McLaren: Another collision, another penalty for Hamilton

2011 Singapore GP team review

Lewis Hamilton’s troubled season continued in Singapore after another collision with a rival.

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Qualifying position 4 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’44.809 (+0.005) 1’44.804
Race position 5 2
Laps 61/61 61/61
Pit stops 4 3

McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

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 57 58 59 60 61
Lewis Hamilton 124.841 117.452 116.933 115.442 115.347 115.268 114.993 115.446 116.511 118.763 126.045 139.334 124.824 139.272 125.744 130.988 114.525 113.867 114.328 115.284 115.676 114.928 116.555 115.565 114.994 113.744 114.575 114.442 138.057 160.249 125.624 122.074 127.058 116.596 119.272 116.214 114.291 113.325 113.189 111.623 111.702 111.69 112.795 113.007 113.368 113.503 114.416 124.756 133.334 112.778 112.257 112.805 112.066 110.832 112.765 112.411 111.633 112.262 113.816 113.585 115.484
Jenson Button 119.507 116.428 115.779 115.41 115.43 115.484 115.104 114.991 115.285 115.282 115.604 115.68 116.511 124.378 135.594 114.354 114.155 114.356 114.322 114.322 114.063 114.107 114.917 114.114 114.702 115.713 113.876 113.6 114.059 146.125 159.646 166.74 159.95 116.023 112.181 112.873 112.246 112.201 112.017 111.984 111.712 111.698 111.665 111.908 112.123 111.987 112.647 120.256 132.904 110.4 111.441 111.061 109.293 108.454 108.704 108.712 109.001 109.153 111.929 111.22 113.113

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2011

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Super soft 30.142s
Pit stop 2 Soft 33.456s
Pit stop 3 Super soft 30.706s
Pit stop 4 Soft 29.876s

Hamilton described his qualifying session as “eventful”. He damaged part of the car’s floor in Q1 which was repaired for the next session.

He picked up a puncture in Q2 when he ran over debris from Kamui Kobayashi’s crash and didn’t have enough fuel in Q3:

“We had an issue with the refuelling process ?ǣ we couldn?t get enough fuel into the car quick enough. In the end, we just ran out of time, so I couldn?t fit in my final run.”

McLaren request that Hamilton be allowed to change his damaged tyre before the race but were denied, costing him a set of super soft tyres. In the event, that was the least of his problems.

Hamilton made a good start but cautiously backing out of a lunge down the inside of Mark Webber cost him – he slipped down to seventh and then to cap it all was passed by Michael Schumacher heading into turn seven.

On lap four Schumacher ran slightly wide at turn five, Hamilton pressed his DRS button and he was past the Mercedes much more quickly than he had been in Monza. The next time by he took the sister car of Nico Rosberg.

It took Hamilton four laps to get within range of Felipe Massa. The pair pitted together on lap 11 and Hamilton came out right behind the Ferrari.

He had a look on the outside of Memorial corner and was in the process of pulling back behind the Ferrari when he carelessly clipped Massa’s right-rear tyre with his front wing, damaging both.

Unusually, McLaren kept him out for a lap with the left-hand portion of his front wing completely destroyed. They then switched him to the soft tyres with the intention of keeping him out as long as possible.

The stewards handed Hamilton a drive-through penalty – a straightforward and non-controversial decision given that he had wrecked Massa’s race. He served it on lap 16.

When the safety car came out Hamilton had done 16 laps on his soft tyres and the team decided to switch him to super softs so he could attack in the final stint.

This he did, passing Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta in succession to take fifth.

He had to repeat the process having made a final stop for another set of tyres on lap 48.

Massa claimed Hamilton ignored him in the media area afterwards. The Ferrari driver was seen interrupting a television interview with Hamilton to sarcastically tell him “good job, well done”.

Hamilton does not appear to have made any comment about his latest collision at the moment, making only passing reference to it in his remarks after the race.

