Hamilton: McLaren learned a lot in 2010

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Lewis Hamilton says he believes McLaren benefited from a “positive atmosphere” between himself and Jenson Button in 2010 – even though the team missed out on winning the world championship.

He told his official website:

It’s just a feeling that we learned a lot as a team this year – we had a very positive atmosphere within the organisation from the start of the year, and we only built on that during the season. Jenson’s arrival made us a stronger team and I think our joint input helped us to stay in the hunt until the very end. Obviously, our 2010 car was quite a significant update of our ’09 car, but now I think we have a very good baseline from which to evolve this car into 2011.

We’re growing all the time as a team – I had a new race engineer in 2010 and with one season under our belts, we can be even stronger next year. I think Jenson will be have a very positive influence on our development over the winter so that we can start testing the new car very aggressively when testing resumes in February.

And I think that we’ll be even hungrier. I want to congratulate Red Bull Racing for their 2010 season – they were a fantastic competitor, and Sebastian [Vettel] and Mark [Webber] are both great drivers, but I know that we already have our eye on both titles in 2011.
Lewis Hamilton

He praised the team’s step forward in the final round at Abu Dhabi, saying the MP4-25 was at its best in that race:

We had a great car in Abu Dhabi, yeah. It was probably the best car we’d had all season – the balance was just perfect, the car felt strong in the high- and low-speed corners and the tyre deg was good – so I felt like I could push on every lap.

Unfortunately, I came out just behind Robert Kubica after my tyre stop, and it was just too difficult to make a pass stick around this place, even though I gave it my absolute best effort.

That’s not to say we got the strategy wrong, because I don’t think we did, just that the Renault had incredible top-speed, Robert drove a rock-solid race, and the circuit layout made it really, really tricky to try and get up the inside anywhere and put my car in a place where Robert couldn’t defend. Perhaps that’s something that the circuit designers could look at for next year – because it would make the circuit a better challenge for all the drivers.

But, once I was clear of Robert, I had the pace to match Sebastian – I just didn’t have enough laps to catch him. But I don’t want to take anything away from him: he drove a faultless race and is an extremely worthy world champion.
Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton ended the season 16 points behind world champion Vettel, having led the championship earlier on in the season. He said his hopes of winning the title remained strong throughout the year:

We saw throughout the summer that the Red Bull was the car to beat, and even though we brought a lot of developments to every race, it became clear that they were able to react equally, and that made it extremely hard for us to close the gap.

Of course, my non-finishes at Monza and Singapore didn’t help my momentum, but that was also true of my mechanical retirements in Spain and Hungary. Overall, I don’t think it’s worthwhile to look at the ??what ifs’ of a season, because every driver has moments when he could have done better, or would have done something different, so you just have to accept what you have and make the best of it.

For me, it was an honour to once again be fighting for the title in the final race of the season for the third time in my Formula 1 career. And I come away from this season having learned and developed as a driver – and I think that will stand us in good stead for next season, when I think we can be even more competitive than we were in 2010.
Lewis Hamilton

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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29 comments on Hamilton: McLaren learned a lot in 2010

  1. Scribe (@scribe) said on 17th November 2010, 12:52

    Wow, 14 points off shows quite how good Hamilton has been this season. I guess poor reliability cost him the tittle in a funny way, still in a title race where the driver with the cruelest set of mechanical faliures in the history of the title won it, that argument doesn’t wash. If Hamilton has the car next year he’s tottaly the favourite.

    • Any driver with the fastest car is the favourite (besides massa!)..

      • I am pretty sure, that if Massa had had the car to qualify on pole at most tracks, he would have won quite some of those and had been fighting for the title as well.

        After all, Alonso did an impressive job getting more out of it when the car was not the best or even second best car.
        Vettel would have had a very tough season as well, with a car that missed the RB6s speed, as it forces you to battle to the front instead of being able to focus on “just” being fast and not make mistakes. Just look at the first few races in 2009, where Button was hardly challenged and compare how he battled to get solid points in the second half. I am not sure Vettel would have been able to win like that.

  2. earnst said on 17th November 2010, 13:28

    same old song from mclaren,
    we will be stronger, blah,blah,blah.

    • Dan Newton said on 17th November 2010, 13:47

      As do Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India and a whole lot of other, if not all, F1 teams.

      • Make that an outright All teams, Dan. How expectant are Lotus, Sauber, Virgin and even HRT for next year!

        Only team we have not heard much of is Torro Rosso, but I am sure they will say the same in the next weeks.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th November 2010, 1:57

          Haha! :-) I was just thinking the same thing, except I was thinking Torro Rosso might make some kind of announcement like “Next year we expect to be even further off the pace.”

