Hamilton rues costly qualifying strategy

2011 Monaco GP qualifying analysis

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monaco, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monaco, 2011

“With hindsight, we probably should have put a banker in” was Lewis Hamilton’s assessment of his performance in qualifying in Monaco.

Failing to do a time earlier in Q3 cost him when the session was interrupted by a red flag.

Hamilton set a time that was only good enough for seventh. He said: “I had no temperature in my tyres or my brakes, so I didn?t manage to pull a great lap together.”

Making matters worse, the lap was later deleted by the stewards and he was relegated even further down the grid.

Examine all the data from Monaco qualifying below.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’15.606 1’14.277 (-1.329) 1’13.556 (-0.721)
2 Jenson Button McLaren 1’15.397 1’14.545 (-0.852) 1’13.997 (-0.548)
3 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’16.087 1’14.742 (-1.345) 1’14.019 (-0.723)
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.051 1’14.569 (-1.482) 1’14.483 (-0.086)
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.092 1’14.981 (-1.111) 1’14.682 (-0.299)
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.309 1’14.648 (-1.661) 1’14.877 (+0.229)
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’15.207 1’14.275 (-0.932) 1’15.280 (+1.005)
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.858 1’14.741 (-1.117) 1’15.766 (+1.025)
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’15.819 1’15.545 (-0.274) 1’16.528 (+0.983)
10 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’15.918 1’15.482 (-0.436)
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’16.378 1’15.815 (-0.563)
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’16.616 1’15.826 (-0.790)
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’16.513 1’15.973 (-0.540)
14 Paul di Resta Force India 1’16.813 1’16.118 (-0.695)
15 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’16.600 1’16.121 (-0.479)
16 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’16.681 1’16.214 (-0.467)
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’16.358 1’16.300 (-0.058)
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’17.343
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’17.381
20 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’17.820
21 Timo Glock Virgin 1’17.914
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 1’18.736

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • Paul di Resta beat Adrian Sutil again – but only by a very small margin
  • Michael Schumacher out-qualified Nico Rosberg for the first time this year
  • Sergio Perez comfortably beat Kamui Kobayashi to gain a place in the final ten
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’13.556 -0.463 1’14.019 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’15.280 +1.283 1’13.997 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’14.483 -0.394 1’14.877 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’14.682 -1.084 1’15.766 Nico Rosberg Q3
Renault Nick Heidfeld 1’16.214 +0.399 1’15.815 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’15.826 +0.281 1’15.545 Pastor Maldonado Q2
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’16.121 +0.003 1’16.118 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’15.973 +0.491 1’15.482 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’16.358 -1.462 1’17.820 Jaime Alguersuari Q1
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’17.343 -0.038 1’17.381 Jarno Trulli Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’17.914 -0.822 1’18.736 Jerome d’Ambrosio Q1

Sector times

Here are the drivers? best times in each sector.

  • The performance of the Sauber drivers is strikingly different in each sector, suggesting very different approaches
  • Vettel was fastest in all three sectors
Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 19.162 (1) 34.367 (1) 20.027 (1)
Jenson Button 19.227 (2) 34.622 (3) 20.088 (2)
Mark Webber 19.388 (4) 34.439 (2) 20.192 (3)
Fernando Alonso 19.413 (5) 34.691 (6) 20.296 (5)
Michael Schumacher 19.483 (9) 34.704 (7) 20.398 (7)
Felipe Massa 19.430 (6) 34.731 (8) 20.353 (6)
Lewis Hamilton 19.332 (3) 34.632 (4) 20.243 (4)
Nico Rosberg 19.433 (7) 34.652 (5) 20.656 (10)
Pastor Maldonado 19.615 (11) 35.291 (10) 20.590 (9)
Sergio Perez 19.473 (8) 35.353 (13) 20.559 (8)
Vitaly Petrov 19.542 (10) 35.324 (12) 20.883 (16)
Rubens Barrichello 19.667 (13) 35.312 (11) 20.677 (12)
Kamui Kobayashi 19.765 (15) 35.239 (9) 20.904 (17)
Paul di Resta 19.852 (16) 35.478 (14) 20.668 (11)
Adrian Sutil 19.763 (14) 35.483 (15) 20.875 (15)
Nick Heidfeld 19.623 (12) 35.517 (16) 20.862 (14)
Sebastien Buemi 19.928 (17) 35.519 (17) 20.775 (13)
Heikki Kovalainen 20.391 (20) 35.841 (19) 21.084 (19)
Jarno Trulli 20.359 (19) 35.967 (20) 21.055 (18)
Jaime Alguersuari 20.134 (18) 35.746 (18) 21.212 (20)
Timo Glock 20.402 (21) 36.092 (21) 21.388 (22)
Jerome d’Ambrosio 20.792 (22) 36.580 (22) 21.364 (21)

