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. Lewis is kinda pathetic.

    Jenson called his tyre change – that’s what’s called “a sense for a track.”
    If Lewis was so good that he didnt have to come and pit again, he could have called his own strategy just like Jense.

    But, hey the way he chose to do it – he’s immune. Should he have won – it would have been heralded a great drive by him. He suffered a bitter loss – well, suddenly it’s team’s fault.

    what a joke this guy is. and im not even gonna comment about his over the radio tirade. that’s so immature that i can’t believe how this guy is still in F1

    1. also he just cannot take of the tyres, we all know that, and it was painfully evident. sometimes the way he drives seems as if he was playing on playstation, going all gung-ho on his car…

      he was sliding around the track when following kubica midway through the race, no way he would have made it to the podium on that set of tyres

      in fact, Alonso was equally aggressive as Hamilton fighting his way back from 22nd or so, and managed to hold up the tyres till the end.

  2. Wow! Such a lot of comments already.

    And such a great race.

    So we have our solution to F1 and overtaking…
    Just make the track greasy and wrong foot the teams with unpredictable weather!


    Yesterday I noticed during Vettel’s superb Q3 run, that ultimately put him on poll, that he struck the left front wheel very hard on one of his exciting excursions over the kerbs. At the time I meant to tweet about that as I wondered if we’d see some problems for his car because of this. Actually I was expecting an early tyre / wheel problem. I have to wonder today if that had something to do with his apparent brake failure. I guess we’ll never know.

    Overall though, I feel sad for Vettel again this week. That was not deserved.

    Credit to Massa for a very good start. I had to wonder at the time if he had jump started. Apparently he simply nailed it. However, his performance behind Kubica and the fact that he requires coaching during a race from his mechanic is/was frankly pathetic. Put Rob himself in the car and see what he can do I say!!

    I feel aggravated for Alonso. Although I have to say that his comment to the team when they were on the radio telling him how close Hamilton was in the closing stages was a classic! And his last gasp defensive manoeuvre against Hamilton which ultimately wrong footed both Hamilton and Webber was great racing. Fantastic stuff.

    I don’t think Massa should have moved over for Alonso. If Alonso couldn’t get past, that’s just the way it is at this stage in the Championship. But Massa is considerably slower, and less able to deal with a challenging race than Alonso. That much is clear. But then it always was.

    Credit to Button for his tyre strategy. Great to hear he called it himself. Respect where respect is due. Congrats for a well deserved win.

    Can’t wait till next week.

  3. Awesome_race
    28th March 2010, 12:47

    Alonso the driver of the day??? really….what a joke….Even i like alonsos style but saying that he was the driver of day is really stupid. The best driver of th day was Hamilton.He overtook the top teams but the second pitstop ruined all his hardwork. Jenson was good….but also lucky, first with the tyre choice…then with some clear air in front of him. Kubica had a great drive as well, managing to hold off the top teams…definitely deserved his 2nd.

  4. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 12:49

    I do wonder how a lot of drivers these days need a shave and brush up. They have such nice looking women, you’d think they’d look after their appearance a lot more

  5. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 12:57

    Who’s going to be the first to mention diffusers ? They should be banned in my opinion. Normally during a race they get commented on regularly but not today.

  6. Firestarter007
    28th March 2010, 13:05

    I think its a shame about lewis as he was consistently 1.5s faster that JB and was gonna catch him if he passed Kubica. But Mclaren did not want Lewis on the Podium after his tangle with the aussie police! In Qualifying, he was throttled too. There is no way he could have been that slower compared to Button. All in all, i think lewis was punished and you can see it very evident from the team Principal during the interview.

    Lewis needs a Manager quick and start negotiating a divorce from McLaren. JB is not gonna win them the title…..

    1. To be honest I was a bit surprised with Whitmarsh’s comments. After such a good drive he didn’t say anything positive about Lewis.

      1. Yeah, even when they asked a question about Hamilton’s amazing dreive, Whitmarsh went back to be so happy for Button.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this weekend later turns out to be the reason for Hamilton to move to Red Bull of Ferrari.

