Hamilton “gobsmacked” after “shocking race”

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Lewis Hamilton admitted he had a “shocking race” in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver finished fifth after another clash with Felipe Massa.

Hamilton said: “Bit of a shocking race, to be honest.

Jenson [Button] did a fantastic job and that was great for the team points. Obviously congratulations to Sebastian [Vettel] – we knew that was going to happen but it was a bit of a perfect season for him.

“I’m just going to keep my head up and keep going and not give up and hopefully in the next race we’ll have another chance.”

Hamilton made contact with Massa when the Ferrari driver tried to pass him at the chicane.

Hamilton said: “The only thing I have to say is that I can’t see anything out of my mirrors. They vibrate so much down the straight.

“I had no idea he was there so maybe that’s something we can fix and maybe I won’t have problems with him.”

The stewards did not penalise either driver for the contact and issued the following explanation for their decision: “Having viewed the video evidence in relation to the action of the driver of car three at turn 16 and after comparing the line that Lewis Hamilton took on the previous lap, and having noted that car six Felipe Massa was attempting to overtake on the left into a right hand corner the stewards decide to take no further action.”

After being beaten by Button for the fifth race in a row Hamilton said he needs to improve his pace:

“I think we have [a good car], Jenson’s just shown that today with a remarkable race. My job and my hope is to try and pick up some pace from somewhere.

“I was struggling, I just didn’t have any grip. I’m gobsmacked, to be honest, but that’s the way it goes and we’ll work as hard as we can to try and pick up pace.”

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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87 comments on Hamilton “gobsmacked” after “shocking race”

  1. His recent tweet seemed a little more PR friendly – no mention of a shocking race: https://twitter.com/lewishamilton/status/122984452753330176

    • It looks like someone took his twitter account, because it now looks like almost all his mesages are PR friendly :D

    • gabal (@gabal) said on 9th October 2011, 12:33

      Well, after first day of really honest tweets where he was speaking his mind and not minding much about spelling mistakes his personal PR put the foot down and now everything he writes is extremely PC… A shame really.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 9th October 2011, 14:12

        The irony here is that Jenson’s personal Twitter account is really run by Jenson – and he does it very well. He’s honest but not too PC, and as a result, seems more genuine and more follow-worthy than Lewis.

        • KNF (@knf) said on 9th October 2011, 16:55

          Yes, Jenson really does run his own Twitter, as does Mark Webber.

          How else would we get a wonderful discussion on Twitter over the strange foods JB’s been eating this week?

          • Zegga (@zegga) said on 10th October 2011, 11:25

            Mark Webber@JensonButton yes mate,good job I grabbed some supplies at the track today,you love the local tucker dont you!!
            Jenson Button@AussieGrit love it man, but you gotta know where to go.. I can sort you out with some Cod sperm if you fancy it!
            Mark Webber@JensonButton You can eat sperm with chop sticks?
            Jenson Button@AussieGrit I think I’ll stop this conversation now!!

  2. Sheriff said on 9th October 2011, 11:50

    Pretty down in the dumps really. A little bit of bad luck throw in too though. Few nice overtakes from him but this race sort of sums up his year.
    Hopefully he will enjoy the last few races and come back in 2012 with a competitive car he can race the wheels off.

  3. vho (@) said on 9th October 2011, 11:58

    Pity for his puncture as it would’ve been a better race to see Vettel/Alonso/Button/Hamilton fight for it. But I think Lewis was going to fall back due to his higher tyre wear rate. Lewis makes it entertaining on his short lap sprints, but as far as this year’s tyre regulations it’s not helping his overall race. Would’ve like to see him get ahead for Vettel for a few laps in the beginning at least.

    • He started the race on a set of used tyres, i mean, the tyres he set his quick time on was at the start of Q3 when people put in a banker on used tyres. Everyone else got a new set of tyres on for their final run that Hamilton didn’t complete. So it was already disadvantaged going into the race. Maybe thats why he got a slow puncture.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th October 2011, 15:51

        I am not too sure the puntcture mattered much. Look at most of the others stopping at about the same time as Hamilton did, he might have stopped anyway, just kept his position.

