Lewis Hamilton wins despite strategy blunder (2008 German GP review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton scored his fourth win of 2008 in the German Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton scored his fourth win of 2008 in the German Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton was dominating the German Grand Prix until a safety car appearance threw his race into disarray.

His McLaren team made a clear mistake by failing to bring him into the pits – leaving him to fight his way back to the front of the field the hard way.

After taking his delayed stop Hamilton hunted down and passed first Felipe Massa then surprise leader Nelson Piquet Jnr in the closing stages for another memorable victory.

Hamilton takes an early lead

Lewis Hamilton beat Felipe Massa to the first corner
Lewis Hamilton beat Felipe Massa to the first corner

From pole position Hamilton shot into an early lead – pulling out 1.8s over Massa in the first lap alone. Massa had spent the first few corners fending off the attention of Heikki Kovalainen, who had a run at the Ferrari into the Spitzkerve hairpin but backed off.

Robert Kubica made an exceptional start from seventh to take fourth. He passed Kimi Raikkonen off the start line and took advantage of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso racing each other to pass the pair of them.

David Coulthard made a poor start from tenth, however, plunging down the order to 15th.

There was no stopping Hamilton in the early stages as he quickly stretched his lead over Massa. By lap four he had a 3.7s lead, seven seconds by lap ten, and 11 by lap 18.

Kovalainen was not able to lap anything like as quickly, and actually fell to 4.3s behind Massa on lap eight.

Raikkonen made some progress on lap three when Alonso tried a very optimistic pass on Trulli at turn one. Trulli brushed Alonso aside and the Renault driver lost momentum, allowing Raikkonen through with ease. But Raikkonen could do nothing about Trulli.

Massa’s strategic switch

Kimi Raikkonen fell to seventh at the start
Kimi Raikkonen fell to seventh at the start

In an effort to get on terms with Hamilton, Ferrari switched Massa onto the softer compound tyres at his first stop. Hamilton had come in on lap 18 and Massa followed two laps later. Massa’s brief period in the lead allowed him to take a couple of seconds out of Hamilton, and he was further helped by Hamilton getting stuck behind Trulli on his out-lap, before the Toyota pitted.

Kovalainen came in on lap 21 and resumed right in front of Nick Heidfeld. The BMW had fuelled heavily after qualifying outside the top ten.

Raikkonen’s pit stop enabled him to leap ahead of Trulli and he now found himself fifth behind Kubica.

But Massa’s switch onto softer tyres didn’t help his race pace and Hamilton was quickly able to extend his lead again. By lap 30 it was back up to 11s with Kovalainen, third, chipping away at Massa’s 7.2s advantage.

By now some of the drivers who had started outside the top ten were making their first stops. Timo Glock briefly ran third before pitting on lap 30. Kazuki Nakajima, who had spun on lap 17, came in at the same time.

The last two drivers to pit were Rubens Barrichello on lap 32 and Nelson Piquet Jnr on lap 36. It proved to be perfect timing for Piquet.

Glock crash changes race complexion

Just as the German Grand Prix was starting to look settled it took a sudden and dramatic twist. While Piquet was making his final stop Glock’s race came to an end in the barrier on the pit straight. Coming out of the final corner his right rear suspension seemed to give way, and Glock was a passenger as his car spun backwards into the pit wall (video).

Glock escaped injury in the crash but the safety car was summoned while the debris was cleared up. With only 24 laps until the finish anyone who still needed to pit could do so under the safety car and make it to the end of the race.

Yet bafflingly McLaren chose not to pit Hamilton. Afterwards Ron Dennis admitted they underestimated how long the safety car would stay out for, as the field reorganised itself while lapped cars got their places back. But even so it was a completely unnecessary gamble.

Practically everyone else pitted, with Raikkonen falling to 12th as he had to queue behind Massa, and Kubica getting ahead of Kovalainen. Sebastian Vettel came out of his pit box alongside Alonso, forcing the Renault driver to cross the white line at the exit of the pit lane, although he did not incur a penalty.

Hamilton’s fight back

Mark Webber retired when the oil cooler failed on his RB4
Mark Webber retired when the oil cooler failed on his RB4

When the race resumced on lap 42 Hamilton had eight laps to build as large a gap as possible. Behind him were Heidfeld, Piquet Jnr and Massa. As the safety car headed for the pits Mark Webber came to a smoky stop, pulling up with a broken oil cooler after debris had gotten into his car.

Kovalainen went straight for Kubica on the restart, drawing along the outside of the BMW at the left-hander in front of the Mercedes grandstand. He hung on around the outside of the corner and took advantage as the track bent to the right, seizing the position.

Alonso and Vettel’s battle went on and as Alonso tried to pass the Toro Rosso driver Raikkonen was able to take advantage on lap 43 and Nico Rosberg also passed the Renault. Raikkonen then made rapid progress, passing Vettel on the next lap and Trulli on the lap after that.

Meanwhile Hamilton had pulled out 15.7 seconds over Massa before his final pit stop on lap 50. He came out fifth, behind Heidfeld (still to pit), Piquet Jnr, Massa and Kovalainen.

Kovalainen wasted no time in letting his team mate past. Hamilton quickly went by – and Heidfeld shortly emerged from the pits behind Hamilton, showing the McLaren driver would have had an even tougher time had he not passed his team mate so quickly.

