If you are a fan of one of Mercedes’ rivals, the one thing that you do not want to hear over Lewis Hamilton’s radio is “it’s hammer time.”
The message has become infamous with the 38-year-old’s success, with Hamilton often winning from ridiculous deficits after hearing this phrase over his team radio.
Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington has been key to the Brit’s success during his time with Mercedes, having worked with him ever since he joined the team in 2013.
“I’m incredibly grateful for Bono. I’ve had an amazing journey with him. I think we’ve got one of the longest, if not the longest driver-engineer partnership that there’s been,” said Hamilton via RacingNews365.com.
“He’s been hugely integral to my success.”
The ‘hammer time’ command is essentially just a different way of telling Hamilton that he needs to push at that specific part of the race, but the 38-year-old has explained that there is an origin to this, rather than it just being a cool phrase invented by Bonnington.
“I think I came up with hammer time,” said Hamilton.
“There was a point where he was like, ‘Now is the time to push,’ and I got frustrated with him because I was like, ‘Dude, I’m already pushing!’
“But I was like, ‘If you’re trying to signify now’s the time to go all out, use everything you have’, I said, ‘Just tell me it’s hammer time.’ That was part of our growth.”
One of the most iconic examples of ‘hammer time’ would be at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, where Mercedes decided to put Hamilton on a two stop strategy despite it being obvious that Max Verstappen was going to stay out and attempt the one stop.
The strategic masterclass saw Hamilton catch and overtake the Dutchman on the latter stages of the race after the Brit was told that it was ‘hammer time’ when the data showed that it would most likely come down to a meeting with Verstappen on the final lap if Hamilton was fast enough.
With Hamilton set to sign a multi-year contract extension with Mercedes in the coming weeks, it seems certain that the seven-time champion’s relationship with Bonnington with continue for the foreseeable future, as both driver and engineer hope for a swift return to winning ways with Mercedes.