Poor pace and another Hamilton DNF hits title hopes (McLaren race review)

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2010

Lewis Hamilton’s third no-score in four races following his controversial collision with Mark Webber has hit his championship hopes hard.

But just as worrying for him and Jenson Button was McLaren’s lack of pace around Singapore.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 4 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’45.944 (+0.373) 1’45.571
Race position 4
Average race lap 1’56.458 (-4.342) 2’00.800
Laps 61/61 35/61
Pit stops 1 1

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Jenson Button

Button had the edge on pace over his team mate on Friday but that changed overnight and it was Hamilton who headed the all-McLaren second row.

Although Button got away slightly better than his team mate Hamilton braked later into the first corner and re-took third place.

Neither McLaren could maintain the pace set by Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Button dropped back slightly more quickly than Hamilton and after lap 22 they were both in serious trouble, losing around two seconds per lap (compare their lap times here).

Button pitted one lap after Hamilton and fell behind Mark Webber. But he inherited fourth place when his Hamilton dropped out of the race.

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

Lewis Hamilton

His first lap in Q3 put him second on the grid but he couldn’t improve with his last run and slipped to third behind Vettel.

He came under little pressure from Button, but he couldn’t do anything about the two cars in front of him.

Nor could McLaren do much to prevent him from losing third place to Mark Webber.

Hamilton seized an opportunity to reclaim the place at the second restart. But he came off worse in a collision that was plainly a racing incident and only invited different interpretations because two major title contenders were involved.

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

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67 comments on Poor pace and another Hamilton DNF hits title hopes (McLaren race review)

  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 27th September 2010, 18:16

    But he came off worse in a collision that was plainly a racing incident and only invited different interpretations because two major title contenders were involved.

    Well put.

    • was about to pos the same.

      Well said, Keith!

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th September 2010, 20:45

      Yeah, very true Keith. When they went wheel to wheel I immediately thought to myself “these are the two leading drivers in the championship, could get ugly, and if it does tempers and emotions are going to flare.” Then of course that’s just what happened.

      • “only invited different interpretations because two major title contenders were involved.”

        I find that a little patronising to be honest. I’m a Lewis supporter, but pretty objective in my views I think, and to me Mark should have lifted, he was the one making the decision whether or not to have an accident because Hamilton was already three quarters ahead. Kubica’s overtake later on was virtually identical and yet everyone seemed to praise it.

        But it’s just opinion, but I find it a shame that lots of people who probably had unbiased opinions on it (like myself seem to be told it’s only because I’m a Hamilton supporter. Shame.

    • I was sitting at the Connaught Grandstand near turn 7, and noticed how different Lewis’ and Jenson’s car sound under heavy braking.

      Jenson’s sound very deep, while Lewis’ is shrieking.
      Almost like two different teams!
      Is that due to different engine setting?
      I found that other teams difference (Vettel vs Webber for example) are not that pronounced.

      On a different note, this is the first time I watched F1 with V8 engines.
      They sound so different.
      I don’t even need to use my earplugs.

      • I have read elsewhere that Button has rejected the overrun mapping for the EBD or prefers something different to Hamilton.

  2. Their hope for the championship might be looking at what was said about Ferrari after Spa. Off the pace, mistakes from their lead contender etc.

    At least they got good points for Button to keep in touch with both championships. And their update brought out here will possibly be reliable to use for the next race.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th September 2010, 20:46

      Yes, Button was much more impressive than I thought he would be here. With the pressure starting to cook in the final races Button’s definitely showing once again that he really is World Champion material.

  3. Sidney Vianna said on 27th September 2010, 18:43

    The racing Gods don’t want Hamilton to take the championship in 2010. In Monza, his right front wheel made contact with Massa’s left rear and he was history. In Singapore, Webber’s right front RBR slammed against Lewis’left rear quarter and the RBR managed to carry on with a partially “dislodged” front tire. What exactly broke in the McLaren? Does anyone know?

    • bosyber said on 27th September 2010, 20:55

      I have read that it actually was a puncture that stopped him.

    • The whole left rear suspension was broken.

      It seems that rear suspension in Ferrari are really hard compared to McLaren’s. The hit Barrichello gave to Alonso in Hungary was really harder that the singapore’s one to Ham.

      Yes, the F1 gods. (I’m not speaking about Ecclestone) ;)

      • Its not really the racing gods that are against Lewis Hamilton, but instead, it is the lack of grey matter between Lewis’ ears.

        Both in Monza and Singapore he put himself in an unnecessary risky position. If he just maintained his position in Monza he probably would have jumped Felipe later on during that race. Even if he had finished in Singapore behind Mark, he probably would have been leading the WDC anyways.

