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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

Browse all 2010 Italian Grand Prix articles

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. mclaren appears to be flexing their front wing here .

    1. That was two years ago – I doubt it helped them last weekend.

      1. I am aware its from two years ago . if they did it two years ago , i wonder why they cannot do it again .

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

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