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

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

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

  1. Dorian said on 2nd June 2010, 1:36

    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!!

  2. rayban said on 2nd June 2010, 5:25

    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.

    • Osiris said on 2nd June 2010, 6:38

      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”

    • Burt said on 2nd June 2010, 7:08

      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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd June 2010, 7:52

      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.

      • Burt said on 2nd June 2010, 8:09


        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.

  3. S Hughes said on 2nd June 2010, 11:09

    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?

  4. Dorian said on 3rd June 2010, 3:50

    @ 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…

  5. Floriklone said on 6th June 2010, 16:23

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



  6. Osiris said on 7th June 2010, 12:18

    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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