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. 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.

  2. PJA said on 29th March 2010, 9:23

    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.

  3. Theoddkiwi said on 29th March 2010, 10:18

    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.

  4. Phil said on 29th March 2010, 10:32

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

  5. MacLeod said on 29th March 2010, 11:51

    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….

  6. Matt Hubbert said on 29th March 2010, 12:49

    Why does there have to be a big conpsiracy?
    It looks like a bad call by Mclaren in hindsight
    Button made a good call and deserved the win.
    Hamilton drove fantastic without reward.Surely he could have made the call to stay out on his tyres?

  7. Schumi_the_greatest said on 29th March 2010, 16:27

    Just though id throw my thoughts in on this 1 having read all the comments…be warned this will take a while to read..

    1st of all great drive by jenson a clever win picked up without having the best car, obviously a big element of luck was involved but if he didnt take that risk pitting he wouldnt of done anything he was going backwards on the inters.

    lewis was sensational today, 1 of the best drives ive seen and ive bin watching f1 for 15 years now. Superb overtaking maneouvers and ballsy driving it was great to watch!

    im suprised by how much attention is being paid to his little rant, he had just driven the race of his life only to finish 6th because of a team error, its frustrating, who can honestly say theyve never reacted like this in a similar situation? lewis always thanks the team after every race and last year he kept the teams spirits up when he was driving a truck at the start of the season!

    someone also posted that they think martin whitmarsh favours button because he hired button hed rather him do the winning, well soemthing along them lines! at the end of the day maclaren are not stupid they know that hamilton is potentially on eof the all time greats whu wud MW sacrifice that talent?

    We have to remember that lewis is only in his 4th full season of f1 hes still got things to learn but what he has got is the raw ability and speed. he will get better with experience and it will take another few years before hes the finished article and whn he is hes going to be awesome!i seeem to remember a certain aryton senna still making mistakes when he was at a similar stage in his career (monaco 88 for example)

    ive also read soemone say that hamilton think hes some kind of reincarnated senna – ive seen alot of criticism put to hamilton because of his adoration for senna. I dont understand it because whats wrong with modeling himself on 1 of the all time great drivers? i play football at a decent standard, my favourate player is steven gerrard and as i play the same position as him i do ry and immatate some of the ways he plays the game. i dont see why people get so worked up about it?

    my next gripe is with the perceived favourtism jenson button gets with the british media these days. jenson on his day is a very good driver, but hel never go down as 1 of the greats for the simple reason that he never really performs when the chips are down, i also remember hear him moan alot last year when the brawns advanatage went and he couldnt win races but when hamilton complains about soemthing he becomes a spoilt child apparently? being an f1 fan for the last 15 years i have for the majority of that time not seen alot of very good british drivers, my favourate driver was always schumacher but as a birt i ovbiously wanted the brits to do well, for years our hope rested on the likes of coulthard and irvine and then button who for the majority of his younger career spent more time partying on yachts than anything else. you would always hear the british press bigging up some youngster haliong him our answer to schumacher and senna etc etc

    hamitlon comes along and its clear hes got the potential to be just that but now all he gets is the press on his back anytime he says how he truly feels? but then when he tows the party line and dishes out the usual f1 driver talk lines like “for sure” and “the team did a great job” he gets called a corporate robot…he cant win no matter what it just goes to show how fickle and quite frankly sad the british media are!

    all i would say is hamilton has the personality that will split people some will love him others will hate him (senna-esque aye??) but enjoy it while hes here because drivers like him dont walk onto the grid every year hes a senastional talent and performances like yesterday show why hel end up a multile world champion and id bet britains most succesful driver of all time

  8. Schumi_the_greatest said on 29th March 2010, 16:30

    having just read back over that i may have come across rather critiful of button, im not knocking anything button has achieved im just saying that in my opinion hamilton is better

  9. Jess said on 29th March 2010, 16:56

    At the end of th eday it was a bad call. End of Story.

  10. Re the tyre call – I’m not sure that Lewis does get to make tyre calls on his own, I’m sure it was mentioned before in an interview that the team make his tyre calls as they have more info than he does. Anyone else remember that?

    Otherwise great drive from Lewis, as Keith said unfortunate outcome – but I also think it’s a pity the damage to his reputation this weekend.

