Hamilton fumes after strategy mistake

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

An extra pit stop cost Hamilton a likely podium
An extra pit stop cost Hamilton a likely podium

Lewis Hamilton performed brilliantly in the Australian Grand Prix but was clearly angry at finishing only sixth having run third earlier in the race.

Hamilton blamed the team’s decision for him to make a second stop for tyres on lap 35. That dropped him behind the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Although he caught them at around 1.5 seconds per lap Hamilton struggled to pass Alonso. On the team radio he repeatedly asked the team about the decision to make an extra pit stop and complained that he had no grip on his last set of tyres.

Hamilton had successfully made several passes earlier in the race, beginning with a move on his team mate. He then lost several positions when most of the field pitted for tyres.

He got into a three-way battle with Massa and Ma rk Webber, first passing Massa and then trying to get by Webber at turn three. Webber ran deep into the corner and Hamilton got passed – but Massa moved ahead of the pair of them.

Hamilton got back ahead of Massa but clipped the Ferrari on his way past, damaging his front wing. He then caught Nico Rosberg.

After several attempts Hamilton got around the outside of Rosberg at the high-speed turn 11. Rosberg came back at him, but with yellow flags at the next corner due to Sebastian Vettel’s crashed Red Bull he was unable to re-pass.

Now up to third, Hamilton spent several laps behind Robert Kubica, his team took the decision to bring him in the pits for fresh tyres. Some other cars behind him had already pitted, but Kubica and the Ferraris stayed out.

After several attempts Hamilton was looking around the outside of Alonso at turn 15 when he was hit by Mark Webber.

Webber apologised to Hamilton after the race. But should the McLaren driver have been in the position in the first place?

At the end of the race it was clear the drivers who hadn’t changed tyres were lapping much slower – by up to two seconds per lap compared to drivers like Hamilton and Webber who’d taken new tyres.

If Hamilton hadn’t pitted, what state would his tyres have been in by the end of the race? While drivers like Button and Kubica had been able to preserve their tyres after their early first stop, Hamilton had given his a lot of punishment in making his way through the field.

But it’s not likely Hamilton’s tyres were in such bad shape that he wouldn’t have been able to keep the Ferraris behind.

The gamble backfired, and Hamilton clearly isn’t happy at losing a likely third and a potential second for sixth place after a great drive.

320 comments on “Hamilton fumes after strategy mistake”

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  1. Had Hamilton not pitted the best he could have had was third place. Don´t think it was a bad choise piting. Had he overtook Alonso most certainly would have past Massa too.
    The problem for him was Alonso in front and Webber behind him. To win the race he just needed to be as brave as Jenson was. Great drive from Jenson but the man of the day was KUBICA.

  2. Guys! Stop using the verb “to deserve”! It’s embarassing…

  3. I would have thought it’s far more understandable Mr Hamilton getting worked up after the disappointing result in that race than it is all you guys getting equally worked up about Lewis getting worked up!

  4. Hamilton could have won this with one stop only if mclaren had magic tyres only for him that would have lasted. Everyone knows that the two Mclaren drivers are at opposite ends of the tyre wear grid and if Hamilton stayed out he would have not made it to the end. His fast and agressive driving does not suit the new regs.

    1. stop living in the past.

    2. This is incorrect. Button did not manage his tyres better than Lewis – He simply did not overtake, or attempt to overtake anyone, and Moreover, he was not in anyones “dirty” air, so his tyres should be in much better shape than Lewis who fought his way up. Looking at Lewis’s pace before the stop, he would definitely have passed Kubica eventually, and caught up with Button.

      1. ” Moreover, he was not in anyones “dirty” air” But then Hamilton was in dirty air so his tyres were getting worn when he couldn’t overtake Kubica.

        1. In the interview done with Hamilton, it’s obvious he doesn’t agree with that assessment though

  5. I see the australians fans were as gracious in defeat as always…these young men risk their lives (granted for a very attractive paycheque) to provide us with entertainment and thrilling racing, to boo them is a disgrace.

    I imagine it was the minority, but a disgrace none the less.