        1. Earlier this month Lulu stated that he had wanted to quit last year over his lies to the stewards about the incident with Jarno.

          What a shame that he didn’t!!!

          And surely Ferrari will NEVER ever want him as a driver

          1. Yeah right. Hamilton is the fastest driver on the grid. Only Alonso would be able to keep up with him, but only on consistency rather than pace.

            You have got to be kidding (yourself) when you think Ferrari wouldn’t love to have Hamilton in their car.

          2. Tralfamadore
            28th March 2010, 19:48

            Haha, it would be kinda fun, ALO and HAM in the same team again.

            BTW Jean Todt reportedly stated that ALO would never make it to Ferrari as long as he was calling the shots in the Scuderia. So it goes.

          3. Fair enough, maybe sometime in the distant future Ferrari might consider lending one of their red beauties to LH… but first he would have to grow up, seriously. Getting from toddler to preteen would not suffice.

  7. Awesome_race
    28th March 2010, 13:12

    How can you say that Jenson made the right tyre call by judging the track (or the sense of track as some may refer)..it was pure gambling and he got lucky that it payed off. Even he himself and most people confirmed that it was a gamble. He himself said later to BBC that he changed his tyres only because he couldnt find the balance with inters and feared he might loose places. i have to agree that he takes good care of his tyres than hamilton.I think hamilton would have never managed to last his tyres like jenson. But again the way hamilton overtook many of the strong cars was just awesome to see. I just get the feeling that most of the people just hate hamilton for no reason. He is one of the best racers on the track along with alonso, vettel, massa and kubica

  8. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 13:16

    I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes Ivan ? Whitmarsh could have been more positive towards his man, like a pat on the back for a great team effort and a brill drive

  9. I can hear it now in jenson’s 2011 quotes: “I blew Hamilton away”

    This is why Jenson is prooving a match for Lewis since he can use his brain to decide an outcome, a risky choice yes but it worked for him. shame Lewis doesn’t do it since it looks like he is dependent on his pitcrew more then his head.

    1. i agree with jenson using his head..

      but lewis is an awesome awesome driver. i think this race proved it. he isnt scared of taking risks on the track and never gives up. he pushed and pushed right up unitll webber shunted him..

      hamilton is not a ‘that will do’ type of guy..

      one of the few proper racing drivers on the grid IMO

      1. yes he got frustrated and ‘lost his head’ but doesnt that show his passion for racing. he just wanted to do the best he could..

        we all let frustration get the better of us at times..

    2. I don’t agree with Button using his head. It was more that he was lucky that he ruined his intermediates so quickly.

      1. What makes you say he’d ruined his intermediates? Granted, he’d just been passed by Hamilton but there was no sign he was off the pace of the other runners. Looked like a gutsy gamble to me.

        1. JB said himself.
          “There were very strange grip levels out there on the tyre and I was really, really struggling. I could see a dry line appearing in most places and at the rate my rear tyres were going away I knew there must have been enough grip for slicks. I made the call to pit early as I thought if I don’t pit early I am just going to keep going backwards.”

        2. gutsy gamble, more like hurt pride? Hamilton passed him with ease, so Button went to the pits to regain pride, using tyres as an excuse. Theres no justice in F1. Button did not deserve to win, he inherited it of vettel (who was superior) Hamilton showed how much of a better driver he is to.

          1. I am tired of people talking about who “did not deserve” to win, be it a podium, race or championship. Button crossed the line in first place, so he deserved to win the race.

      2. but didn’t he make the call to go in early? because he knew the inter’s were losing grip quickly.

        What I mean by “using his head” he will make his own decisions if needed because jenson knows best for himself no matter what all the computers say.

        Example with role play:

        (lewis/jenson we need you to stay on inter’s for a few more laps, so just hold on.)

        (lewis: Ok….)

        (jenson: No i’m coming in now because i’m struggling, do it.)

        this isn’t the first time having lewis put his faith into his pitcrew over his own driving sense, China 07 comes to mind…. if i’m mistakend.

