Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren

2011 Malaysian GP team review

An extra pit stop ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race after he hit tyre trouble in Malaysia.

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Qualifying position 2 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’34.974 (-0.226) 1’35.200
Race position 8 2
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 4 3

McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

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
Lewis Hamilton 112.046 105.508 104.721 104.879 104.663 104.423 104.996 105.063 106.162 105.9 106.58 111.199 124.252 105.676 104.079 105.445 104.102 103.388 103.304 103.299 102.919 102.966 103.009 105.618 122.238 103.322 102.733 102.258 102.457 102.732 102.333 102.617 102.525 102.782 103.144 103.61 106.927 124.636 103.305 102.769 103.276 102.937 102.579 103.035 103.781 103.841 103.77 103.617 103.587 103.556 103.855 111.722 120.472 101.512 101.888 101.776
Jenson Button 113.644 105.759 105.101 105.203 105.419 104.914 104.961 104.753 105.203 105.665 106.391 107.557 110.787 123.347 106.36 104.098 106.241 103.673 103.315 103.411 103.158 102.798 105.666 119.681 102.17 102.592 102.589 102.133 102.081 102.618 102.427 102.417 102.482 102.874 103.437 103.595 104.183 107.026 119.845 101.388 101.748 102.361 102.39 101.713 101.615 101.625 101.471 102.12 101.896 101.264 101.777 102.722 101.881 102.408 102.446 102.694
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren were much closer to Red Bull’s pace in qualifying and Hamilton came within a tenth of a second of taking pole position – a far cry from the situation in Melbourne.

But while trying to find a way past Sebastian Vettel at the start he was passed for second by Nick Heidfeld.

McLaren got Hamilton ahead of Heidfeld by bringing him into the pits a lap earlier and giving him the benefit of a lap on fresher tyres before Heidfeld.

But at his second stop Hamilton had to switch to hard tyres having flat-spotted one set of softs during qualifying. His pace on those tyres was less good – and on the next set it was worse.

Hamilton came under attack from Fernando Alonso, but Alonso dropped back after hitting the rear of the McLaren. Hamilton was powerless to keep Heidfeld behind, though.

According to McLaren, it was Hamilton who made the call for a final extra pit stop which dropped him from fourth to seventh.

There were shades of Shanghai ’07 in Hamilton’s predicament – another occasion when he found himself lapping on very worn tyres for too long.

Compounding his misery, he was handed a 20-second time penalty after the race, which cost him another place. The stewards judged he had changed lines more than once while defending his position – something he had be warned about at the same track last year.

Lewis Hamilton 2011 form guide

Jenson Button

Button may have been out-qualified by his team mate but his race pace was better.

Hamilton’s slow third pit stop handed Button second place. But comparing their lap times is it’s doubtful Hamilton would have been able to keep him behind anyway.

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix


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133 comments on Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren

  1. Vinola said on 11th April 2011, 20:01

    Thanks Keith for the chart and analysis.
    I wonder though if you would be kind enough to change the scale to accommodate thousandths of a second. I suspect the graphs will show the differences better.
    Thank you.

  2. Ben Bailey said on 11th April 2011, 20:55

    Lewis fastest lap of the race came on hard tyres just after his final and driver called last stop. By then of course he was better off staying on the crap hards that he’d been given in his long third stop that dropped him behind Button. You can clearly see from the graph that his car was fast on hard tyres even with a broken floor/diffuser (only .3) behing Buttons fastest lap but its clear that once behind button on his first set of hards werent right. He dropped 2 seconds in one lap and then another second for the following laps until under fire from Alonso.
    You can see why Lewis came in for another set, it just came too late, but then you have to see how the tyres are working for a few laps. If McL pitted him on lap 45 whilst ahead of alonso after the accident he would surely have finished 4th or 5th.
    Shame he didnt get a small puncture…

  3. The reason he fell behind Button was because he stopped short in his pit box and the gunmen had to readjust their positions. It cost him a couple of seconds, at least.

    If he had any crap tyres left it was probably because he had taken too much out of them in qualifying. He did not have a broken floor or diffuser. No mention has been made of this in any interviews or post race analysis. Nor have any doubts been shed on the quality of his tyres.

    • Oliver said on 11th April 2011, 23:20

      Tell me you spotted gthat while watching.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 12th April 2011, 12:41

      The reason he fell behind Button was because he stopped short in his pit box and the gunmen had to readjust their positions. It cost him a couple of seconds, at least.

      The evidence proves this is not true.

      He did not have a broken floor or diffuser. No mention has been made of this in any interviews or post race analysis. Nor have any doubts been shed on the quality of his tyres.

      It’s statements like these that need erasing from history – one lie at a time if need be.

      Regarding the diffuser:

      Hamilton: “I think he got a bit too close, and, when he pulled out, he just clipped me with his wing and broke my car’s rear floor. I don’t how much downforce that lost me.”