          • qazuhb said on 18th November 2010, 15:58

            Don’t want to be a nitpicker really, but why just EVERYBODY is writing Torro Rosso nowadays? It’s Toro Rosso..

            They are not a top team like MacLaren, Ferarri, Red Bul, or Mersedez anyway ;-)

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 17th November 2010, 14:27

      “same old song from mclaren,
      we will be stronger, blah,blah,blah.”

      Would you expect them to say “We’re going to be weaker”?

  3. King Six said on 17th November 2010, 14:04

    Even Red Bull say they’ll be stronger!

  4. There is an obvious synergy between Ham and Button (and clearly quite a lot of inteligence between the 2 of them) which is great and refreshing compared to other top teams.

    • David BR said on 17th November 2010, 16:05

      Putting aside a lot of the normal PR wash, I think that’s indeed a genuine plus point of this season.

      • I think McLaren made too much of a PR point of it early in the season and it sounded a bit false. However now they’ve laid off a bit and just left it to the drivers to talk about, it does sound a bit more genuine.

  5. Not related to thread but are the final prediction results up.

    As said above more PR, I think he is wrong, its a poor base to go into next year too many floors

    – not enough down-force
    – no double / treble diffuser next year
    – no F-duct
    – too stiff
    – hard to set-up
    – later half of season eating tyres
    – lost top speed advantage
    etc.

    • But the stiff suspension has to do with getting the most out of their enormous diffusor. That will go for next year, remember McLaren have long been better at riding the kerbs and bumps (look at Monaco) than for example Ferrari.
      And their KERS system was the best of the pack, Ferrari had it very complicated and hampering braking, Renaults was not effective enough so both will have to make some improvements there for next year.

      • David BR said on 17th November 2010, 16:03

        If they can ally KERS (definite McLaren plus point) to more downforce, they could be onto a winner. Hope they’ve been checking out the materials RBR have been using to get that ‘non-flexibility’ just right!

        • tharris19 said on 17th November 2010, 17:26

          That material is between Adrian Newey’s ears!

        • Agree with KERS… could be good for them.

          As long as they do and can go back to riding the bumps they will improve. Good point about the stiff set-up to get the most out of the diffuser. The diffuser is the area they got wrong for me… to specialised…. but what I’m saying is to do all this can they really use this years car as a good base?

  6. Is KERS worth it though next year -2009 had 3 teams with KERS and all of those struggled – while the top 2 teams had no KERS.

    • Himmat said on 18th November 2010, 9:28

      KERS is definitely worth it mate!

      Well, the thing is McLaren and Ferrari totally screwed up their cars last season, but during the second half of it, McLaren in particular used their KERS to good effect.

      Brawn didn’t have the resources to develop KERS while RB were not really focusing onit.

  7. there is no doubt that McLaren is and will remain a
    force to reckon with in F1. However, all of you have
    made observations about their weaknesses and yet the
    team seems unwilling to listen. some of us in America
    who have watched the performance curve in varios series
    would concur with your observations, and add a few of
    our own. First, they continue to have a communication problem during real time events, i.e. while matters unfold in the race. they are a large company as teams go and must learn to minimize the effort to deal with changing matters. Second, their design strategy should re-focus on addressing the mechanical grip problem present in their design for several years now. Many outside designers have suggested that they look at this area, but for some reason they tend to focus on “changing bits” for the entire season. And lastly, from my armchair i notcied that the new odd sound from the engine, and along with the in car camera footage revealed a possible flaw in the Mercedes engine power curve. there seemed to be long periods of time before the engine revs would drop, resulting in too much braking time, and low to mid range drag before the power really kicked in. hence the drivers being unable to make the cars work better in low grip corners. by contrast, the engines in the Red Bull and Ferrari seemed to be wound a bit more, sound richer, and give the drivers more low rpm response. i might be wrong, and most proobably will see many comments to the contrary, but these are “just my thoughts”.

    • McLaren have probably suffered because of the testing ban. Like Ferrari they are used to having multiple lines of development where money can be thown at problems, and multiple solutions found.

      But because they can now only test all those parts in friday practice, they have too much to test in too little time to get any decent results.

  8. verstappen said on 17th November 2010, 21:49

    the odd sound is the sound of the engine blowing the diffuser. This way they profit even at low speed corners from the diffuser. Red bull was the first to reintroduce this idea, newey did some experiments when he was at williams and got it working this year.

  9. yep, aware of the odd sound made from the use of the
    dissuser. this is what i think exposed the lag difference in rev changes. i also noted the engine
    sound via the in car camera not those around the track
    which highlight the diffuser sound change.

  10. From the past we know that… if mclaren quali in bahrain 2011 on POLE that they will win the championship :D

  11. TrueF1Grit (@truef1grit) said on 21st November 2010, 19:09

    Stupid failure in Spain…

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