Hamilton and Button limit damage with second and fourth (McLaren race review)

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Silverstone 2010

The defining moment of McLaren’s weekend came on Friday evening when they abandoned their plans to run their new exhaust-driven diffuser.

After the race team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted he’d have “ripped someone’s arm off” to ensure their second and fourth-placed finishes on a weekend when Red Bull and Ferrari were quicker.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 14 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’31.699 (+0.581) 1’31.118
Race position 4 2
Average race lap 1’38.081 (+0.397) 1’37.684
Laps 52/52 52/52
Pit stops 1 1

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Jenson Button

Abandoning the new exhausts, but keeping the new front and rear wings on both cars, meant a late nights for the mechanics on Friday. Reserve driver Gary Paffett was summoned to the McLaren Technology Centre to work on a new set-up in the simulator.

Button seemed happy with the ‘old’ car in final practice but failed to progress beyond Q2 in qualifying, losing to Hamilton for the sixth Saturday in a row.

He made amends in the race, grabbing six places on the first lap and inheriting the rest through pit stops, penalties and retirements.

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

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was delighted with his qualifying lap which gave him fourth on the grid – ten places ahead of his team mate.

The cards fell in his favour on race day as Fernando Alonso made a slow start.

He made contact with Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, much like he did in Valencia, only this time it left Vettel with a puncture and promoted Hamilton to second.

That was where he finished, unable to do anything about Mark Webber, though he made a concerted effort to pass the Red Bull at the restart of the race.

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

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72 comments on Hamilton and Button limit damage with second and fourth (McLaren race review)

  1. Bartholomew said on 11th July 2010, 23:17

    I want to say that Silverstone looked beautiful on TV, with great weather and a lot of people.
    The best and most authentic GP of all !

    • Charles Carroll said on 12th July 2010, 4:53

      The weather and the people were great, but aside from that I’m not seeing the picturesque quality of Monaco and some of the other venues this year.

      I’m new to the sport, so I acknowledge my lack of experience, but I was not particularly enthralled by Silverstone.

    • MacademiaNut said on 12th July 2010, 5:40

      This is one track that I like the most. The Redline racing game for Mac has both the arena (in beta) and the previous Silverstone track.. and it’s always great to race with formula1 cars (in simulation).

      I hope a PS3 version of the game comes out sooner. The championship edition is too old now.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th July 2010, 7:03

      I found the construction of those buildings to be very interesting. Next year it will change again with the pits complex moved.

      But the Arena section did bring some nice overtaking. Vettel got through the German batch there and Sutil past Schumi as well.

    • Patrickl said on 13th July 2010, 17:17

      Yeah, I’ve never been there. Mostly also because I’ve always heard the horror stories of getting to and from the circuit.

      Still, seeing the amazing crowds on TV really made me want to go there too.

  2. Victor. said on 11th July 2010, 23:25

    Gotta love Hamilton for ruining the race for Vettel!

    Button did a brilliant job to secure fourth – in fact, I never quite know how he manages to get into the high points since he’s so discrete. When Hamilton’s on the move you physically see him overtake everybody…

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 12th July 2010, 3:24

      “inheriting the rest through pit stops, penalties and retirements.”


      • MacademiaNut said on 12th July 2010, 5:41

        Agree. Button’s most position gains are from other’s mistakes rather than some good driving. We saw very little of overtaking moves from Button this entire season.

        • Matt said on 12th July 2010, 9:56

          He passed 6 cars on the first lap, and his driving better and having a better car had a lot to do with this.

      • Bingo said on 13th July 2010, 6:19

        Everyone talks about how quick Hamilton was keeping up with Webber. However once out of traffic Button was matching the leaders in terms of lap times.

        It was this speed at the crucial time that “inherited” his positions through pit stops.

        You could also argue that this is why Alonso decided to not give the place back to Kubica. He needed to ensure he was in front of Button, staying behind Kubica would leave him behind Button.

  3. Derek said on 11th July 2010, 23:39

    Nice plug for ‘Top Gear’ by Rubens I thought at the time. But after his time topped the Stig’s I know why now!! Well done Rubens.

  4. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 12th July 2010, 0:31

    It’s more than damage limitation I think, specially for Lewis. Another podium and solid points!

