Despite 2 Winless Seasons, Lewis Hamilton’s “Symbiotic” Bond With Mercedes Pioneer Sets Benchmark for Rivals

The driver might be the face of the operation in Formula 1, but not without a massive team working tirelessly in every single race. This crucial aspect of racing is often overlooked by many.

However, the hosts of the latest episode of the F1: Chequered Flag podcast highlighted this relationship between the drivers and their race engineers, starting with Lewis Hamilton and Peter “Bono” Bonnington in focus.

Mercedes hasn’t had a race-winning car in the past couple of seasons. Apart from that shock 1-2 led by George Russell in Brazil 2022, they’ve been seasons to forget for Lewis Hamilton. But during his time at the front of the field, there was one thing Bono used to say that always got the LH Army’s blood pumping. It’s safe to say it also gave Hamilton and Bono himself that extra push to extract the most out of a situation. And that’s precisely why the Brits have become the benchmark for every other driver-engineer pairing in the sport.

Although it’s not been said as often in the past two seasons, “It’s Hammer Time, Lewis” still gives fans goosebumps. A driver’s relationship with his engineer is monumental for their long-term success in the sport. The drivers are constantly in touch and need to have complete faith in their engineer’s calls during the race and vice versa. Do you think Max Verstappen would’ve had as much success as he does without Gianpiero Lambiase’s occasional “Max, please just follow my instruction and trust it.” Or even their regular outbursts, only to make up as soon Verstappen’s out of the car? They may seem like the driver-engineer pairing in focus right now, but Hamilton and Bono’s relationship set the standard long before they did.

After the seven-time champion joined the Brackley outfit, he and Bono have formed a formidable relationship over the years. According to Jennie Gow, host of the F1: Chequered Flag podcast, they’ve been the trailblazers of a symbiotic relationship between the driver and the engineer. Discussing the importance of that trust between a driver and their engineer, Gow said, “You’ve heard it plenty of times with Lewis Hamilton and Peter Bonnington, who is his race engineer. That reliance to have faith in your race engineer but also to take the calls you don’t support fully when you’re a driver, it’s a very symbiotic relationship.”

If you don’t believe how important Bono is to Hamilton, let us tell you in the seven-time world champion’s own words.

Lewis Hamilton expresses his gratitude for Peter Bonnington

Every member of a team is crucial in their own way. Although, when it comes to the race, all the focus shifts to the driver, pit crew, and the trackside engineer. However, even then, all the footage is focused on the driver and the pit crew because we hardly witness the race engineers working their magic. Lewis Hamilton changed this perspective when he expressed his gratitude for the man who’s been by his side throughout his time at Mercedes, except on one occasion.

Hamilton paid tribute to Bono in an Instagram post, writing, “You can’t tell my story without including Bono’s hard work and all the hours he’s put in. There are days when I need him to lift me up. There are days when I need to lift him up. During good times and bad, he’s there for me. Our communication, what you hear on the radio and what you don’t hear in the garage, in engineering, and behind the scenes, makes a big difference. He is crucial to not only my success but the entire team’s. Forever grateful for my guy Bono, blessed to have him by my side.” 

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