But when Hamilton caught Massa on lap 57 the Ferrari driver hardly made it any harder for Hamilton than Kovalainen had. Hamilton tucked into Massa’s slipstream on the run towards to Spitzkerve and must hardly have believed his luck when Massa took his usual racing line, allowing him to pass down the inside with ease. Massa tried to fight back at the next bend but Hamilton defended his position and left him behind.

Piquet Jnr was next in Hamilton’s sights and on lap 59 he was dispensed with too, having put up no more resistance than Massa had, but not really having a car to fend Hamilton off with anyway.

Second place was extremely useful for Piquet Jnr and Renault, as it moves the latter ahead of Williams in the constructors’ championship. Massa took third ahead of Heidfeld and Kovalainen.

Raikkonen started where he finished – sixth – with Kubica seventh and Vettel scoring a point in his home race.

But after the double whammy of this battling win at Hockenheim, and his dominating drive in the wet at Silverstone, Hamilton must be feeling invincible. He heads to the Hungaroring with a narrow four-point advantage over Massa, and the comforting knowledge that his MP4/23 is now the car to beat.

2008 German Grand Prix result

Win number four for Hamilton gives him the championship lead
Win number four for Hamilton gives him the championship lead

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h31:20.874
2. Nelson Piquet Jnr Renault +5.586
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari +9.339
4. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber +9.825
5. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes +12.411
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +14.403
7. Roibert Kubica BMW Sauber +22.682
8. Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari +33.299
9. Jarno Trulli Toyota +37.158
10. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota +37.625
11. Fernando Alonso Renault +38.600
12. Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari +39.111
13. David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault +54.971
14. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota +1:00.003
15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari +1:09.488
16. Jenson Button Honda +1 lap
17. Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari +1:24.093*

*Received a 25-second penalty for unlapping himself when he was not allowed to, demoting him from 14th to 17th.

Not classified

Rubens Barrichello Honda 52 laps
Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 41 laps
Timo Glock Toyota 37 laps

Championship positions after the German Grand Prix

69 comments on “Lewis Hamilton wins despite strategy blunder (2008 German GP review)”

  1. Hamilton did a brilliant driving and had the best car on the grid. I said in the half season discussion that unless McLare did some wonderful car improvements the title would be between Kimi and Massa. Well, they did. Let’s see how it is for the next races.

    Extremely disappointed with the way Massa let Hamilton pass. OK, maybe I shouldn’t have high expectations, but it was embarassing anyway. I completely understand Piquet Jr conceding though, as he had a much worse car and was happy enough with the 2nd place.

  2. Massa alway seems to be made look amateurish when up against Hamilton. It was almost like Massa didn’t know he was there, and obviously riled him to try to take the place back and ended up far worse.

    Fair play to Hamilton to get past Massa and Piquet in the last stages – they weren’t anywhere close on pace, but he did make overtaking look so simple. He dominated throughout the whole weekend, untouchable…and obviously will be relishing this Championship title fight at the moment. He keeps up this momentum and it’s his for the taking.

    Ferrari need to get their act together, and fast.

  3. The next two races should be strong for McLaren. It certainly looks like McLaren have stole a lead on Ferrari, as Kovy was strong during this weekend also. The British and German GP’s were written as more favourable to Ferrari but Hamilton put paid to that. Unless Ferrari find more speed, McLaren could beat them on any circuit.

  4. what i found strange is that for a second race in a row Ron Dennis has his hand on the mic a few second before Kovi slips up to let hamilton pass. No team rules or favortisim at Mclaren then. Bunch of hypocrits.Having said that Ferrari where well off the pace here they need to sort it out and quick

  5. That is not favoritism Alex. It’s just for a second race in a row LH was much faster than HK. There’s no reason to let your slower driver to ruin your faster drivers race, to ruin your both driver’s race(as defensive driving will slow HK/both drivers down, and hand the race to your rival, as they were not leading the race). Like Monaco 07′, it’s was not favoritism toward FA, this is just what is the best/smart thing to do for your team. If it’s the other way around I don’t see McLaren wouldn’t let HK pass to challenge for race win.

    About the desicion not to call LH in, that was not a mistakes IMO, after all it worked out in the end thanks to LH’s amazing pace. Yes, it made it harder for LH, but the team knew that LH had the pace. Had they call LH in, HK might have finished out of points, just look how many places KR lost waiting for FM, and what happened to HK’s 2nd place in Australia after HK was forced to wait for LH. Thanks to the hard work of LH, HK don’t have to lose that second and finished in good points.

  6. I mean seconds not second. Actually, HK should be thankful to LH.

    Also 30 laps on soft tyres, that may not be easy LH to defend his 1st place either.

  7. Oh my God!!!!What did Ferrari??? They have now very big problems with the car(and also with Mclaren). Mclaren seems to developed their car to suit any circuit. I´m Kimi fan for spirit and blood but must say that Hamilton crushes whole Ferrari today. Amazing drive…must say that reminds Schumacher when He was breathtaking fast comparing other on the grid.
    Now in camp ferrari there will be long days and nights to get there car back to title fight because performance of today there is no chance either Massa or Kimi. Constuctor championship are faiding also with this kind of show.
    Little boring race but SC changed the situation…

  8. @Dorian: Sub-par? Well Massa will be Massa, but I thought Räikönnen drove well, all things considered. Obviously he wasn’t fighting for a podium, but considering the shape of his car that could hardly be thought of as a realistic target. Then again I’m probably biased, I’ll admit.