        1. I think Lewis might well learn a thing or two from Jenson on such matters this season, which will only serve to make him stronger in the future.

          Lewis obviously has the ability to make those judgement calls, but I’ve always had the feeling he respects the team too much sometimes (understandable, given they have guided him long before he made it to F1).

          1. “Lewis (…) respects the team too much”

            I wouldn’t say that listening to his post-race comments!

      3. Lewis wasn’t exactly using his leaving the track friday night.

        but i do feel that it was very Bad Ass, hence respect

  10. I see Hamilton becoming very dangerous and it is only going to get more entertaining. He is rarely challenged in the last 2 years and challenge with Button will bring the best out of him.

    IMO, Hamilton’d drive was far superior than Button’s comparably very uneventful race. Lewis fought hard from 11th on the grid, did lot of overtaking, nice fight with Webber but came out on top and the stupid strategy but still finished 6th and ahead of anyone doing 2 stopper. He should have at least taken 3rd behind Robert.

    Also i think this stupid diffusers should be banned. Some teams are saying now a car behind should be around 3 seconds faster and not the normal 2 seconds to normally overtake.

  11. How Webber did not get punished during this race is hbeyond me. First he rams Hamilton’s front wing and than later he simply rams into the back of Hamilton.

    It’s so often Webber ramming into people. Last year he got punished for this nonsense, but the new stewarding system means that behavior like that is ok now?

    1. Webber’s been given a reprimand from the stewards.

      1. Yeah, I guess that’s something.

        Still, with Webber’s history of avoidable race incidents, one would expect the stewards to be a bit more forthcoming with penaltied to finally end this behavior.

        I guess it’s a good thing they don’t penalize drivers for every accident that happens. It’s just strange that they keep flip flopping the rules about that it’s almost impossible to understand what does deserve a penalty and what not.

        Kubica and Vettel going off, lands Vettel a 10 place penalty. Webber’s move on Barrichello at the Nurburgring 2009 lands him a drive through penalty. Yet, when he causes 2 incidents in one race, all they do is tell him not to do it again.

    2. don’t be a girl. It is racing, and sometimes this kind of things happen. If he keeps doing it every week end, he’ll get some penalty. They are using common sense, let them keep doing it.

      1. I second kowalsky’s statement. I can’t believe the number of comments suddenly suggesting Webber is a reckless driver who always rams into people, the incidents today were racing incidents.

        1. Suddenly? Did you miss the 2009 season?

          1. As far as I recall, there are appear to be more right now than last year, but the main point stands. Today’s incidents were racing incidents, and do not warrant penalties. There is common sense in the decisions made by stewards, unlike 2008.

          2. Common sense maybe, but it’s al very inconsistent with the penalties handed out last few seasons.

            I guess Webber will get his penalty when he inevitaby rams into someone else again.

          3. @Patrickl

            The only thing that was consistent about the last few seasons stewards decisions was their inconsistency!

            I am happy that webber has been given a warning as he was reckless during the race, however I am glad it is just a warning as this is racing and I would rather see people get taken off by reckless moves rather than no one attempting to overtake at all.

            As long as webber is punished if he does the same again (which will obviously happen) then I think it is fair.

            The last seasons have seen drivers punished for trying to race which has just been a farce!

  12. just read this comment from whitmarsh on hamiltons website..


    Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

    “After starting 11th, Lewis once again showed the grit, determination, passion and bravery that has made him one of the most exciting racing drivers in the world.
    “In less than an hour this afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that he almost single-handedly debunked the much-touted recent theory that Formula 1 has become boring. On the contrary, he entertained millions of people around the world with a series of audacious and thrilling overtaking manoeuvres.

    “While we concede that, with hindsight, it’s possible that we may have been better served by calling Lewis’s tyre strategy differently, we’re enormously encouraged by his never-give-up attitude and his ever-exciting talent”

    1. Shame he couldn’t have said that on the telly!

      1. He did say something similar on TV actually on the f1 forum.

        1. Couldn’t bear watching it as the BBC presenters were so gushing about Button, it put me off my breakfast.

          1. The endless carping about Button is getting very tiresome. If you’ve nothing more worthwhile to contribute please go some place else.