Speed trap

  • Straight line speed is far less important at Monaco than at other tracks
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph) Gap
1 Adrian Sutil Force India 285.6
2 Jenson Button McLaren 284.7 -0.9
3 Paul di Resta Force India 284.3 -1.3
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 284.1 -1.5
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 284.1 -1.5
6 Rubens Barrichello Williams 283.8 -1.8
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams 283.7 -1.9
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 283.5 -2.1
9 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 283.0 -2.6
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 283.0 -2.6
11 Nick Heidfeld Renault 282.7 -2.9
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 282.2 -3.4
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 281.9 -3.7
14 Jarno Trulli Lotus 280.2 -5.4
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 280.1 -5.5
16 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 280.0 -5.6
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 279.9 -5.7
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 279.8 -5.8
19 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 279.7 -5.9
20 Mark Webber Red Bull 278.6 -7.0
21 Timo Glock Virgin 277.8 -7.8
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 277.7 -7.9

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Spanish Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free


55 comments on Hamilton rues costly qualifying strategy

  1. Fixy (@fixy) said on 28th May 2011, 20:31

    Hamilton’s strategy of doing only one lap at the end of the session has been used before. Maybe in Monaco it would have been better to use another approach as crashes are frequent and red flags were possible.

    • lewymp4 (@lewymp4) said on 28th May 2011, 20:41

      That’s the key point….location….location…location. Monaco wasn’t the place for his engineers and strategists to have advised a one stint stop during Q3, and Lewis shouldn’t have agreed.

      • He already blamed the boys if indeed was not his idea. :)

        • Becken said on 29th May 2011, 2:35

          He already blamed the boys if indeed was not his idea.

          Nope. It is not in this article, but he said:

          “Engineers advise that we should do one [run] at the end of Q3 and I didn’t contest it. You always have to take a balanced view with the engineers.

          I definitely didn’t take into account – and I know they didn’t either – that in Monaco you can’t take risks in leaving it [your lap] right to the end.

          It is clear that he takes the blame with his engineers about the strategic mistake.

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 29th May 2011, 8:10

            Not so sure. What I’m getting from him is, “Don’t look at me. I was just following orders.”

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th May 2011, 23:12

        Yeah, and its not even like the tyres look to be a big problem to use them in Q3 in Monaco as they are pretty durable for the race.

  2. Bet he’s one of the first out next year !

  3. tim_g23 (@tim_g23) said on 28th May 2011, 20:47

    Big Hamilton fan but he needs to start taking the reign a bit more when it comes to strategy if he’s not happy with it and stop blaming the team.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th May 2011, 22:10

      I agree with you, but cue Hamilton getting it wrong one race in ten and people saying he should listen to his engineers ;)

    • Patrickl said on 28th May 2011, 22:11

      “With hindsight, we probably should have put a banker in”

      How did he blame the team?

      I’m pretty sure he decided himself that he was going to do only one run.