    Intresting to note that Alonso seemed to have problems with his setup too, if Piquet is to be believed. I never thought of Kimi and Alonso has having similar driving styles, but obviously something irked them both.

    Hamilton was excellent as always. Obnoxious as he might be, he’s shaping up to become the next big thing.

  9. Vettel deserves some praise too. He pushed that Toro Rosso to breaking point for a well deserved 8th place.

  10. @Sebastian. Yes, what exactly was the point you were directly at me??……and you said that you were biased. I’m picking towards Ferrari/Raikkonen??……as am I??…

  11. ^ The Ferrari drivers being sub-par.

    I’m not a tifoso or anything (although I tend to prefer the Ferrari in terms of style), but yeah I kind of like Kimi.

  12. Alex can u tell for certain that button had Kovi on it?

  13. Missouri Mike
    20th July 2008, 20:37

    Did anyone else think that Jarno Trulli showed some good form today? He finished out of the points in 9th, but held up Raikkonen for quite awhile and was clicking off good lap times in the top six until the safety car came out. Then he had to switch tire types and fell back, but I thought he showed some real guts holding off that Ferrari as long as he did.

    There were some really good performances today by drivers who don’t get alot of face time in front of the cameras, with Piquet of course being the poster boy for that phenomenon today.

  14. @ Sebastian. I, too, am a fan of Raikkonen and am a Tifoso but I can still say with some confidence that neither Raikkonen or Massa drove as well and they should have. A podium, IMHO, was a realistic expectation for Raikonnen. A ‘not quite set up properly’ Ferrari should still beat a BMW or a Renault…

  15. Some thoughts on a few of the drivers:

    Hamilton – Top notch stuff Very impressive.

    Massa – Didn’t seem interested in defending his position from Hamilton but at least got more out of his car than Raikkonen did.

    Glock – Running strong until a big crash that didn’t look like it was his fault.

    Raikkonen – Another one of those mystifying anonymous days he has.

    Kovalainen – Couldn’t touch Hamilton’s pace. Nico pass on Kubica though.

    Vettel – Quality stuff, underlined why he deserves the Red Bull seat.

    Alonso – Allowed himself to get flustered by Vettel.

  16. Well, let’s hope Ferrari and BMW can bounce back in Hungary …. otherwise it is going to be a very boring second half of the season…

    And despite of the prejudice that most people reserve for Massa… when the guy behind you is 1.5 seconds faster than you… there isn’t much you can do to keep him from overtaking you at Hockenheim…

  17. honestly, I think Lewis had an easy day. Massa isn’t a racer, he always loses pace in the race. I believe Kimi set a faster lap than Massa and passed quite a lot more, I don’t think Massa passed anyone?!? Kimi passed a renault twice.

    Kimi just has to get his qualifying better and he’d walk the championship.

  18. Paul Sainsbury
    21st July 2008, 0:50

    Nick- ‘Kimi just has to get his qualifying better and he’d walk the championship.’

    How did you come up with that remark?

  19. Perhaps at the McL pit they thought that Lewis had an impressive pace… and that he could end up doing a new “Red Light” disaster… so “let’s get this thing fixed outta here!”

  20. @Nick: Actually, last season Massa made more passes on track than any other driver.

  21. Well, I’m also disappointed by the way Massa let Hamilton pass, but it sounds strange that the same people who said that Massa was too hard on Alonso on Nurburgring last year are saying he was too smooth on Hamilton today… in both cases, he didn’t have the pace to hold the one trying to pass him…

    But I think who should really be ashamed is Kovalainen… today he wasn’t unlucky, his pace simply wasn’t there, and he finished fifth, while Hamilton, with the same machinery, was phenomenal, I can almost say he won the race TWICE, since the “first” race was ruined by his team…

    You british must be really proud of Lewis… Today he was worth of all the hype, all the buzz around him…

  22. I am not sure if you are intresting about this but here some news from finnish F1 journalist.

    Kimi said that he lost extra 5 sec in pitstop in safety car situation because screw of his front tyre was stuck. At least that explain a little bit why he was so low after that pit stop.

    Heikki was angry after race and been kicking walls and said in finnish that howcome he can win races when McLaren do not let him race. and after that a lot of finnish svear words like “perkele”. Poor Heikki. Ron Dennis said that team did not ask Heikki let Lewis go, that it was Heikkis own choice.
    But Heikki told to finnish newspaper that team told him by radio. Not by excatly those words but telling him that Lewis is behinde him and that he is much much faster. So Heikki said that he just open door to Lewis and did not try hold him.

    Well that makes sense ofcourse.

    There is only one F1 journalist in Finland with who both drivers talk a lot of, even Kimi. And that is Heikki Kulta. He was there allready when Keke Rosberg won WDC. He allways tell to us what other journalist in press room talk : before race and during race.

  23. Daniel, I am no brit but the naysayers will always be here, if they cant criticise his driving they will disguise their discontent with some remarks about McLaren “teamorders” and so on. I thought I saw the same in Canada from BMW and in France from Ferrari, just the logic of letting the fastest go on racing. If Heikki really had some pace surely he’d have caught up with Massa and at least finished ahead of Heidfeld. I guess its good for the driver WC to have a nr1 driver but if Heikki doesnt up his pace he contributes nothing to the constructors WC.

