Hamilton “surprised” by Button’s pass (Turkish Grand Prix team-by-team)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The McLarens very nearly finished in the opposite order
The McLarens very nearly finished in the opposite order

While the drama at Red Bull was impossible to miss, McLaren’s one-two win at Istanbul wasn’t a straightforward affair either.

After the race there was talk of “confusion” over the drivers’ instructions to save fuel. Lewis Hamilton spoke of being “surprised” that Jenson Button caught and passed him – before Hamilton reversed the move.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 4 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’26.781 (+0.348) 1’26.433
Race position 2 1
Average race lap 1’31.901 (+0.046) 1’31.856
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 1 1

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Jenson Button

McLaren enjoyed far better performance after a poor weekend in Monaco – and Button benefited from a problem-free race after suffering car trouble in the last two rounds.

Had it not been for Michael Schumacher’s spin in qualifying Button might well have taken third off Vettel in qualifying. Unfortunately Button had let Schumacher past before starting his final flying lap.

Schumacher got past Button at the first corner as Button took care not to run into his team mate. Unlike in Spain, this time Button made short work of Schumacher, passing him on the run to turn 12.

He never looked like passing Vettel in the opening stint, nor putting a move on his team mate – until the Red Bulls went out.

After that Button first closed on Hamilton, then passed him on lap 48, only for Hamilton to reverse the move at the next corner. Button then slipped back from his team mate – as the lap time chart above shows he was suddenly around half a second per lap slower.

Compare Jenson Button’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lewis Hamilton

Bounced back from a lurid spin at turn eight in final practice – partly thanks to him dragging the car back to the pits on at least two punctured tyres.

Hamilton split the Red Bulls in qualifying and put a handy pass on Vettel on the first lap to hold onto his second place at the start.

He fell back behind Vettel due to a slow pit stop and was close behind the two RB6s when they collided on lap 41.

It’s clear from the lap times that both McLarens began – or increased – their efforts to preserve their cars from that moment on. But Hamilton slowed down more than Button as he explained after the race:

I felt confident we could get a potential one-two, and we were trying to look after the tyres and save the fuel to the finish. The [lap time] target they gave me was perhaps a little bit slower than they?d meant, so Jenson was suddenly on my tail. I had a great battle with him, and was happy to get past because it was quite a surprise.
Lewis Hamilton

Reading between the lines it seems likely the pair were told to back off, the team wishing to avoid a repeat of what had happened to Red Bull.

But it’s unlikely that having Button pass Hamilton and then be re-taken by him figured in the team’s game plan at all, and they can consider themselves lucky it didn’t end in tears.

Compare Lewis Hamilton’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Turkish Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Turkish Grand Prix articles

202 comments on “Hamilton “surprised” by Button’s pass (Turkish Grand Prix team-by-team)”

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  1. F1 isn’t a team sport in terms of drivers, look at Schumacker, Alonso and Vettel and a long history of team mates coming together before this weekend. Priority 1 is winning, priority 2 is beating your team mate, priority 3 is making sure your team thinks you’re no1 and psych’ing out your team mate before you even take to the track, priority 4 is doing well for your team. Shame Lewis sacked his dad, the only one apart from possibly Ron Dennis that has his interest at heart, not surprising it’s a business and lots of people jobs depend on it. Hopefully he’ll put this behind him and get on with winning more races, it just part of life in F1 and good publicity. Don’t let people & outside incidents mess with your head lad.

  2. What really surprised me was how subdued Hamilton was after he got out of the car even though he had got his first win of the season.

    I thought it may have been because of Button overtaking him because we heard on the team radio that Hamilton had been told to slow to preserve fuel and that both cars had been told the same thing, so to suddenly see your teammate close and overtake you would be a surprise.

    1. I thought that it was because he started to think that the team may have deceived him that both drivers were told to save fuel when it was only him, but Button was trying to say that it was just that he got a run at him and had to go for it. And there seems to be confusion with Hamilton talking to Webber about Vettel and Button misinterpreting that conversation.

      The way I read the podium was that Webber understandably was annoyed that his team-mate cost him a win (from his point of view at least); Button was worried that Hamilton was going to think he tried to stab him in the back (note the effort Button went to on the podium to show Hamilton how happy he was for him getting the win) and possibly that the team would give him a carpeting for pulling off a risky overtake just after the Red Bulls crashed; and Hamilton had the thought in his head that his team mate (possibly with the approval of the team) tried to take him after being told to ‘save fuel’ (regardless of whether that is code for something else), and whether he needs to watch him from now on.

