Ferrari and Red Bull out of reach in Germany (McLaren race review)

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2010

McLaren ran their exhaust-blown diffuser for the first time – despite losing precious testing time with it after Lewis Hamilton crashed on Friday.

But they weren’t able to challenge their main rivals in qualifying or the race and never looked likely to threaten for a podium position.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 5 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’14.427 (-0.139) 1’14.566
Race position 5 4
Average race lap 1’18.931 (+0.039) 1’18.892
Laps 67/67 67/67
Pit stops 1 1

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Jenson Button

Ended his six-race losing streak against Hamilton in qualifying. But his advantage came to naught when he was held up by Sebastian Vettel at the start, dropping him to sixth place.

The team gambled on a long first stint to get him ahead of Mark Webber, which proved successful. Indeed, he almost made it out of the pits ahead of Hamilton.

The MP4-25’s straight line speed advantage kept him safe from Webber at first. Then when the Red Bull driver dropped back with escalating oil temperatures Button was left to follow his team mate home for fifth.

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

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton crashed in first practice when the car snapped away from him at turn three. He explained what happened:

I up-shifted from third to fourth and this initiated mass wheel spin and caused the car to snap into oversteer. Overall, it was a mistake but the shift didn’t help.
Lewis Hamilton

This delayed McLaren’s planned evaluation of their new exhaust-blown diffuser. It left Button to do most of the running in the dry second practice session while Hamilton’s car was repaired. Nonetheless they opted to carry on with the exhaust-blown diffuser.

Hamilton made a better start than Mark Webber in front of him and passed him on the inside of turn one.

He also took Button, who had been slowed by Vettel, on the way out of the corner but had to give best to Webber at turn two, who had kept his momentum by going off the track at the first corner. However Hamilton slipstreamed and re-passed the Red Bull on the way into the turn four hairpin.

His pit stop left him behind Robert Kubica and as the Renault driver stayed out it looked as though Button might be able to get ahead of him after his pit stop. Fortunately for him Kubica pitted, allowing him to lap quickly enough to ensure he stayed ahead of Button.

That’s where he finished, allowing him to increase his championship lead to 21 points. But he urged the team to find more performance from the car:

It was a very tough race today ?ǣ the car didn?t feel fantastic and the Ferraris and Red Bulls were very fast. We hoped the gap would be closer in the race than it was in qualifying, and it was ?ǣ but, even so, we?ve got to make up some pace on our main rivals.

We need to go back and figure out where we can improve, and pick it up again very quickly. Today, we did everything we could do ?ǣ now we just have to work harder than ever to get ahead of the cars in front.
Lewis Hamilton

McLaren admitted after the race they were looking into adopting a design of front wing used by Ferrari and Red Bull which appears to flex to allow its endplates to lower, improving its efficiency.

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

2010 German Grand Prix

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50 comments on Ferrari and Red Bull out of reach in Germany (McLaren race review)

  1. DaveW said on 26th July 2010, 16:23

    Flexi-wings. This escaped most attention during the weekend but something is going on with RBR and SFM front wings. The way McLaren was blown away in the race, with RBR and Ferrari introducing no known major upgrades, is pretty shocking. My instinct is that thinks are different now versus Britain on the cars. In Valencia and Silverstone, Hamilton showed the ability to pressure RBR to purple, even if he was a few tenths off in ultimate race pace. Here, they were nowhere.

    Also note how the field has suddenly opened up. It was telling in Britain when McLaren and RBR just leapt away from the field and now the three top teams have just left Renault and Mercedes in the dust. Thus it truly seems that RBR and Ferrari have made a massive performance leap in the last 2-3 races with McLaren making significant but insufficient advances. While McLaren has been flailing around with the EBD the other teams have been tacking on new pieces.

    Hungaroring, a maximum downforce track will be the same story unless VMM can crack out their own bendy-wing in a couple days.

    • Calum said on 26th July 2010, 16:40

      What does “SFM” mean?

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 26th July 2010, 19:09

      McLaren will need a flexi wing and to further tune their EBD in the next two days basically if they want to be competitive in Hungary. I’m guessing they’ll have some upgrades for Spa.

      • Ilanin said on 26th July 2010, 21:37

        They’ll be competitive in Hungary anyway, lots of slow corners, the flexi-wing and the EBD are mostly about high-speed performace. Also Hamilton loves the place (to be fair, anyone who’s played a computer game knows the Hungaroring is a much more interesting circuit from behind the wheel), and it was Button’s first GP win too, so the drivers ought to be happy.

        • John Edwards said on 27th July 2010, 8:33

          I’d agree with that, its a bit of a go kart track so its not got a huge amount to do with out and out aero performance.

          Mclaren’s roar mechanical grip is pretty sound so I’d say they’ll be there or thereabouts.

