Lewis Hamilton has explained the origins of the “it’s hammer time” radio call given by his Mercedes Formula 1 engineer, Pete Bonnington, as part of their successful partnership.

Hamilton has worked with Bonnington, known as Bono, since joining Mercedes in 2013, with one of the hallmarks of their time together being Bonnington’s call of “it’s hammer time” to Hamilton over the radio.

It serves as a reference to the catchphrase in MC Hammer’s 1990 song “U Can’t Touch This” and to Hamilton’s three-letter designation, ‘HAM’, within F1.

Bonnington recently gave Hamilton the call in the United States Grand Prix when he was pushing to fight Max Verstappen for victory, with Hamilton noting in Mexico that it “felt like it had been at least a year” since the last time he heard it.

Asked by Motorsport.com about the origins of “it’s hammer time”, Hamilton explained how he came up with it as something to spur him on at the end of a stint instead of being told to push.

Lewis Hamilton at United States GP 2022

"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.

“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. He’s been hugely integral to my success.”

Hamilton and Bonnington have formed statistically the most successful driver-engineer partnership in F1 history, yielding six of Hamilton’s seven world titles as well as 82 of his 103 grand prix victories.

Hamilton said that he and Bonnington had “supported each other on and off the track in good and bad times” and was “like a brother to me".

“He’s probably one of the few people that can truly stand me, I would say, like on the good and bad days,” said Hamilton.

“How calm he’s able to be throughout the race, and how he’s been able to guide and help navigate me through a race, I don’t think there’s many people who could do that.”

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