  24. To use an old cliche, a true champion is a person who wins through adversity. Lewis Hamilton, love him or loathe him, has that determination and drive to win.
    Many drivers, seeing the laps wind down, and with a podium signed sealed and delivered, would have settled for second or third. Hamilton, just doesn’t believe in finishing second.
    This has been highlighted before, by his performance in Brazil last year. Hamilton had to finish fourth to be champion, but his desire to win outright, overpowered everything else.
    I can see why alot of people don’t like Hamilton, but you can not say that he is not good value for money. McLaren, not for the first time, almost shot themselves in the foot, and were lucky to get away with it. One thing is for sure, Lewis Hamilton was never a one season wonder.
    As for Felipe Massa, I believe he did a good enough job following his disastrous Silverstone race. He is still only four points behind Hamilton, and, most important of all, ahead of Raikkonen and Kubica.
    As for Raikkonen, he needs to really get to grips with things fast if he wants to maintain pressure on the leaders. The big danger for him, is not so much Hamilton, but Massa.
    If Massa maintains his pace, and Kimi does not manage to find his, Ferrari are going to be forced to choose.
    Its hard for a team to decide when their two drivers are so close on points, but when a gap emerges, and with the races running down, decisions will be made as to who Ferrari bank on to win for them.
    To be honest, I will be mightily surprised if Raikkonen allows this to happen, but on his current form, he has to be on his guard.
    Kubica does not have so much of a problem internally, but he needs to improve too. These last two events have dented his title ambitions to some extent, but there is still time.

  25. I think these last two races have rather firmly established Lewis Hamilton as the most talented driver in Formula 1. To beat your competition by over 1 minute in very wet conditions and then make up more than five seconds and pass three cars in the last 15 laps to win are pretty stunning and memorable drives. Furthermore, his car development skills should receive some high marks with the ground that McLaren have made up this year, as he surely has had a role in that.

    Other drivers to comment on:

    Piquet- Very nice job by him today. A combination of luck and strategy got him up front, but one he was there, he outran a driver in a superior car to hold him off, put distance on him, and then finish second. He redeemed himself today and bought himself some time.

    Vettel- Very nice job by him today. He qualified well, kept his car well into the points the whole race, and overtook Alonso. He has been very quick since Monaco in one of the worst cars in the field. This kid really has a ton of talent. Red Bull is going to see a nice improvement with him behind the wheel of their car next year, as well as with another year of Webber. With high praise from Schumacher, I’ll bet serious money that Vettel will be in a Ferrari seat within the next 2-3 years.

    Alonso- A truly pathetic race from him. He had a good starting position, but he dropped like a stone through the field, being passed by a number of drivers with inferior teams. For whatever reason, he is looking truly uninspired these days and definitely unhappy driving for Renault.

    Raikkonen- A very good performance by him today. He had a poor qualifying effort, but he make a couple of nice overtakes in the opening stages of the race. The Ferrari was off the pace today, but he made the best of it, charging through the field after the queue in the Ferrari pit set him back in the field. Despite being dealt a bad hand this weekend, he kept fighting until the end, showing very good resolve. He’s still very much in this title fight.

    Heidfeld- He had a poor qualifying effort, and the BMW was down this weekend. However, he had a characteristically solid, smooth drive characteristic. BMW made a great call to keep him out under the safety car, and he picked up enough time to come out ahead of Kovalainen and challenge Massa for the podium. He had a very good race. I hope that BMW keeps him on for next year, as he is a very good, quick, and consistent driver who is reportedly very good at working with engineers.

    Kovalainen- Circumstances conspired against him, but it was a very good day for him. He made a terrific overtake on Kubica to get into the top five. Without the safety car, he was headed for a podium finish, and he almost got by Massa for second today. As a McLaren fan, I hope he is kept on the team for next year. He is a very quick driver who has been consistent and has suffered from some bad luck this year, and if he keeps putting together good runs like this, he will soon get his first grand prix win. He’s fully capable of winning many GPs and challenging for a world championship.

    Massa- Not a bad race for him. The Ferrari wasn’t good enough to challenge for victory today. He made no mistakes and brought home a podium finish, which is what he needed after a truly horrendous performance in the wet at Silverstone.

    Kubica- A pretty average race for him. The BMW wasn’t very competitive today, but he earned a points finish. He will for sure be one of the leading contenders for the WDC next year, as BMW has reportedly taken a strong initiative to prepare for the rules changes.

    Glock- He was having a great race until that terrible accident. He was well positioned for a points finish, and I believe he was on a one-stopper. I hope he has a speedy recovery and starts having some better luck, as he is a very talented driver who has yet to show his full potential. I believe he has two more years on his contract, and I hope Toyota keeps him on and gives him time to improve his results.

    Trulli- Not his best race. He gave up spots early in the race, and he failed to finish in the points. He did have an excellent qualifying performance this weekend, however.

  26. Missouri Mike- If you’re from Missouri, greetings from Pennsylvania! Indeed a good qualifying spot for Trulli, but not his best race. However, I think he has been very consistent during the entire season thus far, and while today was not his best, I think he’s got a great deal left in the tank.

