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. Even im more like his enemie not a fan, i think his right because if he would be in place of Button, he would win :)

  2. David Johnson
    28th March 2010, 16:33

    Really happy Button won, but I can’t believe it is only the great Martin Brundle and a few guys on here, that picked up on the fact Button came in for tyres AFTER being caught and then overtaken by a team-mate in the same car and conditions. ?!!! When I eventually win the lottery, I think I’ll put it down to tactical nous!! I’ll take the Alonso’s and Hamilton’s of this world over the boring time trialists of f1, those two were a credit to F1 today…but they won’t be loved !!!

  3. Hamilton could and perhaps should have overuled the team and said he wanted to stay out. Simple.

    It’s easy to blame the team. This time, Hamilton also has to shoulder some of the responsibilty just like Jenson would have if his call to change to dry tyres early had not of paid off.

  4. Geez Keith, nothing gets your forum buzzing like a good Hamilton story. The man brings the passionate (from both sides) out of the woodwork. You should do a weekly one ;-)

    Nice job as always presenting a balanced story.

  5. Hamilton should be more angry about Mark Webbers kamikaze attack at the end of the race than about his strategy.

  6. Johnny Bravo
    28th March 2010, 18:02

    For me, Sebastian Vettel is THE driver of the day.

    Why? Because he made no mistake. None. Zero. Zip.

    He took the pole – which is NO one else can do. He then keeps leading the race, all the time – which is NO one else can do, too. He did a BRILLIANT, PERFECT job.

    He just had to leave the race because of a brake failure, which is NOT his fault at all.

    1. Up to that point he had done well, but he only set 13th fastest lap and there was a long way to go in that race when he went into the gravel trap.

      1. 13th fastest lap, but that was with a heavier fuel load than most of the faster laps set later on in the race.

  7. Mclaren ruined Lewis’ race. I am so angry right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. And what’s up with Hamilton crying to the team during the race? So the strategy back fired, do your damn job and drive the car and save that crap for the motor-coach. You can’t win them all Lewis. You’ve been screwed by the stewards, your team, and yourself before. Being on the F1 circuit for 4 years now you’d think he would learn how to handle this kind of thing.

    His raw talent is unmatched on the grid. He’s got to keep his head in the game. Those comments will not get you far in regards to your team. Calling out your team can sometimes give them that chip on their shoulder, give them that fire to prove people wrong. But when drivers do it during the race it shows their lack of focus.

    1. Being on the F1 circuit for 4 years now you’d think he would learn how to handle this kind of thing.

      It should be said that his anger didn’t come across in his driving. There were no rash moves or anything like that. If he’d let rip at his team and then run into Alonso it’d be a different matter.

      I don’t blame him for letting off a little steam in the heat of the moment. I’m certainly prone to doing that.

      1. Mouse_Nightshirt
        28th March 2010, 19:18

        Not so sure about the anger not coming through.

        I was thinking it before Brundle said it, but with the constant attempts to pass at turn one, he was never in position to take advantage of turn 3, which would have been very much the sensible option, at least even to try once.

        1. What does Brundle know about following a 2010 Ferrari into a corner? Brundle might be an ex F1 driver, but he doesn’t always get it right.
          The Ferrari had good traction out of the turn 1/2 section, so just how exactly was Hamilton supposed to get close enough to have any chance into turn 3?
          To think of it, just how much overtaking did Brundle do when he was an F1 driver?

      2. It’s not that his anger didn’t come through, any driver would be getting frustrated at that point. There’s just a time and a place for things. Yelling at your crew during the race because of the bad call is not going to change the situation.

  9. Im really pleased this happened today as it now shows that Lewis does not get special treatment over his teammate. It means Lewis fairly beat a 2 times world champ in his rookie season and hopefully you doubters can now see this. I bet Kovi feels a bit crap knowing it has only taken Butoon 2 races to beat Hamilton in is apparant own team. Lewis did drive a stunning race, many people think he cant manage his tyres, your wrong, had he not been pittd he would have at least finished 3rd and more likely 2nd. Lewis is the man to watch for the title and on tv, he is entertaining and I dont get out of my seat for any other driver.