Lewis Hamilton 2011 form guide

Jenson Button

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Singapore, 2011

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Singapore, 2011

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 30.169s
Pit stop 2 Soft 29.921s
Pit stop 3 Super soft 30.305s

Button out-qualified Hamilton for the fourth time this year but was concerned about tyre temperatures: “We?re putting a lot of heat into the tyres ?ǣ so if we push hard in the first sector, we lose rear-end grip by the third sector.

“It?s difficult trying to find that balance, but I think we got reasonably close to it this evening.”

Button, who took medication for dehydration and a stomach complaint before the race, easily out-dragged Webber to take second place at the start – and held the place for every lap of the race.

He dropped back from Sebastian Vettel early on and although he gained some ground during the safety car period, he lost more time passing lapped cars.

Kamui Kobayashi proved particularly troublesome, earning himself a drive-through penalty after badly delaying Button

Button found more time than Vettel in his final stint on super soft tyres and cut Vettel’s lead from 12.7 seconds on lap 52 to 6.5 on lap 57.

From that point the gap between them varied wildly as they passed through large clumps of lapped cars.

Button started the final lap 6.5 seconds behind Vettel and ended it just 1.7 behind – the narrowest the margin had been all race.

He had some complaints about traffic after the race, but stopped short of saying it cost him a potential win: “If you look at the time at the end of the race, I was 1.7s behind Sebastian. I lost more than that behind Kobayashi but I?m sure Seb would have been driving at a different pace if he knew I was four seconds closer.

“The traffic that we had today is disappointing, I would say and it?s something that we need to concentrate on for the next race because I spent over a lap behind Kobayashi.

“There was no reason for him not to let me past, he had a clear circuit in front and I was lapping him, so very, very frustrating and something that we need to resolve for the future.”

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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145 comments on McLaren: Another collision, another penalty for Hamilton

  1. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 27th September 2011, 9:32

    Button, who took medication for dehydration and a stomach complaint before the race, easily out-dragged Webber to take second place at the start – and held the place for every lap of the race

    After Button’s pitstop at the end of Lap 48, he was 3rd with Alonso 2nd was he not? (Alo hadn’t pitted)

  2. spark (@spark) said on 27th September 2011, 9:52

    Button has really upped his game this season, he seems very comfortable with the car at the moment and we know that with this his talent shines though. It’s interesting that the McLaren drivers went with completely different set ups in Free practice (FP3 was it?)Jenson’s setup seemed faster. I wonder if, due to his greater experience, Jenson is leading the development of the car more than Hamilton. Perhaps he is able to give the engineers more feedback whereas Hamilton has more ability to drive around problems with the car.

    • lewis was faster than button on his first run,but button had a second run to go faster,lewis didnt.if he had of,he would have qualified in second.this is common knowledge.

      • Yeah there’s no denying that Lewis is a faster Driver, I’m just wondering if Jenson is leading the development of the car more?

  3. Rainman (@rainman) said on 27th September 2011, 13:04

    A bit off topic, but had one of the best day of my life, got to watch lewis hamilton doing do-nuts in his Mclaren 2008 F1 car. This was an event organized by vodofone today here in Bangalore, India. It was the first time, me seeing a F1 car live and it was AMAZING!!! the revving sound of the F1 car made goosebumps on me and my hairs were literally standing! Whoa what an experience….
    Lewis started with his F1 car, then gave rides to lucky contest winners in a Mercedes AMG. Thank you vodofone and Lewis for making today one of the most memorial day in my life….cheers

    Here is a link to a video from my cell phone cam…

  4. mclaren (@mclaren) said on 27th September 2011, 13:10

    Hamilton is not just a world champion, he’s a potential all-time legend, and that’s why these wasted seasons provide such acute frustration for him.

    A man capable of humbling a mighty talent like Alonso in his rookie season, and winning the title in only his second year in the most heroic of fashion, delivering some of the finest wet-weather wins in F1 history along the way.

