Relief at McLaren after last-minute changes pay off

2011 Australian GP team review

McLaren’s decision to overhaul their MP4-26 in time for the first race was vindicated.

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Qualifying position 2 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’24.307 (-0.472) 1’24.779
Race position 2 6
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 2 2

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Lewis Hamilton 100.573 93.774 92.9 92.582 92.471 92.434 92.447 92.31 92.612 93.121 92.737 92.795 92.475 92.984 93.186 112.039 99.566 91.823 91.4 91.194 91.212 91.524 91.414 91.564 91.825 91.419 91.51 92.267 91.826 91.149 91.453 94.258 92.133 92.016 92.427 113.298 99.548 91.013 90.338 91.2 90.314 90.421 91.085 91.175 90.512 90.508 90.637 90.785 90.753 91.01 91.312 91.629 91.47 91.789 91.766 91.813 92.184 94.576
Jenson Button 104.722 94.139 95.756 93.818 95.278 93.291 93.959 94.021 93.577 94.653 94.396 93.199 93.453 93.615 93.802 94.897 108.909 100.864 114.427 99.911 92.187 92.018 92.706 91.732 91.968 91.173 91.16 91.143 90.796 91.672 91.055 91.265 91.508 91.615 91.388 91.459 110.438 99.626 91.056 90.585 90.243 90.403 90.411 90.228 90.132 90.177 90.536 90.548 89.883 90.645 90.293 90.098 90.729 90.554 90.106 90.289 90.848 91.203
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was a full second slower than Sebastian Vettel in final practice, but just two-tenths off Mark Webber’s time. In qualifying he found an extra couple of tenths and split the Red Bulls to start on the front row.

He bogged down at the start and only hitting the KERS button allowed him to stay in front of Webber. Vettel streaked away and only towards the end of the first stint was Hamilton able to match his lap times.

Later in the race Hamilton was told to back off as part of his undertray worked loose. Despite dropping his pace quite considerably in the final laps he was still able to finish second.

Jenson Button

Button lined up fourth but lost out to Vitaly Petrov and Felipe Massa at the start.

He fought Massa hard for fifth in the opening laps, trying passes on several different parts of the circuit. He eventually got alongside Massa on the way into turn 11, but darted across the escape road and kept the position. He was handed a drive-through penalty.

Given the penalty Alonso received at Silverstone last year, Button could be criticised for not taking it upon himself to give the place back.

But on the other hand the stewards turned a blind eye to two other off-track overtaking moves involving Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi, so perhaps Button was hard done by.

The penalty cost Button precious time but he was aided by Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg colliding.

He overtook Kamui Kobayashi and later caught Massa again. But with the Ferrari driver by now on the hard tyres Button was able to use his DRS to pass him on the pit straight, taking sixth.

Without the penalty he might well have joined Hamilton on the podium.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he was happy with the result given the team’s testing form: “When you consider where we were a few weeks ago, you?d have to say that for us to come away from Australia with 26 world championship points is a pretty decent outcome.

“More important, though, it means that we?ve got a very promising platform from which to develop our car and compete for world championship honours this season.”

2011 Australian Grand Prix


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79 comments on Relief at McLaren after last-minute changes pay off

  1. syamkaze said on 29th March 2011, 7:38

    Lewis alaways get a podium finish when nicole is around the track. there always a woman behind the success of every driver.

  2. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 29th March 2011, 7:57

    It was disappointing to see Button get sixth, especially with the pace he had. It was an uncharacteristic move of him, and I think that was mainly brought on through frustration. I thought he thought that it was better to gamble and have it pay off than be stuck by not one, but two Ferraris!

    Having said that, I think if Jenson had have known that they were pitting in the next 1-2 laps, then he would have given the place back. The damage had already been done.

    It may not have been the case if he hadn’t got stuck behind Hamilton, which caused his start to be hindered and therefore allowing Massa and Petrov through.

    Ifs, buts and maybes though. Hopefully he’ll shine through in Malaysia :D

    • BBT (@bbt) said on 29th March 2011, 9:02

      Yes, agree with everything you say. It was Buttons own fault at the end of the day, but it must hurt a bit as looking at his pace for 2/3 of the race he should of been fighting with Hamilton which would of been great to see, oh well.. if onlys.

      • Jeffrey Powell said on 29th March 2011, 19:05

        Has Schumi. lost it or is this really how fast he has always been (were most of the opposition other than Hakinnen not up to much sorry D.C.) . Was the 2007 and 2008 Ferrari much quicker that the Maclaren and did it make Massa and Raikkonen look much quicker than they really were. Is Massa that much slower than Alonso and therefore Alonso’s old teamate Hamilton. Are Vettel ,Alonso and Hamilton quicker than there teamates by at least .5 seconds per lap. Would Button have been able to scrap with Lewis in his broken car ,we will never know .

        • Damon said on 29th March 2011, 20:14

          That’s what makes the debates interesting, we will never know the full truth to all those questions

  3. sklal79 (@sklal79) said on 29th March 2011, 10:34

    Think Hamilton drove a stellar race, despite his poor start. Would have been good to see what could have happened if he got a good start of the line, then use KERS to attack Vettel around turn 1 as I believe race pace for those 2 cars were very similar (also maybe mclaren better on the tyres?). Button was unfortunate at the start, but cant help feeling he could have “stuck one up the inside” on massa (MB speak). JB/Mclaren should have known better than to wait on the stewards, give the place back and attack again, but guess lesson learnt. Excited about the long straights in Malaysia/KERS/DRS/Merecedes engine vs Renault etc. Red bull are def fast but with all the variables/KERS reliability others (and hopefully Mclaren) can be in the mix. I think that al the pre-season reviews and expectations should never be taken too seriously as shown in AUS – Ferrari were quite behind where they were expected to be & Mclaren turned it around. Bring on Sepang.

  4. west (@west) said on 29th March 2011, 19:15

    mclaren are the best team in inovation and this radical car performance is just the start as soon as they get to know the car batter finetune it they will be compiting with RB, tyre managment thats ok coz its the key to this year.

  5. beckenlima (@beckenlima) said on 29th March 2011, 22:20

    In qualifying he found an extra couple of tenths and split the Red Bulls to start on the front row.

    He had no KERS, wich denied him some tenths in the pocket and, beyond that, Whitmarsh said that without KERS Lewis lost some balance in his breaks in that final lap.

    That was an superb performance in qualy from him.

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