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Stirling Moss & amp; Interview with Lewis Hamilton (2)

Wilhelm /Seufert
Stirling Moss & Lewis Hamilton in conversation (2)
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M oss : My contract with Mercedes had four or five pages. I heard yours is 80 pages. Is that true?

Hamilton: I made up this number. I don't know how many pages it is exactly. But it's pretty thick.

Moss: Would you like five pages?

Hamilton: I prefer 80 pages ( Grins). Have you ever driven for Ferrari, Stirling?

Moss: I had an argument with Ferrari. He invited me to a race in Bari to drive one of his cars. I got there and watched the mechanics prepare the car until they asked me: What are you doing here? I said I should drive this car. You answered. No you will not. Ferrari assigned Taruffi for the car at short notice. I was so pissed off that I swore to myself that I would never drive for Ferrari. Shortly before my serious accident at Goodwood, Enzo Ferrari asked me to come to Modena. He asked me if I would be willing to try him again after all. I told him: only on one condition. When it's painted in blue. That was the corporate color of Rob Walker's team. He said: you can drive the car you want. It never happened again. How is it with you, Lewis?

Hamilton: My relationship with Mercedes is more than a partnership. It's almost like a marriage, and then someone offers you to have another wife. You may think about it, but you don't. When I came into Formula 1 with McLaren-Mercedes in 2007, we fought against Ferrari for the World Cup. It was the year with the espionage scandal. The image I got of Ferrari at the time wasn't very positive. Of course I love Italy and the Tifosi because they are so enthusiastic about racing. And although I'm not a Ferrari driver, I have a huge number of fans in Italy. And they always ask me: When do you drive for Ferrari? That won't leave you indifferent. But I've been a Mercedes man since I was 13. There is my heart I find it hard to imagine that I'm going anywhere else. But maybe a career is only complete once you've tried everything.

Moss: What does your Mercedes contract do?

Hamilton: Has not yet been signed, but will be. I grew up with Mercedes engines. Since 2007I don't drive anything else. And for three years even in the works team. I am aware of the history and the legacy that I am continuing. I've also been to the museum a couple of times. That's when you realize that you are part of the story. And I realized that it is important to know what this sport was like in the past. Then you'll understand better what has become of him. People keep trying to compare the present with the past. Ever since I've known both, I've been saying: It's impossible, absolutely impossible. What we're doing today is far from what you did. Everything was real back then. It could be grasped. Everything made of steel. Today we have moving computers.

Moss: Still fascinating. With all the technical possibilities.

Hamilton: You are like a godfather to me. The racing drivers of the past were real super men. You did what I do today, but at a time when one wrong decision could cost your life. Your heart always had to pound at the limit. We no longer have this fear factor today. That's why the drive in the Mercedes with you on the old track in Monza was so important to me. Because she showed me what you did back then. You had to be absolutely fearless. For us, precision and perfection are more important. My worst case scenario in an accident is this is going to hurt, but you won't die. Would I have become a racing driver under such circumstances? I believe I have the level of craziness to have done. Perhaps that sets me apart from many of my colleagues. For me it is a thrill to drive side by side at 320 km /h into a curve and then look: Who will brake later now?

Moss: I became a racing driver, because I had read a book about Prince Bira. I was around 15 years old at the time. He was a real gentleman driver who could afford racing. I thought to myself: what a wonderful life. You can drive fast cars and get around the world gypsies.

Hamilton: I've always loved cars. Then I watched Formula 1 races on television with my father. At that time I didn't quite know what I wanted to be: either Superman or Ayrton Senna. I chose Senna.

Moss: I watch every Grand Prix. With the information you get from a race today, it's doubly interesting. What I like about you: You are a real racer. No tactic. I always get the feeling that you are driving at the limit from start to finish. Always on attack.

Hamilton: Unfortunately, that doesn't always work in races. Otherwise you will overwhelm the tires. There are phases when I have to hold back. You too back then?

Moss: In my time it would not have been possible to always go to the limit. Then there would be the carsbroken apart. You have to know: I've only made 50 percent of all races. And I've driven up to 52 races a year.

Hamilton: How did you do that? There weren't that many Grand Prix.

Moss: I also drove sports car races. And in winter we went to Australia and New Zealand to do the Tasman series. I sat in the racing car three days a week. That kept me fit. I didn't need any extra training. Would you slow down if you didn't train?

Hamilton: Yes, because we have higher centrifugal forces. If I were physically tired or if my back, neck or legs were painful, my concentration would decrease. For me, 20 races feel like 50. I would also like to drive more, but that's not possible. You have so much to do on the side. Media, sponsors, appearances. That sucks you out.

Moss: What centrifugal forces do you have to withstand?

Hamilton: The engineers say up to 5g. And you?

Moss: Unbelievable. With the exception of the steep face, we managed a maximum of 0.9 g.

Hamilton: We have so much downforce that it is difficult to describe. In Barcelona at the beginning of the lap you have a right, a left and then this long right-hand bend. You hammer through there and the car sticks and sticks. When you come to the short straight after that, you breathe a few times. Because you couldn't breathe before. Our cars are much more nervous. Which is logical: We have a lot less suspension travel, stiffer tires, everything happens at a higher speed.

Moss: Do you like rain races?

Hamilton: Yes, because you can experiment with the lines there. Almost like a go-kart. Was it the same for you?

Moss: Yes, in the rain you always looked for the best line.

Hamilton: How was it with overtaking in your time?

