Hamilton: hard to pass “massively quick” Red Bull

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Lewis Hamilton said he wasn’t able to pass Sebastian Vettel because the Red Bull was “massively quick” in the high-speed corners.

He said he had some “serious pace” but wasn’t able to get past Vettel:

“I didn’t get the best start but was able to just keep up with the Red Bulls, with Mark in particular, because I think Fernando was holding the two Red Bulls up.

“So I was able to keep up with them for a while and as the race went on we clearly had some serious pace.

“But it was very, very tough to get past Sebastian at the end. They are massively, massively quick in the high-speed turn three, turn nine and through the last corner. His downforce is incredibly clear for us, or at least for me, to see.”

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48 comments on Hamilton: hard to pass “massively quick” Red Bull

  1. David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 15:47

    Seems a long time since Hamilton had a blistering, P1 taking start. Lucky for him Alonso did the job for him today! After that he drove exceptionally well. Didn’t quite get how McLaren couldn’t turn his tyre preservation (pitting after the rest on the first two stops) into a better race advantage, maybe I missed something on a sandwich break in the middle of the race.

  2. Fixy (@fixy) said on 22nd May 2011, 15:48

    Hamilton made up on the straight thanks to the DRS what Vettel earned on him during the whole lap.

    • Himmat S. said on 22nd May 2011, 16:33

      Not really, he was closing in on Vettel – I think he got the gap down from 5 secs after the 3rd round of stops.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:48

        That is not true, Hamilton was faster than Vettel in S1 and S3 without DRS, otherwise he wouldn’t of got within the DRS zone in the first place.
        In clean air Hamilton was about 0.2 in S1 and 0.4 in S3 with Vettel about 0.1 to 0.2 quicker in S2. I really shouldn’t look at the living timing so closely. :-)

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd May 2011, 20:08

      That’s all there is to it. Had the DRS zone been a little longer, perhaps Hamilton could have had him a couple of times.

  3. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 22nd May 2011, 15:54

    The Red Bull had so much grip through that final turn that even with DRS and KERS, Lewis had no chance.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd May 2011, 17:39

      What that will mean for Monaco … ! Maybe that Kolles protest would not be to bad after all.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:51

        I think Mclaren might really struggle next week with their long wheelbase, but you never know. At least there aren’t any quick long corners in Monaco where the RBR comes into its own. How much ‘dirty’ DF can the Mclaren generate?

  4. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 22nd May 2011, 15:56

    Shame his final pitstop put him back that little bit more behind Vettel. Would have made the dash to T1 more interesting if the rear wheel gun didnt stick slightly.

  5. kbdavies said on 22nd May 2011, 16:07

    I think the bad press Lewis gets when his well known audacious moves go wrong have put a damper on him trying them. He is a LOT more cautious than he normally is at the starts, and even with overtakes during the race.
    When they go well, everyone applauds, but when things get hairy, common comments trotted out like ” You dont win the races at the start” and “reckless move” just deny us the pleasure of these moves!
    The Lewis of old is usually guaranteed to make places up at the start, so much so that F1 fans dont even get bothered when he qualifies down the grid. This year, we have only seen flashes of that.
    Even during the race, the old Lewis would have definitely sent one down the inside of Seb at some point in those last 10 laps!

    • BBQ2 said on 22nd May 2011, 16:14

      I get what you mean there Davies, but as they say: with maturity comes wisdom ….

      I hope you are not slating him for doing what is expected of him ……

      • kbdavies said on 22nd May 2011, 16:23

        No, not slating him, just showing the effect of all the criticism. He is a natural risk taker, with his risks paying off more often than not. Its a do or dies attitude with Lewis, which makes him a very exciting driver to watch.
        With all these tyre conservation shenanigans, and criticism, we see drivers (not just Lewis)playing it safer than usual. Its boring.

    • Sam said on 22nd May 2011, 16:15

      I think yeah, I agree with you on his starts. Lewis starts have seemed overly cautious since Brazil of last year…possibly the aftereffect of Monza that year?
      As far as overtakes go however, I think he just is picking his spots. Outside the racing line is really dirty this year so he doesnt want to take an unnecessary dive..but we know he’s still the same daring overtaker(Just watch his move on Jenson in China).

    • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 16:23

      He definitely seems more cautious. But on the plus side, this year was supposed to be about Button making use of his tyre-preservation skills to match or even better Hamilton. Lewis has responded by showing he can be fast (= faster) and save his tyres. I’m not sure if today he got bogged down by Webber who had a bad start or if they both did. But I presumed since he was starting with a flat spot (? think that’s right) he was making sure he didn’t have to pit too early – so much so he ended up coming in after.

      I guess the reasoning might be that no amount of heroics will help if McLaren can’t match or beat Red Bull’s pace by mid season. If they can, Hamilton can haul in the gap. But he needs to keep that gap feasible. Going by McLaren’s improvement this race, I’d say the tactic’s justified.

  6. sumedh said on 22nd May 2011, 16:14

    Lewis’s third pitstop on Lap 36 is where he lost the chance to leapfrog Vettel. Vettel had just switched to the harder tyre on lap 35. Hamilton’s softs had done just 10 laps and were in good shape for another 5 atleast (Vettel did 15 on his just concluded stint of softs).

    There was no need for Mclaren to mirror Vettel’s strategy to the T. The chance of a safety car coming and causing Hamilton trouble were very low.

    Bad strategy from Mclaren. They got it right for Button though.