      • dkpiote said on 9th October 2011, 15:52

        he was too slow today either way. he lost time in all stints i think. button beat him for pure speed on a real drivers circuit, which hasnt happened much before, but shows what form and confidence does for a driver – and im talking about both mclaren drivers – hamilton is out of form and confidence, and button is in form and confident, and he now leads hamilton by 32 points, with more wins and podiums then hamilton. who would have thought that would be possible when button joined mclaren? shows you cant just have one lap speed in f1, you need to understand the car for the whole race, and be able to manage your speed to make the tyres last, and also not crash into other drivers. button could soon be 2nd best driver behind vettel.

    • lewymp4 (@lewymp4) said on 9th October 2011, 18:25

      Hamilton’s tire wear, seems not to be the problem at Suzuka today. It looks after pitting for a slow puncture, Mclaren may have added too much front wing according to Whitmarsh, to compensate for a lack of balance at the rear.

    • lewymp4 (@lewymp4) said on 9th October 2011, 19:34

      Massa needs to focus on his own driving, and stop trying to blame Lewis for his own un-competitiveness.

  4. akshay.it (@akshay-it) said on 9th October 2011, 12:01

    Sometimes I feel that Mclaren management (apart from a couple of people) feels that it would be good if some other hires Lewis so that they can bring in some positive energy with some fresh talent along side Jenson..
    All this considering the Jenson’s performance in Mclaren and Lewis’s continued -ve show, but alas those couple of people matter more than anyone else in Mclaren.

  5. Hairs (@hairs) said on 9th October 2011, 12:03

    Thank you, stewards, for publishing the reasoning. So, forum posters:

    Lewis didn’t “turn in” on Massa, or crash into him. He followed the racing line.

    Massa was “attempting a pass” – I would submit he was parked in the middle of the road rather than making a serious passing attempt, but there you are.

    As I stuck up on twitter:
    One mclaren driver dominates the weekend and has a punishing drive to win. The other wobbles and complains of no grip. Switcheroo!

    Pretty much sums up Lewis’ form lately.

    • preaty much same situation in Red Bull Kamp.

      Vettel on top, Webber not so much – same car not same driver

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 10th October 2011, 6:41

        Same car – maybe, same driver obviously not. But he’s better than Hamilton by a long shot over the past three years. Time to get the blinkers off and see HAM for the moderately talented driver that he is.

    • streetfightingman said on 9th October 2011, 12:41

      Not brilliant to follow the racing line when there’s another car there is it?

    • JoMcL said on 9th October 2011, 17:05

      actually, Massa trying to overtake on the outside of the chicane, on the breaking, I am not sure he used “his mind” for that one, but he manages to complain again.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 10th October 2011, 15:53

      In a sense I liked to see them crash there, where Senna and Prost wrote pieces of history, putting Hamilton and Massa up there with them, even if the crash wasn’t as bad ;)
      Lewis never sees him apparently, pity because Massa was having an excellent race.

  6. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 9th October 2011, 12:07

    Another race in which Hamilton for some reason was unable to get either pace or longevity out of the Pirelli tyres; this certainly never happened on Bridgestone tyres.

    Race-pace-wise, 2011 hasn’t been the complete disaster that I feared after winter testing, but he has struggled on a number of occasions (Silverstone, Hungary, and Malaysia come to mind), especially compared to Button. I hope Lewis and McLaren sort this out quickly, otherwise 2012 could by another trying season.

    In today’s race, Hamilton wasn’t particularly quick at the beginning of a stint, was clearly suffering from tyre degradation halfway through a stint, and was pretty slow at the end of one. Quite a contrast with Schumacher and Alonso, for instance, who get very good pace out of their tyres at the end of their stints.

    • adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 9th October 2011, 17:01

      Silverstone? He did a great job with the car he had that day. The fuel saving caught him out like the shower did on the Silverstone Saturday. Typical LH 2011 luck

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 9th October 2011, 17:46

        He did do a great job at Silverstone, but he was going through his tyres pretty quickly too. If I remember correctly: in the first dry stint he boldly passed Alonso, but after ten laps his tyres were shot, and he had to let Alonso go. Fernando, by contrast, then went on to set a string of very fast laps (fastest?) on tyres that were only two laps younger.

