Hamilton keeps his title hopes alive as Button’s fade (McLaren race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea, 2010

Second place in Korea keeps Lewis Hamilton within range of the championship leaders heading into the last two races.

But Jenson Button seems destined to lose his championship crown. He struggled for pace in the rain and slumped to a point-less 12th after spinning near the end of the race.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 7 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’36.731 (+0.669) 1’36.062
Race position 12 2
Laps 55/55 55/55
Pit stops 1 1

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Jenson Button

Looked in good shape on Friday but found little grip on Saturday and could only manage seventh on the grid:

This afternoon I couldn?t get the tyres up to temperature and struggled a bit with locking fronts and rears. I didn?t have enough grip and couldn?t find enough pace.
Jenson Button

Button decided to run some new suspension parts but Hamilton chose not to.

In the race he was passed by Michael Schumacher early on and gambled on an early switch to intermediate tyres shortly afterwards.

That left him mired in a pack of cars where he was further delayed by Adrian Sutil squeezing him off the track. He made little progress and a spin in the latter stages compounded a miserable race that all but killed off his championship hopes.

I just didn?t have enough grip today. I was really struggling with locking fronts as soon as I touched the brakes; every time I braked for a corner, I went straight on because I couldn?t stop the car.

Also, I lost three or four places when Adrian decided to drive me off the circuit ?ǣ I don?t know what he was thinking. Even without that, though, I didn?t really have the pace today.

In my view, for sure, the race should have been stopped earlier than it was ?ǣ it was way too dark to race a Formula 1 car in the conditions we witnessed at the end of the afternoon.

To win this championship, I?ll now have to rely on the cars in front of me failing, so today was a pretty disappointing day, all in all.
Jenson Button

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

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton's worn tyres after the race
Hamilton's worn tyres after the race

Fastest in the first practice session but was clearly bemused by Red Bull’s pace in qualifying:

We were very quick in practice, so I don?t know where the Red Bulls found an extra half a second in Q3.
Lewis Hamilton

In the 17 laps spent behind the safety car before the race started, Hamilton repeatedly said the conditions were safe for racing. His comments included:

Conditions are good, it’s getting drier all the time.

It’s no wetter than any other race I’ve ever had.

There’s no aquaplaning at all.
Lewis Hamilton

Once the race started Hamilton dropped behind Nico Rosberg, but he was quickly eliminated by Mark Webber.

He gained a place off Fernando Alonso when the Ferrari drier had a slow pit stop, but at the final restart Hamilton ran wide at turn one and lost the place again.

Finishing second means he is 21 points behind new championship leader Alonso:

At the start, I just wanted to get out there. I love racing, and I thought it was safe enough ?ǣ 17 laps spent running behind the Safety Car isn?t good for the spectators, and it?s not fun for the drivers either. Additionally, I felt it had easily dried up enough for us to start racing ?ǣ so I?m glad we did.

It was very tricky out there, particularly at the end. It was pitch black, I couldn?t see much and my tyres were finished. It was a big surprise to see both Red Bulls go out. Fernando drove really well, but I?m very happy to have scored some points after a couple of disappointing races.

However, ours still isn?t the fastest car: I was losing a lot of time to Fernando, particularly in the final sector. But I?m sure we?ll be working flat-out to fix that back at the McLaren Technology Centre before we head to Brazil.
Lewis Hamilton

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

2010 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Korean Grand Prix articles

Images ?? www.mclaren.com, Adam Cooper via Twitpic