        As talented and skilled as Hamilton is as a driver, he is equally unintelligent.

  4. Champion isn’t over. I’m sure Ham will return and win in Suzuka in two weeks. The track suits McLaren, while Singapore didn’t. Of course he could have gotten a bunch of points, but that’s f1. I congratualate him for going for the overtake.

    On the other hand, Button dissapointed me. He could have taken Webber, but i don’t know what held him. I really don’t.

    • Franton said on 27th September 2010, 19:08

      Does it suit the McLaren? Not convinced due to the circuit design. Fuji would be a different matter with that long straight and bad weather.

      • It should certainly suit Mclaren a lot more but with the development race and the chaos of that season it isn’t guaranteed that they’ll win but they should have a lot mroe to be hopeful about at the next track.

        • Franton said on 27th September 2010, 21:47

          I heard that McLaren brought parts to this race they ended up not using for “reliability reasons”. That’s why i’m not confident about their chances this year. Remember the fuss with their version of the blown diffusor? There’s something wrong going on in that team.

          I still think the best they can hope for is the great car leveller … bad weather.

          • “I heard that McLaren brought parts to this race they ended up not using for “reliability reasons”. That’s why i’m not confident about their chances this year.”

            jenson said it on the F1 forum so you;re right there. I’m not sure that means there chances are over it’s just because of the lack of testing so teams aren’t exactly sure wehere they are. I believe Alonso said they had to play it safe after the scare with Felipe in qualifying too and they took forever to get the F duct to work. I think it’s just the nature of the lack of testing now.

            If there is bad weather though I expect Mclaren to win. I don’t know if it levels the cars out because I personally think the Mclaren is the best wet it starts chucking it down! :)

        • Younger Hamilton said on 28th September 2010, 7:24

          Im sure it does the MP4-25 likes High Speed circuits more and Suzuka being one of them plus its medium/low Downforce level i believe so should certainly suit McLaren and with the new updates coming onto the car improving the car’s pace in Singapore and new ones for Suzuka(Whitmarsh said they will be) and as well as the supreme F-duct we have should definetely help us.

    • dragon said on 28th September 2010, 0:27

      Are you kidding? If there was ever a track (in particular, a sector) which was made for the RB6, its Suzuka.

      • RB6 was out of the competition in Spa. In Turkey McLaren was very close to RBR’s pace and if you consider the fact that McLaren have increased the downforce in combination with the similarities that those three tracks have, McLaren will be very strong!

        • out of competition in spa? what? Webber made pole! They certainly had the speed, but Webber messed up the start and Vettel messed up both in quali and in the race. The first sector in suzuka will be Red Bull paradise. I just think that Ferrari will edge them still, they have a very competitive car and the last sector is more high speed. I think the all round abilities of the F10 will make them very competitive.

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 28th September 2010, 0:40

      Suzuka’s first sector in particular will suit the RB6 more than any other car – it’s comparable to Silverstone’s first sector, lots of long fast corners…

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th September 2010, 10:15

      Red Bull should be even more suited. But we might get another Turkey, or one of the Red Bulls come a-cropper as in Silverstone. McLaren should be realistically going for the podium though.

  5. It is amazing to see that the McLarens did not increase their pace with fuel burn in the first stint at all. That shows how much trouble they saw in the race. If you read Whitmarsh’s comments, he states that they knew that the rear tires would grain if they were not looked after, which is a slight dig at his drivers I perceive. You could see for a few laps Hamilton was right on Vettel, then suddenly he was 15 second behind. Every time they came by S/F I was like, Hamilton must have spun—how did he lose another 3 seconds?

    It’s interesting that Button seemed to be the worse for wear, so to speak, giving his highly touted tire management acumen. And in the end, with Webber on ancient tires and a damaged front tire, he could do nothing about Webber. I’ve never heard Whitmarsh with such strain in his normal airport-intercom-calm voice as when whipping Button to get after Webber. Clearly some frustration there.

    • Well its gotta be frustrating for Martin… considering how Lewis is now becoming the new ‘crash kid’, and that Jenson ‘tortoise’ Button cannot do more than his slow and steady pace.

      • I have to say they have gone from being the dream team to the keeping-Martin-awake team quite suddenly. Right now, Alonso is showing that one Alonso is better than a Hamilton and a Button. And it would take an army of RBR drivers to hold him back now. I think Hamilton will get it together and give Alonso a hard days work for this title, but Button and Webber, not so much.

  6. Bernard said on 27th September 2010, 19:41

    Webber was clearly at fault here and should admit as much. He was compromised by the Virgin, committed himself to the tight inside dirtier line, on 30 lap old tyres and could see Hamilton in front of him on the racing line long before they reached the corner plus Hamilton was running on new rubber.

