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:

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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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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