          I think Lewis will be in the top 2 at least come Sunday maybe better.

      • Eddie Irvine said on 27th July 2010, 8:41

        Everything will be different in hungaroring. EBD works perfect at 3rd grand prix of evoluation, and that means Spa possibly (don’t count hungary there is no evvolution time) however the setup work for the diffuser will be much more precise and will bring at least 2 tenths more of performance for mclaren at the next GP. And i’m saying that watching how the project worked for Ferrari. Scruffy first race, a lot better the second one, superb third. Also, More downforce, more gain from the F-duct . So I predict a strong race for McLaren in Hungary

    • demos12 said on 26th July 2010, 20:22

      forgive me for saying this, but isn’t hockenheim a low downforce track, which ferrari have been shown to be quite good at due to a greater mechanical grip than the other teams. If hungaroring is a a higher downforce track, than maybe Mclaren might prove to be more competitive there

      • Matt said on 26th July 2010, 20:49

        Watch the onboard with Webber during the race. The wide wings and end plate design pulls the wing down at either end when the car is at high speed. You can see it on camera. It isd unbelievable that the stewards will have looked at the wing and not considered the video evidence.

      • Younger Hamilton said on 27th July 2010, 1:47

        Im a McLaren fan and i have to say Monaco and Hungary are similar high downforce tracks with low speed corners and some quick and tight sweepers.In Monaco McLaren struggled a lot with Aerodynamic efficiency and it looks very Likely that its gonna be the same story so im preparing for a blown away result from Ferrari and Redbull,Im Sorry!!!

    • Younger Hamilton said on 27th July 2010, 1:42

      I’ve seen your comments and i think you dislike McLaren a lot, whats your problem why are you always negative to them?

    • Younger Hamilton said on 27th July 2010, 2:06

      @DaveW you never know for the past five years McLaren have won,05 with Kimi,06 with Jenson,07 with Lewis,08 with Heikki and 09 with Lewis all driven for McLarenand ost of them were at McLaren that time of the win.So it might not be all doom and gloom for them Lewis or Jenson might sneak a win even with a tough weekend coming up.

    • Jean said on 27th July 2010, 9:22

      Red Bull has been fast at most tracks , but otherwise don’t forget that some tracks suit some cars better , so I would not after Hockenheim result conclude that Ferrari and Red Bull have made massive performance gains over the others (McLaren / Mercedes / Renault) , so as to write them off yet.

  2. Tango said on 26th July 2010, 16:25

    McLaren impress me. A bad result for them is being 4th and 5th in a car which should at best have placed them 5th and 6th. A brilliant slick drive to collect essential points where they were available. I am amazed that during 2 transition races (with blown diffuser installation etc…) the worst result for a Macca driver is 5th! Compare that to Ferrari’s two transition races (Canada and Valencia) and admire! Let’s hope they get their performance up so that they can join the fight for the top again !

  3. Burt said on 26th July 2010, 16:43

    Lewis’ lead is 12 points, not 21. Just a typo and not bad maths I’m sure!

  4. Eric said on 26th July 2010, 16:55

    im more impressed with what Ferrari have done, being able to compete at RBR pace has been absolutely brilliant. just a shame they cant let there drivers race.

    i just hope McLaren can improve there own car in the next couple of races.

    how much that front wing is moving will be interesting.
    is this why RBR broke a one in Silverstone it was too flexible?

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 26th July 2010, 19:11

      No, they had failures in the mechanism that attaches the nose to the chassis. The wing itself was fine, which is why they were able to switch out all the hardware and run the newer wing in the race with no issues.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th July 2010, 17:05

    I am curiou about McLaren improving their usage of the EBD and getting closer again. Surely getting 4th and 5th out of the weekend is another great save for them, i expect them to make the WCC theirs this year.

    • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 17:22

      Maybe. Ferrari looked a bit ominous to be honest.

      Can’t help feeling that like last year, albeit less radically, this McLaren isn’t a good overall base, despite the F-duct advantage and the team’s capacity to upgrade. The seem to be continually battling to get downforce and rear end stability. It also seems tweaks to the RBR, Ferrari and even Renault produce a much better net gain. The main advantage for McLaren right now seems to be their drivers.

  6. thestig84 said on 26th July 2010, 17:30

    I take it you mean Pat Fry?? Im pretty sure he hasnt had any impact at all yet. He has only been there weeks not likely to have even setup his desk yet!!

    • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 17:37

      If their doing good then it has to be in some way because of the british!

      doh!

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 17:46

        It’s reasonable for someone to ask if a new person joining a team has made a difference.

        It’s beyond tedious the way some people have to make everything about nationality. Please, change the record.