    His driving at the moment is not wild, it’s just a little rough at the edges.

    He hasn’t been endangering rivals with crazy swerves or zero-percentage moves, he’s just had a couple of races where he’s slightly misjudged where the extremities of his McLaren are, with costly consequences for his points tally.

    But if he really was the whirlwind of chaos his critics are claiming, there would be more than 16 points (barely a third place) between him and his apparently flawless and heroic team-mate Button – but there are not.

    Hamilton hasn’t lost the plot, hasn’t become a menace and isn’t being blitzed by Button.

    I again repeat, Hamilton is not just a world champion, he’s a potential all-time legend, capable of dominating this era with his sparkling talent.

    • vho (@) said on 28th September 2011, 9:44

      You’re eluding to that Lewis could potentially become an all-time legend; he landed a drive in one of the top teams in the start of his career – he hasn’t proven of what it takes to win a race in a mid-field car. Vettel has shown that he can win a race in a Toro Rosso – which was a mid-field car (Monza 08), Jenson has proven he could win a race in a mid-field car – Honda (Hungary 06). Lewis has proven he can win in a top 3 car. When he starts winning in something close to the current Williams, or Lotus, then he’ll have a chance at being one of the greatest like Senna.

  5. Hamilton punctures Massa’s tire during a clumsy moment: Penalty

    (2010) Webber, cooking in a bit too hot, deranges Hamilton’s LR corner after Hamilton makes a pass on the outside, even leaving him room at the apex. Hamilton retires, Webber gets no penalty.

    Having watched the last few seasons it seems to me there are times when the rules and penalties are not applied evenly to all drivers.

    Hamilton’s style makes him very exciting to watch. He has the highest highs, and probably the lowest lows due to his bold aggressive racing style. Honestly F1 would be quite boring without him.

  6. i hope whitmarsh doesnt expect lewis to help button.
    i want lewis to battle for that second place because he’s very capable of getting it.and vettel will win the championship,anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded=whitmarsh.

    • vho (@) said on 28th September 2011, 9:36

      I think Whitmarsh would be expecting Jenson to be helping Lewis get his head screwed on properly and help McLaren finish on top of the Constructors Championship.

      Judging by the results so far (using facts rather than unfounded so called “common knowledge”) it seems that Jenson doesn’t require Lewis’ help.

  7. Hi all,

    Can anyone provide Lewis and Massa’s average entrance/exit speed for the corner where they collided? I’d like to know if there were any significant differences to how they approached/exited the corner.

    Thanks

  8. If last year’s collision between Webber & Hamilton was Webber’s fault they why did all the other drivers & pretty much all of the broadcasters agree it was Hamilton’s fault?

    People sitting infront of a TV judging those sorts of incidents won’t have a clue on what its like to drive an F1 car through that corner in that situation.

    The other drivers will & all said the accident was caused because Lewis didn’t leave enough room for both he & mark to make the corner without contact.

    I’d value the opinion of an F1 driver more than I would any of us sitting at home simply watching.

    • judo chop (@judo-chop) said on 27th September 2011, 21:25

      No commentator really said it was Hamilton’s fault. Just that, considering the damage done to his title hopes, he could’ve avoided being hit by Webber’s dive down the inside if he had ran a bit wider. Because Hamilton might have avoided a collision doesn’t absolve Webber of his lunatic lunge. If a champion boxer was KO’d by a punch he normally would’ve dodged it would be fair to blame him for hanging his chin out but it wouldn’t make sense to say he was responsible for throwing the knockout blow. Of course this difference flies over the heads of the anti-Hamilton brigade.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th September 2011, 10:29

      all the other drivers & pretty much all of the broadcasters agree it was Hamilton’s fault

      I certainly don’t remember many – if any – of the drivers voicing an opinion on it. They rarely do if they’re not the ones involved.

