Schumacher and Hamilton miss final laps after “stupid” incident

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton failed to start their final qualifying laps after an incident at the chicane involving them and Mark Webber at the end of Q3..

Webber passed Hamilton on the inside at the chicane and the Red Bull driver was able to start his final lap in time.

While Hamilton avoided Webber, Schumacher was on the outside of the pair of them and drove onto the run-off to avoid them.

Schumacher called the incident “stupid” and said it had begun when Hamilton slowed down in front of him and Webber:

“It was a bit stupid in the last chicane, everybody was driving so slow and I saw my lap and I knew I had to go through somehow otherwise I wouldn’t make it and I just missed it by a second.”

He added: “I had Webber in front who slowed down because Hamilton slowed down. I don’t know what was in front of him, if he really had to slow down that much. But it was tight for all three of us so we all had to push somehow to make it through and to do another lap.

“At that moment I was set to do a lap because I didn’t know whether Kobayashi may go out or somebody goes out. So I tried my best and then Lewis pushed me a little bit wide onto the grass.”

Schumacher said: “it’s a shame but it didn’t make a problem in the end,” because he was still able to end the session in seventh place.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Hamilton had been told not to let the following cars overtake him:

“With Lewis it was tight. We told him not to back up and let any cars by. Unfortunately he got passed at the last corner and in so doing missed the opportunity at a second lap.

“So, frustrating, of course, but the reality is we’ve got a car that’s quick here, we’re second and third, and it’s a long race.”

“He’d been told not to back up, he’d been told to push. But he got overtaken by Mark in the last corner – no accusation to Mark, he did a good job to get by. Obviously Michael missed it as well.

“It was tight for all of them. Lewis had been told ‘don’t let cars by’ and by letting the cars by he missed that chance to get through.”

Hamilton was behind Button at the time and McLaren’s pit messages show Button had been told to “make a gap to Massa”, who was ahead of him.

Hamilton was on provisional pole position at the time but slipped to third place afterwards. He said he could have improved his time had he been able to do a final lap:

“The car was feeling great and I felt like I had a couple of tenths at least left. I had time, there was a couple of corners where I lost a bit of time on my first run. So I felt like I was in a position to at least fight with these two guys.

“It was a bit dangerous at the last corner where I had Mark attack me and I had Michael go down the outside. It was very strange and that’s really why we lost the lap.”

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174 comments on Schumacher and Hamilton miss final laps after “stupid” incident

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  1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 8:04

    This is McLaren’s fault. No question in my mind.

    They send both of their drivers out together to try and start their final laps with just a few seconds remaining, while expecting them to find gaps and look after their tyres, while everyone else is trying to do the same thing. I’m sorry, but that’s just asking for trouble in my opinion. A Qualifying 3 session is 10 minutes long – there’s no reason why you’d need to wait until the last 20 seconds of those 10 minutes to start another lap. Yes, I know it’s all about track evolution, but seriously how much time will you gain from starting a lap with 60-90 seconds to go compared to starting a lap with 5-10 seconds before the chequered flag? However much it is, it’s certainly not worth putting yourself at risk of not making the deadline.

    I don’t think you can blame Lewis. He was behind Jenson and had to make a gap to ensure he didn’t get compromised. But you can’t blame Webber or Schumacher when they have a right to try and get a lap in too. And that’s what I mean, when you leave things to the last minute you just know many of your competitors will be trying to do the same. That’s why you need to give yourself enough time to avoid being caught out. For a professional sports organisation like McLaren to adopt the mentality a teenage schoolboy takes to their homework is just not on. Lewis has made some honest mistakes this season, but McLaren have made some basic organisational errors too. If they want to challenge for titles next season, they really need to sort themselves out and nip things like this in the bud, otherwise they’ll have no chance.

    • cduk_mugello (@cduk_mugello) said on 8th October 2011, 8:09

      I can see your point about space, and as a Schumacher fan I find it really annoying that Merc left it ridiculously late (again), but I still believe there was enough space to set a decent lap time.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 8:13

        @cduk_mugello I agree. Schumacher did nothing wrong. He has a right to be able to start a lap with being obstructed by slow traffic. But Mercedes could’ve avoided this “stupid” incident (which it was) by sending Michael out with more time to spare themselves. Same with Red Bull.

        • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 8:32

          So long as all four (Button included) were that close it was always not going to be worth it for the following 3 to put in a qualifying lap – you cant make a decent qualifying lap racing with a car infront of you: look at what happened to Webber – so he got to start a lap but he might as well have stayed behind Lewis and saved his tyres.

          But what is perplexing is Whitmarsh seeming like he is having a dig at his own driver and infact being more understanding towards Webber and Schui – for a team that was talking about reducing errors just a few days ago, their approach today is abit confusing.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 13:44

            Yeah, Whitmarsh’s comment about ‘we told Lewis not to let cars through, and he let cars through’ was stupid and unfair on Hamilton. He couldn’t have been much closer to Button and still had a decent run out of the last corner without being compromised by Button on his final lap.

            Also, Schumacher saying ‘So I tried my best and then Lewis pushed me a little bit wide onto the grass’ was equally ridiculous. If you put your car on the outside, in a tight corner, where 3 cars are entering at the same time, you will have to run wide. Perhaps he should have considered that before making accusations of being ‘pushed wide.’

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 8th October 2011, 14:27

            What Schumacher said was a statement of fact not a complaint I don’t think. He was forced wide. He’s just telling you what happened. He might be having a go at Hamilton for slowing that much, but I don’t think he’s annoyed with him for driving him up onto the grass. MSC made an ambitious attempt to overtake and it didn’t come off – he’s just telling you about it.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 8th October 2011, 14:31

            Agree with you both, great post MG, and @NDINYO I said the same on another thread and was told to look at the facts and sector times, but I had. Glad someone else is more objective and see it how I do.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 15:34

            @DVC
            Fair enough, ‘pushing’ just sounded accusatory to me, but you’re probably right, if he was blaming Hamilton for anything it was mostly for being slow (something I believe all the teams should be capable of pre-empting, as drivers need to make themselves room).

