Set-up gamble pays off for Button as Hamilton crashes (McLaren race review)

Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2010

McLaren only got one car home for the third race in a row.

This time it was Lewis Hamilton who failed to finish after banging wheels with Felipe Massa on lap one and coming off worst.

Meanwhile Jenson Button came within a pit stop of what could have been a remarkable win with an unusual set-up.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 2 5
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’22.084 (-0.539) 1’22.623
Race position 2
Average race lap 1’26.557
Laps 53/53 0/53
Pit stops 1 0

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Jenson Button

The McLaren drivers had a choice between a high downforce rear wing with the F-duct, or a conventional Monza low-drag rear wing.

Button tried the high downforce wing in first practice, liked it, and stuck with it for the rest of the race weekend. It served him well in qualifying where he claimed his highest starting position of the year so far – second.

He passed Fernando Alonso to lead at the start and spent 36 laps with Alonso usually within a second of his rear wing – which was slightly damaged by contact between the two on the first lap.

Despite being up to 14kph slower on the straights Button’s superior pace through the middle sector kept him safe – until the pit stops.

Alonso pitted one lap later than Button and came out narrowly ahead. Button was diplomatic about the crucial eight tenths of a second lost in his pit stop:

The pit stops are always very tricky. The guys have practised over the weekend but I am the first pit stop for the team when I come in. It?s always a tricky situation. For me, the pit stop went pretty smoothly. I was quite happy with it but I didn?t know that Fernando was that much quicker.

So we lost time there but also for me, out on the circuit, when I got back out I struggled on the tyre. I could feel that I was losing time even to my option tyres which obviously weren?t in fantastic condition.

It wasn?t all the pit stop, I think. It was also maybe the wrong call on our part of choosing to come in early.
Jenson Button

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

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton tried the high downforce wing in first practice, then switched to the low downforce wing without an F-duct which he preferred.

But in qualifying mistakes on both his laps in Q3 left him fifth on the grid and questioning whether he’d made a mistake with his set-up:

It would appear that we took the wrong route by running without the F-duct this weekend. I just didn?t have the downforce today, and the car was sliding in the corners ?ǣ I couldn?t push any harder because the car just wouldn?t give me any more.
Lewis Hamilton

From fifth on the grid he was quickly up to fourth ahead of Webber. But an optimistic attempt to pass Felipe Massa at the Roggia chicane ended his race with a broken front-right wheel.

Hamilton apologised for his mistake afterwards.

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

2010 Italian Grand Prix

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54 comments on Set-up gamble pays off for Button as Hamilton crashes (McLaren race review)

  1. Harv's said on 14th September 2010, 1:43

    Look at Hamilton incident! Its very easy to look at it after it has happened and critisise him very harshly for it, which alot of people do.

    Look at both sides of the story, IF he had pulled it off he would have praise for it.

    What im saying is that passing in f1 has its risks, It always does and Hamilton has made the most passes this year on competitve cars so far! In a sport that is craving passes he is a true ambasador, Correct me if im wrong! So eventually he is going to have an incident when passing some one, Its enevitable, For any driver, No one is perfect.

    He has had more critisim over how he has lost the WDC from this one incident than a driver who I shall not mention, who crashes into someone whenever he trys a pass.

    • Oliver said on 14th September 2010, 9:09

      Agree with you. And if you notice, Massa allowed Alonso to change his line into that corner. If Massa had forced Alonso to take the tighter line, Hamilton would have followed. But the Moment Alonso changed his line, there was very little Hamilton could do from that point, he was already commited.

  2. plushpile (@plushpile) said on 14th September 2010, 4:31

    TBH I don’t think Button is really much of a contender for the title now, this is the first race since Turkey where he’s been in contention for the win. And this is probably the only race this year where he’s been challenging for the lead with genuine pace and not just a good head.

  3. Oliver said on 14th September 2010, 9:04

    Until this year, there never was the option to run the setup Button used and perhaps a few other drivers adopted. The advantage of this setup was the stability of the when going through corners and likely gentle wear on the tyres.
    I also think the setup would have been more consistent irrespective of track temperature.

    A difference of 6mph is nothing on this track, if it were say Spa, that speed deficiency would have been punished heavily.

  4. charlieboy said on 14th September 2010, 9:32

    Jensen took the risk with the set up and it paid off, Ham ran a normal Monza set up.

    Overall bad day for him good day for the championship, his still got a chance if his team pulls the car up to scratch on the twisty bits of the track where Ham is usually strong but the car has compromised that this season.

    Jensen and Hamilton
    bit of a Prost – Senna without the tension, what do you think??

  5. antonyob said on 14th September 2010, 10:19

    2 englishman treating sport how it should be treated. Usually it means that the englishmen concerned get whooped by Ossies or whatever but its nice to see that you dont have to be a wild eyed psychopath to be amongst the best

  6. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 14th September 2010, 10:39

    tbh, i think the only correct time to bring jenson in would be at the same time as alonso. come in early and you get caned by a few fast laps. come in later and you’ll probably get caned while being on cold tyres. if macca were 0.5s faster on the stop than they were, then there’d be no discussion.

    if alonso’s car was 9 mph faster on the straights, plus the pull from the slipstream, how come he couldn’t overtake at will?

    lewis was simply unlucky. he put his car into a gap. the gap closed and he got tagged in the process. it was important to get past massa as soon as possible. he saw the chance, took it, and fate decided otherwise. the guy is a racer and is exciting to watch, even if sometimes it’s through covered eyes ;-)

    charlieboy mentioned comparisons between lewis & sen with senna & prost. this also crossed my mind much earlier in the season….. jens is deffo prost, lewis is near to senna, just doesn’t (thankfully) have the same complete ruthlessness that ayrton raced with every time he sat in a car.

  7. antonyob said on 14th September 2010, 11:03

    Lewis isnt really Senna at all, he was just his hero.

    Theres a good article in last months Motorsport by Nigel Roebuck who compares him to Gilles Villeneuve. Gilles according to Roebuck was the perfect racer. I couldnt verify either but i think Roebucks point was that Lewis knows where the line you dont cross is, Senna had no understanding of any limits to achieve a goal.

    Id say its a lazy comparison and Jenson isnt Prost, Prost was a devious highly political animal who engineered his position within a team. They drive with a similar lack of fuss but most drivers are like this. Lewis’ balls out style is more unusual in F1, maybe only Alonso is similar.

  8. curedcat said on 14th September 2010, 13:31

    mclaren appears to be flexing their front wing here .

  9. Sutil.M said on 16th September 2010, 21:14

    Mabye some regulations were put in place perhaps? ill do some more research on this now.

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