Interlagos is team principal Toto Wolff is not on-site.

Wolff has opted to miss the race, the first grand prix he will be absent from since 2013, because both titles are secured and he has business he can attend to back in Europe.

Hamilton - who joked "it's just such a breath of fresh air!" not having Wolff at the track - said a combination of Wolff's influence and input back at base would mean the team feels little difference.

"He has such a presence within this team that even while he's not here, he's still here," said Hamilton.

"Everything that's been set up is because of him and all the people that he's put in place and everyone is here still knuckling down, working as normal.

"It's just you don't see him on the pitwall, you don't see him in the meetings.

"But I know he's on the debrief on the other end and listening to all the things we say.

"I think everyone's behaving as well as they can!"

Mercedes trailed Ferrari and Red Bull in Friday practice at Interlagos, where heavy rain affected the first session and Hamilton did not complete a timed lap.

Explaining the lack of running on intermediates, let alone slick tyres, in the morning, Hamilton said: "My team were asking me to go out but it's just pointless, it's going to be dry for the rest of the event.

"It was kind of a pointless exercise. If you don't need risk it for the biscuit then don't!"

In practice two, Hamilton finished fifth-fastest behind Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.

The world champion said he was not unduly concerned about finishing the day 0.223s slower than the Ferraris in front.

"We'll do some work tonight to refine it, and it is quite crucial because we've got only really two sessions to get it right before qualifying [without FP1]," said Hamilton.

"You have to compact it a little bit more and be quite a little bit more decisive with the changes you make.

"But we started off on the right foot already. So we should be OK.

"I don't know if we have three tenths, to where the Ferraris are, but time will tell."


shares
comments
Toro Rosso-Honda "complete shutdown" caused Kvyat's practice off
Previous article

Toro Rosso-Honda "complete shutdown" caused Kvyat's practice off

Next article

Interlagos '99%' sure it will see off Rio bid for F1's Brazilian GP

Interlagos '99%' sure it will see off Rio bid for F1's Brazilian GP
Load comments
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022