          • Lewis is not focused & McLaren is not up to the task (to support him). I don’t think we need more evidence. Only insiders can specify more on what’s going on. Today’s event was a combination of a relatively not-focused driver and a team that does not know what to do about it. And it is kind of funny how Hamilton thinks (see post-qualifying comments) it was dangerous for Schumi and Webber to overtake like this…Kind of interesting for a driver who is taking HUGE and often POORLY CALCULATED risks race after race. That, right there, shows how lost he is. Sorry. I am a huge mclaren fan and I love Lewis and what he has done for the team and the fans BUT he needs help and it ain’t coming from mclaren (or his girlfriend – too busy rating X-factor candidates). So he has to look elsewhere. The sooner the better, for all and above all him.

        • TITO (@tito) said on 8th October 2011, 8:42

          i have to say that Schumacher did every thing wrong
          a.not letting pit in time for final run
          b. try to overtake Hamilton in place that in the race you get penalty

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 9:01

            A) I think that’s the team’s responsibility, not the driver’s.

            B) I imagine he was trying to pass Lewis but trying to avoid an accident while recognising Webber was trying to pass him at the same time. Three cars into one corner doesn’t work. Schumacher was probably right to bail out to the escape road.

          • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 8th October 2011, 10:34

            Put yourself in Schumacher’s position. It’s the final chicane, and you’re on the very edge of not being able to get a flying lap in. Lewis, ahead of him, is going very slowly. Too slow, infact, to get a final lap in. So he was right to assume that Lewis perhaps wasn’t bothering, so why let that ruin your lap?

            McLaren and Lewis were in the wrong for sure. Shame as well, they had a good shot today.

          • SimBri (@f1addict) said on 8th October 2011, 11:34

            @Electrolite. I agree it was both McLaren and Lewis’ fault.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 8th October 2011, 12:44

            I agree with Mag G, I think the blame can lie with the teams. The drivers were only doing what they needed to (Schumacher + Webber) or were told (Lewis).

          • @Electrolite

            Not sure how it was Lewis’ fault. He was simply making a gap behind Jenson as Jenson had slowed to make a gap to the car in front. Webber shot through on the inside and Schumacher did a Kamikaze on the outside. I do not blame Webber as his pass was clean and Lewis took a wide line into the chicane, however Schumacher was never ever going to make any type of successful pass on Lewis as there was never the space to pass, he was going way to quick to make the turn and webber was already going to push Lewis into a wider turn before schumacher got there! What on earth was he thinking? It is possible that Lewis would have made the lap if only webber had passed but when he saw schumacher rallying on the outside and pulling all sorts of debris onto the track he pretty much stopped!

            Maclaren should have sent the drivers out earlier but I have a feeling they did not think they would need to go again as Vettel simply needs 1 point to win the WDC so why would he risk the race by using another set of tyres at a track that is eating tyres for breakfast, dinner and tea? Once he went out they reacted and it was obviously very tight.

            I do think they should make more tyres available on tracks like this as we almost saw a pretty much dead Q3 due to tyre concerns.

    • Well executed post.
      Looking forward to lights out.

    • dynamite11 (@dynamite11) said on 8th October 2011, 8:17

      your spot on mate,this ‘errors’ wld not happen so often under RDennis…whitmarsh shld go,period im fed up

    • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 8th October 2011, 8:18

      Good post Geoff… these things happen. Also, I think the blame game is more of a mind game these days…

    • Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 8th October 2011, 8:20

      Great comment, Mag. Congrats!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th October 2011, 8:24

      Assuming Hamilton was aware:

      a. That there were two cars behind him also trying to set laps
      b. How much time he had left to get across the line

      Then he has to take some of the blame.

      And I’d be surprised if Hamilton didn’t have both those pieces of information at his disposal, because they’re pretty fundamental. (I can’t read what is shown on his display during the onboard footage, perhaps someone with a bigger, sharper screen can!)

      However it’s also true that the next car up the road from him was his own team mate and he had been told to create a gap to the car in front despite the fact Hamilton wasn’t all that far behind him. So I think there was a failure on the pit wall as well.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 8:37

        @keith-collantine @keithcollantine @Keith_Collantine (delete as necessary!)

        However it’s also true that the next car up the road from him was his own team mate and he had been told to create a gap to the car in front despite the fact Hamilton wasn’t all that far behind him. So I think there was a failure on the pit wall as well.

        Ultimately, this. McLaren may well have told Lewis to hurry up and he still chose to try and generate a gap between him and Jenson, but by that time you’ve already got a problem that can be avoided simply through staggering your drivers with a greater gap between them and sending them out with more time to play with just incase they get compromised. It cost Hamilton in Monaco which set him up for a tough race (which he didn’t help himself with much either) and with Button in Spa or wherever it was. Once is a mistake, twice is embarrassing and three times is just unacceptable.

        • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 8:40

          I should clarify I’m talking about McLaren’s pit wall errors in qualifying in general, rather than specifically leaving things to the last minute – which is just one example of this.

        • Sheriff said on 8th October 2011, 14:40

          Easy to sit in front of your TV and judge.
          With the track getting faster all the time, the goal is to obviously leave it as late as possible before your final flying lap, especially when you are looking for any kind of advantage on the extremely fast Vettel.

          Ok, so it looks like a schoolboy error, but with such fine margins in all areas its such an easy error to make.

          Anyway, Mclaren are fast and its a very long race.

      • Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 8th October 2011, 8:38

        Lewis said:

        “Jenson was in front of me, he slowed down to get his gap and I was coming to the last corner trying to make sure I had a gap between him and me.

        Can I assume that Button can take some the blame too? Or maybe that Mclaren should predict that something could go wrong with BUtton´s lap and reliese both guys with a biggest gap?