  9. Unless it’s bad reporting by Autosport, Hamilton is really behaving badly off-track. He has just been reported as saying about his run-in with Massa: “I was able to just ignore it and move on.”
    How can he ignore a penalty and still learn to become a more mature driver?

    • Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 27th September 2011, 18:23

      Shows he has the mindset to win more titles. A penalty is a penalty, served and done with. What point in dwelling on it anymore after you’ve served it ? The answer is “no” and he displayed it in his recovery drive.

      • Ignoring something is not the same as “not dwelling” on it. To ignore means “refuse to take notice of” or “leave out of consideration” or “shut your eyes to something.”

        But then again, maybe Hamilton is re-inventing the English language at the same time he’s re-inventing the best way to win the world championship?

    • tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 27th September 2011, 21:01

      He did not ignore the penalty, he did his drive through and got on with it. All the way back to 5th.

  10. The Limit said on 27th September 2011, 18:35

    The problem Hamilton has is that he has a ‘reputation’
    with the stewards, much in the same way as some footballers do with referees. If you notice, its always the same players getting booked, even on occasions when they may or maynot have been at fault.
    I am not making excuses for Lewis! His move on Massa was clumsy, and blame for it lays at Hamilton’s door. One wonders if Lewis’ comments at Monaco this year have only further damaged his relationship with race officials, even though sometimes Hamilton on occasion does get the rough end of the stick.
    However, F1 over the years have always clamped down hard on the overly aggressive type race car drivers. Juan Pablo Montoya springs to mind, as does Aryton Senna. I agree that the sport has added danger to it when drivers push a little ‘too far’ on occasion, but the paradox is that is what makes F1 exciting to watch.
    I have to admit I was bored watching the Singapore Gp at times. Lewis probably did most of the overtaking that I saw, and at the end of the day, that is my main reason for watching, to see the best drivers in the world go wheel to wheel.
    As with all racing, risky overtaking moves when they work are amazing. Vettel’s move on Alonso at Monza was one of those deals that, had it failed, could have
    ended in disaster. A marshall in 2000 was killed at that same spot following a bad move from a Jordan driver, for example. It goes to show just how much of a challenge these men face everytime they race.
    With Hamilton though, I fear this is more than just a dip in form. He can continue to preach that this is how he has always raced, on the limit, but the fact is it is costing him championships at the moment. One only has to look at Jenson Button, who is currently the only driver even close to Sebastien Vettel in the championship. He has kept his head down all year, stays out of the limelight, and makes good decisions during grands prix. He is reliable and consistent, something that Hamilton has not been. He has been more Montoya than Schumacher this season, but still every bit as entertaining as he was way back in 2007 when he started.
    As for Massa I feel sorry for him. He faired well against Raikkonen at Ferrari, better than most expected from a driver who used to see more armco barriers than podiums when he was at Sauber. That has not been the case since Fernando Alonso became his team mate, add to that his near fatal shunt in 2009, and you have a driver desperately on the back foot.
    He may, despite the Hamilton incident, have not got a
    podium finish at Singapore. However, these days a good points finish is a result to Felipe. To see that evaporate following his tussle with Lewis would have tipped most people over the edge, and its worth remembering that.
    As for Ferrari replacing Massa, its important to remember Hockenheim last year and the clear message Ferrari sent to the racing world. Alonso is there main man, their true hope for another championship. Ferrari know, as do we, they only need a solid number two next to the Spaniard.

  11. IceBlue (@iceblue) said on 27th September 2011, 23:00

    Louis Hamilton missed winning the F1 Championship in his rookie year for one reason: Louis Hamilton. It’s been about the same since 2008. Fewer mistakes means a better chance at the Championship….except for Vettel, that is.