    Snoopy- That is some serious stuff, and we will see if anything more comes out of it. If it’s true, my credit to you for spilling the beans on the incident. For what little part of the post-race interview that SPEED did show, I do give Lewis some credit for praising Heikki for “being a good teammate”>

    Overall, a good show this weekend. Hamilton drove a great race and deserved the win, in my view. Piquet has really pulled his tail out of the fire- am I the only one who is wondering how good o;’ Fernando is feeling after today’s results?

  27. BTW, I must put the question to keith and all of you more experienced folks: Many people talked about this circuit being good for Ferrari and their style of setitng up the car. If Lewis and McLaren look as dominant as they did today, how do you think Ferrari will bounce back in the later races?

  28. To me , there was actually not that much wrong with Ferrari , considering they finished ahead of one McLaren , and Massa was able to keep a resurgent and charging Heidfeld behind him for a number of the closing laps , even with some fading brakes , which maybe prevented him making a move on Piquet for second. Lewis Hamilton just seems to have moved up a gear into a world of his own from the wet Silverstone race , and now it’s looking like he is in control and the man to beat . Well done to him , and also Piquet for his first podium , some luck involved , but he kept the car on track with a reasonable pace for his strategy.

  29. The McLaren was truly dominant and at the hands of Lewis, even more so. Also, well done to Piquet. You take your luck.

    Special mention to Alonso… thanks for making the race entertaining. He was aggressive, but the machinery didn’t allow passing as easy as the top two. The car is still not as good as the Toyotas and Red Bulls I feel. He had a terrible race and needs to go back to the drawing board with his starts and passing.

    Keith, can we get some stats on the winners and loser off the line? Who has made the best and worst starts? Methinks Alonso has lost more places than he’s gained.

    Hamilton has won respect during the last two races.
    His arrogance has to go out the window, but you can’t help loving watching him drive.

  30. I’m sorry but I have to dispute the term ‘Blunder’ in the headline. Are we so used to the old ‘Perfection’ of Schuey/Brawn that when a team tries a different ‘Tactic’ which might suit the ‘Driver’ and the ‘Race’, we all cry ‘Wolf’?
    Lets see a little commonsense here, especially those of you out there in Medialand! You are criticising a dramatic chance taken by McLaren – who got it right, and not pointing the finger at Ferrari who played it by the book and got it wrong? Go and have a rethink before the next race! And in a race that was predicted by everyone (including me) to be a Ferrari walkover, we got amazing overtaking and a dramatic finish. I know the Safety Car was also a factor, but someone trackside was thinking it through…
    Lets see some fair reportage on the actual events and not just hot air from the armchair drivers, otherwise I will assume you are all working for ITV Sport!

  31. A quick comparison to the equivalent races of last year gives that Hamilton is -6p, Massa -9p, Kimi -4p. Even though Alonso is gone all the contenders have less points compared to last year, maybe due to more silly mistakes which the BMWs have taken advantage of.

    Anyway I feel Hungary is a splendid opportunity for Massa, he has never performed there and had a horrible race last year. Get a podium and he will be well poised for the finish, Ham and Kim hardly has anything to win there compared to last year when they finished 1 and 2.

  32. Peter Boyle
    21st July 2008, 10:51

    Yup, it is too much to claim blunder when Hamilton won,
    and we really don’t know what would have happend had he come into
    the pitlane.

    Maybe with Hamilton the best bet is to give him a really fast
    car and leave him on the track than to get too smart
    with pit strategy.

  33. Was the non-pit a blunder? I’m not so sure, I think McLaren simply gambled that Hamilton could get a big enough gap before his last pitstop. What didnt help was the safety car staying out so long (Ferrari influence?? ;) ).

    Hero = Hamilton – Best driver around at the moment…
    Zero = Massa – Has he finally been found out?? awful..

  34. The already much criticised “blunder” McLaren made by not pitting Lewis , in fact could have cost them the race if they had pitted him then. Think about it , it would have had to have been the second and final stop , meaning soft option tyres for 28 more laps – he would have been fuelled heavier at first and later end up running canvas by the end and losing 5 seconds a lap to Massa or even Piquet. While it ended quite comfortably in the end , but looked very close at one stage , I don’t think they had any other choice.

  35. Agree with a few comments. McLaren made the right call for the Constructor’s Championship. They made the right call for the WDC too when they gave Heikki a nudge. Kudos to them and Hamilton. He only managed to be beaten in the press room by Piquet’s rambling answers and Massa’s patriotism (or is that patronism?).

  36. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    21st July 2008, 13:48

    Hamilton is moving into a world of his own now, that was one of the best wins i have seen in the 11 years ive been watching. Abit miffed byu people praising kimi raikkonen, yes he made a few overtaking moves, thwe safety car didn help him, but he wasnt exactly doing well before it he couldnt get near trulli in the 1st part of the race he was terrible.

    about the team orders, if heikki really was complaining to the finnish media, he has no right too he was about 7/10ths slower than hamilton in the same car . i know hes had some bad luck this year but in my opinion hes been terrible hes not making the most of his car.

    well doine to piquet maybe thios result will see him get abit closer to alonso and take some pressure off him.

    Good race again even before the SC a bit of overtaking, as for the WDC i think your money has to be on hamilton now, absolutley unstoppable

  37. DG – I think you’re wide of the mark in your comments about ‘fairness’ on this site. McLaren not bringing Hamilton in was definitely a mistake. They admitted it themselves by apologising to Hamilton afterwards, many people at the time thought it was a msitake (there were plenty of people on the live blog who thought McLaren had thrown the win away) and much of the reportage of the race I’ve read today characterises it as a mistake.