    I’m amazed at the Oz official who told the press that Hamilton was a d******* for doing a bit of a burnout. Rough weekend for Lewis, but them’s the breaks rough for Vettel as well.

  11. Electrolite said on 29th March 2010, 22:17

    Another thought. The amount of times Barrichello suffered from biased strategies last year (and actually throughout his career) and there was nowhere near as much uproar. 3 stop strategies from pole whereas Button had two. Not that i’m saying Button wouldn’t have been as successful, but it’s a point.

  12. Dennis said on 29th March 2010, 23:54

    This was a terrible decision. It doesn’t add up to me, Hamilton was struggling to pass Kubica for the 2nd place. Kubica was defending really really well btw, it’s not easy to keep Hamilton behind. But he would have been third! The Ferrari’s were struggling with their tyres as well (Sidenote: funny how Alonso is noticing everything that’s going on around him, “why is everyone pitting?” whilst driving 250-300 km/h) and now they put Hamilton about 10-15 seconds behind Alonso, one of the toughest guys to pass! So now, instead of fighting for the second position which he did, he had to push as hard as he could in order to fight for the 4th position.

    About Webber: Yeah, he was very reckless in the race. The frontwing ok, but crashing his car into Hamilton was not a very clever move at all. He was on terrible form unlike Hamilton himself, who was the third driver to me this race (1. Alonso, great passing, drive of a true champion and the most all-round driver on track, 2. Kubica, close second, how the **** did he get that Renault to the second place? Absolutely phenomenal 3. Hamilton, who did a superb job all race but was a victim of this decision).

  13. Martin said on 30th March 2010, 0:41

    Wasn’t Hamilton’s first radio-indiscretion announcing to the world that his tires were shot? That is, the tires that went on in the Great Strategy-Blunder pitstop?

  14. Rhys said on 30th March 2010, 4:45

    Hamilton needs to gain some maturity. When he’s made mistakes in the past, McLaren have supported him. They may have criticised him behind the scenes, but not publicly, and Hamilton should have done the same.

    And I don’t think the strategy was as clear cut as Hamilton makes out. Button had been able to save his tyres, while Hamilton was racing up the field, and we know he’s not as light on the tyres in the first place. Sure, his tyres would have stayed physically intact, but as his tyres got more worn and lost grip, could he have held off the Ferraris, Webber and Rosberg? We don’t know the answer, McLaren don’t know the answer, and Hamilton should stop pretending that he does.

  15. Rodrigo V said on 30th March 2010, 6:28

    Since this is my first interaction with this fantastic site I think the first thing to say is HELLO! I’m a Mexican F1 fan.

    The second thing to say is this: I think LH is a super fast driver, one of the fastest in the current field, I think his speed comes from the fact that when others start to “think” about the consecuences of their racing acts he just does them and his talent resides on the fact that when he does them he has the gift to make a smaller amount of errors than the average driver would make. What I’m trying to say is that the guy is fast and he will get the results and maybe become an all time record breaker but I just can’t get the sense of affinity I get with the other drivers because of his personality. I’m not saying is a good or bad personality just one I can’t get to like 100%.

    I’ve read comments that say that the guy is only on his 4th seasson and he has so much to learn and this and that, but I think he’ll never change his feeling driven personality that has put him where he is. For example SV is on his 3rd season and in this race he had a bigger and more significant team related problem and one where he could single out the guy that didn’t fix the wheel well enough and made him and the team loose a GP win. His reaction was a mere “big brake problem, race over” or something like that, again he is not a better or less talented driver for this reaction he is just not LH, the LH that on the heat of the moment when he couldn’t easily pass a worn tired FA he informed he had destroyed his tires (one have to wonder how he says he could have finished without a second pit stop if he “destroyed” the second set of dry tires in what 20 laps?), a couple more corners ahead and still no pass so he just informs the world that the situation it’s not his fault at all, the fault is from some random guy of the team that just decided to pull him in on a heart driven call. Come on! No other current driver could’ve had this type of reaction, again, because they are not LH. Even his Team boss knows that he is a special guy to deal with, a very fast guy none the less. His talent is worth the effort to have him around and yes, watch him on the TV making great passes or just feeling kind of good when he gets some trouble. (I know it’s a bad feeling but I have to confess myself).

    Is this mix of personalities and talents that makes for the fans the passionate sport that F1 is.

    I hope my not so good english skills let me express my thoughts well enough.

    Cheers from Mexico!

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