Hamilton fumes after strategy mistake

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.

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320 comments on Hamilton fumes after strategy mistake

  1. Captain Caveman said on 28th March 2010, 10:27

    just a quick question, did button actually manage any overtaking manouvers on track? i saw him being passed a number of times but can only conclude that his early pitstop was the only differentiator.

    can anyone else confirm? i am looking at the reruns but still uncertain.

    • mfDB said on 29th March 2010, 16:24

      I think he did, when he was the only one on slicks and the track was drying, but I don’t think he passed any of the front runners until they all pitted a few laps after him…

  2. ILoveVettel said on 28th March 2010, 10:28

    I think Lewis has started to realize that Button is no Kova… hence the fume…

    • beanzoo said on 28th March 2010, 11:47

      totaly agree wit u he has been put back in his place now, seems he really dose need a minder what age is he 5?

    • mfDB said on 29th March 2010, 16:28

      I don’t think Hammy’s fuming has anything at all to do with Buttons result. He was ****** because he was third, pitted and was then fifth. His inexperience led him to yell at the team for making a bad decision, but his comments after the race show that he knows that he AND his team made the wrong call. It has happened many times in F1 to many drivers/teams. It’s really not that big of a deal…I think that this particular situation just happens to be escalated because Button/McLaren made a great call and Hammy/McLaren mad a bad call…

  3. It looked like a reasonable strategy call at the time. The BBC commentators (including Martin Brundle) were certainly under the impression that the Ferraris would be sitting ducks. Alonso was even on the radio asking why Ferrari hadn’t called him in. Hamilton was gaining on the Ferraris so quickly it appeared that he’d have one or both of them fairly easily – he’d certainly passed enough people earlier in the race when on similarly worn tyres. Hamilton was looking like he was about to pass Alonso – but then Webber crashed into him.

    Had Hamilton not stopped there is no guarantee he would have passed Kubica, who never looked under serious threat from Massa. The Ferraris finished close behind the Renault so would probably have been on Hamilton’s tail. Button was well placed to manage his tyre wear but Hamilton would have been forced into either defending from the Ferraris or attacking Kubica.

    Had Hamilton not stopped and his tyres gone off seriously badly he would have been lucky to finish sixth. Had he made it into Q3 he might have won the race…

    • PatrickL said on 28th March 2010, 13:02

      Hamilton was virtally past Alonso when Webber rammed him out.

      Alonso completely missed the corner and was standing still while Hamilton was moving to the inside of him still rolling.

      BTW this again makes me wonder why did Hamilton got penalized in Fuji while Alonso pulls the same stunt here …

      • At best Hamilton was alongside Alonso on the run down to the corner, but on the outside line. While Alonso goes into the corner deep, Hamilton appears to have backed off slightly – presumably to try to get a run on Alonso on the exit. That’s when Webber runs into the back of the McLaren.

        There’s no comparison to Fuji 2008 – Webber was simply too close and got caught out, which is why he apologised to Hamilton and was reprimanded by the stewards.

        • Patrickl said on 28th March 2010, 19:16

          What’s the point of replying when you didn’t even read what I wrote?

        • I read what you wrote – I replied to say how I disagreed with it.

          You said Hamilton was “virtually past” Alonso when Webber hit him, but he wasn’t so I explained why you were wrong.

          You made a comparison to Fuji 2008, but I disagreed with it and explained why.

          Why so confrontational, old chap?

        • Patrickl said on 29th March 2010, 10:16

          Did you see how Rosberg almost made it past Alonso after the accident? Guess not, but Alonso missed that corner by a mile and lost all momentum. Rosberg came from 30 or 50 meter back and actually had to slow down not to ram into the back of (a weaving) Alonso.

          Hamilton would most definately taken that position.

          You made the comparison to Fuji, but you missed that I was comparing Alonso. Why on earth would I compare Webber ramming into Hamilton to Hamilton missing the corner in Fuji?

          For that matter, the first time that Webber rammed into Hamilton in this race was a 100% copy of Fuji 2008. Hamilton got past Webber, but Webber gets back at him by simply not braking and he slides off the track tapping Hamilton’s front wing as he slides by. Hamilton loses momentum and Massa gets past.

          Webber 2 incidents that have landed Hamilton a 10 place grid penalty (punting into the back of Raikkonen) and drive through penalty (missing the corner in Fuji) in one race. Yet Webber gets only a slap on the wrist.

