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Stirling Moss & amp; Interview with Lewis Hamilton (1)

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Stirling Moss & Lewis Hamilton in conversation (1)
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H amilton : What is it for? (Points to a moveable air duct on the left in front of the cockpit of the streamlined Mercedes W196)

Moss: A lock to get fresh air into the cockpit during heat races. I was able to open and close it with a switch in the cockpit.

Hamilton: What did you use the windshield for?

Moss: Without her, you couldn't keep your head straight. It broke me at the 1955 Italian GP. I had to pit. Typically Mercedes. The boys were prepared for anything. You exchanged the disc in 36 seconds. A retractable replacement screen was planned for the next race, which you could raise from the cockpit if necessary. But there was no next race.

Hamilton: What is this wing on the side for? (Points to the horizontal fin on the W196 with free-standing wheels)

Moss: It should prevent rainwater or stones from being thrown from the front tires into the cockpit. It had nothing to do with aerodynamics.

Hamilton: How was that with the brake force distribution back then?

Moss: 60 closed 40 forward. And with you?

Hamilton: That depends on the route. And whether you are in the race or in training. In the qualifying lap, I adjust them to almost every corner from the steering wheel.

Moss: How do you like the sound of our eight-cylinder engine?

Hamilton: The sound of the W196 is insane. Especially if you have to double-declutch when downshifting. The engine really roars. That's what makes racing open. I also like to shift by hand and when you hear the sound when the gears click into place. You are more connected to the car. The last time I had to double-declutch was in a Formula Renault car.

Moss: The shift pattern is upside down. Did you get used to it quickly? How does the translation feel?

Hamilton: Yes, that was pretty quick. The translation is surprisingly short. I was in fifth gear in no time.

Moss: How high can you turn today?

Hamilton: In theory up to 15,000 /min. But you never get there. We're driving in one areaunderneath. It's more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and performance.

Hamilton: Do you know what surprised me? The maximum output of your eight-cylinder engine starts at 4,000 to 4,500 rpm. It's almost like a turbo boost. What was actually the most modern Formula 1 car that you ever tried?

Moss: A Tyrrell. Mr. Tanaka, the owner of the Aida circuit in Japan, invited me to drive one of his cars. Must have been 1994 or 1995. He asked me beforehand not to overtake him. No way, I replied. I wanted to feel the car. And I can still remember how amazed I was that you got on the gas and the wheels practically didn't spin. Even then, the cars had enough downforce on the rear axle.

Hamilton: And the fat tires. They make a lot. We have a lot of slippage in our cars today.

Moss: Really? What do you do then?

Hamilton: You have to stroke the gas pedal. Shift up early to keep the torque low.

Moss: How much power do you have?

Hamilton: Say that they don't you. Anything between 700 or 800 hp. But it feels like more because we have so much torque.

Moss: Does the power build up evenly?

Hamilton: Yes, because we are filling the turbo lag with electric power. The drivability is wonderful. Somehow all the technical possibilities of today are already fun. But when you drive the Mercedes W196, you think to yourself: It would be great if racing were a little more natural again. With a manual shift, the sound, a little less downforce. But if you have an accident, I'd rather sit in my car.

Moss: What would be your ultimate racing car?

Hamilton: Probably the best Formula 1 car would be anything from the 80s with the safety features of today. I drove Lauda's 1985 McLaren and Senna's 1988 McLaren at Goodwood. That was a cool experience too.

Moss: If you weren't allowed to press a single button in your Mercedes: Would you be slower then?

Hamilton : Not that much. I would feel it most in the braking force distribution. The buttons are especially useful in the race to take care of the tires. Depending on the route, the front tire or the rear tire is more stressed. Depending on the situation, you start the race with an understeering or oversteering car. The tire wear turns it into a balanced car. And you can steer this in one direction or the other with the settings on the steering wheel. What was a faster car back then, Stirling: tendency to understeer or oversteer?

Moss: There was a slight oversteerbetter and better. If you could handle it. Of course, I couldn't adjust my car during the race. We had to live with the setup that we had worked out in training.

Hamilton: Hey, I was right at the top of the steep face, just off the guardrail. How was it for you 60 years ago?

Moss: We also went to the top. With 270 things.

Hamilton: Wow. Nothing could go wrong there. The steep face was so wavy back then.

Moss: For the first time in 60 years I am back through the steep face in the Mercedes W196. The first thing I noticed: the bumps are still there. Almost worse.

Hamilton: The drive today was awesome. The most intense experience was how precisely you had to drive on the steep face. In the end I drove a faster lap on my own. I felt the W196 with every fiber of my body. What is he doing, where does he want to go now? Compared to my current Mercedes, the reactions are a bit slower, but you had to be ready every second. The car has repeatedly offset on the concrete slabs. Once I jumped half a meter to the left towards the guardrail. You hold your breath for a moment. But the biggest thing was the trip with you, Stirling. When I saw you with your old helmet and racing goggles in front of me in the streamline, I had the feeling that I was driving in one of your races from before. Now I know what you must have felt back then.

Moss: I never saw you. You were above me.

Hamilton: Check out the video. I called out to you while driving: Hey Stirling, how awesome. You just concentrated on the track.

Moss: I broke the steering in a Maserati. I'm in the middle of the steep face, suddenly I have my arms crossed. The car is up against the guardrail and then turned inward. That was the horror of my life.

Hamilton: You once told me that in the event of an accident you hoped that you would be thrown out of the car in time. Today we think exactly the opposite. The last thing you wish for is that you get blown out of the car. Were you scared back then?

Moss: Not during the accident. You fought for your life there. The shock always came afterwards. You thought to yourself: boy, that was close.

Hamilton: I had three accidents in Formula 3 that shook me a little. The first at Brands Hatch. The second in Oulton Park. And then another one on the Nürburgring. Every time I had a concussion. Of course, I always wanted to get back in the car as quickly as possible in order to regain confidence. On the other hand, I knew: if you nowhave another accident, that was it.

Moss: Yes, you want confirmation as soon as possible that the accident left no mental traces.

Hamilton: Was your driving style different from Fangio's?

Moss: No, we were very similar. I often followed him on the track. I could see what he was doing there. There was no data. I tended to spy on other drivers to find out where their weaknesses were. So that I can overtake them more easily in the race.

Hamilton: We always know what the opponent is doing. Everything is recorded, every movement, every line, and even every setup change for teammates. We superimpose the curves and see exactly who braked where five meters later.

Moss: Back then, I had to feel my way around the track curve by curve. We also had little tricks back then. In Reims, I used the last hairpin to go into the emergency exit before a fast training lap. If you started from there, you got over the home straight faster than on the normal racing line.

Hamilton: What, that was there back then? Today you would be punished if you left the track on all four wheels.

Moss: The fact that there are so many fines is ridiculous. You drive as aggressively as it takes to beat your opponent. How much more can you allow yourself, Lewis?

Hamilton: Nothing more. I am not always allowed to say everything I think. The punishment has gotten better now. The commissioners are more relaxed. But we still have too many rules. Everything is controlled. The problem is that one rule can never cover all scenarios. Therefore, every now and then it is necessary to measure with double standards.

This way to the >> second part of the conversation between Lewis Hamilton and Stirling Moss.

In our picture gallery we show you the spectacular photos of the ride together through the Monza wall.


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