    • Rob said on 28th May 2011, 22:14

      Who’s to say he didn’t make the call?

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th May 2011, 23:08

      I don’t know if you guys have BBC access but he said so in an interview. Actually, what he said was ‘I didn’t take into account and the team definitely, they clearly didn’t take into account that at Monaco you can’t take risks’

      • Mike (@mike) said on 28th May 2011, 23:44

        If they want pole in front of the quicker Red Bull team they might have to…

        Hind sight is great, but one run at the end has worked before this year.

  4. JUGNU (@jugnu) said on 28th May 2011, 20:50

    Can’t get worse for Hamilton. P7 is already too bad. And people please read Hamilton’s interview before blaming him. He clearly mentioned that he was against the one-run in Q3 but his engineers insisted that it’s the best stretegy.

    “In Monaco you can’t take risks and leave it right to the end, you have to get a banker in, as everyone else did.”


    Mclaren let down Hamilton again with a very ordinary stretegy. They can’t afford to make any mistake esepcially when RBR is so strong and running away with the championship.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 28th May 2011, 22:18

      How did McLaren let Hamilton down with a bad strategy?

      Earlier on in the year he was bleating about the team wasting a set of fresh tyres doing 2 runs in Q1.

      Now it’s the team’s fault that they only did 1 run.

      Once again, Hamilton has his “100% foolproof hindsight visor” on after he gets out of the car. It’s amazing that visor doesn’t seem to work at all when he’s in the car, and he never seems to have any suggestions of his own. At least when Button feels the need to mention that the team might have made a balls of things, he does so to explain the result – nothing more or less. You never get the impression that he’s about to throw his toys out of the pram.

      Most important, you get the impression Button thinks about what the engineers tell him, analyses it, and decided whether or not he agrees. And if he does, he say “WE” made the wrong call, not “the team” made the wrong call.

      • lubhz (@lubhz) said on 28th May 2011, 22:31


        it’s not very polite to complain about your own team and blame them for something that went wrong.

      • Simon said on 29th May 2011, 10:05

        Did you read / watch the interview Hamilton gave after the race? He said “we” should have put a banker in, as well as (paraphrased) “neither the engineers nor I took into account the risk of having just one run at Monaco”.

        There was no 100% foolproof hindsight visor on, and there was no “it was the team who screwed up”.

        He was, however, clearly disappointed he didn’t challenge the advise from his engineers (he said he didn’t contest it) – which is the one valid criticism you can sometimes level at him, I think.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 29th May 2011, 11:06

          ‘I didn’t take into account and the team definitely, they clearly didn’t take into account that at Monaco you can’t take risks’

          That’s not the same as “we” did anything. That’s finger pointing.

          Hamilton is one of the most naturally quick drivers ever, and on track he’s a master. Where he is less of a complete driver than Button, however, is that at times like that – when he should have the ability to override the engineers and call his own strategy – he doesn’t. He goes along with it, then complains about the engineers, or the team, in public afterwards.

          This sort of thing is a partnership. The team don’t deliberately guess, or make a mess of things. They analysed the data and made a prediction of the best way to do things. In that, they would have been aware that burning two sets of tyres is something Hamilton would want to avoid. Lewis needs to have a clear head about what he wants to do, and when is the time for him to speak up and say “No, I want to do X instead.” Button has done it – and when it hasn’t worked for him, he’s said it was his call and his mistake.

  5. 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 28th May 2011, 20:59

    Also shows how Vettel had 0.5 over Webber all day (and weekend so far really)

  6. Scabsf1 said on 28th May 2011, 21:05

    How can hammy have faster times than those in 5th 6th place in all 3 sectors yet be slower overall? I’m boggled.

  7. Young One said on 28th May 2011, 21:27

    He is a big man who should have done the right thing himself instead of taking dictations. While his partner and others were in their cars, he was arrogantly chilling outside his car chatting.