Moss: We benefited tremendously from the slipstream. I once drove all alone here in Monza. Behind me were Ascari and Villoresi. They pulled each other on the straights and were able to catch up with me. When Ascari passed me and I was able to enjoy his slipstream, I was worlds faster in lap times. Turbulence didn't exist for us. We were able to catch up tightly in the corners without losing downforce. There was hardly any downforce.

Hamilton: In the photo from Monza in 1955, the cars drive on two tracks. How did that work?

Moss: The home stretch was split. When you came out of the banked curve, you were outside and continued towards Curva Grande. The cars that came out of the Parabolica have becomeinside the first banked bend again.

Hamilton: Was the track so wavy back then?

Moss: Not so as bad as today.

Hamilton: Has a car ever shot over the banked curve?

Moss: I don't think so. That would have been pretty bad at the speed. We drove through the banked curves at 270 km /h. You always made sure that you had a safe distance from the guardrail.

Hamilton: I see no reason why we don't drive this steep face today. If you re-asphalt the curves and build fences at the top, it would work. The Nascar does it too. Can you imagine what kind of race our cars would be like today? Incredible. And what do we have today? Every racetrack today is constructed by the same people. And they all look the same. But I have to be grateful that I'm a racing driver today. Because it's so much safer. At the same time, it's good to know where this sport came from. Have you always driven at full speed, Stirling?

Moss: I always drove with a reasonable amount of reserve. And then it depended on the racetrack and the racing situation. There were stretches where you could risk more. Monza was not one of the most dangerous routes back then. In slipstream races like in Reims or Monza, you deliberately dropped behind a competitor in order to then overtake him out of the slipstream, just before the finish line. Would you have a different order if the risk was as great as it was in our time, Lewis?

Hamilton: I don't think that would change. Just some of us might not be alive anymore. How did you deal with the risk?

Moss: You got so much satisfaction out of beating other drivers that you didn't give the risk much thought.

Hamilton: You hid it?

Moss: When you are racing, you don’t think about yourself having an accident could. You have the confidence that you are number one and that you are not making a mistake. Only technical defects are not in your hands. That is the fate that you accept.

Hamilton: If you approach it with fear, you have already lost. A boxer who fears knock out Getting beaten won't win.

Moss: Are there still corners today where you had better not have an accident?

Hamilton : I have to think about that. Not many anymore. Ah, turn 8 in Suzuka is such a turn. There is a dip, the car touches down and you get there so quickly that you fly off at the slightest mistake. And there is practically no run-off zone there. But the only concern is thatyou miss the next training session in an accident. Not that you hurt yourself. Today there are gravel beds and asphalt run-off areas that are up to 100 meters in size. You won't even get punished for a mistake. You already try 110 percent. Nothing can happen. If it doesn't work, the next time you drive at 108 percent. How did you approach your limit.

Moss: The training was there to build your speed step by step. Bad experiences have taught you to take it easy next time. Everything was based on experience. There was no data.

Hamilton: I was on the Nordschleife a few times. This is so mad. And it never stops. One curve after the other and you try to memorize their peculiarities and the ideal line. This is the ultimate route. In Monza you perfect curve by curve. This is not even possible at the Nürburgring. You're running out of time. Today you will be presented with a sketch of the route at the briefing and you will write on every curve how the car is balanced there. On the Nordschleife I would need the whole day to write that down. How did you prepare there?

Moss: I think I never did a perfect lap there. There were a few mistakes every lap. Then you decided on the next round not to repeat this very mistake. That kept your concentration awake.

Hamilton: What do you think of our steering wheel (shows a photo with the steering wheel from the Mercedes AMG W06)?

Moss: Awesome. Do you know what all these buttons do?

Hamilton: The button here is for the engine maps, so more or less power. Depending on the strategy, you have a different discharge of the battery. The two here are for brake force distribution. For example, when you step on the pedal, it's 60 to 40 percent. The system then regulates the power down depending on the setting as the speed decreases. Otherwise the front wheels would lock. We also have four buttons to adjust the differential. Entrance, apex, exit, then the transitions as with the brake. Or the switch here is for the switching strategies. And in the middle we have a large display that gives us instructions on what to do. I see the lap time, the delta time to the previous lap, the battery level, tire temperatures, brake temperatures, the gear engaged, the fuel consumption. The engineers are no longer allowed to coach us via radio. We have to do everything ourselves.

Moss: You set that before the curve?

Hamilton: If you can take the curve brakes, the diff setting for the curve entry determines how early or late the differential locks. In fast corners you can program the differential so that theCar either understeer or oversteer. This is particularly important in the qualifying rounds. It can be warmer or colder than before or windier. You are always looking for the best compromise. You never really catch all the curves. The settings don't just help you balance the car. You also need it to slow down the deterioration of the tires.

Moss: Do you do this every lap?

Hamilton: Even every curve in qualification. Take Shanghai. In Turn 1, I choose 56 percent braking balance forward. When you are out of the complex of curves, you go to 60 percent. The next curve back to 54 percent. Every curve works like that. It is our challenge. If you do it right, you can make up a lot of time in a qualifying round.

Moss: How long do you learn before it becomes part of the flesh and blood?

Hamilton: I'll take the steering wheel home and practice there. During the test drives, your engineer asks you whether you can handle everything. You have it in the first race. I like these toys, but I also loved driving Senna's McLaren. It only had two or three buttons on the steering wheel. That was pure driving. Formula 1 has become so technical today that we pore over data or talk to the engineers for up to 6 hours a day. Sometimes I get an email from my engineer at 3 a.m. with the latest data analyzes. How was that with you, Stirling?

Moss: The discussions were very brief. We didn't know anything about our cars. The only things were gear ratios and tire pressures. And what we felt in the car.

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