    It’s a racing incident no doubt, it takes two to tango but Webber should hold his hands up for this one, Lewis did nothing wrong at all.

    • You said it, two to tango.

      Hamilton could have gone a little wider like Kubica did when overtaking Sutil on the same spot. He went back to the inside a little bit too early, not noticing Webber there.

      Webber could have braked a little harder to avoid the collision but didn’t

      I’d split it 50-50. But Webber was a lot luckier, his tyre barely survived.

      • Matt M said on 28th September 2010, 1:53

        “Webber could have braked a little harder to avoid the collision but didn’t”

        I’m fairly certain that F1 drivers are braking at the limit at each turn, there’s no option to brake harder. Braking harder = locked inside wheel = understeer = bigger collision.

      • Bernard said on 28th September 2010, 2:46

        “You said it, two to tango.”

        Indeed, but if you stand on your partners toes, should you give them half the blame? ;)

        Lewis was at the exit of the corner when Mark hit him crossing the apex.

        • NDINYO said on 28th September 2010, 6:40

          In Monza, when Lewis was in Webber’s position he held up his hands and accepted fault. Nobody said Massa should have been aware Lewis was going to be in that space. Now that roles have reversed somewhat in Singapore, its perplexing that there is a clique that actually faults Lewis. I think its difficult to be Lewis – you have to be perfect to get any respect: i mean look at how many mistakes Alonso has made and still his team and his country men have willed him on to stay the course – i am sure with half the support Alonso gets, Lewis would still have a decent chance at this title.

  7. k=Keith, from an experienced point of view do you think lewis can still win the championship? On the one hand he himself was implying it would be difficult, but I think he has already had his fair share of bad luck.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th September 2010, 21:27

      It’s very hard to make a prediction because it’s all so close.

      But my reading of the situation at the moment is McLaren are falling out of contention and I think we’re going to end up with a three-way fight between Alonso and the Red Bulls.

      I think the performance of the Ferrari has been hidden at times. Taking the season as a whole, they’ve only had the odd race where they weren’t on the front-running pace. Since they got a handle on the exhaust-blown diffuser set-up post-Valencia they’ve looked very quick but for one reason or another they haven’t always delivered.

      Alonso seems to have cut out the mistakes now and, given that his team mate isn’t allowed to beat him, I’d make him the narrow favourite.

      Webber has been underestimated once too often this year but the fact of the matter is he’s been beaten by Vettel in the last two races.

      • ninguen said on 27th September 2010, 21:50

        Did you see the start in Monza? that didn´t seem like a “you are forbidden to finish ahead of Alonso”
        It´s better to be in the situation of ferraris than the one in red bulls (i mean only the fighting between the teammates) but Massa doesn´t seem to be very kind on “helping the team” he has been put by the results

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th September 2010, 22:17

          Did you see the start in Monza? that didn´t seem like a “you are forbidden to finish ahead of Alonso”

          What about the start gave you that impression? They came out of turn one side-by-side and Alonso got to the next corner ahead.

      • I have to say I agree with you there, although I am a devout Hamilton fan. I sincerely hope Alonso doesnt win because of Germany so i’m rooting for mark if Mclaren don’t up their game.

      • ‘Alonso seems to have cut out the mistakes now and, given that his team mate isn’t allowed to beat him, I’d make him the narrow favourite’

        Other than Hockenheim, I really dont see how its an advantage to have Felipe Massa as a team mate. Massa’s dismal performances have given valuable points away to Mclaren and Red Bull all season long. With 4 races to go, Alonso could use Felipe’s help to keep the Mclarens at bay, but Massa just doesn’t seem to have the pace or consistency to stick with the other top 5 drivers.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th September 2010, 10:44

          It’s not just about having a driver who’s ahead of you pull over though, is it? Had there been any other car alongside him on the way out of the first chicane at Monza Alonso would have been concerned about protecting his position. Because it was Massa, he didn’t need to worry.

          • I don’t agree with that. After having lost the position with Button, Alonso was fighting with massa. At the first chicanne both were fighting and massa wasn’t a friend.

            Leaving the first chicane Massa also wasn’t a friend, but Alonso arrived first o maybe just in the inside to the next chicanne.

            I’m not saying that massa wasn’t allowed to do that, but he didn’t gave any present to Alonso. Alonso had to protect his position with Massa while Hamilton was attacking him at the same time. If massa weren’t wheel to wheel with Fernando Hamilton would have find space to even pass Alonso. Because he was very fast before the chicanne.

