Lewis Hamilton Might Not Be Getting A Holiday Card From His Front Jack Man This Year

Hamilton came in too quickly during a pit stop Friday in Sochi.

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Gif: Formula 1

The Russian Grand Prix is this weekend and Red Bull have already more or less conceded by changing Max Verstappen’s power unit and sending him to the back of the grid. More exciting, on Friday, was the second practice session, in which Lewis Hamilton sent a jack man tumbling over.

This could have been a whole lot worse than what it was, but it wasn’t, and because the team later confirmed that the jack man was unhurt in the incident, we can all have a little laugh instead. I have embedded F1's video of it below, but be warned that because Formula 1 is weird about how and in what format it lets its content be viewed, clicking on the video will send you to Twitter. I apologize for sending you to Twitter.


Hamilton blamed the incident on the “magic button,” which changes how the car brakes. What is the magic button, you ask? Liz explained in July, after another mishap with Hamilton and the button:

The magic button is one way of mapping that brake bias. In this case, it moves the brake bias more toward the front of the car than you’d want for normal racing, and it also completely eliminates energy harvesting, so it’s a front-loaded, mechanical braking situation.

That, in turn, means the front brakes and tires stay within an optimal temperature window, even during safety car periods that would normally cool the brakes and tires. Press the magic button while following a safety car, and it’s almost like you never slowed down from speed.

You just need to make sure that particular setting is no longer active when you’re, y’know, attempting to turn into a corner. All that frontward brake bias means those brakes are just going to lock up if you hit them too hard, which is generally what’s asked of drivers when they approach a first turn.


Driving modern Formula 1 cars is so complicated — and seems to get more complicated every year — that I often wonder how quickly F1 cars become almost unrecognizable to drivers who have moved on from the sport. Jackie Stewart, for one, agrees that it is all too complicated.