        McLaren´s fault. 100%

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 13:49

          Exactly. If Hamilton had pulled up right behind Button then we would probably be hearing about how it was Hamilton’s fault that he didn’t maintain a sensible gap, and therefore failed to improve on his first run. I don’t see what Hamilton could have done in that situation to avoid either being passed or have his next lap effectively void anyway.

          Hamilton has made a lot of mistakes this season. This wasn’t one.

          Also, seeing in the post-quali footage the replay of spa, and seeing that Kobayashi was turning into Hamilton I now think placing 100% blame on Hamilton there is unfair.

      • SupaSix-1 said on 8th October 2011, 8:42

        Without a shadow of a doubt – Lewis was not to blame – The full blame lies with redbull, merc & even mclaren to an extent for getting their cars out too late.

        When redbull/merc/webber & schumacher realised that they may not make the time they both put thier foots down in the last sector – at the same time we clearly saw Lewis behind Jenson into the last turn so Lewis couldnt be any closer in order to have a clean lap – also jenson was opening a gap to the car infront of him in the last chicane.

        Im dissapointed that Lewis immediately gets fingered as the scape-goat – another attempt to harm him – interesting that now DC changed his mind & blames kobayashi for spa!

        The video is all clear to see.
        AND Lewis didnt push schumacher off – Lewis was in the middle of a sandwich and schumacher & Hamilton did really well to avoid a collision.
        Webber was quite erratic and if Lewis gets critisized for doing what he did to maldonado in Q2 in spa – then webber should be equally to blame for making that lunge too.

        • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 8th October 2011, 9:18

          Hmm…excuse me – Webber’s fault for lunging in? Maybe you had you eyes closed when Hamilton lunged into Maldanado on a flying lap and not an out-lap

        • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 8th October 2011, 10:05

          The obvious difference between the Hamilton/Maldonado indecent and this one is that Hamilton didn’t need to pass Maldonado the way he did to advance in quali. If Webber and Shumacher had stayed behind Hamilton they would have missed out on a lap and I really don’t see how you can blame them for taking an opportunity.
          Any blame lies with the teams imo (and maybe Hamilton for creating a situation where 2 cars had to squeeze past him to make a lap)

      • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 8:43

        But why did the team put itself in such a tight spot in the first place? McLaren, on a good day, is a mistake prone team – the situation just becomes worse when it leaves itself so little room to maneuvre. I wouldn’t blame Lewis for having to correct a very dificult situation that the team had put him in – from 4 mins to about 2.20 mins before the end of the session the track was practically empty – they had plenty of time to avoid this incident. Martin Brundle was even doing them a favour and counting down the remaining time on international TV so that they can get it right – and they still did not.

      • hlgovz said on 8th October 2011, 11:29

        Surely Webber cutting the chicane is against the rules?? Suppose if Lewis wasnt there and Webber cut the chicane to start the lap, wouldnt this be deemed as gaining an advantage by cutting the corner? (Better exit on to straight)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th October 2011, 8:25

      I think Vettel nicely showed there is not that much to gain by going out a few seconds later. He was in front of all of this, with enough time to do an easy outlap and nail pole.

      In other words, I agree McLaren messed up on a great chance they had, once again. But I do think Hamilton did his part in this, he could have backed up less and paid more attention to the guys behind.

      • SupaSix-1 said on 8th October 2011, 8:49

        totally disagree.

        They were all getting ready for a hotlap – Lewis and the others had no reason to watch their mirrors.
        IF Lewis had completed his hotlap & was on an ‘in-lap’ then yes..he wouldve had to watch his mirrors for anyone still on a hot-lap.

        I urge you to watch that footage and see that Lewis was right behind button in that last corner – any closer and it wouldve blown his own hot-lap

        • Zoran said on 8th October 2011, 9:02

          Well, if Hamilton doesn’t need to watch his mirrors just because he’s preparing for a hot lap, then he might as well be prepared to be passed before his hot lap has started.

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 8th October 2011, 13:34

        Vettel nicely showed there is not that much to gain by going out a few seconds later. He was in front of all of this, with enough time to do an easy outlap and nail pole.

        I agree, Vettel normally does the right thing and goes out early

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 8th October 2011, 8:28

      @MagnificentGeoffrey I totally agree it’s tough for the drivers to know who is where but the teams have all the telemetry on earth to help themselves.This season the amount of mistakes the Mclaren did as a team & their drivers didn’t help them for the fight for the WC.

      • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 8:51

        Yet another weird characteristic of McLaren – do they ever communicate these things to the drivers or do they just expect the driver to work these stuff for themselves? Which makes you wonder what all those guys on the pitwall with laptops and radio headphones are supposed to be doing.

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 8th October 2011, 13:39

          ..Which makes you wonder what all those guys on the pitwall with laptops and radio headphones are supposed to be doing.

          lol, so true.. I’ve asked myself that question many times…

    • Frans (@frans) said on 8th October 2011, 8:47

      “but seriously how much time will you gain from starting a lap with 60-90 seconds to go compared to starting a lap with 5-10 seconds before the chequered flag?”
      maybe a couple of tenth? 90s is a lot if you want to find that extra tenth.

      The times were very tight. I don’t blame the team to leave Hamilton that late. It’s the nature of this kind of quali system. The fact that Webber can still do it without being hampered by Button maybe means that Hamilton just slowing down too much? Probably their calculation is just right… even the commentator on StarSports told that the latest they should come out from the pit is in the 1:40 mark which the team already did. Maybe the problem is with Massa who slowed down too much, thus Button need to slow down and so on…
      Maybe FIA should look into this a bit more as to give all the drivers equal opportunity to set times. Ideally, whether you run early or late shouldn’t affect your lap times at all.
      And they should also look about this saving tyres stuff in quali. It didn’t do any good for the sport. It probably lead to this Hamilton quali problem and it is definitely the cause of some drivers wouldn’t want to set any times.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 8:56

        @Frans

        Maybe the problem is with Massa who slowed down too much, thus Button need to slow down and so on…

        Exactly. That’s why you should give your drivers more time so that they don’t get compromised by the inevitable rush at the end of the session.