    • Achilles said on 12th July 2010, 6:52

      I agree, the title of this thread, does the Mclaren job this weekend a little injustice, as we keep getting told, the ‘bulls have the car to beat, Ferrari too, but as the race unfolds, good team strategy, and the racecraft of the drivers, is showing that Mclaren have the more complete package as the season progresses, perhaps this is why the other teams are trying to find a chink in their defenses….

  5. Pat said on 12th July 2010, 0:32

    American coverage (on Fox, not SpeedTV) this week was pretty limited… did Jenson ever threaten Nico? I know he made up a lot of time but all I read was that he had fuel issues and had to back off…

    • SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 12th July 2010, 0:46

      Yeah Jenson was closing in, but had to look after his fuel so backed off.

      • Xusen said on 12th July 2010, 9:08

        In the post race interview he said he didnt have to conserve fuel as the safety car eased that issue, but he memtioned that he started getting the same problems as in qualifying and could get too close to Nico.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 12th July 2010, 2:43

      I really didn’t like the Fox feed at all. Mine was poppy in the sound and occurred only during the race and not commercials. It might just be a Comcast problem though…

      • Ron in Michigan said on 13th July 2010, 0:21

        I really dislike Fox’ coverage every summer for two months ( 4 races ). That being said, i’m grateful that Fox sports is even carrying F1 in an effort to broaden the F1’s coverage here in the states. If i’m not mistaken Newscorp ( Rupert Murdoch ) has a lot of the broadcast contracts with F1 internationally, as well as, he and Bernie being good mates.

        The title to this post might be more appropiately named ” McClaren extract unexpected points haul”.

    • Charles Carroll said on 12th July 2010, 4:55

      That is probably why I wasn’t that impressed with Silverstone. I thought the race was okay (6 out of 10) but the coverage did absolutely NOTHING for the venue.

      Monaco, Valencia, and even Istanbul came off looking more interesting than this track. It was more like China’s GP on TV in the states.

    • MacademiaNut said on 12th July 2010, 5:44

      FOX feed is a joke. They will screw up the next two races as well.

      Why is it that FOX telecasts (delayed!) two of the best tracks in the season (silverstone and spa) is just beyond me. Just for this reason, I hope they bring back the US race soon so one the europe races will go back to speed.

  6. kowalsky said on 12th July 2010, 0:35

    they look like world champs to me. Am i alone out there?

  7. Eric said on 12th July 2010, 0:50

    i keep saying it Button is the best guy McLaren could have employed to support Hamilton.
    Hamilton did extremely well i thought right from the start put Webber under a lot of pressure when the tires were not up to temp, plus kept him in sight just in case he made a mistake.
    Button can hold his own, he is not great at overtaking but can add the extra speed when its need to make up positions, made a excellent start, saved his tires till they were needed.
    add some luck 2 drivers removed from ahead of him and he finishes 4th, results like that dont come from being useless. they come from being consistent.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 12th July 2010, 3:26

      Button is taking points from Red Bull this season which could help Lewis end up taking the title despite being in a car a lot worse.

      It looks though now Button is unable to match Lewis in normal conditions but still has good solid pace.

    • Ron in Michigan said on 13th July 2010, 0:46

      Good point Eric. And i’ve never even thought of it that way. Button may just be partner for Lewis, and thereby, the best compliment to the team.

      Go McClaren!

  8. Ragerod said on 12th July 2010, 3:14

    I’m concerned with how often Button is having to do these drives. In pretty much every race something seems to go in his favour and his qualifying must improve if he wants to be WC.

    On a different note the McLaren seems to handle heavy fuel loads far better than any other car.

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th July 2010, 7:07

    Worrying for Button is, that he still has not got over his qualifying problems. Sure the late change back to old specification was going to hurt him more than Lewis, but still 10 grid places is a lot, he did even go slower in Q2 than in Q1.

    So it’s back to his mid year slump, like last year. I am curious to see weather he will climb from that to win again this year.

  10. Adam Smith said on 12th July 2010, 10:13

    I don’t understand why people still choose to criticise Jenson Button. He is the current world champion with a team that struggled in the last half of the season. He was consistently scoring points when they were being out-paced in the development race. A great driver is not someone that makes loads of overtakes, as it takes more than that, yes overtakes are great fun, but making lots of moves can damage your tires especially with high fuel loads. And as for Jenson can’t overtake, take a look at Brazil 2009, come on!

    Jenson has got pace, a lot of the times last year just before pit stops he often needed to pull out gaps to ensure he held position or even gained position. His lap times before he pitted this weekend were great and meant that he could gain more positions, people expected him to come out in about 8th after the pit stops.

