McLaren told Hamilton Button wouldn’t pass him during the Turkish Grand Prix

Hamilton asked 'Is Jenson going to pass me?' and was told 'No'

Hamilton asked 'Is Jenson going to pass me?' and was told 'No'

McLaren told Lewis Hamilton that Jenson Button would not pass him during the Turkish Grand Prix.

New footage of the Turkish Grand Prix posted on the official F1 website reveals Hamilton asked the team “If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?”

He was told “No Lewis, no.” This audio clip is shown before the footage of Button overtaking Hamilton, suggesting the exchange took place before the pass was made.

The exchange – which was not aired during the race broadcast – is as follows:

Lewis Hamilton: Jenson’s closing in me you guys.
McLaren: Understood, Lewis.
Lewis Hamilton: If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?
McLaren: No Lewis, no

After the race Hamilton said he was “surprised” Button had passed him. Now we know why.

The question now is, was Button ordered to hand the place back?

The following radio exchanges from McLaren were broadcast during the race. We do not know what the time gap was between them being said to the drivers and being broadcast on television:

Lap 44: Hamilton told to “save fuel” and advised that both cars received the same instruction.
Lap 50: BBC reported that Martin Whitmarsh and Phil Prew were on the radio to both drivers.
Lap 52: Button told “We need more fuel saving. Fuel is critical. Save tyres in turn eight.”

Button passed Hamilton at the end of lap 48 and Hamilton re-passed him at the start of lap 49.

Read more: Hamilton ??surprised?? by Button?s pass (Turkish Grand Prix team-by-team)

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269 comments on McLaren told Hamilton Button wouldn’t pass him during the Turkish Grand Prix

  1. The comparison some people are making here to the Red Bull incident is madness.

    Red Bull orchestrated a “change of position”, which is against the rules and, when it backfired, they showed complete favouritism to the “at fault” driver.

    McLaren just attempted to orchestrate a “hold position” and had not communicated it clearly enough to Jenson. Once Lewis immediately retook the place it was made clear what was required. No favouritism for either driver here. If it has been Jenson then Lewis, the same “hold position” would have been communicated.

    • PatrickL said on 4th June 2010, 15:15

      Completely agree.

      I just wish that people wouldn’t act so freakishly paniced over “team orders” in the sense that teams tell their drivers to back off.

      Those orders are pretty common.

      Besides, if they had told Hamilton that he could expect Button to make a pass, he would obviously have been driving more defensively.

    • Burt said on 4th June 2010, 15:23

      I agree with your analysis. Jenson would not have tried the move if he knew what the score was.

      Like many others I’m also very disappointed. Especially after listening to Whitmarsh gloat to the world how his drivers are free to race, after Turkey and China.

      If this is the case for the rest of the season, then my money is on Lewis. He’ll likely qualify ahead of Jenson more often, giving him track position and priority in the pitstops and will not get jumped. (even if it means keeping Jenson out a lap longer -see Turkey). Any advantage Jenson might gain from conserving his car will be negated when he’s told to hold station.

      • Well I disagree, Jenson would have tried a moove if he thought it the least bit possible, man is a racing driver, the mistake was that the fact that he could, wasn’t communicated to Hamilton clearly enough.

        I also think McLaren is being incredbily free with it’s drivers racing each other. Jenson won’t be told to hold station because he never has been, an McLaren arn’t in that game anymore.

    • Macca77 said on 4th June 2010, 16:22

      Let’s hope that is true. Not sure if LH would have respected the “hold position” communication if he was in second and Button first.

    • sumedh said on 4th June 2010, 18:04

      Completely disagree!!

      Mclaren “did not communicated it clearly enough to Jenson” you say. I don’t agree to this at all. This ‘miscommunication’ is just a camouflage to get their favored driver in lead of the race. How else do you explain Lewis being lied to by his own team?

      I think Mclaren are trying to help Button as much as they can covertly.

      • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 18:45

        Well, you are allowed your opinion, clearly.

        It is a lot easier in general to believe that people make mistakes than that there is a covert 5th column working to overthrow a racing driver.

        But, as the saying goes “just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean you are not being followed”; meaning in this context that a lack of evidence (not opinion) does not, can not, prove there is nothing going on.

      • sumedh, i don’t know if your read my post but I thought Jenson wasn’t the problem. The miscomunication was with Lewis. Lewis wasn’t given the full infomation on Jenson, an therfore got miffed.

        Jenson got told to fuel save, but the team seems to take a slightly more hands off approach with him, an he did as much fuel saving as he thought nessaccary.

        I don’t think McLaren could really be trying to sabotage Hamilton, why would anyteam try an do that, especially as Jenson, obviously a good racing driver, clearly aint quite as good.