        • “Massa’s dismal performances have given valuable points away to Mclaren and Red Bull all season long”

          Massa hasn’t had the season of his life but I wouldn’t go that far. Massa’s been the one picking up the points when Alonso’s made mistakes. P2 in Bahrain, podium in Aus, solid in Monaco, solid in Hungary, p2 in Hockheinem, taken out at T1 Canada and then had fought back into the points until Schumi, P3 at Monza and that was with a mistake with strategy in quali and a slightly sluggish pitstop although I doubt that made much difference as Alo barely beat Button, points in Spa when Alo messed up again, points in Singapore despite never having a chance in quali.

          Massa’s lagged behind the title contenders that’s why he no longer has a shot but he’s helped out Ferrari and Alonso when mistakes have been made and has been consistent in that sense.

          Sorry reflex to stick up for him ;)

          • Dont get me wrong.. its not like Massa has had a Schumacheresque season, but he never put in solid performances you would expect from a driver driving the second fastest car on the grid.

            In Aus he was slipping and sliding all over the place, and let Hamilton and Webber by pretty easily. In Monaco, Alonso had shown that the Ferrari was a serious contender for the win, yet Felipe only managed a 4th. Turkey is Massa’s hunting ground, and a circuit you would expect him to outclass his teammate, yet he only managed 7th. In Canada, Luizzi was to blame for the T1 collision, but Felipe could have insisted on not constantly slamming back into the Force India till it broke his front wing and spun Luizzi around. In Monza, Massa was within 1.5 seconds of Button with 6 laps to go, but just didn’t manage to close the gap further.

            I agree he has picked up a lot of valuable points when Fernando hasn’t performed, but he hasn’t being racing to the car’s full potential, and has generally finished the race behind the RBs and Mclarens.

  8. I think it has got too a point where Mclaren will have to start supporting one driver for this championship. Both drivers have one Red Bull and one Ferrari ahead of them in terms of points. Watch this space.

  9. That incident was very reminiscent of the move Webber did on the Hulk at Monza – during the commentary on that Brundle said Hulkenberg gave up the corner a little too easy no particular point of view on this myself just an observation.

  10. I can’t see where the points are going to come from for Mclaren now. They’ve had slightly worse reliability niggles than Ferrari and Red Bull.

    Not only that but can we really see Mclaren beating Red Bull, and Ferrari at Suzuka? The tracks full of quick corners, it’s like the first sector of Silverstone 3 times and the Red Bulls absolutely dominated there…

    Korea, if it goes ahead should be their best chance to score some good points with the long straights, but also lots of quick corners, Brazil and Abu Dhabi are hard to judge but I don’t see the Mclaren handling well over the bumps at Interlagos.

    Who knows though? :P

  11. judo chop said on 27th September 2010, 22:08

    Whitmarsh is at fault for McLaren being off the pace this season. Why on earth did he agree to giving up KERS? Imagine if they had KERS + f-duct this season.

  12. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 28th September 2010, 2:34

    The Mclaren boys are in real trouble then the Red Bull boys as they now have both their title contender at the back of the field & only one can charge in the last four races for both of them to charge back will be tough in circuits where Red Bulls on paper are strong & Ferrari are fighting back.

  13. Cut and dry, from what i saw, Webber could have braked and Lewis could have left him more room… but the finger points at Webbo… No, i’m no Lewis fan and there’ll be many who could vouch the same. Well, i don’t mind the result one bit. Ferrari won! Now, Alonso also has a decent shot at the title.

    However, something that was pointed out to me by my brother was this. Alonso’s using his 8th engine of this season. Button, Hamilton and Vettel have used their 7th. Webber, he only just ran out his 6th engine. Luck has played out well so far for him this year.

    Also, develeopment of the current car is stopped sometime mid-year and only minor developments are delved into. So no surprise that McLaren look like they’re standing still. Infact it is a good sign… albeit for next year. Ferrari are still concentrating on pushing this year’s car, which worries me with if next year’s car development is being somewhat compromised. Last but certainly not the least, Red Bull is a fast car going faster… simple!

  14. Suzuka winner: Hamilton (because he will race to his last blood after 2 bad luck in a row)

    Korea winner: Alonso (because he had the ability to win in a new track… singapore 2008 for example)

    Brazil winner: Probably Alonso (Hoping Felipe will win in front his homecrowd)

    Abu Dhabi Winner: Vettel (He win there last year if Im not mistaken, right?)

    With Webber will finish podiums in every race…

    But, who will take the WDC then? :D

  15. Adam Smith said on 28th September 2010, 9:49

    Just admit you’re a Red Bull fan Keith

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