          2. Mouse_Nightshirt
            28th March 2010, 19:14

            Hear Hear Keith!

            I really don’t understand the hostility to either party here. Do you think the German fans are getting this bitter over the whole Rosberg/Schumacher stuff?

          3. I agree with Keith and Mouse_Nightshirt. Plus, a Mclaren fan would support both drivers, even if they prefer one driver over the other. I’m a Ferrari fan who spent years disliking Alonso when he drove for Renault and Mclaren, but as long as he represents the prancing horse, i’ll be his fan.

          4. I’m not a McLaren fan, I’m a Hamilton fan, so why should I automatically be supportive of both drivers?

          5. Oh and Keith, this was the twitter comment from Legard today: “Thank you Melbourne. You did F1 proud. Likewise Jenson Button. How quickly Lewis Hamilton turned on ‘supportive’ McLaren..” No mention of the fantastic drive from Hamilton, except by Brundle. I think it is pretty obvious that there is blatant bias in the reporting on BBC and as a Hamilton fan I should expect non-biased coverage of the race for both British drivers. The fact that it is obviously not unbiased makes me very angry and I’m not the only one to have commented on it. If it was the other way around, I’m sure there would be plenty of moaning too.

          6. If Hamilton wasn’t in F1, would you watch the sport?

  13. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 13:46

    He deserves a reprimand, he seems a nice sort of bloke but will never be remembered as one of the greats. perhaps Lewis was right, he should retire ? I dont know about that he’s only 35 is’nt he, Michael’s 41. In a different class I know but its not the age is it ? He just loses it under pressure. An Australien form on Tim Henman maybe.

    1. I think Mark webber’s worst enemy is himself, look at last year he does not do himself any favours with clipping people and given himself drive through penalties.

      Being right on sombody’s backside and then shunting them because you came in more aggressive then them is not overly smart.

      webber will be 34 in august btw or so it says in wikipedia, so he still has a few years of F1 left before he retires.

  14. Don’t understand why everyone is having a go at Mclaren for pitting Hamilton, and yet no one is having a go at Mercedes for pitting Rosberg, who was also ahead of Webber and both Ferraris on lap 26, and would probably have got back past hamilton if it hadn’t been for the yellow flags. (just watching the rerun now)

    Webber and Hamilton were both pushing really hard (at times 2 seconds a lap faster than the car in front), and got stuck in the dirty air so many times, i’m sure their tyres wouldn’t have lasted another 25 laps.

    On the data at the time (from Schumacher’s pit stop) the new tyres were giving a significant advantage, and as we saw last time, the first people to stop got an advantage.

  15. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 13:59

    Yes I know that’s true. Maybe they should both call it a day lol. Lets get rid of anyone over the age of say 28 and let another load of ex carters go out to play. Only joking but can you imagine the thrills and spills ? that would put more bums on seats, from the lesser die hards I might add

  16. Britanichris
    28th March 2010, 14:07

    Does’nt matter what colour we are, we all love F1 so it dont matter

  17. ..so

    after that horrible incident at turn 7.. lets get back on topic

  18. Keith, I’m a little surprised of the tone of the article. Martin Whitmarsh admitted it was the team’s error to bring Hamilton in. The way the article is written, it makes it seem like Hamilton is at loggerheads with his team about responsibility, when McLaren have already admitted to being to blame.

    At least one good thing is that this undermines the whole “Lewis’ team” argument.

    1. it seem like Hamilton is at loggerheads with his team about responsibility

      He was clearly pretty angry from the radio bits they played during the race.

    2. Not the first time they have stuffed up his race. Hockenheim 2008 (they tried to but Hamilton still won through brilliance). China 2007. Australia 2009 – Lewis knew he didn’t have to give the place back to Trulli, but engineers insisted he give it back, thus giving rise to the whole lie-gate shenanigans.

      I don’t think the team give Lewis the benefit of the doubt enough in decisions whereas they let Button do what he wants. Grossly unfair.

      And anyone who blames him for being furious isn’t living in the real world.