    At the beginning of the season everybody said he would be destroyed by Lewis, and he hasn’t!

  11. Derek said on 12th July 2010, 10:36

    Jenson and Lewis are both great drivers. However, if it stays dry for the rest of the season Lewis looks like he will start to pull away from Jenson because he has the raw qualifying & race pace. Jenson has the better strategic mind at the moment though! And has the ability to make the right call without relying on the team like Lewis.

  12. Tango said on 12th July 2010, 11:43

    I have to say, McLaren has done a great job. I would’ve never have expected such a good result. They must be grinning : 2 races behind in the development race (vis à vis Ferrari, Red Bull and though they are still faster, Merc and Renault) , and still scoring the most points!

  13. kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 12:02

    I really dont understand all this crap about Jenson having the “better strategic” mind, or “preserving his tyres better”. If so, where has his strategic mind gone to in the last 6 races? On holiday? He made 2 lucky calls that served him well; with the help of the team i might add. It was NOT only his decision.

    Also, i am yet to see his so called ability to preserves his tyres better gain him a single place, or enable him to overtake another driver with shot tyres this season.
    Point is, he is consistently 3/10th – 4/10ths down on his teammeate on average race pace. The gap, when relatively adjusted for the closenes in qualifying this year is even bigger.

    Someoene mentioned a great driver is not someone who overtakes all the time – How abaout overtaking when needed? He could not overtake Rosberg (nothing to do with low fuel). He was stuck behind Koba in Valencia. He moaned about how hard overtaking was in Silverstone – he did not overtake a single car after the confusion and melee of the 1st lap which allowed him to gain positions, forgetting that his rival title contender, Seb Vettel, he of the Front Wing fame, drove from 24th to 7th – in the same race. Yes he was helped by the safety car, but he managed to overtake a Williams, Mercedes, Torro Rosso and Force India, amongst others – none of the cars mentioned are slouches.

    Im simply tired of people making excuses for Button. He is good, but not good enough. His deficiencies are glaring. He cant drive a car unless its perfect. He would rather sit behind a car than attempt an overtake. This is not smart, it is stupid – as it stops you from capitalising should someone up front should make an error. Imagine if Lewis had not been pressuring the Red Bulls in Turkey? In Silverstone, Lewis but more pressure on Webber, than Jenson put on Kobayashi in Valencia. That should tell you a lot! If Jenson had overtaken Koba in Valencia, he would have jumped Lewis into 2nd when he had his drive through.

    Jenson would rather sit and collect the crumbs as they fall his way. Lewis would rather go out there, fight and snatch them away from his opponents. Logic will tell you Lewis would ALWAYS collect more points this way. That is WHAT separates the good from the greats!

    • BNK said on 12th July 2010, 12:23

      “Also, i am yet to see his so called ability to preserves his tyres better gain him a single place”

      i believe it was in australia where he managed to preserve his tyres which allowed him to hold onto the win. (then again so did kubica for 2nd)

      • martin bell said on 12th July 2010, 13:32

        And didn’t we just see him stay out longer than those around him on the softs and make up a couple of places? The received wisdom says that stopping earlier gives an advantage, JB seems to have challenged this assumption this weekend.

        • kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 14:06

          Err, staying out longer does not necessarily mean your tyres are better than those around you or anyone elses for that matter. It is simply a matter of strategy. Because Jenson could not overtake when he was in the “Kubica Train”, it made sense for the team to leave him out to put in some hot laps in clear air when the others pitted. This is why he was able to jump Barrichelo in the pit stops.

          Jenson pitted before Hulkenberg, Kovalainen, Trulli, Buemi, Alguesauri, Luizzi, etc.

        • Icthyes said on 12th July 2010, 15:06

          Button wasn’t the only one on softs doing better times than those on the hards, though.

      • kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 14:07

        I said “gain him a place” not “hold onto the win”. Clear difference between the two!

    • Eric said on 12th July 2010, 12:53

      your argument kbdavies doesn’t mean a thing.

      what do’s matter is this.

      1 Lewis Hamilton 145
      2 Jenson Button 133
      3 Mark Webber 128
      4 Sebastian Vettel 121

    • martin bell said on 12th July 2010, 13:43

      His failure to pass Rosberg was everything to do with low fuel, this being what JB referred to after the race as an ‘aggressive strategy.’ Marginal fueling has been a strategic element all season.

      • kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 21:14

        @martinbell – is it only Button on the whole F1 grid with an “aggressive strategy”? Did he also have an “aggressive strategy” in Valencia? I’m yet to hear from Hamilton, Vettel, Webber and Alonso say that they couldn’t overtake because they were on an “aggressive strategy”!
        When would people stop putting forward all manner of reasons and excuses?

        • martin bell said on 13th July 2010, 7:52

          I’m not giving reasons or excuses, just commenting on your assertion that it had nothing to do with low fuel. There’s been way to much praise heaped on JB’s performance this weekend in my opinion. Great recovery from crap qualifying still means that you were crap in qualifying. The end of refueling has, however, made the races this season full of nuance and subtlety in strategic terms, rather than the purity some expected.

    • MclarenMad said on 12th July 2010, 19:37

      I 100% agree with kbdavies!
      I am sick and tired of all the Jenson is great – I was sat at Stowe Sunday and at the end of the race Lewis got a round of applause and a few cheers (and my air horn) and he came right up to the barriers to show thanks and wave….Jenson went slightly off racing line and gave a little wave and the crowd went mad (apart from me). Now I love someone to win and/or at least fight, just like Lewis, so why did he get the biggest roar…I must have been watching a different formula 1 season as the best driver on the track is Lewis at the minute – by far!

      • MclarenMad said on 12th July 2010, 19:42

        …and as for the strategic mind….that is for the strategist to decide, and the racers to race – who wants to see drivers not pushing 100% – this was a bad idea with the full fuel – or it could be made more interesting with 2 or 3 compulsary tyre stops – I want to see a fast F1 not a conservative F1.

        With regards to the fuel issues, how did Lewis manage to go quicker for the whole race with the same fuel on board then if Jenson had issues? This to me suggests he has the better race mind and clearly better raw pace!

        • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 12th July 2010, 19:54

          “and as for the strategic mind….that is for the strategist to decide”

          Not always, only a driver knows how a car and the tyres etc feel. Button for instance won because he was the quickest to work out the track conditions and how the tyres felt while being able to race and put the quick laptimes in. There’s a reason why Schumi and Prost have such a high win rate even when at times the opposition was quicker, if it wasn’t important they’d have been beaten a lot more.

          • MclarenMad said on 12th July 2010, 21:08

            I dont agree so much as I dont think that was the case with JB though, as he had a off straight away and then found out he was on the wrong tyres so had to slow down and could push on bit by bit, it technically wasnt the correct decision, but it panned out ok for him in the end as he was able to push abit more every lap as it was drying up – the correct decision was to stay on the inters and go faster and the following race he stayed on a set behind the safety car for a long while again so that once more panned out ok for him.

  14. Adam Smith said on 12th July 2010, 12:22

    Sorry but Jenson clearly has a better strategic mind. You could tell in Australia and China how clear headed he was to make those decisions. In contrast Lewis was fuming with his team, saying “who made this decision!!!” etc., not productive at all! With the help of the team, sorry but when Martin Whitmarsh says, we asked Jenson to make the decision on tyres as he is the one driving the car, completely his call so I don’t know where you got that rubbish from.

    As for overtaking again, he could not overtake Rosberg as Nico drove a great race and had some great pace in a car that he was happier with than Jenson was with his. As for Valencia, same story, Kobayashi was driving amazingly above his cars potential, at times equalling the lap times of Vettel and Hamilton. Plus it is a hard circuit to overtake. Saying he can’t overtake when he needs to is unbelievable, I’ll go back to Brazil 2009 again, he needed to make those overtakes to ensure the championship. Hmmm

    Jenson is in no way the perfect driver but people are picking up on exactly the wrong things such as I have mentioned before. He needs to improve his qualifying pace and learn to wrestle the car around a bit more in qualifying.

    Yes Lewis is a great driver, but he is in no way a complete driver, he gets far too hot headed and blames other people most of the time. He has continued to grow, especially last year, and it was great to see him grow up. He has a long way to go. The perfect driver for me would have Lewis’ passion and daring overtaking manoeuvres, combined with Jenson’s calm and collected experienced head. Hence, McLaren look the best over the long term.

    • David BR said on 12th July 2010, 15:03

      @ “Jenson clearly has a better strategic mind”

      One word: experience. Now compare Lewis with Vettel and see who is more hot-headed and who has matured far less quickly.

