Former Mercedes engineer: “Lewis is a super spy”

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Former Mercedes engineer Philipp Brändle says Lewis Hamilton provides his team with valuable feedback by observing rival’s equipment.

It’s not unusual for Formula 1 drivers to observe their rival’s cars and other equipment when they get the chance. Sebastian Vettel was famous for taking peeks at Hamilton’s Mercedes, which led to a funny situation after the 2017 Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

After the session Hamilton was informed Vettel was seen looking at his Mercedes W08. Lewis immediately asked Seb about this.

“Sebastian, I heard you’ve been touching my car,” joked the Briton.

“Is that true? Were you looking or touching? He said you were touching my car.”

When Vettel said he was indeed touching the car, Hamilton nodded his head knowingly, saying: “Ah, touching… alright…”


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The duo might have joked about the situation at the time, but it’s actually normal for drivers to observe their competitor’s equipment and provide their teams with feedback. Engineer Philipp Brändle, who worked on Hamilton’s car until the end of 2019, says Lewis is a master at it.

“Lewis is a super spy”, Brändle told ServusTV:

“He looks at everything very closely. For example, there was once a moment prior to the podium room where the drivers were having a drink.

“He noticed that another racing suit had fewer cables. The point was that you can save weight, because really every detail counts in Formula 1.

“So he gave us the feedback that the other team had a shorter wiring harness, and a smaller plug. And really everything, how you can somehow save just one gram, is important.

“He looks at details like that, and that’s what we implemented.”

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