Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

“We pitted too early” – Hamilton

2011 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton complained about McLaren’s race strategy after finishing seventh in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hamilton made four pit stops during the race. He said: “Through the race I think my tyres went off.

“We boxed [pitted] too early then we had to box earlier. All the time we were boxing before everyone.”

Hamilton lost a place to Nick Heidfeld at the start of the race and fell behind Jenson Button when he had a slower pit stop than his team mate.

He said: “I did everything I could to keep up.

“That’s one of those days, you just have to take it on the chin and move forward.”

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108 comments on ““We pitted too early” – Hamilton”

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  1. Amazing how Lewis is always the first/quickest to blame the team. Never his fault. He’s turning into a real diva.

  2. Post race interviews are so telling.

    “Then, during the race, my tyres kept dropping off; we pitted earlier than was optimal, and ran out of tyres at the end. I’d hoped to make the end of the race on a set of used Primes, but they didn’t last so we had to pit right at the end of the race.”


    1. Indeed, the “we pitted earlier than was optimal” says it all really.

      Well they gambled on overtaking Heidfeld in the pit and in the end Hamilton came a few laps short because of that.

      It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since so much else went wrong.

      1. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since so much else went wrong.

        Too fast on the soft tyre. Too slow on the hard tyre. Some work to be done yet on how he uses the tyres.

  3. Before the race, I, and many others, predicted that Button could prosper because Hamilton (and Webber) would not be able to manage their tires well in the first stint. For both of those guys, it was worse than that, as they were stuck in tire-killing on track battles. This seems to be how it played out. But, for Hamilton, even after having been massively held up by Heidfeld in stint one, in stint two, he was pressuring Vettel. He was looking good. Then suddenly, he came in early for soft tires, had a terrible stop (again!), and then it all went pear shaped. The hard tires were terrible for him, somehow. Button, whom the team let jump Hamilton was just walking away from him on older tires. My view is that Hamilton, have stopped so early for the hard tires, knew that trying to keep up with Button would be a mistake—he needed to run to the end. Indeed it was very plausible scenario for him, even with such an early stop, and it seemed that Vettel would now feel the heat of knowing he had to get to his hard tire window before losing so much time he would have McLaren’s right on his back. But this year, the tires don’t work that way. They just die no matter what you do, so he was slow and the tires gave in anyway.

    As far as the finger pointing, if, at the crucial junction when Hamilton was catching Vettel on his second set of softs, Hamilton is the one said, “I am catching the other guy and my tires are better than his now too, let’s pit” then he is the goat. But that seems inexplicable—even if he did, its the guys on the wall watching the GPS and clocks who have to say, “terrible idea, Lewis, stay out.” What else are they up on that wall for?

    In the end, this is like a classic Button race. It begins saturday when he gets his normal ration of .2-.3s from Hamilton. Then, driving cleanly in the background of the lead battles, he optimizes the strategy to move forward.

  4. I had thought Lewis over-drove the tyres in what turned out to be his penultimate stint. However, comparing Buttons and Hamiltons stints, Lewis was consistently off the pace for the third stint. It seems he failed to get the tyres working, for whatever reason. To blame that on a bad strategy call by the team is simply incorrect in this instance.

    I can’t possibly understand why he was pitted for a fourth stop with just a handful of laps to go; did he complain about the tyres or did the team insist? Either way that call shouldn’t have been made.

    1. The call was made because Free Practice revealed to the team how many laps Hamilton can get out of the tyres before they “fall off the cliff”. You need to change the tyres the lap before that happens as when the tyres do “fall off the cliff” they don’t just lose a bit of perfomance, they lose 5 or 6 seconds a lap and that’s if you can keep hold of the car when the tyres are through to the canvas.

  5. let’s be real. the ferrari is better than the maccain race trim pace and almost as good as the red bull. alson has had bad luch at the end of the first corner of the first lap in both races and if it wasn’t because of the crash with hamilton he would have finished 2nd. the fast laps shows this ,he hasthe second fast lap of thrace in both of the races. they just need to sort out the qualifying. last but not least, it is not truth that they pitted too ealry as hamilton says, buttton by pitting early won alot if spots. the ferrari si thecar that takes care of the tires the most, they always pitted last amonth the top 3 cars. but thisis a disadvantae since the car that pit first is about 2-4 seconds faster per lap than the car that has the soft tires ofr say 10-12 laps.

    I SIAD IT HERE YESTERDAY< THE FERRARI IS BETTER THAN THE MACCA. MACCA fan is i was you I would be quite worried.

    1. Of course, it’s all clear now. That’s why Jenson Button finished his race 37 seconds before Massa and 57 seconds before Alonso, because the Ferrari is better than the Mclaren.

  6. Ferrari is clearly not faster in race trim, and Alonso by no means would have finished ahead of Jenson if it hadn’t have been for the collision.

    May I remind you that at this point, Jenson was over 10 seconds ahead (I can’t remember the exact time), but Fernando wasn’t going to pull a second a lap on him and still keep his tyres fresh enough to overtake.

  7. I blame his team when everyone stayed on & preserved their tyres cause they thought rain will come they changed for no reason.I was surprise that he couldn’t get pass Nick despite having DRS at the beginning.

  8. Come on guys you know it was an obvious that there was either a problem with the car or the last tyres where completely Shot when they where put on. Button pulled out about 10 sec on Ham within a few laps.

    I find it really funny how Mclaren can get strategy (and pits) so wrong for Ham and so right for Button. (seem to remember Button being about 30secs behind Ham at one point)

    Seems to me that Mclaren feel the need to overcompensate for Button because he is so much slower than Ham.

    1. That’s a really funny post. :)

      If the last set of tyres were completely shot when they were put on, then whose fault is that? Whose fault is it that he had no more soft tyres left for the race?

      You will also have noticed that Button made adjustments to his car to compensate for tyre wear and balance issues. It was his decision to make those adjustments, which made the car better.

      Button is better able to set up the car for and during the race, even if it means compromising qualifying. Hamilton tends to try to drive around problems, but that’s not going to work on the Pirelli tyres.

      Hamilton looked completely clueless as to what the problem might have been when being interviewed.

      1. I’ll admit that he needs to start making decisions himself about strategy and set up.

        He’s obviously putting too much trust in the team which he shouldn’t be doing since whitmarsh took over.

        And yes Button is clever but what a boring driver?? I only ever see him overtake during the pits? And also it doesn’t matter that Button can preserve his tyres better as he seems to find trouble getting heat into his tyres or finding the set up (well these are the excuses he uses in 90% of the races for being slower than Hamilton)

        1. You win the championship in whatever way is best for you to do it. Boringly or otherwise. Not that I don’t think Button can’t overtake with the best of them, which indeed he can.

          Button shouldn’t have any problems getting heat into the Pirelli tyres. Massa and Schumacher also seem to be making better use of these tyres than they did with last seasons Bridgestones. Perhaps Hamilton is now getting too much heat into them?

  9. Another problem was seeing Button ahead of him on strategy and Alonso in his mirrors rattled him and he lost composure which exacerbated the tyre problems as he began to over drive, killing the tyres even quicker.

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