Hamilton takes heart from McLaren pace

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2010

Lewis Hamilton finished last of the five championship contenders after gearbox trouble in the Japanese Grand Prix but says he was encouraged by the performance of the McLaren:

It?s funny, I?ve never believed in luck; I?ve always believed you make your own luck. But that belief has been stretched a bit over the last four Grands Prix. I go racing with my heart, and I race hard, but that approach hasn?t paid off too well for me recently. But every experience is a learning experience, and I?ll certainly learn from these experiences and put that knowledge to good use in the future.

That?s one positive. Another is just the simple fact that I got to the flag, scored some points and kept my world championship challenge on track. We?ve seen how this year?s championship is very much a battle of consistency, so every single point is valuable.

Finally, I was pleased with the pace we showed during the race. Jenson set the second-fastest lap, and, before my gearbox problem, I was closing down on Fernando [Alonso] and could even have made it onto the podium despite a five-place grid penalty.

Given that we weren?t racing all the updates we?d brought to Japan with us, I think that gives us a lot of encouragement for Korea and beyond.
Lewis Hamilton

He described the difficulty he had driving without third gear in the closing stages of the race:

It wasn?t easy at a track like Suzuka, because it?s such a flowing circuit ?ǣ you need all the traction you can to keep your momentum up. But, fortunately, because it?s quite a fast track, you?re not in the lower gears for too much of the lap. You need the traction from the low gears out of the hairpin and the chicane, but you?re also missing it a lot out of the second Degner, where you need a lower gear to get the car planted properly.

I was fortunate on Sunday, because I?d already established quite a big lead over the sixth-placed car, so I didn?t lose too much ground and could hold onto fifth.

The good news is that the rules permit us to change the gearbox for Korea without getting another grid penalty.
Lewis Hamilton

Although he is now more than a win behind championship leader Mark Webber he is not ready to give up on winning the title this year:

It?s getting more difficult, I?m fully aware of that. But, in a situation like this, I always look back at the 2007 season and what happened in those final two or three races. I think Kimi [R??ikk??nen] was 17 points behind with two races remaining, but he still managed to win the world championship. I?ve learnt on more than one occasion that the world championship isn?t won until the very last gasp ?ǣ so I?ve definitely not given up.

I want to win again and I go to Korea believing we can do that. And, who knows, if that happens and the other championship contenders fail to score, then I?m right back in it.
Lewis Hamilton

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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71 comments on Hamilton takes heart from McLaren pace

  1. Bernard said on 13th October 2010, 18:05

    Lewis should have the season in the bag at this point and he understands that I’m sure. He needs more than just good results of his own now which is a tough position to be in but with all the ups and downs thus far, who can rule him out?

  2. Cornflakes said on 13th October 2010, 18:05

    “But every experience is a learning experience, and I’ll certainly learn from these experiences and put that knowledge to good use in the future.”

    I don’t think that Hamilton would have said this before his reality checking season of 09. I know everyone says it, but he really has developed to a more of a well rounded driver and person. Good for him, he’s showing he could well be a worthy champion once again

    • Daniel said on 14th October 2010, 9:43

      But from what I’m elsewhere he plans to put that knowledge to use by going out and racing in *exactly the same way*. I’m confused.

      • Daniel said on 14th October 2010, 9:43

        should be ‘reading elsewhere’

        • Anagh said on 14th October 2010, 18:58

          yeh he said tat in a interview with brundle i think. He meant he wont dial down. cause if he gets defensive then he’ll be driving like button. hez more of an attacking type, i see position, i take position type of driver. he meant he wont change tat.