    • Sam said on 22nd May 2011, 16:16

      I think McLaren play it overly cautious with Lewis at times, feeding the trolls who continue to lark about his supposed ‘lesser tire conservation’ skills.

    • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 16:25

      That’s precisely what I thought. He had virtually caught Vettel at that point with 5 or 6 more laps in the softs (supposedly). Didn’t get that at all, I was sure Hamilton had the race won!

      • VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 16:52

        Let’s see if he complains about his strategy.

        • LEEH1987 said on 22nd May 2011, 18:36

          Flat spot didn’t have much of an impact on Hamilton did it VXR?

        • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 18:55

          Not sure if you’re being sarcastic, but this time it would be Hamilton’s call too, if he did preserve the tyres better than anticipated before the race I mean.

      • Syqo (@syqo) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:10

        I disagree with the comments re McLaren’s strategy. I’ve just had a look at the lap times from the FIA website and Hamilton’s softs were starting to go off in laps 32-34. His lap times were 1m29s and a 1m30s. After Vettel pitted for hards on lap 34, his lap times were in the 1m28s. McLaren had to react (which they did) as Vettel would have easily pulled clear by up to 2seconds a lap if McLaren didn’t respond immediately. Therefore, I think McLaren were right to pit Hamilton when they did in order to minimise the damage.

        • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 19:42

          If so, 100% explained. Just seemed strange Hamilton’s tyres would go off so quickly that Vettel would out pace him on hard tyres after Ham had kept them going well on the first two stints.

          • Skett said on 22nd May 2011, 23:32

            I think the point is that despite those hard tyres being significantly slower than the softs, new tires are new tires. And brand new hards will still have more grip than 10 lap old softs

  7. kbdavies said on 22nd May 2011, 16:34

    I think this race just shows that Lewis is the ONLY reason McLaren are close to RBR on pace.
    It was funny to see DC almost choke when Martin suggested Lewis the driver of the day because he did not have the better car.
    The truth is the Red Bull is still faster than the McLaren, KERS issue or not. Seb did not use it for qualifying, and he still ended up in front of Lewis 4/10ths faster. Yes, RBR have a much bigger advantage in qualifying, but it does not disappear during the race, its just reduced.
    You could almost smell the relief on Vettel as they came in from the race and during the post race conference. He was really scared for those 10 laps despite having the same tires as Lewis, and a faster car.
    Though they both showed today that they are a cut above from the rest, in equal machinery, Lewis would beat Seb. He knows it,and deep down, Seb knows it.

    • foolsm8 said on 22nd May 2011, 16:39

      in equal machinery, Lewis would beat Seb. He knows it,and deep down, Seb knows it.

      Haha, you whish…

    • Jack Holt said on 23rd May 2011, 7:40

      Agreed, the Red Bull is just brilliant on circuits with high speed corners. But I reckon if Webber had been in P1 Hamilton would have been able to challenge him, you’ve got to give Vettel credit for eking out a large enough gap through the lap to fend off the DRS+KERS advantage. Two great drivers.

  8. VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 16:50

    The Red Bull may have been quick in the fast corners. But elsewhere?

    No fast corners in Monaco. So we should see Hamilton winning that one quite easily?

  9. LEEH1987 said on 22nd May 2011, 19:14

    The Mclaren is quick but in credit to Hamilton he is ringing the neck off that car to stay in the hunt. This is why he is in the top 3 drivers on the grid at the moment!

  10. dlaird said on 22nd May 2011, 19:54

    What a great race. Normally I fall asleep during this grandprix. The Mclaren is just not quick enough through medium to high speed turns. Monaco and Montreal should level the field considering those tracks don’t demand aero as much. At these tracks Mechanical grip is the key. Hopefully Mclaren or Ferrari can Oust the RB7 off the top step at one of these tracks.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd May 2011, 20:09

    A brilliant effort from Hamilton, all things considered. He kept Vettel very honest.

  12. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 22nd May 2011, 22:17

    Again Hamilton outperforms his car.
    Vettel and Hamilton are in a league of their own, wich only Alonso is in when his car is up to it.

    A non boring spanish grand prix, that’s been ages ago hasn’t it? :)
    Curious what Monaco will bring!

  13. Malibu_GP said on 22nd May 2011, 23:52

    It was another great example of the best three drivers performing at a level We have come to expect of them. To those of You that underestimate Seb Vettel’s racecraft ; I say, re-visit the thought process that led you there. You merely show Your ignorance of the sport. It is clear (to Myself at least) that the RB7 is still the class of the field! Considering that, McLaren are doing a decent job. Their current development pace must improve significantly and S.V. needs to have some car failure/ reliability issues for them to have a snowballs chance @ a WDC or WCC in 2011. I still feel as do many that L.H. is the most naturally gifted, has superior road- vision and is just a more complete driver (compared to Fernando or Seb). I do respect those two immensely as they all do each other, but one need only seek the opinions of real drivers in many series , hardcore fans/addicts and experts to know they mostly concur.

  14. steco (@steco) said on 23rd May 2011, 0:52

    i wish lewis had won…
    vettel is a rubbish driver, he just got a gr8 car thats all
    vettel got beaten in lower series by many drivers that are on the grid now. webber never was a great driver and look at him now, i dont belive he became super-racer after 30+
    lewis and fernando are currently the best drivers on the grid.

  15. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 23rd May 2011, 2:49

    Mclaren have some serious race pace so the only thing they need to do is to keep the momentum & develope the car,they will be the team who will charge back the Red Bull this season.

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