      Regarding the tyres:

      Hamilton: “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.”

      Source: mclaren.com

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th April 2011, 7:22

        But that would have been mainly about Lewis feelings of being hit affecting his car. Certainly the team would have looked at the floor (remember it was that titanium one) and found no damage.

        And everything fits with McLaren giving Lewis used hards for the second stint on hards.

        Why would the team start lying and blaming unfairly?

        • Bernard (@bernard) said on 13th April 2011, 12:07

          The floor (and lower right portion of the wing) was clearly damaged as can be seen in this image.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th April 2011, 12:14

            OK, that proves the floor was damaged. But it does not say much about the state his tyres were in before the incident.

            Sure enough Lewis wanted to stop for those last laps, that was his call. It will have been just taking to much out of them at the start, not helped with the diffusor damage and not feeling right on them.
            But that does not say anything about McLaren treating Hamilton unjust.

          • Bernard (@bernard) said on 13th April 2011, 13:07

            I don’t think McLaren are intentionally putting Lewis at a disadvantage, on the contrary I think they are doing a superb job thus far as a team and both Lewis and Jenson are well positioned to have a great year.

            The problems arise when statements like the above emerge that go against the available facts. Some of those that spread such untruths have clear agendas – and that’s fair enough in a supporter-driven enterprise as long as the other side of the coin is equally represented.

            Also, if the team want to avoid critisism they have a duty to report the truth especially when the team principle says the pit delay was Lewis’s fault when evidently it wasn’t.

            Regarding the second set of hards, here is a graphic representation of how bad they were – from the moment they went on the car.

            Button vs Hamilton

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th April 2011, 23:06

    Good race from Jenson, he did well. Classic example that qualifying matters less and less this season.

    I did cringe a little when I saw Lwei’s flatspot.

  5. alex said on 12th April 2011, 1:15

    Hamilton was faster until the botched pitstop and the dud set of used tyres. Button was just lucky that’s all.

    • VXR said on 12th April 2011, 1:37

      Obviously it’s better to be born lucky than good.

      Why does everyone believe that Hamilton put on a dud set of tyres? Is it too much to take that he couldn’t make them work?

  6. HxCas (@hxcas) said on 12th April 2011, 1:36

    Why do the majority of Hamilton fans seem to be unable to even consider the possibility that he just had an off race, or made a mistake in the setup of the car, and instead constantly rail on about the team sabotaging him or the stewards wanting him to lose? The man isn’t a god, his team, contrary to many of your beliefs WILL want him to do well, and the stewards try to be fair, is that so hard to believe?

    • VXR said on 12th April 2011, 2:14

      Why do the majority of Hamilton fans seem to be unable to even consider the possibility that he just had an off race, or made a mistake in the setup of the car, and instead constantly rail on about the team sabotaging him or the stewards wanting him to lose?

      Trying to say that the team sabotaged his race is laughable, and shows a poor understanding of how the McLaren F1 team works.

      Trying to say that Martin Whitmarsh doesn’t support Hamilton enough is also laughable.

      Why would they want to sign him up for the rest of his career if they only intend to hinder his races?

    • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 12th April 2011, 6:19

      Yup pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton is a great driver but in this case I think it was a combination of his setup and flat spotting tyres in quali that lost him the race, not the team screwing around with him and benefiting button as many have said

    • Adrian Morse said on 12th April 2011, 8:38

      I guess what is hard to understand, or at least swallow, is that he put a set of newish tyres on (the flat-spotted set were softs, right?) that suddenly made him one of the slowest drivers on the track just because perhaps he didn’t quite get warming up the tyres right (or something).

      Also, I don’t remember Hamilton ever having an off day. There have been mistakes, of course, but no races where he was off the pace all day.

      That’s not to say he didn’t do anything wrong last Sunday. I suspect on his first stint of hards he was asking too much of the tyres in a bid to match the pace of Button and Vettel on softs. I think towards the end of that stint the gap between him and Vettel quickly increased from about 6 to 10 seconds, so his tyres seemed to be going off quicker than the ‘soft runners’ which would explain his relatively early third stop to me.

      Finally, the reason Hamilton fans are so fervently hoping for an explanation (like having accidentally put intermediates on his car at the third stop), is that we are hoping there won’t be a repeat next Sunday in China. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Hamilton fan looking forward to this season with some trepidation. The McLaren looked average at best in testing, and Hamilton complained that in order to preserve the Pirellis, he felt like he was doing outlaps. Then Melbourne came where the McLaren shone and Hamilton managed his tyres just fine, so I heaved a sigh of relief. Now I just hope China will be business of usual, instead of going into a season where we have to pray at every pitstop that his McLaren isn’t suddenly transformed into an HRT.