        • Dr. Gonzo said on 26th July 2010, 18:17

          “This is amazing — Steve Fry has just recently joined Ferrari and already they are as fast as Red Bull.
          Ferrari has only done really well when they have used the best British engineers. When it is all Italians they start arguing and get all mixed up and start losing papers and cannot get the job done.
          If Ferrari just moved the whole racing operations to England they would do a lot better.”

          This is your idea of reasonable, Keith??

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 18:21

            No I was referring to the comment from The Stig.

            I hadn’t seen the other one – as far as I’m concerned that trolling and I’ve taken it down.

          • Dr. Gonzo said on 26th July 2010, 18:37

            OK, then your initial response makes more sense :-) BTW – Hamilton crashed in first practice.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 18:39

            Oh yeah – thanks

          • Dr. Gonzo said on 26th July 2010, 19:01

            Not to be a PITA but leaving “allowing him to increase his championship lead to 21 points” as pointed out earlier does imply that Button is not in the hunt! ( Team Orders? :-) )

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 26th July 2010, 19:15

            Steve Fry has just recently joined Ferrari

            I think you mean Pat Fry. I don’t think Jeeves has a lot of engineering background…

  7. xabregas said on 26th July 2010, 19:35

    I´m wondering till when can Button keep up with Hamilton.
    Button´s engenier has donne a great job, got him in front of Webber and almost got him in front of Hamilton.
    He needs to step up a little bit of more pace or in a few races we will see the same we saw in Ferrari yesterday.
    But all in all Maclaren did everything they could in this grand prix.

    • JuanFanger said on 27th July 2010, 8:43

      I think you mean Webber’s engineer did a great job sending him out in traffic :)

  8. Calum said on 26th July 2010, 20:30

    @demos12: I think any one could do well at Hungaroring afterall,Mclaren won there in a very bad car, Ferrari won in their dominant days in excellant cars, any one can win it.,. But probs Ferrari, and if they got the choice – Alonso

  9. Stepney said on 26th July 2010, 21:13

    Ferrari or rather Alonso will win at the Hungaroring,they are on a mission and its a shock to Mclaren and Red Bull,but in reality its shouldn,t be,the F10 has been simmering to show its true potential for a couple of races now,Red Bull struggled to keep up,Mclaren were left behind.
    Spa will see another major update for Ferrari,did Mclaren do a good job at Hokenhiemring? No,are Mclaren and Red Bull worried? yes.
    Great site Keith,long may it continue!

  10. rfs said on 27th July 2010, 0:25

    I’ve read that one of the drawbacks of the diffuser on the MP4-25 is that the car needs to be very stiffly sprung for the diffuser to work properly. And that along with its long wheelbase hurts them at tight tracks like Monaco and Hungary. So it looks like Hungary will be damage limitation once again for Macca. :(

  11. Younger Hamilton said on 27th July 2010, 1:56

    Well undetected flexi wings McLaren must have if Redbull and Ferrari have got theirs.Its a shame we have to change our current front wing designs i think its immense, it can hold a tighter line through corners and stick with it even when locking up and bits of understeer.McLaren will find a way im sure of it,i have all faith in them!!!

  12. tharris19 said on 27th July 2010, 2:17

    McLaren will go into Hungary with some improvements but not enough to challenge RBR or Farrari.They will be lucky to get a well balanced car before Spa. By then it may be too late because they are so far behind in the development of this car.
    By the way, remember, all the factories are required to be closed over the break!

    • Younger Hamilton said on 28th July 2010, 1:38

      What is up with all the McLaren Negativity dont forget they are the best guys who can develop a car throughout a season

  13. Ady said on 27th July 2010, 7:25

    The low downforce configuration they used for the race indicates to me that McLaren knew they were not going to be quicker than the Ferrari or Red Bulls.

    They set themselves up for a defensive drive, ensuring they had enough speed to pull a big enough gap at the overtaking points of the track.

    Both cars in front of a Reb Bull, and only 1 point lost in the WCC. A good save for Mclaren.

  14. Jian said on 27th July 2010, 10:02

    Good saves cant win you championships, or can they? Ask Brawn GP and Jenson Button 2009 and maybe yes. But now we have two teams with great cars chasing instead of one…

  15. DaveW said on 27th July 2010, 14:42

    Who knows about Hungaroring? We know it’s high downforce, probably as high as Monaco. We know that McLaren did not rock Monaco. We know that braking stability and balance are key, and, if anything, the new car is less stable than the old one, and may need to be set up even more rock hard than before. We know top speed don’t count for much, so take that advatage off the table. Hamilton may pierce the top four in qualifying, because he is brilliant on the brakes and handling a loose car are his forte, but that’s it. Whatever fairy dust Ferrari and RBR sprinkled on their cars in Germany will not come on the market in the next 2 days. And spending another 2 hours sorting the EBD is not going to help much.

    My name is Martin Whitmarsh and I approved this message.

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