  3. Maybe next year.

    • Hyoko said on 13th October 2010, 20:11

      Or never
      Bad luck? or too tough on the equipment? or too prone to crack under pressure? (check Interlagos 07, best race ever).
      Or maybe bad karma, or poetic justice if you will:
      – for a pole (in Montreal) bought, not won.
      – for a token black and white flack (not seen in decades) for weaving before Petrov instead of a penalty.
      -for a ridiculous drive through (delayed until it was ineffectual) after a extremely serious offence (i.e. overtaking the SC), worth at least a black flag.
      -for racing in the pit lane.
      -… (could go on for volumes)

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th October 2010, 21:51

        - For the ability to race through the field when it looks like a lost cause (Interlagos 2007)?
        – For not buying 7 points from the FIA?
        – For being able to overtake Petrov without giving him a puncture (Alonso)?
        – For winning a championship despite having the most penalties in one year (4), one of them ridiculous and for the slightest offence ever punished (until later in the race, that is)?
        – For not causing an accident when someone (Vettel) squeezes him in the pit-lane?
        -…(could go on for volumes)

        Yep, next year looks rather good.

        • Hyoko said on 13th October 2010, 22:34

          2008 WDC: Not won, handed over

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 13th October 2010, 23:00

            Lol, another beliver in Glocks magic water ski slicks, you people crack me up.

            Ferrari fan? 100,000 for a win got any karma in it?

          • .. I just can’t see WHY Glock would give him it on purpose, If was driving a Mclaren now I could understand, or he’d been paid a lot.. but he hasn’t… And unless Glock has posters of Hamilton of his wall because he’s really just a big fan….. I just don’t see the motivation…

            On the other hand…. Wasn’t Glock using slicks on a wet track? If it was then… I’m just happy he kept it off the grass!

          • Patrickl said on 14th October 2010, 8:31

            Glock actually gained a position with his gamble to stay out on slicks.

      • RaulZ (@raulz) said on 14th October 2010, 9:48

        We have to be fair and say that all that favoritism to Hamilton is not his fault. It’s FIA’s fault. His only fault is to answer those charges with his childish and innocent attitude, when he is so ambitious and selfish as the other drivers. But that has nothing to do with his talent.

        • BasCB said on 14th October 2010, 11:01

          Very much true, all the more, while i am hard done to see the FIA favouring Hamilton in the last 4 years.

        • Paper Tiger said on 14th October 2010, 13:23

          Raul, it’s funny because you put “Hamilton”, but then you wrote a description of Fernando Alonso.

          • RaulZ (@raulz) said on 14th October 2010, 13:51

            This is a description of Hamilton, Alonso and most of the drivers in F1. But now we’re talking about Hamilton.

            I mean that if there’s a FIA decition that helps you or a team decition that helps you, you are not guilty of anything.

            Paper Tiger, for me it’s funny to read many things here, but it’s better to laugh than get angry. I’m happy for you.

          • Anagh said on 14th October 2010, 19:04

            is it? i never noticed favoritism to hamilton. :-?

  4. Time for Lewis to get revenge for what happened three years ago! :)

    • lluis said on 13th October 2010, 19:35

      Yes! If the title is between Webber and Alonso for a few points and Lewis is in a situation that can favor Webber, he should do it.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th October 2010, 20:19

        Its questionable if he would help Mark, considering that Mark took him out in Australia and even in Singapore. But I guess his hatred for Fernando is way more intense.
        I hope in his over exuberance, he doesn’t take Fernando out, because Fernando will return the favour sometime in the future.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th October 2010, 20:49

          What hatred? Even Alonso doesn’t hate Hamilton and he has far less reason to reciprocate either.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th October 2010, 21:25

            Maybe hatred is a really strong word, so lets just put it this way. Fernando would be last driver on the grid Lewis would want as champion. And vice versa.

          • Remarkably well said Todfod…

          • Wobblebottom said on 14th October 2010, 6:16

            @ Todfod: I actually disagree with you there. Whilst I don’t think Alonso and Hamilton will be going bowling or shooting 8 ball any time soon, I think there’s a healthy respect for each other.

            The whole ‘hatred’ thing is blown up by the media (mainly British). They’re rivals certainly but that only speaks to the fact that they are the two best drivers. Head and shoulders above the rest!

        • RaulZ (@raulz) said on 14th October 2010, 9:52

          To be fair, spanish media also put his hand in 2007 and beyond.

          • Anagh said on 14th October 2010, 19:06

            wasnt it alonso who waited in the pits n blocked lewis n made sure he cudnt do his flyin lap? i dont think tat defines “healthy respect”.