        Maybe FIA should look into this a bit more as to give all the drivers equal opportunity to set times.

        I disagree. I think 10 minutes is plenty of time for teams to be able to get two hot laps in for both of their drivers without tripping over each other for space on track. There’s only a maximum of 10 cars out on track at any one time during Q3, and some of them don’t even bother going out! There’s easily enough space out there that traffic shouldn’t be an issue.

        Ideally, whether you run early or late shouldn’t affect your lap times at all.
        And they should also look about this saving tyres stuff in quali. It didn’t do any good for the sport. It probably lead to this Hamilton quali problem and it is definitely the cause of some drivers wouldn’t want to set any times.

        Definitely agree with you here. I think the Qualifying format in F1 is perfect, but I do think this tyre rule has to go for sure. There’s got to be a way around it.

    • Neil Davies (@neil-davies) said on 8th October 2011, 9:09

      Whether or not Hamilton dawdled a little too much or not (and with Button in front I don’t see how he could have done anything different), the team have to take to blame for this totally avoidable and wasteful mistake.

      With Hamilton’s mental state as it is, why are the team taking such risks? Why not send him out with no time pressure to cross the line and let him do the only thing he wants to do right now, which is drive the wheels off his car? There’s no doubt he had the speed for pole today and that would have been the boost he so desperately needs.

      You could see in Hamilton’s face after qualifying that mentally he’s almost destroyed. The media know it, the other drivers know it, but for some reason his own team don’t seem to be able to make the right decisions to bring him back. He will bring it back, but it looks like he’s going to have to do it all by himself. For the sake of the sport I hope he pulls it together and has a good 2012.

      • DT (@dt) said on 8th October 2011, 10:28

        well said!!

      • tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 8th October 2011, 12:22

        Based on what I have seen from Whitmarsh since Button’s arrival at McLaren, Lewis’s days are numbered. I don’t think he is wanted by the organization and could be gone before the start of next season or worse, treated as a number 2 driver behind Button who is seen as “crucial” to the team until the end of his contract.
        I often wonder what kind of messages are McLaren sending Hamilton.

        • David BR (@david-br) said on 8th October 2011, 14:09

          [Just an aside as this is the first time I've used the new site format: couldn't the comment you're replying to appear immediately above the reply box? Totally disappeared!]

          It would be very strange for McLaren to decide to ditch Hamilton, whose talent is recognized by everyone and who’s the only driver on the grid to have delivered them a championship! Button is also the wrong end of the age spectrum, while Hamilton will presumably still improve and reach his peak in the next few years. But something seems wrong for sure. Button appears more focused on working with the team, while Hamilton – though going through a very rough patch and loss of confidence, maybe, which can happen to anyone – doesn’t seem to be helping himself with his choice of management and more intense celeb distractions, which in turn presumably doesn’t impress his team much in terms of full-time commitment. There’s also the unclear issue of whether he contemplated or tried a move earlier in the season, e.g. to Red Bull, and whether this was real or a form of pressurizing the team. If so, Button outperforming Hamilton since has taken away some of the leverage he had to blame the car for not being able to challenge Vettel. It’s a mess for sure, but I suspect when Vettel confirms his second championship, Hamilton will refocus – unless he leaves the sport! Unlikely but something he’s hinted at on occasion.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th October 2011, 17:54

            @david-brThe thing where a reply reloads the page and sends you down is a glitch. Keith has it on top of the list of those and will solve in the coming days.

            And I think you are perfectly right about McLaren being unlikely to want to drop Hamilton.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 8th October 2011, 9:32

      I think McLaren and Hamilton can share the blame evenly between them. The team should not have sent their drivers out so close together at a track where no benefit is gained from slipstreaming, and Hamilton should have had the awareness to get a move on, allowing himself and both cars behind him to start their laps in time.

      It’s just yet another mistake from McLaren and Hamilton. They make so many poor decisions between them that no other team and driver combination do. I think the best example of that this season was the Hungary GP when Hamilton and Button were running first and second – McLaren told them to pit for intermediate tyres when it started spitting with rain, Hamilton did so but Button ignored them. Button went on to win the race while Hamilton finished fourth.

      I’m not completely blaming Hamilton for that incident, as you can never really criticise a driver too much for doing as his team instructs him to – it was the team’s mistake. Jenson Button was smart enough to ignore the call, however, no doubt a product of his vast experience.

      Further to that, it seems like every week I’m complaining about a poor strategic decision by McLaren or a poor pit stop for one or both of their drivers that costs them track position, and we all know how much Hamilton has been in trouble of his own making this season. They haven’t had a truly competitive car since 2008, and they seem to have lost a degree of nous since Ron Dennis stepped down. In short, they need to get their act together and stop doing a disservice to the two fantastic drivers they have on their books, or I can’t see them catching Red Bull any time soon.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 8th October 2011, 9:45

      @Magnificent-Geoffrey I agree that McLaren were silly in leaving it so late and sending both of their drivers out so close to each other, but if Lewis really wanted to get a lap in despite the team’s error, he could easily have done so. Mark Webber left the pits after Hamilton, but he managed to get a lap in.

      Lewis has every right to be a bit annoyed at the team, but he obviously agreed to the strategy, yet failed to do his part in order for it to work.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 8th October 2011, 9:56

        @Damonsmedley Because Webber and Schumacher made a desperate move to get by. You think Lewis should be activity blocking other drivers from overtaking him in a qualifying session? That sort of thing’s just not on in my opinion.

        Are you saying that he should either have left less of a gap to Jenson and risked compromising his own lap or actively tried to block Webber and Jenson from passing him? Because if you are, that proves my point. No matter what he did in that case, it’s a lose-lose-lose situation. He either gets overtaken, and doesn’t make the line in time – closes up to Jenson and risks getting his own lap compromised through being accidentally blocked by his team mate or suffering from his dirty air – OR he blocks the guys behind and risks getting yet another penalty.