    If Hamilton hadn’t been able to pass Massa and Piquet – which was by no means a given – we’d be sitting here talking about how another McLaren pit blunder ruined their race (see Shanghai ’07, Interlagos ’07 and more for other examples).

    AndyWolf – I don’t think there was a Ferrari influence in how long the safety car was out for. As we’ve seen before it takes a while to get the lapped cars unlapped and back onto the rear of the field. And there seemed to be some confusion about how it was supposed to work as Fisichella ended up getting a penalty because of it. As Dennis admitted afterwards, McLaren just underestimated how long it would all take.

    Alex & Toby – I know what you mean but if McLaren really did get on the radio and directly instruct Kovalainen to let Hamilton past they will have been taking an enormous risk. Just as we didn’t hear BMW instruct Heidfeld to let Kubica past at Montreal, or Ferrari arrange the pit stops that allow Raikkonen to pass Massa at Interlagos last year, these things are done rather more subtly (as Snoopy described). But they are done, of course. But remember Kovalainen had been running slower than Massa for much of the race and Hamilton didn’t have much difficulty passing Massa, did he?

    Gman – That’s a subject for another article I think…

  38. Keith, i was joking….

  39. A question for “internet’ comment #22 above states:
    “Actually, last season Massa made more passes on track than any other driver.”

    I have seen this ‘fact’ elsewhere but haven’t been able to verify it, do you know where you got the data?

    And a reason to read these blogs is the entertainment based on baseless OPINION:

    Hero = Hamilton – Best driver around at the moment…
    Zero = Massa – Has he finally been found out?? awful..

    I might remind the author of this remark that “ZERO-Massa” HAS been “found out”, he’s a fairly good driver and ranks second in the driver standings, a close second!

    This years Ferrari TEAM is not the Ferrari TEAM of the Schumacher era. The TEAM made some poor tyre decisions
    at Silverstone which scuttled their drivers chances, and both cars suffered grip problems at Hochenheim, again not a direct driver problem but a TEAM problem. I’m still undecided whether McLaren’s car has improved or Ferrari are merely loosing ground through mis-management. Anyone care to offer their opinion?

  40. I was surprised to see the percentage who voted the race as “Perfect 10” or 9.
    If I am to give 9 or 10 for this race what I would have given to Silverstone or Monaco? May be 14/15?? ;)

  41. Andy – Ah, OK! But I think some people might think you weren’t.

    Number 38 – I don’t understand your comment – are you saying Massa is doing well or badly?

    Nirupam – Might be because it’s been so long since we saw a dry race decided by an overtaking move. I think Suzuka ’05 is the last time that happened.

  42. @ 20 Paul – Everytime Kimi is on pole, whether he has Hamilton or Massa behind him, he has outpaced them considerably. Also, whenever he has been 2nd, and Hamilton or Massa on pole he has outpaced them to win most of the time. Lewis and Massa always qualify light, since their race pace is garbage compared to Kimi. Same with Kubica, he is always light.

  43. Wow, calm down Number 38…

  44. Keith – come on now, we all know if that had been a Ferrari move this blog would be full of praises for the clever thinking of the team.
    So Dennis apologised for getting the timing wrong, so it depended on Hammy having to pass other cars. Isn’t that what we are all hoping to see? Or is everyone out there just wanting silly Schuey era Ferrari 1 – 2 every race still?

  45. Nick@44 Are we talking about the same people here?Kimi has been below par for the past two races and needs a kick up the butt. The Ferrari is not as bad as he makes it look. Bet u Schumi wished someone else was driving that Ferrari on sunday as he looked a bit baffled by the race.And how Martin Brundle could rate Piquet as driver of the day is beyond me, yes he drove a fantastic race but was a bit lucky. Driver of the day was obviously Lewis who really drove his heart out to win. I agree with Keith that his team miscalculated things and almost cost him the race.

  46. DG – I really don’t agree – especialy in the light of the total balls-up Ferrari made of Raikkonen’s race at Silverstone.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to see wheel-to-wheel racing like we had – it’s what I watch motor racing for! But that’s not what the teams are trying to do, they’re trying to win races. And McLaren compromised Hamilton’s effort to do that yesterday.

  47. Hi Keith,

    You don’t understand where a “close second” is in the drivers standings?
    Hamilton is First, Massa is second, Kimi is third …..
    That would put Massa on the “doing well” end of the scale.

    The “ZERO-Massa” remark was clipped from #35 above. He’s the chap who thinks Massa is awful. I must admit in the Hochenheim race Massa did make an error that let Hammy inside, that set up the great maneuver that thrilled the world, blah, blah, blah. A closer review indicates
    some contact, apparently Hamilton’s left front tyre touched Massa’s right rear, there’s a small bobble to the Ferrari, but then Hammy just drove Massa off the road………TWICE ! You reported the second ‘off’ as “defending his position” but both moves on Hammy’s part were clearly OFFENSIVE, he forced all four wheels of the Ferrari off. This level of driving is usually reserved for go-karts. Had Massa spun out Hammy would have improved his lead further, a fact that I’m sure someone was thinking about at the time, do I have to suggest WHO?