  2. I wish the Teams would stick to building cars and leave the racing up to the drivers.

    If Button’s catching Lewis, of course he will try and pass him. It’s his job. It’s total, absolute nonsense to go and tell Lewis “no he won’t”.

    By trying to tell the drivers how to race, clueless, self-centered team management are turning wonderful racing manoeuvres into confusing and petty situations which end up turning drivers against each other.

    • PatrickL said on 4th June 2010, 15:15

      The team doesn’t want their drivers to risk it all.

      • Then “The team” should run a Taxi company, not an F1 squad.

        • yes because drivers in the wall is exactly what F1 teams want to see.

          • Well if we’re all here to please the teams, we should just randomly pic a world champion in March every year.

            It would be much safer and cheaper. Indeed, driving cars at such dangerous speeds is ludicrous, and overtaking, that’s just insane. This barbaric behaviour must be stopped at once.

          • alright take it out of context if you want too. Lets be clear

            What do F1 teams want to see?
            :Their drivers finsih 1-2

            What do F1 teams not want to see?
            :Their drivers crash, at all.

            Problem with that?

            To get there drivers 1-2 obviosly the teams are prepared to take some big risks including all the fun stuff we like to see. But why on earth would any team want to risk it’s drivers taking each other out so they could fight over who is 1 and who is 2?

            That’s right, no reason. There here to win the races first, not entertain us, watching them all atempt to acheive the same goal against each other, is where the entertainment is. An if you don’t understand that, your probably in the wrong sport.

  3. James_mc said on 4th June 2010, 14:59

    I think that this is all a storm in a teacup personally. I do not think that there were any “team orders” other than telling both drivers to save fuel till the end. Button saw that he had a very small window in which to make a move (not dissimilar to the “Golden Lap” talked about with regard to Sebastian Vettel which I have read elsewhere), and made his move. Unfortunately for him he didn’t make it stick

  4. DaveW said on 4th June 2010, 15:01

    This adds a useful margin of information. This makes the facts even more straight forward. Hamilton asked whether Button would be following suit if he went into fuel-saving mode. Remember, he previously had been told that “both cars are the same.” I think any sensible person would want to clarify that opague statement and that’s what Hamilton did, using, as it were, his brain. The answer was affirmative.

    The fact that Button then passed him, thus supports my decision to henceforce call Jenson Button the Artful Dodger.

    The suggestion that Button was told something different is, sorry, laughable. It goes againts every shred of evidence we have. It assumes that the pits would have failed to tell Button that his fuel was also critical, which would have been no favor to him—even if you assume that the hold-station order would have come post-pass.

    The idea that the team made Jack Dawkins give way again in favor of Hamilton is totally bizarre to anyone who watched Hamilton prize his assailant’s fingers one by one from the stolen position.

    This doesnt put RBR on the same plane as VMM. The orders to Hamilton and Dawkins were made to ensure that both drivers made it to the end. If they raced each other, we assume that this would not have happened. This is precisly what made RBR’s planned change of position—to leverage one liter of fuel–so profoundly stupid. Notwithstanding that it was a plain black and white case of team orders: a violation of the Schumacher-Oesterreichring Rule.

    What all of this proves, to go off topic, is the Hamilton needs a manager. The team manages him now, which is a conflict of interest. We only need to look at the chronicles of Briatore to see that. He needs someone to be in the garage focusing on situations when the teams’ interestes are not precisely his own.

  5. BasCB said on 4th June 2010, 15:05

    I am not sure about this, but i am pretty certain that there was some radio communication on the lap back to the pits where Button actually apologized for the situation.

    Next to that it goes to show that Lewis and Mark had the same thoughts when turning the engine down: will this make the next car faster and bring my lead in danger?

    They had to tell all of them to turn it down, otherwise the teams would probalby have looked stupid with cars stranded a few hundred meters before the finsh!

  6. wasiF1 said on 4th June 2010, 15:08

    Even I was surprised that Button attacked Hamilton on lap 49 as on lap 44 both were instructed to back off & save fuel. Another thing watching the race again today if I remember correctly then I think on the very lap Hamilton was 1.3 second slower than Button especially Button closed him down on corner 9 so I think whether Hamilton had a very slow lap or Button just found out a bit extra.

    But I will hate if Mclaren asked Button to give that place back as I think it is injustice to him. But by the look of it I think it was more about Hamilton taking the place back from Button down to turn 1.

    • S Hughes said on 4th June 2010, 15:29

      Of course they didn’t ask Button to give the place back – did you not watch the wheel to wheel racing? Unlike the sneaky pass of Button on an unsuspecting Hamilton.