    1. If you’re referring to the “boos” that came from the crowd when Jenson was handed his trophy, I think you’ll find that was directed squarely at the Victorian premier who was handing Jenson the trophy, not at Jenson.

      It happens almost without fail at every major sporting event where politicians hand over the trophies.

      1. Oh I see, thats fair enough then.

        Just I thought there was also boos when John Travolta also handed over the trophy.

        1. Terry Fabulous
          29th March 2010, 11:19

          Hiya Andrew.

          I was hanging off the fence 15m from the podium yesterday when the trophies came out… The only person who got booed was indeed the premier of Victoria!

          Button got a rousing cheer, he is well liked.

          But the biggest roars where from the tifosi for Felipe, the vocal Poles for Kubica and loudest of all…. For Danny Zuko himself.

          John is LOVED in oz!

    2. there lives? that was more than twenty years ago. They don’t risk anything but their reputations nowadays.

      1. Kobayashi could have easily taken Hulkenberg’s head off if he had struck on the cockpit instead of the engine cover. Risk is less these days but still exists. Massa could tell you that, Henry Surtees can’t.

  6. A very good drive from Hamilton (you really can’t argue against him for driver of the day), who looked to have the measure of Button depsite finishing 5 places behind him. Just the split-strategy working against him today.

    Some sublime passing moves as well. I’d have loved to have seen a show-down between the two Mclaren drivers had Hamilton gotten up into 2nd and not stopped again.

  7. From top 8, to me Schumi was the biggest loser. Awful almost everywhere, slower cars with slower drivers and he couldn’t do anything. This is his last season if he doesn’t improve soon.

    Massa is the the second worse driver. Very slow when compared to Alonso and didn’t really overtake anyone. Lucky Lewis and Mark pitted otherwise there wouldn’t have been a podium for him.

    Rosberg, meeh..nothing special but he’s beating his team mate nicely.

    Webber, had good pace but didn’t overtake many. Shouldn’t have pitted for tires but not his fault as all drivers rely on their teams. The crash with Lewis was though.

    Vettel was great, shame he couldn’t really demonstrate much as he’s very quick in a very quick car. This guy needs to start last )

    Button is not the best driver of the day. Making strategy calls is your team’s job. He knew he would have no chance of podium had he stayed out longer so he pitted. That to me looks like a gamble and not a well calculated decision. Teams make strategy calls all the time because they really have more info than the driver. Apart from the strategy there was nothing, well maybe the fact that Lewis passed him on the same tires.

    Alonso couldn’t have done better with what he was given. I am now in favor of manditory pit stops. the guy was incredibly good recovering from last place. He overtook slower cars, drivers as if they weren’t there. Once he caught Hamilton he couldn’t overtake and then with Massa he didn’t have the tires especially as he knew he would have to defend from Lewis later on. I still think he should have overtaken some fast guys and because he didn’t he is not the driver of the day.

    Lewis is! Clearly made full use of his car, overtook so many really fast guys in really fast cars, even his team mate. He did exactly what F1 fans want to watch. Most of you say this was a perfect race. Why? Was it because Button made a right strategy call? pfff… Lewis clearly deserved to be on the podium. Now the strategy. I cannot believe some of you say McLaren are playing against Lewis. Given the fact that Lewis did so many overtakes before, it wasn’t a bad assumption the he would do a few more with fresh rubber. The car was good, the driver is known for his skill to overtake + clean air. I’m sure strategists thought it would be easy to overtake Ferraris. What nobody knew is if medium compound tire can hold for 50 laps. Now we do but that’s the first time we ever saw cars running so long on them so can’t blame the team. If I were Lewis I would be angry too. I will not direct that anger at someone but I will be angry. He knows how good he is and we cannot possibly know what it feels like to lose at something you know you’re best in.

    I just hope he keeps on racing the way he does.

    1. Good post. I agree with what you say. (I had to add that second sentence as apparently 2 words is too short for a post :))

    2. “Button is not the best driver of the day. Making strategy calls is your team’s job.”

      And the team failed to do their job for Hamilton, so looking back on it, Button was right to take matters into his own hands and take the gamble.