        To criticise Lewis for this is a bit harsh in my opinion.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 8th October 2011, 10:23

          @Magnificent-Geoffrey I’m saying he shouldn’t have driven so slowly and allowed Webber and Schumacher to catch up in the first place.

          But my real point is, why did Lewis agree to do it? If he wanted to ensure he got a lap in, he’d have told the team to let him out with 3 minutes to go, not 2.

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 8th October 2011, 12:33

            But that’s not in Lewis’ character. He’s always been a “follow what the team says” kind of guy. He doesn’t always like what the team tells him to do (and he will grumble about it), but he’ll do it anyway (and grumble again if it doesn’t work out).

          • JT19 (@jt19) said on 8th October 2011, 13:45

            @Damonsmedley I agree with you, Hamilton should make his own decision to do what he wants, but in his whole career, I don’t think he has ever done that. He always does what the team tells him to do, which kinda upsets me.

            Coming up to the chicane, Hamilton was slow, therefore never had the momentum and speed to attack it and go quickly, whereas Schumacher and Webber might have been full throttle through 130R and coming up to the chicane. I think if Lewis was on his own, he would of took the first part of chicane slow, then floor it on the last corner.

            Also, IMO, I don’t think Hamilton would have seen them, he must of thought he was last person on track, but in saying that, wouldn’t McLaren have told him who was behind?

            @magnificent-geoffrey Completely agree with you on the teams fault, but once in a while, I wish Lewis would make his own decisions, and the right ones in saying that. When Button retires they should make him Hamilton’s race engineer and tell him what to do and when to do it :D

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 14:34

            @damonsmedley

            I’m saying he shouldn’t have driven so slowly and allowed Webber and Schumacher to catch up in the first place.

            But he ended up right behind Button. The only way that Schumacher and Webber wouldn’t have been behind Hamilton at the chicane would be if Hamilton had either passed Button or was so close to his diffuser that his next lap was ruined by running in dirty air.

            If Hamilton hadn’t coasted through 130R and on the approach to the chicane, then he would have caught Button even earlier, and still had to slow down to create a gap, at which point he would have been passed. Hamilton’s ultimate pace on his out-lap was restricted by Button (who was in turn restricted by ___, etc.), so he couldn’t have avoided ‘allowing Webber and Schumacher to catch him.’

      • Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 8th October 2011, 10:57

        @Damon Smedley

        The facts:

        “”It was my mistake,” he said. “I should have got out sooner but I was making a wing change and I went out too late.”

        Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: “Lewis is being a bit hard on himself. We could have been explicit to him about time running out.

    • nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 8th October 2011, 12:28

      McLaren said they told Lewis not to hang back, so how can it be the teams fault. Im a massive lewis fan but even i’ll admit it was his own fault..
      **** happens. The race is tomorrow.. lets wait and see what happens then :)

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th October 2011, 12:29

      @magnificent-geoffrey you’re right, they should’ve sent them out with 10 seconds left rather than 1. You always need a mrgin for errors, and if the drivers have to push in their out lap they can’t look after their tyres.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 8th October 2011, 12:38

      I do agree that the team is primarily to blame here. They put Lewis in a no-win situation – either miss the flag or make a run potentially running into traffic and with compromised tyre temps (as he wouldn’t be able to do a proper warmup lap).

      However, Lewis has to take some of the flak as well. If he needs to build a gap to Button, fine. But at the end of the day, Lewis’ priority should’ve been beating the flag to start a lap, regardless of how the traffic plays out. Regardless of how compromised his run would’ve been, he should’ve given himself a chance to beat Vettel, at least – which he just gave away.

      • vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 14:38

        Agree that it was up to Lewis to ensure he gets his time in – regardless if his lap was going to be compromised by Jenson in front of him. Lewis was under the assumption that we would be able to catch Jenson and believed he needed to leave a bigger gap. He had 2 objectives;

        1. Ensure he gets his lap in before the time runs out.
        2. Try to go quicker than his previous fastest lap.

        But he failed to meet the first objective. As they say, “you’ve gotta be in it to win it”. I think Lewis fell asleep as he was approaching the last chichane. Yes he had to give Jenson some room but Lewis should have been focused on getting a timed lap in. At the end, Webber managed to get his lap in and he started behind Lewis, and although he was slower than Jenson he was quite a distance behind – hence, there was plenty of gap for Lewis if he got his act together.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th October 2011, 19:36

      Well said, and it seems Mercedes made the same mistake with Schumacher. Webber too, was too slow. Maybe Massa was really slow to start his lap and thus Button had to slow, backing Hamilton up, etc. However that is a risk you are taking by leaving it that late.

      I don’t really think the drivers are to blame here, the teams should rethink their approach here (same as in Singapore where Alonso, Massa, then Hamilton got backed up behind Button who was nursing his tyres: why not give them better track position – if needed, by making them go earlier).

    • David BR (@david-br) said on 8th October 2011, 19:49

      Can someone explain how a dry track evolves in ten minutes with nobody driving on it?! Seems like a classic case of everyone waiting for everyone else to do the dirty work. And I know the sport is full of intelligent people, but it seems remarkably dumb to leave everything to a margin of a few seconds.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th October 2011, 20:50

        @david-br Because there wasn’t “nobody driving on it”.

        By the time Hamilton reached the chicane six drivers had set laps so that patch of track would have been passed over at least 18 times (out lap, flying lap, in lap). Then throw in the out-laps of the drivers in front of him and the few drivers who did runs without setting times and there’s easily two dozen laps, probably more.

  2. cduk_mugello (@cduk_mugello) said on 8th October 2011, 8:06

    Isn’t the way for Lewis to avoid these ‘dangerous’ situations in future is to not start backing up with only a few seconds left in the session.