  12. Rlewis said on 28th September 2011, 0:11

    I believe that when this season ends everyone will have the opportunity to truly assess how the rules changes affected the drivers. For those of us who have followed the sport for more than 30 years it is clear that the change to tires, DRS and Kees have played well to some, and not so well to others. Notice that in most cases most drivers are competing more with their own teammates than with anyone else. This is not a big deal for the lower teams but it is for those that offer parity to their drivers. All of the top teams have shown their strengths and weaknesses despite changes over the season. The Ferrari is a great car, it has good mid range performance which seems to drop off at the end. The red bull seems to be great for the first 2 thirds of the race, drops a bit near the end, but can hold it’s own thanks to raw mechanical and aero grip. The mcLaren seems to be a bit sluggish for the first half and tends to pick it up on light fuel loads. This means that they must stay very close to have any chance of a good finish.

    What I see in this season, outside of the excessive penalties, is that all of the drivers, with the exception of Vettel, trying to make the best of their hands over the weekend. It seems that Lewis has had to work a bit harder to get himself into position to be competitive at the end. Button, for whatever reason has been a bit lucky, but he has made that luck and taken full advantage of it. Unlike last years car which was built a bit more around Lewis, considering that Jenson was not then a part of the team, this years car seems to work well for both. Alonso has the full ear of Ferrari but there car just does not show any special pace. The red bull has evolved a bit around Seb, but the car works well in all areas. Webber has not been a big challenge, but he does keep the others honest.

    This is the first season for the new rules and I am sure that there will be changes. Some drivers will have the chance to evaluate how changing their approach will make life easier for them. Those Like Lewis, kind of caught up in the moment will be able to step away and realize that there are other ways to win races.

    • vho (@) said on 28th September 2011, 8:21

      Absolutely right about how someone makes their luck. People argue that Lewis was lucky to win the WDC in 2008 – but at the end of the day it’s how you convert them. You have a series of good luck and bad luck and it’s how you recover from the bad and convert from the good. Luck has nothing to do with incidents that you are at fault or the fact that your actions got you into the situation – you took a gamble and you lost.

      Jenson and Lewis’ cars are actually slightly different in that each use different brakes and I heard some commentator was saying even the front wings are different. The fact is McLaren is able to accommodate for two different driving styles and it’s taken Jenson (and McLaren) to come up to speed in what combination is the best for them. Lewis on the other hand has pretty much set in stone what he likes and hence has the ability to extract everything out of the car. From this we see a big performance increase from Jenson and not so much from Lewis. Jenson is coming out on top at the moment as he doesn’t take the level of risk that Lewis does and due to his experience, Jenson tends to strategise his races rather than just going all flat out and having to get a call from the team to start conserving the tyres/fuel/brakes etc. Lewis is certainly faster a majority of the time and is reflective of his pace in qualifying, but he just doesn’t know how to maximise the full potential of his car over a full race distance.

  13. vho (@) said on 28th September 2011, 7:56

    Lewis is a huge admirer of Senna and has cited Senna’s most famous quotes – “…And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver…”. The problem is that Lewis sometimes refuses to believe in non-existent gaps and his level of skill in pulling off a passing move in those gaps are far from what Senna sees as the norm.

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th September 2011, 8:16

    Oh, I just knew that the tyre locking up would be some peoples saving grace. Give it up, its embarrassing.

    Great race from Button. No one can complain about the back end of the season being boring if he keeps up those kind of performances. Well done to him.

    Unfortunate for Hamilton, it was a genuine mistake. He could not have been seen to carry on his race unimpeded, so the drive-through was appropriate.

    • vho (@) said on 28th September 2011, 8:26

      As halifaxf1fan posted,

      It is funny how Hamilton fans argued quite loudly that Hamilton was in complete control when he was ‘hooning’ in Australia or doing 180′s in the middle of a busy racetrack in Hungary but now when he has a tiny puff of smoke from one of his front tires he is completely out of control and just a passenger!

      … yes that is quite an embarrassing excuse – something that IMO not even Lewis himself would buy into.

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