        • Younger Hamilton said on 15th October 2010, 17:58

          If Webber hates Kimi and Lewis then i have to say I hate Webber now.

  5. colin grayson said on 13th October 2010, 18:59

    although McL had only the 3rd best car in pre-season I personally had great faith in the ability of the team to out develop the others ….and with lewis’s ability be championship contenders

    however both RB and ferrari have matched them in development so it is only due to the errors of the others that either McL driver still have a faint hope of championship
    having said that , a McL 1-2 in korea and a DNF from webber and who knows what could happen

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 13th October 2010, 23:04

      For the first half of the season, up till Valencia it was arguably Mclaren that had the fastest development at the front.

      However, their concept was the weakest of the three cars so when they’d gone a certain distance they had to go all experimental, they couldn’t merley improve what they had, an the upgrades often didn’t stick.

      Redbull on the other hand, have a concept they have a fantastic understanding of, with a rock solid base to improve off so their developments have kept them out in front all year without having, bar the F-duct, to go all experimental.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 15th October 2010, 18:01

      Oh i was dreaming of a McLaren 1-2 and Webber dramatically coliding with VETTEL at the first double apex corner in Korea

  6. Sammy said on 13th October 2010, 19:00

    Go Lewis, good luck. Even if u dont win it, im sure you’ll make the last few races exciting to watch. Yellow helmet bobbing and weaving through the field…

  7. The Limit said on 13th October 2010, 20:30

    What has to be remembered is that Red Bull, despite their overall speed, have thrown alot of points away over the course of the season. I still believe that Webber and Vettel with have another coming together before the season ends in Abu Dhabi. For me, that is what the likes of Alonso and the McLaren drivers must be praying for.
    At the moment Mark Webber looks comfortable. He leads the championship standings with three to go, but his attitude may change if Vettel is victorious in Korea as he was in Japan. Hamilton, realistically, needs to be on the top step of the podium in Korea. He cannot afford any more failures, be lay mistakes of reliability issues. It is as simple as that.
    Kimi Raikkonen won the championship in 2007 due to help from Felipe Massa and Hamilton’s mistakes in China and Brazil. It proved just enough for him to win. The only other driver at the moment in that position is Fernando Alonso and that may prove priceless.

  8. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th October 2010, 20:57

    Everyone makes a lot of the 12 points lost in Monza but he’d still be 16 behind by now. Of course he’d rather be there but his job would still be the same. He might not need any bad days from others either, but that’s out of his hands. He just has to do the best job he can and see if it’s enough.

    • Myles Woerner said on 13th October 2010, 21:18

      …and the 18 points from Spain, the 15 (possibly) from Hungary, and the 15 from Singapore

      • George said on 13th October 2010, 21:28

        I think Icthyes is referring to the fact he made a mistake in Monza, the rest weren’t his fault.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th October 2010, 21:44

        Thats true.. although the 15 points lost in Singapore were partially of his own doing. But the Spanish and Hungarian GP were mechanical problems that ended his race.

        Although I wouldn’t mind Mark Webber taking the title, I just feel he has been the luckiest of the top 5 runners this season.

        Fernando lost points with his clutch problem in Malaysia, he had bad luck with the safety car in Valencia, got hammered by Rubens in Belgium. (probably 18-20 points lost)

        Vettel lost crucial points in the first 2 races of the season due to mechanical failures, he lost a position at Barcelona due to the brakes problem (atleast 30 points lost)

        Hamilton as explained above has also lost points in Barcelona, Hungary and Japan. (approx 30 points)

        Button lost points in Monaco and Belgium (approx 20-23 points)

        To level the mechanical luck factor out, I hope Webber retires one race with a mechanical problem. It would definitely make the last three races more interesting.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 13th October 2010, 22:16

          Although I wouldn’t mind Mark Webber taking the title, I just feel he has been the luckiest of the top 5 runners this season.

          Let’s be honest now, who would’ve thought we’d be saying THAT about Mark Webber? As of now, anyway. :) *touches wood*

          • trulli dead09 said on 13th October 2010, 22:51

            Yea but Mark’s luck is only balancing out the last 8 years of bad luck he has had. Remember Australia ’06, where the transmission failed while he was leading?