    Webber effectively proved there was more than enough time to set a lap, with adequate space to the car in front.

    I really think this is another example of Hamilton having a disaster season.

    • Gold Leaf said on 8th October 2011, 8:50

      I dunno, if anything surely Webber proved that there probably wasn’t enough time, space or clean-air behind a gap-making Button for a competitive qualifying lap.

      His lack of a final laptime might suggest that you could only beat the red lights by getting too close to the car in front.

    • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 8:56

      It was not just about putting in a lap but putting in a decent lap time – Webbers lap was not decent at all; it was definitely ruined by Button and the same could have happened to Lewis – team’s fault 100%

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 8th October 2011, 16:46

        with the compromised coverage of qualifying we get on Speedtv here I was left confused by what had happened to Webber, as Vettel crossed the line David Hobbs observed that Webber was even faster, in fact the fastest, through section 1, cut to commercials, Webber actually loses 2 places, then Lewis complains of being attacked by Webber, I am now working out that Webbers late effort was compromised by the Ferraris and Button. Only 8 cars and the teams still can’t work it out although Ferrari may have been perfect.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th October 2011, 19:42

        As MaG says above: Button was told to back off a bit to make a gap to Massa, so he was probably already cutting it close; Without the passing stuff, Ham could probably have just made it, but them Webber and Schumacher would probably still not have been able to get a (good) time in. It might have helped if McLaren had said to HAM they only had about 20s (or what was it?) and cutting it extremely close – maybe he still would have got stuck behind Button though.

    • latina (@latina) said on 8th October 2011, 11:47

      If you just don’t blame Lewis for everything, you will not be ok. So in your opinion Weber set a decent lap time, even coming from behind Hamilton!!!

  3. F1 98 said on 8th October 2011, 8:08

    Lewis calm down this happens to some people in the grid

  4. Zoran said on 8th October 2011, 8:13

    Dangerous, like when Hamilton tried to pass Massa during warm-up lap on tight circuit like Singapore, even though he was not pressed for time? :)

  5. Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 8th October 2011, 8:15

    It’s not as if Schumi was going to challenge for the front three rows of the grid in any case. There’s always someone else to blame for circumstances in F1. If Merc had got their car out earlier rather than just loitering about, then this never would have happened. Mclaren 1-2 despite a mistake is brilliant, and whilst Hamilton is third, he’s on the clean side of the grid. Anything could happen!

    Vettel was supreme when it counted, again. How many times have we seen him rise to the challenge on the final lap of qualli 3? Button was also superb had has been showing real class this season. I’m very impressed and prouder than ever to be a Button fan.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 8th October 2011, 9:09

      Could argue that Red Bull and Mclaren shouldn’t loitered, too. They all had a right to go out whenever they wanted.

      • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 8th October 2011, 13:37

        Yes, yes I agree totally…

        If they had all played their cards right, there wouldn’t have been the traffic jam. It’s a three way fail as far as I am concerned, and Schumacher is just Lewis Bashing because it’s easy to do at the moment. He doesn’t want to admit that he’s now outclassed by the younger generation. Oh well!

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 8th October 2011, 20:39

          How is Schumascher bashing Lewis, and what does anything here have to do with MS being outclassed? He suggested that something IN FRONT of LH was too slow. That last paragraph of yours was mostly rubbish.

          • +1

          • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 8th October 2011, 22:42

            @David A nice use of capital letters… makes you sound big!

            Schumacher speaks excellent English, and said the incident was stupid and said it had begun when Hamilton slowed down in front of him and Webber…

            I bet that made the once great champion feel loads better about his team messing up. Remind me, how did Schumacher finish the last grands prix?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 8th October 2011, 23:30

            @Trenthamfolk – he called the incident “stupid”. The incident, where he mentioned the possibility of something causing LH to slow down. MS did not call Lewis Hamilton stupid, just the incident. So how was he bashing LH again (this time without changing the subject to avoid admitting that you’re not correct)?

          • @David A Well said
            @ Trentthamfolk And how did Hamilton finish the last Grand Prix?

          • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 30th October 2011, 18:25

            @David I didn’t change the subject, and this is my opinion, and therefore cannot be wrong, or not correct. He was deflecting blame from himself and his team, and once again (groan) LH was in the firing line.

            Anyway, apologies for being late back to this one, Schumi had a good one today (India), and Massa was displaying some classic Shumacher moves: Imitation is THE GREATEST form of flattery… like my capital letters?

  6. LHFANATIC said on 8th October 2011, 8:19

    So lewis hamilton is reckless amd causes crashes. When he’s cautious he is now stupid?
    McLaren strategy seems very very poor this season.

  7. Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 8th October 2011, 8:22

    Very disappointing from lewis, over confident, not concentrating, whatever caused this was simply lack of professionalism. He seems to forget that being very quick isn’t enough, its about focus, preparation and concentration. Lewis needs to get his head straight, at the moment its very difficult to defend one of my favourite drivers.

  8. DT (@dt) said on 8th October 2011, 8:25

    Once again Mclaren messed up and trying to push the blame on a driver. How can you tell a driver in front to try and find space and the driver immediately after him to push? how is that going to happen, by flying? They left it too late that is what caused the problem. Hamilton was clearly trying to find some space and maybe he backed off too much that’s why Webber legitimately had to pass which is similar to what hamilton did to Maldonaldo as spa.

    Did anyone realise how Whitmarsh was quick to praise Jenson when asked about the qualifying? What was that all about?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th October 2011, 8:33

      @dt

      Did anyone realise how Whitmarsh was quick to praise Jenson when asked about the qualifying? What was that all about?

      Standard PR tactics. Always push the positive line when someone asks you about something negative. Hamilton did exactly the same thing in the press conference.