      1. Mclaren have made blunders but so have every other team on the grid. Ferrari at Monaco 08 with Massa and Silverstone 08 with both drivers. These things happen and if Hamilton had a problem he could have said so pre-pitstop. Maybe it was a mistake but there’s also the question of whether Hamilton could make his tyres last anyway esp as he was stuck behind Kubica.
        I’m quite annoyed at this whole agrument being blown out of proportion as it really casts a shadow of Hamilton’s brilliant performance and unfairly has a go at a team who has always tried to stick by their driver and give him every opportunity and a team who always -despite criticism and this is something I admire about Mclaren -given their drivers an equal chance to race.
        Oh and I think the whole issue with lie gate wasn’t so much the misunderstanding with the situation but the fact they lied, hence the ‘lie gate’ ;)

      2. Read my comment below. He should have just overuled the decision to come in. End of.

        Now that fuel is not an issue, the driver’s judgement for the tyre condition is crucial.

        1. It’s not as simple as that. It’s not practical to give the driver all the information about what every other driver on the track is doing with strategy (which just for starters would include their pit stops, tyre choices, gaps to all the other cars and how they’re changing) and expect him to make an informed decision. Some of it has to be processed and decided by the team.

          On the other hand, if a driver feels a damp track has become dry enough for slick tyres they are in a better position than their team to make the call. Until some other drivers tries it and starts setting fastest sector times, in which case the team need to be on the case.

          1. Button came in for the early pit stop not because he thought it was a good strategy, but because he had no choice as his tyres were shot. He says so himself on the McLaren.com website. I wouldn’t say it was a good strategic call, more a call of necessity.

          2. You are right of course about it not being as simple. I guess the point I’m making is that Hamilton was very quick to blame his team, and someone looks to have made a wrong call… but I think he has also got used to being told what to do too much… perhaps this discussion highlights a more general trait in Lewis that will come with maturity.

            A great driver as we know should also sometimes tell the team “no, I’m staying out” and I can’t remember Hamilton ever over-ruling a team call in such a fashion because of what *he* himself feels.

            Totally understand the point that sometimes the complexity of the information available to the team far outweighs that which it can transmit to the driver though.

          3. I can’t remember Hamilton ever over-ruling a team call in such a fashion because of what *he* himself feels.

            Fair enough but I’m struggling to think of many examples of other F1 drivers doing that. Except ones who then pulled over because they were out of fuel!

        2. Hamilton can’t overuled a pitspot. Brazil last year they said pit on lap one and he said why, the response was because the boffins said so. He got a good result due to the early stop and said after that the pitcall is his team’s department he just drives the car

          1. More or les what Fernando said after Singapore 2008…

  19. Two years in a row Mclaren manage to screw up Hamilton’s race down under.
    As much as we are happy for Button, his decision was forced on him as his inters were destroyed and no point changing back to the same tyres for a drying track.
    Hamilton was delayed in his first stop and had to make up ground. His second stop took him half a minute back that time had to be made up before any hope of overtaking.
    It was easier for Button to manage his rubber while in the lead but in the first race he destroyed his rubber while following other cars.
    All that smooth driving talk is rubbish, it all depends on your driving position.

    We must also stop reacting to sensational headlines.

  20. I don’t believe the “McLaren deliberately hampered LH” But I will say this. McLaren were very incompetent, inconsistent, and at the time rubbish team with rubbish team boos—-> Martin Whitmarsh. He is a shrewd bad person. every time you listen to his interviews, he try to put the blame on the drivers and the powerless team engineers,for his errors. He dose not want to take blames personally. unlike the other team bosses in F1.

    Just keep an eye on Martin Whitmarsh. And you will see what I mean. I think there is a possibility that LH may living McLaren next year, for the first time in his life. All thanx to the cleaver dodger Whitmarsh!

    1. You know, I am beginning to think Whitmarsh wants to create his own legacy, he doesn’t want to operate in the shadow of Ron Dennis, so in a way he would want Button to go on to win the championship, as that would be something different from the continuity that is Hamilton.

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