  10. Of course he’s a bit miffed, he was going to get second! Although the frustration came out having not been able to pass Alonso, if at the time he felt happy enough with his strategy then he shouldn’t have came in for new tyres. another thing that would disappoit him is that the new team mate outperformed him. OH! And a further thing, being dumped of the track when he was going to pass Alonso on the next lap (surely it would have happend!) wouldn’t have done much for his mood.

  11. “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.”

    Is that a joke?

  12. Mr. Zing Zang
    28th March 2010, 21:43

    Hey you, Kieth!

    Read the driver comments on F1.com especially the Kubica’s comments. How can make such a baseless statement that Hamilton destroyed his tyres!

    I know you took time to write the article but please be more informed in the future.

    1. Perhaps you could at least tell me which comments you’re referring to?

  13. of all the comments i read so far about the hamilton ordeal and how he will be throwing his toys from the crib. Is it gonna take someone getting hurt bad for the acts that Webber been pulling the last two seasons? up to that point I thought it was a fantastic race with a few chance on the remaining laps to see something special.

  14. I’m a McLaren fan but people seem to be forgetting that the only reason Button won the race was due to the continued misfortune suffered by Vettel (and the Red Bull team in general). Red Bull really need to work on the reliability of their cars, Vettel should have been World Champion last year but lost out because of his car. I agree that it was a bad judgement by McLaren to pit Hamilton when they did but boy did he go for it afterwards! Just shows the difference the fresh tyres made compared to those out in front.

    1. Vettel should have been World Champion last year but lost out because of his car.

      He made a fair few mistakes as well, at Melbourne, Istanbul and Monte-Carlo for example.

      (More here: Unreliability costs Vettel another win)

  15. Its amazing the number of tyre experts we have on this site.

  16. I truly think the McLaren race engineers did what they did by calling Hamilton in for the 2nd pit-stop because they believed it could have catapulted Hamilton in front of the two Ferraris and the Renault. It would have played out to Hamilton’s favour if Kubica, Massa, and Alonso needed to pit for a second time. But that was not to be.

    McLaren desperately wanted the 1-2 in Melbourne as a morale-booster and to prove the doubters wrong and they took a gamble with Hamilton’s 2nd stop.

    Button’s gamble paid off but Hamilton’s didn’t. It’s simple as that.

  17. Although understandably Hamilton was not happy with the decision for him to make another pit stop, I don’t think the best time to be asking who made the call was when he was trying to find a way past Alonso.

    With hindsight if Hamilton could have made his tyres last he would have finished at least third and may well have managed to get past Kubica. But at the time it was probably the right call if McLaren thought the Ferrari’s would stop also.

    Also from a team point of view it is often a good idea to split the strategies to cover all bases, the downside is that one driver will probably loose out and then you get some people claiming it is favouritism towards one driver.

    The things that stopped the strategy from working were the soft tyres managing to last so long, and the fact that you seem to need to be 3 seconds a lap quicker to overtake (according to Martin Whitmarsh after the race) or hope that the other driver to make a mistake.

    It was a shame that Webber ran into Hamilton in the last few laps as I think it was set up for a good finale with Hamilton and Webber on fresher tyres trying to get past Alonso, Massa and Kubica. Although I would say it was Webber’s fault for the coming together, I would put it down to a racing incident.

  18. With all the praise being heaped on Alonso it should be recognised his spin at turn one was his own fault. He cut across infront of Button who clearly had the line into the corner.

    Lewis did not crash into anyone else, they all crashed in to him.

    His anger on the radio you must remember in his mind would have just been a discussion between him and his team. its only because of the open frequencies that we even get to know about it.

    His media interviews are not that bad, he credits the team for the car etc, just complains about the strategy. I mean its not like all the drivers hop out of their cars and walk up to all their team mates give them a nice hug and a kiss and say hey i love you guys, even if i came 6th instead of 2nd because of a dodgy stategy.

    Lewis had every right to be annoyed, Considering Webber almost ended his race altogeather. All he said was “That was not cool” some other drivers (especially Webber) would be way more colourful that than.

  19. Yes, it was a poor decision. Was it done deliberately? I don’t think so.

  20. In Racing only winner counts as everyone forget the epic battle behind them. Wait a year and everyone says how good Button did to win. look at Spa 2009 everyone know Raikkonnen did win but what happened during the race….

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