    • TITO (@tito) said on 8th October 2011, 8:48

      i start to think that they slowly Button strarting to be no.1 driver in Mclaren
      a.new multimillion contract
      b.letting him first to start the flying lap beside Mclaren knows that Hamilton was faster
      c.telling Button to make space for final run….and Hamilton not to back off and stick with Button rear…..just amazing staff from Mclaren

      • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 9:08

        For whatever it is worth everybody knows the team lost that pole position because of that decision – if JB was only 0.009s behind Seb, Lewis could have nailed it – the team is basically shooting itself in the foot.

    • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 8th October 2011, 9:28

      @DT Webber got a lap in didnt he? Maybe Mclaren could have managed the gaps better but there is no way the team can be blamed for this Lewis seems to be lacking focus. But he has a very clean set of tyres now and maybe he will be able to make the most of a start from the clean side of the track as well, all is not lost. But for us Mclaren supporters it’s very frustrating watching defeat snapped from the hands of victory.

      • DT (@dt) said on 8th October 2011, 10:35

        @Bigbadderboom, i think you are missing the point. Lewis clearly had to back off because Button back off to create some space for himself. The team had all the data available to send their drivers out in time. Lewis finished his previous lap before Vettel but Vettel was sent in time to put in a lap. The team are paid to be monitoring the times and feeding the correct information to the drivers. We’ve seen countless number of times that the team has let the drivers down. Wheel nut not fitted, wrong communicaton iwith drivers. the pit crew not ready when a driver was told to pit and countless number of them. The drivers have one objective which is drive the socks off the car developed for them by the team assisted with correct track and car performance information. Lewis is not to be blamed for this in anyway shape or form!

        • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 8th October 2011, 11:34

          I think we will agree to disagree on this matter, lewis allowed himself to be overtaken by Webber, perhaps schumachers move was wrong but Lewis is one of the best drivers in the world, granted the teams may may not have forcast the out lap correctly but Lewis was over hesitant in my opinion, and got caught out, at the end of the day it’s him in the cockpit, he has mirrors and he should have had the anticipation. Martin Whitmarsh suggested that the team were giving Lewis all the information he needed I think in this situation the driver has to be held responsible.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 15:11

            If Hamilton had defended against Webber there would have either been a crash or Schumacher would have gone round the outside. It is very difficult and not at all wise to block someone when you yourself aren’t at your racing speed.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th October 2011, 19:48

            Hamilton really was getting pretty close to Button before he backed off though – if he hadn’t slowed, he might not have been able to go much faster because he would already be getting dirty air from the start of the lap even though he got through, there wasn’t much time left to play with for him. But maybe I see that wrong, I still think the teams timed it too close.

  9. Mild7nick (@mild7nick) said on 8th October 2011, 8:34

    q3 perfectly summed up the season so far, the reason Mclaren are not in the hunt for either title is that even with a fast car they cannot get the basics right.

    Lewis has to take some of the blame and it seems he is still totally incapable of thinking for himself when it comes to strategic decisions how its one thing having to slow down to make space for a clear lap but when your having to do it because the other car is also a Mclaren shows once again the fundamental lack of common sense that has been running through the team for a couple of years now.

    Even with the fastest car today Mclaren still cannot convert it into a pole position.

  10. ajokay (@ajokay) said on 8th October 2011, 8:38

    Seems Schumacher was only desperate to start a lap because he feared the wrath of Kobayashi! Even a 7 time world champion is phased by Kamakazi Kamui!

    • Frans (@frans) said on 8th October 2011, 9:20

      Kobayashi is promoted to 7th because Schumacher didn’t do a timed lap! :)

      • W-K (@w-k) said on 8th October 2011, 10:00

        Which surely designates the team that made the worst decision Mercedes as Schumi had to at least start a hot lap.

        • glue (@glue) said on 8th October 2011, 12:12

          he would have started a hot lap if Hamilton hadn’t held him up

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 15:19

            Hamilton would have started a hot lap if Webber hadn’t dived inside him. Webber wouldn’t have dived inside him had Hamilton not been held up by Button. Button wouldn’t have held up Hamilton (and in effect Schumacher and Webber) had he not been held up by Massa(I believe Massa was next?). Massa(?) wouldn’t have held up Button had he not been held up by ___. Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull wouldn’t have been in a position where they risked there drivers being held up to the extent that they didn’t start a hot lap had they sent out their drivers with time to spare. It is fairly fundamental really. All of the drivers behind Button were on the back foot by the time they came to the chicane, and besides all trying to overtake each other earlier in the lap there wasn’t much they could do.

  11. Oliver said on 8th October 2011, 8:43

    Mclaren are a crazy bunch. They tell Button to slow down for space but expect Hamilton not to slow down, did they want him to run into Button?
    I think Button created too much space for himself and messed up his team mates chances and everyone else following behind.
    But Mclaren are the cheif culprit, not the first or second time they have messed their driver’s qualifying one begins to wonder if it is done deliberately.

    • vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 14:56

      Jenson was following Massa – who was in a much slower car in all for FP – hence Jenson needed to make more room – not the same for Lewis as he and Jenson were similiar in pace. The fact is Lewis created too much of a gap between him and Jenson – Webber was able to do a lap and even though Webber was slower he still had a significant gap between himself and Jenson ahead – which meant that there was more than enough room for Lewis to do a good lap.

      On the replay of Webber’s final run, when Webber crossed the finish line you could see (in Webber’s on-board camera) Jenson had almost reached the end of the front straight. And Webber was about 7/10ths slower than Jenson on the same run. Which means the gap between Jenson and Lewis was far too great. Lewis was caught napping.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 15:25

        Except that like you said, Webber was 0.7 slower than Button. So had he been at the pace Hamilton would likely have run at, Button wouldn’t have been as close to the end of the pit straight at the end of the lap, he’d be perhaps a second closer, and that seems a sensible gap rather than far too great considering how downforce-dependant the cars are at Suzuka.

        • vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 16:20

          Webber was .701 secs slower when he finished that lap but it does not mean that was the gap as they did not cross the starting line together to start their final lap.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 15:40

        Or do you mean as he crossed the start line at the beginning of his final lap, rather than at the end? Either way, that seems like a sensible gap, considering that Hamilton would have probably caught Button slightly during his lap, and that had Webber not appeared at his side, Hamilton might have started accelerating and got a cleaner exit from the chicane, putting him slightly closer to Button at the start of the lap anyway.

        • vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 16:17

          I watched the replay of Jenson and Webber crossing the finish line and timed it with my stop watch – about 4.11 secs. The on-board showed Jenson was already more than half way up pit straight. Given that Webber was .701 sec slower than Jenson on that lap. Let’s just say If Lewis got his lap in and was a second faster than his Q2 lap (which both Jenson and Vettel got very close to) then Lewis’ time would’ve been 1.30.139. He would’ve been about 1 sec faster than Webber – which would mean the gap between Lewis and Jenson would’ve been about 3 secs. To me that’s more than enough gap for Lewis to clock his fastest lap in.

          • vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 17:04

            The replay didn’t show the gap between Webber and Jenson at the beginning of the final lap as the TV director was focused on Vettel’s lap. What I was referring from was when both Jenson and Webber finished their final lap. The gap difference from when Jenson crossed the finish line on his last timed lap was about 4.11 secs ahead of Webber.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th October 2011, 17:50

            Fair enough, so that means Hamilton may have finished with a 3 second gap to Button. But like I said, that assumes that had Webber not come through, Hamilton wouldn’t have been just about to start pushing and actually get a better exit to the chicane than Webber did. Perhaps if Webber hadn’t come through then Hamilton would have only finished his lap 2 or 2.5 seconds behind Button. But I personally don’t think even 3 seconds is an excessive gap. Seems sensible to me. While Button was still in sight I think it would have been silly to start pushing. I think what ultimately would have prevented the situation was all the cars leaving the pits at a sensible time.

          • vho (@) said on 9th October 2011, 0:12

            You could argue that the team should’ve got Lewis out earlier, I recall that Lewis had just finished his first timed run and then went back to the pits for new softs and a wing adjustment. He came out only a few car lengths behind Jenson, so you could say the team had timed it that both cars could make their final laps, but it would be hard for the team to adjust their timing in reference to other teams (i.e. Massa) because it’s hard to know how much Massa was going to back everyone up. But nevertheless the McLaren got both cars out with sufficient time to do a run. Perhaps they could’ve released Jenson ahead of Massa – but again it’s hard for the team to know who’s going to run when. But regardless of your the gap ahead of you, if you know you had a certain timeframe to get across the line then you should be aiming for that rather than worry about the gap between you and the guy ahead. What if Jenson had a mechanical failure on pit straight? This would allow Lewis to overtake, but Lewis never allowed himself in the running for the final lap.

            To me a driver has two objectives in qualifying, and the order should be;

            1. Get a timed lap in in order to be placed.
            2. Improve on your previous time to the best of your ability, your car’s ability and the conditions at hand.

  12. Abuelo Paul (@abuello-paul) said on 8th October 2011, 8:47

    Well, another calculated ploy to obstruct the competition goes array. Webber does his thing, Schumacher is inadvertently penalised and Hamilton shakes his head as the innocent again. Some people never learn.
    Another Grand Prix incident… what are the chances of 1 driver in 26 getting involved in ever more controversy.
    There is no point in accusing MacLaren. At the end of the day the only person responsible for the track position is the man with feet on pedals. And he has mirrors, and timing info, and a plan.

    • NDINYO (@ndinyo) said on 8th October 2011, 9:11

      so fire the team?

    • John H (@john-h) said on 8th October 2011, 10:01

      There is no point in accusing MacLaren. At the end of the day the only person responsible for the track position is the man with feet on pedals. And he has mirrors, and timing info, and a plan.

      While I admire your dream that F1 is solely about an individual and car, clearly the team is party to blame as they send instructions to the other driver. In your eyes, Hamilton should have not slowed to get a gap but instead overtaken Button before the lap started. F1 is also a team sport, otherwise you are correct.

  13. Axl2000 said on 8th October 2011, 8:51

    I initially thought this was JB fault. He clearly backed off going into the chicane but looks like he was told to. Dont see how the team can tell JB to create a gap (back off) and tell LH, who is right behind not to back off. The two together dont work.
    Maybe the team had messed up with sending the drivers out too late and effectivly sacrafised LH to give JB the clear lap. Clearly they would have expected LH to stay in front of MW and MS and also make it over the line in time but it would have been too close to JB to get the pole time I think LH had in the car.

    • TITO (@tito) said on 8th October 2011, 8:54

      agree..and don’t be surprise if in 2013 Hamilton become RED BULL driver

      • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 8th October 2011, 10:14

        That would be absoulte shocker for RedBull. Imagine hiring a driver who blames the team for almost everything, can’t get things done and comes on the radio and says ‘I can’t go an faster’ and ‘I can’t go any slower’

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th October 2011, 19:54

      I don’t think it is a matter of sacrificing HAM really: there are two groups within the team: one for each driver – yes they share info, but the final decision when to go out is taken by each of the drivers and their engineer; likewise, the Pit> Button message about Massa was from his engineer – not (needing to be) taking any account of what HAM was doing (other than as a car on track to be aware of) but solely concentrating on Button’s run being the best they can do.

  14. Mclaren and Lewis were both a bit thick. Mclaren could have made sure there was a bit more space between their drivers and planned it a bit better but although JB was close Lewis still could have speeded up and been through by a second but he slowed too much and didn’t really seem aware of Mark and Michael until they were passing him which was a bit daft especially considering Mclaren told him to beware of that happening. A mistake on both parts but unfortunately for Lewis he’s getting a bad reputation for mistakes this year and he was warned so I guess he’ll probably end up feeling the heat a bit more than Mclaren for this incident. He’s lucky to be 3rd mind so it’ll blow over soon enough. That shows just how rubbish Ferrari and Webber were.

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