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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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??

  10. 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.

  11. Oliver said on 12th April 2011, 23:41

    Mclaren doesnst listen to Lewis this is the second time in 2 years when he has tlld them the tyres are gone yet they still insist that he continues until he ends up running off the track from a lack of grip.

  12. Carl said on 13th April 2011, 5:28

    The important notion is that LH times through the pit lane are ALWAYS slower than JB’s. Even when their actual stop was exactly the same length as stops one and two, the overall transit time through the pits is longer for Lewis than for Jenson.

    Now as one enters pit lane the pit button must be hit and the car’s computer takes over the maximum speed through pit lane.

    So setting Button’s pit lane speed close to the speed limit earns him valuable seconds in the overall excursion though the pits.

    Setting Hamilton’s computer a few km/h slower will make him lose time even if the
    actual pit stop is every bit as fast as JB’s.

    Now, who play with these settings except Mclaren’s engineers?

    For some reason, LH fares always better when Ron is present at the pit wall.

    Is it mere coincidence?

    Since LH did not criticize his team directly to the press, why in the earth should Whitmarsh mention it?

    Can one safely say there is no bad blood between them?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th April 2011, 7:26

      Now where did you get that information that is key to your theory, i.e. Hamiltons speed limit being set lower?

      I have not seen any evidence so far to suggest something like that. Even if Buttons pitstop would have all been faster, it might just be as simple as how they go into the pitlane. Schu had an edge on Rosberg here last year, just from experience.

      • Carl said on 13th April 2011, 17:24

        it is just a matter of looking at the graphs and reading them. Elapsed time is longer for LH than for JB even from the same baseline.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 7:41

      If you’re talking about the times from the pit lane entrance to exit, that includes the driver stopping on the marks and getting a clean get away. In which case, as much of it is down to the driver as the team.

      For some reason, LH fares always better when Ron is present at the pit wall.

      Any proof?

  13. Oliver said on 13th April 2011, 7:30

    I don’t know about that mate. But ine thing I know Button is Whitmarsh’s star child. He showed that after Turkey last year when, instead of reasuring a driver who was puzzled as to hearing one thing on the radio and finding a different reality on track, he went into a tirade more or less telling Lewis to go sod off. How much of a disrespect to a driver can that be. Not saying Button isn’t a capable driver,, but too much effort is being made to make him comfortable in the team at the expense of Lewis. The excessive obsession with driver equality is even getting in the way of sound racing judgement.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 7:37

      he went into a tirade more or less telling Lewis to go sod off

      What a preposterous exaggeration. Nothing of the kind took place.

      • NDINYO said on 13th April 2011, 12:04

        Having gone through this post i get the feeling that there is quite a big proportion of McLaren fans that do not support Lewis in the team and that group includes Martin Whitmarsh – may be the kid should just move to Redbull and get over with it.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 12:10

          and that group includes Martin Whitmarsh

          I think that’s a complete fabrication based on spurious reasoning without a scrap of proof.

          But by all means try to convince me otherwise.

          • NDINYO said on 13th April 2011, 13:23

            “i get the feeling” – that is the key phrase; i am not making any allegations so no need for proof. It is my take from reading submissions on the post.

          • Oliver said on 13th April 2011, 13:47

            Keith you don’t remember what Withmarsh said after the Turkish race?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 13:48

            Something entirely innocuous that was twisted out of context by pyjama-wearing conspiracy theorists?

          • Oliver said on 13th April 2011, 18:01

            This is an article about Lewis’ tyres not working. Not any form of conspiracy, I only replied to a comment made by someone earlier but it ended up taking us way off the point.

          • NDINYO said on 15th April 2011, 8:55

            http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/90705 – i have a feeling Whitmarsh is about to tear Hamilton’s contract for a second time in the young driver’s career with McLaren

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