  8. peto4000 (@peto4000) said on 28th May 2011, 21:29

    After the disaster with tyres at the Malaysian GP, Lewis has been focusing on saving his tyres for the rest of this season, which is why I think he was faster than Vettel at the end of the Spanish GP. Clearly was the wrong decision today, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. If the session hadn’t been red flagged I’m sure we would have seen Lewis at least on the front row with an extra set of tyres over Vettel with everyone commending the team on such a smart strategy. It’s just what you have to accept from a high risk high reward strategy.

    • Prodriver said on 29th May 2011, 10:29

      The main point is that he could save one set of tyres but making one lap at the BEGINING of the session, and not at the end. A lot of things could happen…

  9. Damon said on 28th May 2011, 21:57

    What’s the use in having a new set of tyres when the degradation as been fine?? Track position is vital here more than anything! I’m sick of mclaren with there stupid strategies, vettel will walk it now

    • Mikef117 said on 28th May 2011, 23:15

      Super-softs are worth upto 1S/lap over the soft. Trouble is there are so few places to pass at Monaco that better tyres might not be that much of an advantage.

  10. sid_prasher (@) said on 28th May 2011, 21:57

    To come out and put the blame on his engineers for his error is a bit unbecoming for a champion.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th May 2011, 22:12

      So is having your team-mate give his victory up for you, or saying you will do everything to help another team win to stop someone from winning.

      We only remember the things we want to in these cases.

      • sid_prasher (@) said on 28th May 2011, 22:23

        How is that related?
        He took a risk of doing a single run and it didn’t work out…

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th May 2011, 23:11

          You said it was unbecoming of a champion. I was pointing out other examples of champions not exactly acting in a becoming manner. I was only addressing what you’d already brought up.

          • bearforce1 said on 29th May 2011, 6:28

            Nice of you to agree that its unbecoming of a champion….although in a round about fashion.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th May 2011, 10:32

            I agree blaming your engineers is unbecoming. But I never said Hamilton blamed his engineers and not himself too. Nice try.

    • Jake said on 29th May 2011, 0:26

      When his engineers constantly make bad calls and expect the driver to do the impossible lewis needs to look at his role model and move teams. Are you in to win or just to get a few wins per season.

      Tomorrow he should start on the softs and make them last as long as he can and hope for safety car hopefully the HRTs will fire the first solvo into the barriers and hope the track is hot is spits out the tyres.

      But at the end of the day this is Monaco the worst track ever for motorsport in the modern day.

  11. dim23 (@) said on 28th May 2011, 22:27

    Hamilton said that he thought that he could take pole here, could he beat Vettel’s time? i seriously doubt, RedBull is still ahead in qualing.

  12. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th May 2011, 23:20

    I think the big story here is actually that McLaren thought one run was the way to go. Nevermind that Hamilton made the wrong choice, McLaren thought it was the right choice.

    They have been very strange with strategy of late, often getting the big things right and then failing on small things like undercuts. It’s costing them badly, arguably for the second race in a row. You wouldn’t expect this from McLaren.

    • neracer said on 29th May 2011, 1:02

      mclaren have been making mistakes like this since whitmarsh has taken the lead of this team. a top team like this should not be making basic errors – especially at monaco where they have a good track record.

      and Icthyes, yes i heard the interview and concur.

      i am fuming.

  13. sato113 (@sato113) said on 28th May 2011, 23:26

    why is Hamilton complaining about not putting a banker lap in when he could have easily carried on when Massa pulled out of the way…!

  14. isurujosh said on 28th May 2011, 23:54

    in hindsight hamilton will be remembered as the most talented pair of hands behind the wheels with a pretty ordinary brain coupled alongwith

  15. Dave Blanc said on 29th May 2011, 0:33

    Keith – Hamilton’s time was deleted so it shouldn’t be in the table above. I think it needs to revert to Q2 times as he didn’t actually set a time in Q3.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.