    I get a kick out of reading F1 blogs, yours and others, as there are so many STRONG opinions, many of the ‘hate’ variety and Massa does draw the ire of many. WHY?
    Hamilton and Massa have been the talk of the town for the passed couple weeks but I like ALL F1 drivers and often find myself watching lesser ‘races’ ….. i.e. Trulli/Webber/Alonso or the Rosberg/Nagajima duel.

    two weeks to go …… Hungary

  48. Keith – I just think we have possibly seen THE move of the season, even if it appeared misjudged at the time, and you will be kicking yourself later for not recognising it!
    Jolene – I think Brundle gave Driver of the Day to Nelson for the same reason I would – he actually stayed on track for a whole race and kept it together for once, unlike Alonso who threw it all away.
    So we had a race with slow Ferraris for once – how come the other teams didn’t manage to take advantage?

  49. Keith, if McLaren called Lewis in, he still has to overtake Piquet on track.(If he did’t get overtaken in the pit lane by Massa, it happened in Canada)

    Either way Lewis is going to lose the lead, which strategy would be better/right, we will never know. McLaren appolized to Lewis, because it’s the hard way they chose, not necessarily the wrong way.

  50. @Number 38
    Come on man! Dont you think that Massa could have done much better had he not done the mistakes? He is “close second” still, but how can you justify his race in Silverstone (by spinning 5 times!) and two DNFs he had against his name in the halfway mark?
    Had he not done that, he would have been where Lewis is now. In other words, he could not simply capitalise the mistakes made by Lewis, neither did Kimi.
    @Keith
    Baring that overtaking move by Lewis(that too would not have been required unless the SC period), was there really any good at all compared to other races of the year? And the new circuit also spoiled the chance of some more entertainments, i guess.

  51. I am amazed at the excellent demonstration of selective memory by some people… it was just two race ago when everyone was calling Lewis Cross Eyed and what not… and today he is the darling just because he has won two races on the trot…

    all said and done (or as Keith loves to say) Felipe is not as gifted (good) as half the grid… but he tries harder than anyone else to be up there with everyone else… it is easy to support the guy who is winning it all… try saving a thought for the underdog or the dark horse…

  52. 47 – Silverstone?!? The race where Kimi was catching Lewis a second a lap before the team didn’t change his tires?!?

    You’ve obviously bought into the lewis hype huge.

  53. blunder or not i have to say that i really don’t like that closed pit thing. that is so cart/champ car and holding them closed until they’re bunched up so everyone and their granny come plowing in and out may make good viewing but it’s just a needless gamble that no one collides or takes out a mechanic. i originally thought maybe they were just weighing that risk in since the car (and driver, yeah) were the class of the day. it happened more than once in cart.

    ook at what happened to alonso on the way out of the pit. a really strict adherence to the rules book if hamilton were in his place might have cost a win. what actually are the rules about being forced over the blend line, anyway?

  54. @Nick: Kimi only started catching him up when the track started drying since Ferrari was a better car in the dry. If you look a the lap times you will find that once Kimi got the new intermediates, Lewis was still lapping faster than Kimi in the same wet conditions.

  55. I really hate the guy (specially his PR side) but LH proved yesterday that he is really hungry for victory. Some other would have sit on the third place and blame the team… These points may be worth a WC
    The downside of the weekend was ferrari. At this point of the season I have to admit that I am completely lost. Just when I though they got by far the best car, they stop winning… I specialy disapointed with Kimi, he had some back luck at the begining of the season, but he also has a clear Q3 problem, I really hope he can fight back in Hungary, otherwise we are set for a MCL parade.

  56. Dissapointing also was the BMW weekend – hope they can close the gap again and spice up the championship….
    Vettel was impressive – had the equal or the measure of the RBR cars for the most of the weekend ; will be great to see him and Webb together nxt year

  57. @Nick, I’m actually not a Hamilton fan but can be unbiased and give him the credit he deserves. That was a brilliant drive on sunday from him. What freaks me out about Kimi is his lacklustre performances. I want to see drivers hungry to win, no matter who they are but he is wasting his talent. So yes, I could become a huge fan of Lewis coz man, did he remind me of Schumi on sunday.

  58. Everybody is saying that Lewis drove brilliantly. I don’t know about that. He certainly drove well, but his car was way ahead of the rest. The moment he caught Massa, he was running close to 2 secs per lap faster than the Ferrari. There was no way Massa could keep him behind (if he had defended the possition in the place where the overtake took place, it would have happened somewhere else). And for those who do not rate Massa highly…well..just look at Kimi’s performance to see the difference between the Mclarens and the Ferrari. Furthermore, also for those who don’t think much of Massa, if you are right, what is so wonderful about overtaking a bad driver who is driving an highly inferior car?

  59. Just one more thing: Blatant team orders are currently forbiden. It, however, did not keep Kovi from unmistakenly giving a position to Lewis. Shouldn’t they have been both penalised?

  60. michael counsell
    22nd July 2008, 13:55

    If another safety car had come out in those 8 laps following the safety car, Hamilton and Heidfeld would have finished way down the order. I’m pretty sure that the laps followin ga safety car tend to be the ones most likely for another incident requiring a safety car to occur.

