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

  1. nikolaymk (@nikolaymk) said on 8th October 2011, 12:58

    What no one has mentioned is that the last car over the line to start a quali lap has the advantage of seeing the sector times they need to beat on their steering wheel display. If Lewis had gone much earlier he would lose that advantage over Button and Vettel and they were the two he was racing. From their own point of view McLaren timed it quite well but didn’t expect to have to race MSC and WEB in that last chicane. If the last two cars didn’t get in their way the quali would’ve gone great for McLaren and only Red Bull and Mercedes would be blamed for releasing their cars too late.
    You could actually argue that the whole incident was triggered by Massa slowing down up the road (and this time managing to destroy Lewis’s session) but if someone says it out loud the little Brazilian will go nuts again.

  2. DVC (@dvc) said on 8th October 2011, 13:56

    Schumacher is actually qualified 8th behind Kobyashi, as Kobyashi started a flying lap and Schumacher didn’t. Under the regulations that puts the Sauber driver ahead of the Mercedes driver on the grid.

  3. edwin jenna said on 8th October 2011, 15:02

    Maartin Whitmarsh is incompitent

  4. vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 15:05

    Looking at the recording of Webber’s final lap, the on board camera shows Jenson in the distance – almost reaching the end of the straight as Webber crossed the line. Webber was 7/10ths slower than Jenson on that lap. I also timed the difference between Jenson crossing the line and Webber crossing the line – just over 4 sec gap (4.11). This evidence eludes me to think that Lewis was napping as he approached the final chichane – he underestimated how much time he had to cross the start line. There’s no one else here to blame but himself for not getting his lap in.

  5. Hamilton is one of the most talented and entertaining drivers weve all seen ever.
    If he wasnt in F1 it would be very dull and I probably wouldnt watch it as much as i do.
    Bernie should b thanking him for bringing so many new spectators and viewers I really think its drivers like him that`s bought the sport up to date.

  6. abigail said on 8th October 2011, 16:16

    poor lewis. He is never at the right place at the right time.
    He needs a victory to stop this vicious circle. Tomorrow i think will be the day.

  7. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 8th October 2011, 16:29

    Anyone have link of the video of Q3 with HAM-SHU?

  8. IsaacTham (@isaactham) said on 8th October 2011, 16:53

    Besides, anyone got link of the pole lap? Youtube is unusually devoid of Japan GP videos, even 10h after the quali

  9. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 8th October 2011, 19:03

    I just read the Lewis Q&A on, aand… Lewis seems to be a little bit… distracted. Upon questioned why they are suddenly on par with the Bulls on one lap, he did not just completely forgot to mention the new Singapore rear wing, which is more efficient, but directly said that the car is the as it were in, say, Spa, no major changes.

    Hiding their strengths, I can accept that, but… Come on, Martin, Paddy, Jenson all talked about the new rear wing, everybody knows about it, why is he not in sync with his team.

    Maybe I just read too much into it, but I think Lewis is mentally exhausted, like totally, come the end of the season. I hope he makes it through tomorrow; won’t take unnecessary risks.

  10. Oliver said on 8th October 2011, 19:34

    Or perhaps both cars are running different wings.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th October 2011, 19:45

    Wow, certainly a lot of discussion over this! I think this is purely a case of Hamilton being too conservative, being aware of how he was perceived in Spa and Singapore most recently.

  12. katederby (@katederby) said on 8th October 2011, 20:35

    Just another example of the perfect season Vettel is having… because this was one of the very few times this year that Vettel hasn’t been last out in the final run of Q3.
    If he was in his usual “last spot” he’d have been involved in the tussle and would possibly have missed out or had his lap compromised.

  13. mcmclaren said on 8th October 2011, 21:02

    for gods sake mclaren…sort your selves out…and martin I hope you have appologised to lewis for your stupied little outburst as its clear he was backed up by button

    100% pitwall failure – I hope your proud of your selves

  14. tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 9th October 2011, 0:13

    Lewis, whether by his own doing or not is a target. Unfortunately, his own team appears to have alienated him if not by words by actions at the circuits. Whitmarsh appears to have decided last year that Jenson was his number 1 driver. I wonder if this is true and if Lewis is feeling strung out by McLaren (Whitmarsh in particular).
    The conversations he had with Horner and SD at Ferrari leads me to believe there is something going on that McLaren don’t want known at this time. I sometimes wonder if they would like to see him gone from McLaren but not to a competitive team.

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