  8. Yet again terrible strategy ruins Hamilton’s race, by my count thats 6 catastrophic errors by McLaren, undoing great races from LH. Getting very annoying. His tyres were clearly OK, and he would I think have taken 2nd.

    How can Webber still be at Red Bull, hes so out classed by the drivers around him. Just makes tons of excuses when he dosnt get a result, nearly every race, and Vettel hammers him with a fraction of the experience, and xcant judge braking points.

    What a great race, congrats to JB, impressive strategy and reading of the race, JB seems one of the most cunning and smart drivers out

  9. Normally Mclaren make good calls for Hamilton, but i thought if they overestimated the tire wear on his car… but having said that… i’m sure Hamilton now knows how Heikki Kovalainen felt for last two seasons.

    1. Wait what? Heikki knew he did all he could but lewis was better.

      Now Lewis drove a better race except results don’t show that.

      1. true, but Heikki got all the B grade race strategies & Lewis enjoyed most of the attention… this is prolly the 1st time he got a B grade pit call compared to his team mate..

        1. The team weren’t faced with a hard choice, it’s not like they had 2 guys on the same strategy running close together. The gave Hamilton the best, from their perspective.

  10. For me Alonso was the driver of the race. Finishing 4th from being over 10 seconds behind the guy in 19th seems pretty amazing to me.

    1. David Watkins
      28th March 2010, 12:17

      Not considering the safety car and the slowness of the second half of the grid.

      1. Doesn’t matter. He put Schumacher to shame.

        1. David Watkins
          28th March 2010, 13:45

          Well that’s true. Go De Grassi. Great moment

  11. Lewis only went from 11th or 6th…..

    In that time he ruined 2 sets of tyres, the first was while he was hammering to catch up and caused the stop he needed too take and then winged about.

    The second was ruined when he caught the ferrari. Clearly its still impossible to follow a car closely in the dry as it causes epic understeer and ruins the tyres.

    For me driver of the day was either Jenson for his intelligent driving and brilliant pit stop. Or Fernando for coming from the back to finish 4th.

    1. This post shows the inconsistency of F1 fans.
      You want overtaking, but overtaking puts more wear on the tyres. Lewis shows everyone what F1 should be about, but we complain he cant manage his tyres. Yes he went through 2 sets, but he made the most(and best)overtaking manoeuvres in the whole race. Overtaking cost tyres – FACT. What is it to be? Overtake, and put on a good show, whilst using more tyres, and people say ur n idiot,or be conservative, don’t push, don’t overtake, manage ur tyres and people say you drove a “brilliant” race? F1 fans, make your mind up!!!

      1. Gigantor – couldn’t have put it better myself.

        I don’t even see any evidence that Lewis had hurt his first set, but in any case you’re 100% right about this.

  12. What a fantastic race. Australia didn’t disappointed me.Great call from Jenson for the tyres, but for me the man of the day was KUBICA second place with Renault fifth best car on the grid RESPECT, yes I know Alonso did great to recover from the last place, and I feel sad for Sebastian Vettel. But what Kubica did with his Renault was great any single mistake defended beautiful against Lewis. Yes and I would like to see on the youtube Solid as a Rock song with Kubica too.

  13. ConcedoNulli
    28th March 2010, 12:24

    If Hamilton had not pitted I don’t think that he would have had the capability to protect his tyres. He lost say 25s in the pitstop and would have still have finished behind Button.

    Jenson had the brain/technical savvy to do the maths to change tyres and drive at 99% to assure a well deserved win. Hamilton likes to think he is an aggressive racer but relies 100%(?) on technical backup from the pitwall. Although Lulu thinks he is Senna reincarnated but there is more to it than wearing a yellow helmet.

    It will be interesting to see the dynamics within McLaren – no doubt there will be lots more teddies thrown out of the Lulu pram.

  14. I’d like to officially complain about this racist and offensive comment.

    1. BTW – you have no problem about me calling a white guy a donkey? Another example of double standards.

      1. There is no way you don’t really understand the significance – you are being disingenuous. Typical.

        1. Britanichris
          28th March 2010, 16:21

          genious, beauty and knowledge of F1 is in the eye of the beholder. I see a lot of you watched the REPLAY yes the REPLAY. Was’nt it a great race ? where were you F1 fanatics at 6am ?

