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. Adrian said on 14th October 2010, 9:58

    Slightly OT, but I’ve just realised that if McLaren finish 3rd in the WCC then we’ll have a British Driver with number 5 on his car again next year…!!

    (Are the numbers on the McLaren’s red?? ;-)

  2. RaulZ (@raulz) said on 14th October 2010, 10:09

    Everybody of us speak about his talent and future maturity, but I think neither Hamilton or Button are good car testers.

    As much McLaren developes the car they are not good test drivers. No development has worked well in McLaren since he Delarosa’s left. It may be coincidence but it is known that the ability to test a car is a necessary quality of a champion and vital for a team.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2010, 10:13

      No development has worked well in McLaren since he Delarosa’s left.

      De la Rosa hardly drove the car at all last year anyway with in-season testing banned.

    • judo chop said on 14th October 2010, 11:33

      Claiming Hamilton or Button aren’t good test drivers is pure guess work on your part. Apart from which Gary Parfett has also been a McLaren test driver for a while and I don’t see why you believe de la Rosa deserves more credit than him. Of course McLaren had their reasons for using additional test drivers and de la Rosa in particular – I’d suggest dividing workload and driver consistency – but the idea that a top team will get more info without their actual racers at the wheel is nonsensical. I doubt de la Rosa’s got a particular talent for driving fast while taking notes.

      • RaulZ (@raulz) said on 14th October 2010, 12:25

        Well, it’s my guess, my feeling, as most of the things we say here. But these things are said inside the paddock. I.e. it’s said that schumacher was a good developer, I don’t know as I even don’t know him in person and I haven’t seen him working. Senna was suposed to be a very good one, and it’s said that i.e. Kobayashi only talks 5 minutes with the engineers, despite his talent driving.

        I repeat that DelaRosa was just a suggestion. McLaren is a great team to just have DelaRosa as a solution. But it’s well known that Button hasn’t got that test capacities and Hamilton as well. Of course, me and everybody guess.

        But we also know things that make us guess. The work of testing is complex and needs somebody testing in a simulator avery minimal evolution or new idea, make the computers know better the data while cheking the data is ok. That’s the only way you can go to the FP being sure of what you have. So, its not the test of the car, it’s the test of the tests of each evolution.

        McLaren this year has suffered bringing evolutions to the GPs that didn’t work as they hoped watching the test of the wind tunnel data.

        I guess that something in Woking is not working good this year, and despite the influence of DelaRosa leaving, drivers on friday doesn’t have much to say.

        And… a test driver doesn’t have to be fast. He just have to understand the car to certify that the theory corresponds to practice.

        • judo chop said on 15th October 2010, 0:44

          ” That’s the only way you can go to the FP being sure of what you have”.

          No team goes to free practice sure of what they have. The proof in the pudding is in qualifying and racing. McLaren, like all the rest, have suffered from playing catch up to Red Bull but no more any other team (that’s apart from their headstart on the f-duct). They certainly haven’t suffered as much as last season and that was with de la Rosa testing for them.

  3. Keamo said on 14th October 2010, 23:05

    Go Lewis!! it will only be over at the chequered flag at Yas Marina.

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