      A couple of coincidences can become very significant in a sensitive or paranoid mind, as they seem to have done on this comment thread!

  3. I think Hamilton will be the world champion this year and if he remains with at McLaren he will be champion again next year. Only another win will earn him real respect from Button and Button’s dad who is perhaps busy ‘optimising’ the team for his son.

    1. Unlike Anthony Hamilton (until recently), John Button is hands off his sons career – so I don’t see what your getting at.

  4. Great Ceasar’s Ghost!

    Such a plethora of conspiracy theories. Such a huge load of pap. It is apparent by their remarks that most of the people commenting on Button/McLaren/Hamilton are recent fans of F1. Without a longer history following the sport, one can get some skewed notions, I suppose.

    Prisoner Monkeys wasn’t winding anyone up. Button in the early 2000’s proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could overtake with the best of them, and wring an underperforming car’s neck to get the most out of it. The last couple of years before Honda pulled out, Button was in a dog of a car that didn’t have the power to pull itself out of it’s own tracks. In 2009 with Brawn, yes Button had the fastest car on the grid. And he made the best use of it, winning all he could before the other team’s developement caught up with Brawn.

    But it is true, Hamilton has experienced prejudice and favoritism. McLaren favored him from his first race in 2007, and made all sorts of prejudiced decisions with their second driver. And make no mistake, rookie or not, Hamilton was McLaren’s #1 driver for 2007 and beyond. They(Ron Dennis) had just spent 10 years and several million pounds bringing him from karting up through the lower classes, building a driver for the McLaren F1 car, of course he was treated as #1. And that’s why Alonso tossed the toys out the pram and gladly returned to Renault for 2008.

    By the way, for those of you knocking Mansell, Mansell was spot on with his remarks. I actually READ the newspaper interview–did you???–and nowhere did he slag Hamilton. He talked about his concerns over the type of system that brought Hamilton into F1, from such a young age and didn’t allow the boy to be a boy. Even Matrin Whitmarsh recently commented that Lewis had been an “experiment” by McLaren, that Lewis’ upbringing was artificial and probably hadn’t allowed him the best chance to develope as a whole person. (Maybe that is why Lewis is upset recently? And why is no one slagging Whitmarsh for those remarks?)

    And claiming anti-Hamilton conspiracy because Hamilton is described as an aggressive driver while Button is described as smooth. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, have you not been paying attention over the last 3 years? Hamilton IS aggressive, and hard on tyres and brakes. Any intelligent person who actually has seen all the races and followed the media race results and discussion realizes that.

    Oh, yes, the big Malaysia Qualy Conspiracy. Sent Button out early but not Hamilton. Got Button pole did it? No, sure didn’t. Both Button and Hamilton out in Q1. So where is the conspiracy there? Somehow it escapes me.

    Blond-haired Button preferred over black-skinned Hamilton? Please. McLaren’s F1 effort has a different dynamic now that Ron Dennis is gone from F1. No longer is Hamilton automatically favored and coddled over the second driver. This is the first year of his F1 career that Lewis actually has to compete with his team-mate. Something which evidently is taking him a bit to get used to.

    The Hamilton FanBoys need to go lay down and give their necks a rest. Facts just don’t support your claims. As to Button passing Lewis at Turkey, well, that could have been a missed communication, or it could have been Button ignoring what he was told. I won’t speculate beyond that. Without being privy to McLaren’s radio transmissions and without actually clearly hearing the total converstion between Lewis and Jenson on the way to the podium, further speculation is useless.

    1. thank you dsob, you summarised my thoughts much better than i had ben struggling to. Good observations, you are spot on imho.

    2. It is now established (see my post and link below) that the two McLaren drivers were given identical target lap times. Button is either lying about not hearing this, or there is astounding miscommunication going on in McLaren that is always favouring Button. I wonder if you would be so exasperated by the conspiracy theories if the situation had been reversed and Hamilton ignored lap time targets or lied.

      You seem fairly convinced of the “conspiracy theory” that Lewis was favoured in 2007 – or is it different when the negative connotations are re. Hamilton?