          1. Mouse_Nightshirt
            28th March 2010, 19:18

            Are you assuming this because we’re only commenting now? I only went to bed after the F1 forum after an all nighter!

          2. At 6am? In my bed watching the race on my laptop while posting on the live blog. Thanks once again to Keith and the moderators.

          3. I was watching the race live on my 42″ plasma TV and with my Samsung netbook showing me the F1.com live timimg. At the time McLaren made the call to pit Lewis I thought it was the right move. Schumacher and Webber were flying on their initial out laps and got down to laptimes unmatched in that phase of the race. It was a no brainer to pit. Blame Bridgestone for having an option tyre that can go 52 laps! Go to FIA.com’s F1 media centre and look at the race history pdf file and get informed before posting.

    2. Excuuuuse me, but racism?? As far as I can tell, race has never been mentioned here. And, of course, the fact that LH has made an @ss of himself yet again has nothing to do with his race whatsoever.

  15. I think its stupid t say mclaren did anything to ‘favour’ button..

    mclaren arent THAT stupid..

    its far to early in the season to be making acusations like that..

    mclaren could of had a 1-2 so why would they ruin that to favour button..

    button took a gamble and it payed off. simple as.

    only two races down. there’s still a looooong way to go. i still got my money on hamilton finishing on top on button..

  16. Does anyone seriously believe that Mclaren would sabotage Hamiltons chances? Come on! No, he drove well but again showed his lack of class by sticking out his bottom lip as soon as things aren’t going his way. Teddies should be thrown from the pram in private. If I was Whitmarsh I’m afraid Hamiltons comment about ‘we’ll find out’ who made the tyre call would result in a severe dressing down. He needs to grow up and fast.

  17. no penalties for webber. The new way from the stewards, using drivers to judge, it’s working. We miss you not mosley.

    1. If i remember rightly it was actually a Max Mosely initiative before he left power for this to happen this season.

  18. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 12:35

    Lewis is one of the greatest in F1 but let’s face facts. With his driving style I reckon he had an even 50-50 chance of finishing with he’s tyres intact and at least he gained points in what, for me, will be a race remembered for years to come. You sure did thrill us Lewis and that’s what F1 is all about mate.
    A lot of fans think Lewis is the better driver in the team, but with their differing driving styles and of course differing circuits to race on, I think at the end of the season there will be nothing in it, as each will come into his own at different venues. Congrats lads.
    Nice one Robert, Fernando, Sebastian amongst others and Is’nt it great for all here to have witnessed a truly great race and now debate about it. It’s got tongues wagging again and that can only be good for F1.

    1. Lewis didn’t get taken off by his own driving style, but by someone else!

      1. Britanichris
        28th March 2010, 13:30

        Hi there, Lewis had the chance to stay out and continue, he could have made a decision like Jenson did but he went along with Mc Claren. He must know that now and either regret not doing so, or realise the odds of himself completeing the race were against him to an extent. Either way he is good for F1 and a nice young man I reckon. Cheers for your reply, Chris.

        1. Wrong! Jenson was given the choice when to come in. It was pre-discussed between him and his engineer. He was informed of the “window”, because his “inters” had gone off, and was told to make the call of when to come in within that window.
          This is different from Lewis’s stop. He was simply called in and he thought it was a normal strategy call, as nothing had been pre-discussed btw him and his engineer or the team!

          1. Britanichris
            28th March 2010, 16:10

            Yes, you are right, I know that now and thank you for posting. I guess F1 fanatics like me “jump the gun” sometimes about something we are passion about. Cant wait to see next race buddy

  19. What a great race, congrats to JB, impressive strategy and reading of the race, JB seems one of the most cunning and smart drivers out

    He is not smart, :-( He was just lucky. Can you imagine what pple would say had his strategy not worked out? And added to that, he made the calls.

    1. I can’t believe people congratulate him on this. He was falling back on intermediates. If he didn’t gamble he would have been knocked out of top 10 soon. He did the only thing he could, pit.

  20. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 12:39

    Lewis is still a very young man, please give him a break. He will end up being one of the greats

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