      • DanThorn said on 4th June 2010, 15:37

        Was Jenson told to not pass? We don’t know. Without knowing what information JB had at the time I don’t think you can call him sneaky. At the end of the day, Jenson is a racing driver and if there’s an opportunity to pass, he’s going to take it. Anyone would.

        • Regardless, Jenson Button was clearly not a man handing his teamate the lead, apart from anything else they probably wouldn’t have had the time.

        • Todfod said on 5th June 2010, 12:07

          Agree. If Hamilton was in Button’s place, there was no way he would have a go at taking the lead.

    • kbdavies said on 5th June 2010, 22:59

      “I think on the very lap Hamilton was 1.3 second slower than Button especially Button closed him down on corner 9 so I think whether Hamilton had a very slow lap or Button just found out a bit extra.”

      Err, you dont just find an “extra” 1.3 secs on your team mate after 49 laps of a 58 lap race!

  7. F1NATIC said on 4th June 2010, 15:13

    Those low fuel comments might be the new way to give team orders. Red Bull tried to use it so Vettel could take lead which failed against Webber’s defensive skills while McLaren used it to ensure Button gave back the position to Lewis who had been assured wouldn’t be passed by his teammate. Look on the podium, Button does not look happy at all because he knew he had to hand in the position to avoid a team drift.

  8. John H said on 4th June 2010, 15:21

    This team orders thing will be the new hot topic, not least because it’s Jean Todt who is FIA president! It’s also becuase with the fuel saving issues it kind of brings it to the fore.

    I predict his approval rating to fall in the next couple of months.

  9. rampante said on 4th June 2010, 15:28

    cars should have enough fuel full stop. What happens when a car is 2nd and 20sec’s behind 1st place and the driver in front has a problem, he can’t chase him down because he has not got the fuel to do so? This is not racing. If one of the top drivers makes a mistake in quali and is 8th on the grid I want to see him put in 50 or so fast laps without him not having the tyres or gas to do so.

    • Mike said on 4th June 2010, 15:33

      But every Kg of Fuel costs a lot of time, It’s better for them to be scant of fuel, and be faster at the start of the race, when advancement through the filed is relatively easy, than be quick later, when it’s unlikely.

      I agree though in principle. But I have no Idea how that could make it desirable for the cars to have more fuel on board.

    • BasCB said on 4th June 2010, 15:48

      It is possible for the team to take a chance on doing just that, but to do that they have 2 ways at it.
      First they can put a little bit more fuel in the car before the start, making it slower all race, or they try saving a little bit of fuel during the race to have it at the end. That looks somewhat like Ferrari wanted to do in Bahrain.
      But in both cenarios, doing this to save fuel earlier makes it harder to be close in the first place and have a chance of getting back to the front.

      Sorry i am of a different opinion here. In other sports fitness and durability is a factor as well. In football sometimes the fitter team can win, when they have something left for the last 10 minutes, beating better teams with slightly less fittnes.

      • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 17:42

        Not to mention boxing.

        It seems clear that in this season, the best times to overtake are a) at the start, b) via pit-stops, or d) at the end of the race, hoping for fragility or degradation in your opponents car or concentration. As overtaking in normal circumstances is difficult, in between you try to save your car/tires/fuel as much as possible so that you are ready for the next phase, or unexpected events.

        It is interesting that McLaren did not really do this: instead they (Hamilton?) felt that keeping pressure would allow them to use their “good front end” (still not sure what that means) to make a pass. … And it resulted in those 4 cars becoming rather scarce on fuel near 2/3 of the race.

  10. Mike said on 4th June 2010, 15:30

    This is annoying….. The team told them both to slow down, Button didn’t….

    No Favourites, no conspiracy, The team, In the interest of not having the same thing happen to them that happened to Red Bull, Told both drivers to hold station.
    Button, Wanted to win, so he ignored the team and passed.

    What is wrong with this??? nothing.
    Team orders are bad as long as the drivers are punished for ignoring them, But as long as Button has the choice to pass or not, There is no reason why team orders/requests are harmful to the sport. Hamilton shouldn’t have the idea that he is safe from his team mate, That isn’t so cool, Or do we all want an F1 where team mates won’t dare fight each other? But that’s countered by Button not playing nice, just like alonso in China.

    Good on Mclaren for telling the drivers to do what is best for the team.
    Good on Button for doing what is in his interest, and attempting a pass.
    And Good on Lewis for trying to stop him.

    A great bit of racing by great drivers in a great team…

    • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 17:52

      Hamilton double checking with the team if Button was on the same strategy, ie. saving fuel, seems a wise precaution. Especially in light of him having just seen Webber slowing a bit only for Vettel to attempt an overtake – I think he could guess how the speed difference happened.