  5. Excellent post there DSOB…..cracking!!….spot on!!!

  6. p.s. especially your first point regarding how it’s easy to tell the ‘recent’ F1 fans from those with at least a decade of watching F1!!

  7. LooseCruze, I totally agree with and people that say where are the facts, you just look back on the past races and it plain to see, something is wrong at both the Mclaren & Redbull camp. An example of Whitmarsh strategies that has worked against Lewis and allows to Jenson to catch up, in the recent Turkish GP Mclaren decision to bring Lewis in, considering his pace and the fact that if he stays out longer he may have passed Webber. Issues with his pit stop allow Jenson to close the gap and at the time when Jenson try the move on Lewis he was set a time to achieve then all of a sudden Jenson was his tail. I can think of many more occasions in past races where Mclaren seem to sabotaging Hamilton race, not to mention Redbull and Mark. It was pretty clear what they wanted, yeah, tell Mark to turn down his engine, allow his team to gain, by Horner’s account Mark should have just moved over for his faster team mate. Talk about give the Aussie a Fair Go, exact same case with Mclaren, lucky Hamilton he’s better racer and didn’t make too much of a mess out of it. If you can’t see this then you blinded by your faith in your prefer drivers.

    1. The BBC’s reporter rather diplomatically says
      “I asked their team principal Martin Whitmarsh, tongue in cheek, at which point did they tell Button to pass Hamilton. His raised eyebrows and facial expression told me everything I needed to know”

    2. I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

      Don’t you realise it’s a disadvantage to stay out longer? Look at the lap time charts – everyone went quicker directly after their pit stop. So if Lewis stayed out longer as you suggest, he would have just fallen further behind.

      In fact I would go as far as to suggest that McLaren deliberately kept Jenson out an extra lap to make sure he didn’t jump Lewis.. that extra lap only lost him time and ensured he rejoined behind Lewis.

      As regards McLaren and Red Bull sabotaging Lewis and Mark intentionally… What about Vettel’s spark plug in Bahrain, wheel rim in Australia, brakes in Spain… and McLaren starting Jenson on the wrong tyres in Malaysia, faulty steering wheel in Spain, bung in his radiator in Monaco? Looks like they’ve all suffered.

      The conspiracy is all in your mind due to your bias.

    3. considering his pace and the fact that if he stays out longer he may have passed Webber

      Button stayed out and lapped in 1’32.0 and 1’31.9. Webber’s first lap after his pit stop was 1’31.6. Keeping Hamilton out was not going to help him pass Webber. (You can see this data here http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/05/30/pit-stop-hiccup-fails-to-stop-hamilton-turkish-grand-prix-analysis/)

      As I’ve said here several times in the past, since the refuelling ban there’s generally no advantage in pitting later than your rival. To get ahead your best bet it to pit first and get the benefit from fresher tyres sooner.

      1. Absolutely.

        Keith, what’s your take on why Jensen stayed out an extra lap? Do you think it was a team decision to ensure he didn’t jump Lewis after his longer-than-planned stop? If he had pitted the lap after Lewis it would have been mighty close.

  8. Interesting article here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tomcary/100008885/five-unanswered-questions-from-a-breathless-turkish-gp/

    Either Button is lying (wouldn’t surprise me – he’s comes across as a smiling assassin and not a fair guy), or something strange is happening in that team amongst the engineers.

    Is it any wonder Lewis looked so miserable on the podium?

  9. @ S Hughes: a smiling assassin?….wow, I never got that. I can’t recall many incidences over the last 10 years of his career where Button has been guilty of unscrupulous or underhanded behaviour (in the same way one might think that Schumacher/Alonso/Senna may be guilty of).

    It seems fairly evident that you dislike/hate Button because of his blonde hair and blue eyes (dare I say it – Aryan features) in the same manner you believe that people dislike/hate Hamilton because of his brown skin and brown eyes…

    Not cool…

  10. I think the link below might help you decide on what you call black/blonde theory.



  11. So much for the naysayers: it turns out that Lewis WAS assured Button would NOT overtake him if he (Lewis) conserved fuel, and Button DID take advantage of that to overtake Lewis. See the BBC’s report:

    Still not evidence of a team-wide anti-Lewis conspiracy, but nevertheless an indication that Hamilton’s engineer, at the very least, didn’t know what was going on. Weird.

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