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 12th April 2011, 3:20

    The team & the driver is falling apart. The team is making bad decision & the driver is making bad judgement on track. They have the pace to handle the Red Bull but if they don’t work together well then they won’t be able to make anything happen.

  8. McLarenFanJamm said on 12th April 2011, 8:45

    Hamilton called for his extra final stop because the set of primes they stuck on him for his 3rd stop were a USED set and were basically destroyed way before the end of the race, hence his lack of pace.

    On the first set of primes he used he was generally lapping under a second slower than Vettel who was still on the option tyres, which is what was expected to be the case.

    Asking him to do 18+ laps on already worn primes was a poor call from McLaren but, like Whitmarsh, I expect him to bounce back in China. He’ll be setting a record for most races for a driver who’s only ever been with a single team and he’ll be looking to make up for Malaysia. His rivals should be very wary if they see him in their mirrors this weekend.

  9. BBT said on 12th April 2011, 8:54

    Hamilton could of won it if he didn’t get stuck behind Heidfeld but he didn’t, everything else is due to that and that fact he flat spotted his tyres in Qualifying.

    Button drove a great race, very intelligent and very consistent, he only started pushing the tyres in the first stint after half way through the stint (up until that just laping within 0.5 of Hamilton) a well worked second.

  10. Damon said on 12th April 2011, 9:01

    Right guys we need some official info to clear this because I just cannot believe any of this is hamiltons doing. They have 6 set of tyres for the weekend. I cant exactly remember his runs but I’m assuming this.
    Q1.- 1 run on a new set of hards
    Q2- 1 run on a new Set of hards or the ones he used in q1 + 1 run on sfts
    Q3- 2 runs on new softs
    So you guys are telling me that one of his hards have gone off completely in 1-2 laps of qualy?? I’m not having that at all!’

    • Simon999 (@simon999) said on 12th April 2011, 19:14

      So you guys are telling me that one of his hards have gone off completely in 1-2 laps of qualy?? I’m not having that at all!

      That is the bit I find a little strange too. Keith’s graph shows that Lewis was doing well until his 3rd stop for the set of used primes – certainly no tyre wear issues indicated when compared to Jenson.

      It’s possible he could have wrecked 2 sets of hard tyres during Q1 & Q2, but it seems an odd occurrence. Lewis was immediately slower after that 3rd stop, so it wasn’t as if he only started destroying the tyres during the race.

      • Simon999 (@simon999) said on 12th April 2011, 19:37

        Just been looking at the relevant regulation on tyres for 2011, which says (summary):

        A further eight sets of tyres will be at their disposal for the rest of the weekend (comprised of P3, qualifying and the race), although one set of each specification must be handed back before qualifying.

        That does add the possibility that one or more sets of hard tyres used in the race were also used in P3. Lewis did 23 laps in P3.

        • Damon said on 12th April 2011, 21:54

          Why would they use a set from practice that had done 20+ laps when they could use the 3 sets from qualifying??

          • Simon999 (@simon999) said on 12th April 2011, 22:06

            My only point was that, in theory, they could have used some of their 6 sets for qualifying / race during P3.

            I don’t think they would have done though.

          • Damon said on 12th April 2011, 22:43

            I really do believe he had a bad set on his 2nd set of hards in the race. He was fine on his 1 set of hards. I’m not buying he wrecks his tyres excuse either as he was fine on the softs

  11. Don M. said on 12th April 2011, 12:05

    The extra pit-stop was a bad call from Hamilton. His pace was poor on his final set of tyres compared to Button, but he was consistent and running similar times to Massa. It was obvious to the team that he couldn’t gain anything from an extra stop and he should have trusted them on that. He should have maximized his result and finished ahead of Massa. He would have been 6th after the penalty, so he cost himself two places.

  12. Jeff said on 12th April 2011, 13:00

    All these cries of Hamilton wrecking tires quickly don’t really seem to be supported by the data. Wow the set he was on for the 4th stint were bad/ weren’t working for him. The difference between them and the set for the 5th stint is dramatic!

  13. F1Lover said on 12th April 2011, 13:14

    You shouyld also know that Hamilton’s floor was damaged after Alonso hit him. Which can affect the performance too.

    • Don M. said on 12th April 2011, 13:58

      The car was fine once he changed off that set of tyres, but he didn’t have enough laps left to make that pit-stop worthwhile.

  14. charlieboy said on 12th April 2011, 14:22

    I still don’t think Lewis is mature anytime things go a little wrong for him he crumbles.

    As son as he saw JBb ahead of him it was all downhill. An off race they happen but LH still better than JB are we all going to assume Massa is better than Fernando now aswell??

  15. Oliver said on 12th April 2011, 15:14

    Precisely, and think he would have changed earlier but the team kept telling him to manage the set. Data cannot lie. Defective sets doesn’t implie a conspiracy, just that for whatever reason they didn’t come alive.

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