      During this season we have seen several times that he questioned (and rightfully, it turned out!) the team tactics – maybe he is learning from Button to not trust the team blindly, and they did sometimes give unclear information to him. So him asking the team for confirmation on Buttons fuel situation is quite normal.

      But the team did advise Hamilton, yet again, unwisely. I cannot help but feel that they really really meant for the drivers to save that fuel to get to the finish.

      If they would have said: Well, Button might have a bit more fuel left, so could close up, but don’t worry, it will work out, then Hamilton clearly would have kept his pace up a bit – we just won’t ever know if that would have meant him stopping in the last corner before the finish.

      • DaveW said on 4th June 2010, 18:26

        Right, next time Hamilton goes on the radio to demand to know “whose idea was it” we know it won’t be a rhetorical question. And maybe Matchett will shut his trap about how a driver never ever questions a team lest the pit wall burst into tears.

  11. Rubbish Dave said on 4th June 2010, 15:37

    The basic point is that both McLarens were, by all accounts, very light on fuel (For example, see: and had they raced to the end neither would’ve made it.

    In that situation it makes sense the team would stop them racing. It’s not an everyday situation, and it doesn’t mean they’re not free to race usually.

  12. Obbo said on 4th June 2010, 15:39

    Similar things have been said but here’s my take on the Lewis /Jenson issue:
    Lewis was told “Save fuel” and “both cars are the same”. (He was apparently also given a lap time target.)
    He queried the instruction, “Is Jenson going to pass me or not?” His tone of voice and the emphasis on “or not” makes it clear that the question really is ” Are we playing it safe by holding station and making sure we both get to the finish or do I have worry about Jenson?”
    He was given an emphatic “No” which he took to mean they were playing safe.
    The team either mismanaged the communication so Jenson was not aware of the subtext OR Jenson did know and chose to make an opportunistic move. I prefer to believe the former.
    The passing battle was for real with (luckily for the avoidance of a war at MacLaren ) Lewis regaining the lead.
    Jenson was then told “Fuel critical” and “Save tyres” which I think may well have been a ‘hold station’ message but in any case Jenson may also have figured it would not be worth risking another go, given Lewis’s robust response to the first attempt.
    Lewis’s demeanour post race seemed to me not so much that of an angry guy but rather one who felt he had been sucker punched by someone he trusted. Witness that he asked Jenson “What was going on there?” An unecessary question unless he had believed they both were holding station.

    As for ‘no team orders’ this is a nonsense. Time after time we hear the commentators openly say that, despite the rule, orders are common place. Towards the end of a season they openly ask managers when they will make the decision to favour the guy in front in the championship. Brundle and others have often said that a team would be crazy to jeapordise the manufactures points by letting their drivers race to the end. It may not be as blatent as in the Schumacher ascendancy days but it is widely acknowledged (except in official team statements) that it still goes on.

    • Enrique Miguel said on 7th June 2010, 15:27

      For that the team could be in breach with Article 39.1 in the sporting regulations which states: ‘team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.’

  13. Burt said on 4th June 2010, 15:40

    How sad. The best wheel-to-wheel racing only came about due to miscommunication of team orders.

    • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 17:56

      I think it just goes that way: even in rain-races, the interesting things happen because people are making mistakes; and then others react and become heroes, or not.

  14. wasiF1 said on 4th June 2010, 15:54

    It may sound crazy but what will happen if radio communication be banned

    just as they did with Moto GP, as there is no refueling the drivers only

    needs to change tyres they can decide whenever they want may be with a

    button on the steering wheel so the teams will know when is the car coming

    as there are already plenty of buttons on them.

    This way it will stop the teams to give any order to the drivers but there

    are many disadvantages of this that if the car have some damage then the

    teams won’t be able to tell the drivers & let the drivers know about the

    weather & even to save the fuels. Sometimes the back-maker will won’t know

    that the cars behind them is really lapping them instead they race with


  15. JohnBt said on 4th June 2010, 16:11

    Button’s using psychology to irritate Lewis knowing he’s a hot headed young lad.
    This will then upset Lewis thinking the team is not favouring him. I’m sure Lewis would have thought this incident over and over again. Before the podium ceremony it was very obvious Button was consoling Lewis with shoulder hugs. Button mind games is working. He’s been in F1 a long time. Let’s observe what will happen in Canada.

    If not for Vettel and Webber’s grand incident and Button and Lewis brief encounter the race was really boring.

    • DanThorn said on 4th June 2010, 16:30

      If Suzuka 2005 didn’t have all that overtaking and a pass for the lead on the final lap it would have been pretty boring too.

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