          • BasCB said on 14th October 2010, 11:10

            SO right, he was due some good luck for a change.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 14th October 2010, 3:35

      It would actually be less than 16 points, because if he’d finished in Monza it would likely have been ahead of Webber, meaning he’d have finished one place further back than he did and probably scored a couple points fewer, so it would probably be 14. Hypotheticals can be problematic though ’cause there’s so many variables to consider.

  9. Calum said on 13th October 2010, 22:26

    Taking everything out of mind except his lowly chances of the 2010 WDC then if he happens to win it then we all must bow and profess to this still young, eager and hungry talent.

  10. Stephen Hill said on 13th October 2010, 22:27

    Any news on wether Lewis will have to change his gearbox again?

  11. Ricardo said on 13th October 2010, 23:00

    Vettel, and Redbull, will take Weber’s chances away. How’s that?

    Because Vettel is young and German–either it is him or Alonso.

    No country for old men, I am afraid, that of F1.

  12. Scribe (@scribe) said on 13th October 2010, 23:10

    I find this new Kimi did it mantra quite amusing, it’s basically admitting, I can only do it if he crashes.

  13. Camilo said on 13th October 2010, 23:50

    I’m agree with the comments about Hamilton develop as a driver and persona

    2011 will be his year and it’s fantastic to see how is he growing up talent+speed=W.C.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 14th October 2010, 3:42

      Depends on how everyone’s 2011 cars turn out, and how they all handle the new tires though. If the cars are more evenly matched (and since there are no drastic rule changes it stands to reason they would be unless someone comes up with the next double diffuser/f-duct) he may have a certain Schumacher and Kubica to fight in addition to all the competition he’s had this year. I’d be surprised if next year isn’t just as competitive as this year, if not more so.

      • Dr. Mouse said on 14th October 2010, 13:45

        “since there are no drastic rule changes it stands to reason they would be unless someone comes up with the next double diffuser/f-duct”

        I fully expect someone to develop the Next Big Thing(tm).

        If not, I won’t be happy (love to see the radical developments, the F-duct and double decker diffuser were moments of genius from someone on the team saying “hang on, if we do this…”, at least in my head)

  14. ” The good news is that the rules permit us to change the gearbox for Korea without getting another grid penalty.”

    How? he changed it in Suzuka so according to my knowledge he needs to race with them three more races?

  15. I’m just wondering what’s wrong with McLaren. These folks have everything – technology, resources, brains, yet they somehow manage to play the best #2 for some years now.

    2007 – top car, ****** off Alonso who then blew the whistle on “his” team
    2008 – top car, poor decisions – almost lost it, good HAM had some good luck. I mean how do you plan a race with P5 as a goal???

    2009 – “let’s start with a dog of a car and improve it”. This is great as it allows us to focus on current year and not bother about next year’s car.

    2010 – “2009 was fun, so let’s repeat it and aim real improvements for the last 4 races only” … and yes, pay back HAM’s 2008 good luck debt … and yes, who needs resources for 2011 anyways.

    In the process the cars lost their simplicity – they look like somebody trying to add patches to fix deficiences. Just compare the McLaren with all its details to the simpler looking Red Bull, the Ferrari or even the Renault.

    Also until 2008 the McLaren was the best car to ride bumps and curbs, well, not anymore.

    The pitstops are no longer in the top 3, and bar the wrong pitwall calls (which are kept to date) McLaren used to havereally quick and faultless pitstops. Now they lose positions in the pits.

    Good that the reliability is there … bar the gearboxes.

    Good that Hamilton takes heart, I as a McLaren fan am a bit dishearted …

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 14th October 2010, 10:42

      McLaren are still really struggling with the new rules. KERS was a small masking tape for them as was their speciality in tracks with low-speed corners. Now they have the F-Duct, but hate bumps and low-speed corners, sacrificed for stability in fast corners. Well, Red Bull have managed to get the best of both worlds, so we know it’s not an either/or.

      • DaveW said on 15th October 2010, 20:42

        It’s hard to say that a couple dozen wins since 2007 equals struggling. But they have not been truly dominant for a long time.

        When did Newey leave the team again?

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