      Hamilton had the best opening races and season of any rookie and was the youngest world champion. As Vettel is showing, having the best car is *not* all it takes. You have to assess the drivers on where they are in their career too.

    • Icthyes said on 12th July 2010, 15:16

      The “great strategig mind” argument, though, has been shown to be over-hyping Button, as apparent as it was even at the time.

      In Australia he was forced to pit – he himself said his tyres were gone.

      In China, half the field made the same decision as he did.

      Let us not also forget that Button made a very early pit stop in Malaysia too and lost out to Hamilton, Massa and nearly Alonso too.

      And also there’s Hungary 2009, when Hamilton nursed his tyres in the middle stint on a day when everyone’s were taking a beating from the conditions. Even as recently as Canada we saw Hamilton nursing his tyres enough at the end to be able to respond to Button trying to catch him towards the end of the race.

      Jenson is very able – how else could he be world champion? – and it’s not his fault he’s racing against some really good drivers. But that doesn’t mean we have to overhype him.

      • Icthyes said on 12th July 2010, 15:21

        PS: Remember last year when the press were saying Button was throwing away the championship? I remember Jenson getting very testy with them. And Hungary’s “how, how can this car be so bad at the moment?”

        Button is simply a more experienced person than Hamilton in that his outbursts aren’t passionate or often enough to be something he’s remembered for. But taking the most passionate drivers on the grid, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, and comparing their ability to Button’s, it doesn’t seem that it’s a relevant factor in how good a driver is – off-track, that is.

        • kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 18:18

          It is amazing that Jenson’s supporters can only call upon a single 2 hr race(Brazil 09) in his 9yrs in F1- to prove that he can overtake. What other driver can a statistic like that be used to prove they can overtake? Alonso? Hamilton? Schumacher? Montoya? Raikkonen? Vettel?
          I mean, he had the best car for 2/3rds of last season, and rightly capitalised on it – but dont get carried away.

          This inability to call a spade a spade is really getting silly. If Lewis is as good as Alonso (a comparison most would not argue with), and there is not a lot between Jenson & Lewis (as Jensons supporters say), then it follows that there is not a lot between Jenson & Alonso – a silly comment if there ever was one.

          Again, If most people agree that, this season, Mark Webber has had the better of his teammate, Seb Vettel, how is it possible that there is not a lot between Jenson and Lewis? When the stats between them make far more sombre reading than between the Red Bull drivers?

          I am just trying to highlight how logic goes out of the window when people compare Jenson to Lewis. I swear, if Jenson was not British, then we would not be having this exaggeration of his abilities.

          • Burt (@) said on 13th July 2010, 1:45

            IIRC you subscribe to the ‘Lewis blew Alonso away in 2007′ theory, then following your own logic Jenson must be up there with Fred!

          • Patrickl said on 13th July 2010, 17:29

            Button overtakes cars almost at every race. He’s not as good at is as Hamilton, but still. He’s better at it than most of the other drivers.

            In 2009 Button was struggling in qualifiying and everybody was whining how he was getting “destroyed” by Barrichello. But in reality, Button often finished ahead of Barrichello because he overtook cars with calculated agression.

            The only time where Barrichello significantly outscored Button was in Valencia where Barrichello won and Button was rammed off track first by Vettel and then Webber after the start.

            Button’s problem is is his qualifying. His “smooth” driving style is costing him positions there.

            I said it before the season. When it comes do driving styles, Hamilton has a clear advantage. Hamilton can switch driving styles. He can preserve his tyres when he needs to, but he can go flat out when he needs to.

            Button can not. He just has one thing and it fails him in qualifying.

    • martin bell said on 13th July 2010, 9:37

      I think you’re right, Mclaren have the best long term line up of any team for the reasons you outline. I do, however, believe that notions of LH being ‘hot headed’ are starting to look outdated. The rate at which he is maturing as a driver this season is remarkable. By seasons end he will be the complete driver you refer to. For what it’s worth, I suspect that it’s not a coincidence that this is happening now, as he has a team mate who is a perfect foil for him. Something special is happening at Mclaren, and we should all savour it for what it is.

  15. Aurorarain said on 12th July 2010, 13:09

    @ KbDavies…I salute you! This is the first time that I have posted a comment on F1 anywhere…but I couldn’t let your post go by without saying THANK-YOU!!! Those of us who know, know-others just refuse to aknowledge the truth!

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