        • @PatrickL

          I think comparing stewarding decisions from the last few seasons to this season is pointless as they now (finally) have retired drivers on the stewards panel. Finally we have people that are actually qualified (at least to some degree) to make decisions on racing. The stewarding over last few years left me gobsmacked. Lewis penalised for going off track but others escaping, massa taking someone out and that person being punished, drivers punished over and over again for trying to overtake and getting it slightly wrong. Webber was wreckless in the race having almost taken lewis out earlier and making a few excursions of his own. But the hamilton accident was merely webber getting a bit too aggressive in the overtake, he went for a gap that was not really ever there and it is correct that he was reprimanded for it but I am glad he escaped punishment as I really want to see racing drivers race. The only incident that I thought Alonso was at fault for (and should be equally spoken to about) was the first corner when he turned into button, the rest of that race he was just racing as you would expect (and I really do not like Alonso). Massa was the only other that should be spoken to after he wildly weaved in front of button (at least I think it was button) to stop him getting past. I have to say that so far the stewarding has been far better than previous seasons.

        • Mike said on 30th March 2010, 10:20

          Actually I’ve noticed the Stewards didn’t punish anyone, In the past they would have…

          I like it like this, Now drivers can race hard, and risk mistakes without penalty. If a driver makes a **** up, It is his problem, the only exception is when safety becomes a larger issue. Like when Massa (I think) was weaving down the back straight, a crash then would have been , err, not good.

  4. SkinBintin said on 28th March 2010, 10:32

    Webber was again the worst driver of the day. That chap makes a real habit of ruining races for other drivers. Although, McLaren had already stuffed Hamilton’s race anyway.

    My driver of the day was Lewis Hamilton, followed by Fernando Alonso. Best two drivers on the grid in my opinion… I love watching them both race. Amazing talent.

  5. I am gutted by Hamilton’s stop and to top it off Webber hitting him.. But I can’t keep wondering had he stayed out would his tyres last him? After all he complained on team radio after his 2nd stop that his tyres were off, and those were the new ones.. Was the problem only with the new ones, or did he struggle with the old ones as well?

    The team seemed to be confident that he would be able to pass the Ferraris since their tyres were old.. but then Webber hit him.. Maybe they were thinking The Ferraris have got old tyres, Lewis with fresh ones so he’ll be able to get them even though he was complaining about his own new tyres..

    Drivers make mistakes and teams do too, no one should be blaming the other too much and most importantly learn from the mistake.. Things can always be worse, that clash with Webber could have ended his race, at least he got himself a good solid 8 points!

    He deserved a better result for his drive, but this is racing.. Really amazed by Button looking after his car and tyres.. Their decision to pit went from a ridiculous one to a perfect one in a matter of minutes!

    McLaren have made an excellent call and the most important one today as it got them the win, but also may have made a bad one that cost them a 1-2 opportunity, 2 podium finishes, or better points..

    • David Watkins said on 28th March 2010, 10:51

      He and Webber drove the wheels off their cars to reach the Ferraris so no surprise his tyres went off.

      If he’d kept his tyres I think he would have fallen back deliberately from Kubica to preserve them and challenged Massa to trash his own tyres if he fancied a go at overtaking. However Massa looked off form today and dont think he would have been a threat.

      The pit stop was a bad call. End of

  6. xabregas said on 28th March 2010, 10:47

    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.

  7. phoros said on 28th March 2010, 10:52

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

  8. Paul F said on 28th March 2010, 11:07

    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!

  9. rampante said on 28th March 2010, 11:12

    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.

    • PatrickL said on 28th March 2010, 13:32

      stop living in the past.

    • Gigantor said on 28th March 2010, 15:15

      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.

      • steph said on 28th March 2010, 15:39

        ” 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.

        • Patrickl said on 28th March 2010, 19:18

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

  10. Andrew said on 28th March 2010, 11:14

    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.

    • Peckers96 said on 28th March 2010, 11:33

      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.

      • Andrew said on 28th March 2010, 11:44

        Oh I see, thats fair enough then.

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

        • Terry Fabulous said on 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!

    • kowalsky said on 28th March 2010, 12:23

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

      • Randy said on 28th March 2010, 20:21

        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.

  11. Simon said on 28th March 2010, 11:16

    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.

  12. Ivan said on 28th March 2010, 11:23

    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.

    • S Hughes said on 28th March 2010, 12:28

      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 :))

    • David A said on 29th March 2010, 1:50

      “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.

  13. Platine said on 28th March 2010, 11:26

    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

  14. 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.

    • Ivan said on 28th March 2010, 12:05

      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.

      • 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..

        • Ivan said on 28th March 2010, 12:50

          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.

  15. James said on 28th March 2010, 12:08

    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.

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