  61. Antifa – so how far back into the race weekend do you want to apply this rule?
    At Q3 – when both cars might be set up differently for the race (by the TEAM)
    At Q2 – when the better driver might be set up with a car significantly lighter than the other (by the TEAM)
    At Q1 – when BOTH drivers might have shared knowledge about race setup (with the TEAM)
    At Practice – when the TEAM learn about the track
    This is a TEAM event, with the TEAM scoring points as well as the drivers, and if you don’t allow teammates to overtake then whats the point?
    The ruling is to do away with a possible switching between cars in the final laps of the race, but even then I still think its within the spirit of racing – as pointed out elsewhere, the TEAMs are out to win races!

  62. michael counsell: maybe in Canada or in rain but Hockenheim is hardly the track that causes SC these days, the Glock accident was a unpredictable suspension failure. The runoff areas are simply too big discounting other “freak” incidents.

    Antifia: that is the silliest thing ever. Which car was way faster? Did Kova even have the chance to sniff upp on Massa and get ahead of Heidfeld? By some reason he has kept an inferior pace in the same car as in 9 out of 10 races this season. By that logic Kimi should have defended his place against Massa fiercly in France since his pace wasnt affected vs the other team’s cars.

  63. I don’t know why you got so irritated about my comments DG. I agree with you: F1 is a team thing (no capitals required. Not blind, you know?). My objection is that British fans like to have it both ways in their thirst to make Lewis into a Super Driver. You have a car that is way faster than the competition, your victory has to be put down to that. When it comes to how far back I meant my rule to apply. Well read my text: I was talking about the race – perhaps I should have put that in capitals for you…
    Jian, Kovi’s car did not have a broken exaust sticking out…and rules are rules. You may want them thrown away now that Mclaren has a clear first and second driver line-up (and you seem to be a Lewis fan), but did you hold the same opinion when, say, RB had to let Michael through in Austria 02?

  64. Antifia – I think DG’s point was that although McLaren had a performance advantage over the rest of the field, Hamilton had a clear performance over Kovalainen as well. Kovalainen never looked like beating Massa; Hamilton thrashed him.

    Regarding team order, what McLaren did was no more blatant than what BMW did at Montreal, or Ferrari did at Interlagos last year. I’m no big fan of team orders myself, but if we’re going to punish McLaren for it then we shouldn’t ignore what the others have done.

  65. Antifa – didn’t mean to get steamed up before, but it is a sore point with me. No capitals now, honest.
    I do understand your point about during the race, but wouldn’t you agree that when Hammy came out behind Kovi, they would have to battle for position? Since Hammy is ahead in the Championship and had a faster car, which team wouldn’t have let him overtake the other driver? It is done by one team or another in virtually every race.
    And I think Rubey letting Schuey through in 02 comes into the same category, but it happened when both cars where well ahead of the field, and I would have to say that it was still perfectly fair. In a team of 2, one of the drivers will come 2nd.
    The only dubious passing was done in the race (was it Indy?) when Rubey was supposed to draw alongside Schuey for a showy finish and messed it up to win the race, taking points away from Schuey, but that was a kind of ‘just deserts’ for the team being too clever.
    I will still hold my point that F1 is a team sport however, and the team cannot operate over the weekend (including the race) unless somebody is giving orders…..

  66. Antifia: I support the team = McLaren. Thereby I support Lewis since he seems much faster than Heikki. Hence why I supported Mika ahead of DC and Kimi ahead of Montoya (who annoyed me greatly being gifted enough to win as well as to ram his own teammate). I was a big Kimi fan but he moved, now I prefer him to Massa but would rather see Heikki do well.

    Anyway the point was that Kimi didnt lose time or position to other cars, Ferrari was so superior in France that he only lost time vs his own team mate, even with the “broken exhaust”. Massa passed and the WC standing is now Massa 54p, Kimi 51p instead of Kimi 53p, Massa 52p. This directly affects Kimis WC hopes. However in the last race Heikki would have finished 5th anyway but the different is a 4th for Lewis and 1st. Thats a difference of 5p for the driver and the team! Rubens 2002 on the other hand had the pace of Schumacher till the finish line, thereby making the “overtaking” a farce between at least in that race equally fast team mates.

    If you nitpick and confuse team orders with team tactics then I feel sorry that you can’t enjoy these races more.

    Keith: may I suggest a drivers debate for Heikki soon? Maybe we should wait and see how he fares at a track where McLaren normally dominates in Hungary but I’d say one 3rd podium in the quickest car on the grid is a bit underwhelming.

  67. I believe that the difference between team orders and team tactics is in the eye of the beholder. And I agree that Interlagos last year was a clear case of team orders (tactics?) going unpunished. What botters me is the hypocrisy. They should just scrap the rule and let the teams work like teams. It would create a strange situation in which a good team with two top drivers would be at a disadvantage against a good team with only one (in what concerns the driver’s title) but so be it.
    Keith: Regarding Jian’s suggestion about a discussion on Heikki, I also think it would be a good idea. Is Kovi crap in a good car or is he a good driver in a not so good car (in which case, Lewis would be doing an amazing job indeed…attracting idea ahn?)?

  68. Antifia – Yes, that is what I have been trying to say all along. The rules would have to change dramatically to allow for proper one-on-one racing between the drivers, with each one allowed an individual Pit Box and Pit Crew. If there is a Pit Boss to decide when the car pits, then isn’t that orders/tactics too?

  69. Thanks Keith. You are always objective.

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