        In Hungary, he also drove very well (except for that one spin – and everybody a a couple of moments that day, including Vettel and Button – and that even more costly spin-turn) but on all of his used sets of Reds he was losing time to Button as well.

  7. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 9th October 2011, 12:08

    “The only thing I have to say is that I can’t see anything out of my mirrors. They vibrate so much down the straight.

    “I had no idea he was there so maybe that’s something we can fix and maybe I won’t have problems with him.”

    Hmm, … interesting, but it is still a bit hard to understand. I suspect that Hamilton doesn’t normally pay much attention to mirrors or who is behind him and where, maybe because he is not so used to being overtaken or being on the defending side. But I am sure if he looked at that “vibrating” mirror he would have at least seen a big RED vibrating blob there, that doesn’t fit in with surrounding looks of the track.. but oh well… need to fix those mirrors

    • dkpiote said on 9th October 2011, 15:57

      yeh, it is a dodgy excuse. if his vibrate, then everyone elses must too, and the other drivers in the field seem to be able to see a reflection in the mirrors, even if it is a vibrating reflection.

    • JoMcL said on 9th October 2011, 17:08

      Curriously, Vettel also used a mirror-excuse for his move on Button…

  8. naz3012 (@naz3012) said on 9th October 2011, 12:17

    I really dont think its as bad as it looks, yes his pace was not too good but he got a puncture which sent him wide and he duly lost 6 or 7 seconds recovering back to the pits, this had a knock on effect as he then had to eek out 2 extra laps more than he would have wanted on the second set of options to offset the early stop. So all in all those events lost him around 15-20 seconds which would have put him in front of webber. Which in the context of recent races, would not have been that bad a result, hes just not getting the rub of the green at the moment.

    The incident with massa was a racing incident and i think was not much different to the starting incident between vet and but.

    Im not making excuses here, hamilton has made a lot of mistakes, but i just think that its not as bad as it looks at the moment, im pretty sure he’ll have his mojo back by the end of the year.

  9. Xenon2 (@xenon2) said on 9th October 2011, 12:18

    Lewis was a no.2 driver at this race. Hopefully back to normal in Korea.

    • David BR (@david-br) said on 9th October 2011, 14:30

      Sadly very true. Seeing Webber, Massa and Hamilton in a bunch together really rubbed in the idea he’s become McLaren’s number two driver, at least for this season. The problem for Hamiltonis whether McLaren are now gearing up for 2012 focused on Button as their best chance for the championship. Better team relations, better consistency, better results, now showing he combine careful race pacing with elegant overtaking when needed. It’s a powerful combination when Hamilton is offering poor consistency, less overall pace and a lot of race incidents. Whatever McLaren’s thinking for next year, one things for sure: Button has made himself equal and maybe plus some. And if they run with that (focusing on Button’s driving style for the 2012 car), Hamilton will have a lot of work and his own thinking to do to turn it round.

      • Klaas (@klaas) said on 9th October 2011, 19:51

        What are you talking about? McLaren treat their drivers equally, there’s no #1 and #2. But, seriously, there’s no point really in giving Button a higher status than Lewis because none of the were fighting for the championship. As Mark Webber said you’re only as good as yor last race. It would take a couple of wins from Hamilton and everyone will forget about this Button-hype. When speaking of a driver’s succeses one takes in count expectations from that particular driver – Hamilton in order to be considered succesful must win the Championship while Button just has to beat Hamilton.

        • David BR (@david-br) said on 9th October 2011, 21:02

          Klaas, I know the equal treatment ideal is there, but it’s still a two-way thing. If they get more and better quality feedback from one driver and have more confidence about the feedback, they’re going to run with that more than the input of the other driver, surely? So I’m really talking about development for next year. The car now evidently suits Button more than Hamilton, which just doesn’t seem a coincidence, it’s a mixture of the evolution of the design tweaks and the form of the drivers.

          • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 9th October 2011, 22:53

            And McLaren did have two backends when they had Kimi and montoya didn’t they?
            So when it’s really needed they can back both drivers.

          • Klaas (@klaas) said on 10th October 2011, 6:45

            Button chose a very smart strategy when he came to McLaren, his behaviour is like “I’m a good boy” and on this background Lewis looks like the spoilt child.

          • David BR (@david-br) said on 10th October 2011, 13:27

            @ Klaas, I think you hit the nail on the head there. And not even Lewis can blame Button since the ‘good boy’ bit extends to his treatment of him. They do seem to get on really well. But, a bit like Alonso, or Vettel in relation to Webber maybe, some drivers appear to need that edge of more feisty rivalry or actual animosity to push themselves ahead. Or simply have a very clear idea that they are the better driver, confirmed by the team internally. I suspect the combination of Button and Whitmarsh without the abrasive Dennis (or even Hamilton senior) is a bit too much of a dampener on Lewis. Maybe he was getting by last season and for half of this on the latter mental strategy – being the better driver – but now that possibility had evaporated, at least for now, as Button is clearly ahead, in terms of race results and even now in qualifying.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 9th October 2011, 15:13

      Fortunately we only have to wait a week to find out, I love back-to-backs! (Cool ‘avatar’, btw!).

    • JoMcL said on 9th October 2011, 17:14

      I wonder if Lewis didn’t give up on the championship a while ago because he felt the car was not right. That would explain his go-for-it-or-nothing attitude during the season. Before Monaco he was just flawless.
      McLaren has to my opinion a big responsability in his state of mind. The team messed up hugely (mainly during quali – Monaco Silverstone Japan among other – that cost to both drivers), as never before in previous season, that is curious to me. I miss Ron Dennis frankly

      • David BR (@david-br) said on 9th October 2011, 18:17

        You’re right, the big downturn in form has been visible since Monaco really. I think a mix of losing belief in the title hunt, a lot of pressure from the press and other drives over his driving, and Button’s continual improvement. Last year – and the year before – Hamilton finished reasonably strongly, though some incautious driving again damaged his chances (in retrospect, always easy!). More than anything he seems to have lost any feel for the car, so there’s probably some technical/design issues at work too.

  10. Eggry (@eggry) said on 9th October 2011, 12:27

    Is there anybody who knows how many times Massa and Hamilton touched each other this year?

  11. Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 9th October 2011, 12:43

    “Having viewed the video evidence in relation to the action of the driver of car three at turn 16 and after comparing the line that Lewis Hamilton took on the previous lap, and having noted that car six Felipe Massa was attempting to overtake on the left into a right hand corner the stewards decide to take no further action.”

    I feel here that the stewards are only trying to “educate” the little Massa, suggesting politely to him that that move would never stick. Maybe Massa do not have sufficient racing history in his mind and do not have watched the Japanese GP in 89.

    Nonsense from him and his outburst is only embarrassing.

    Webber pushing Schumacher in those high speed corners would be worthy an investigation, but it looks like the Stewards were very, very busy with Massa’s idiotic move.

    • David BR (@david-br) said on 9th October 2011, 15:07

      Particularly embarrassing given the ridiculous ease with which Massa let Alonso past! Pretty sure Massa lifted. The attempted pass on Hamilton was ridiculous and was never going to happen. Hamilton followed the same line into the corner and probably wasn’t expecting Massa there for good reason – it’d be a pointless place for him to be. But there he was.

      • dkpioe said on 9th October 2011, 17:36

        what massa did is what any other driver in the field would also do in the situation, he would not have expected for hamilton to then drive into him. drivers often stick to the outside line even when the move cant be made, as it makes the other driver take a more acute line into the turn, and can then lead to an advantage heading to the next turn. you obviously hate massa, as he did nothing wrong, and you do not understand how racing drivers drive leading up to an overtake attempt. you also dont understand that massa was unlikely actually trying a pass there, he was just braking for the upcoming turn, and hamilton drove into him. massa had to brake in the line he was taking as he caught the slowing hamilton, and as hamilton blocked the inside line for the turn, thats the only line massa could take, yet still hamilton rammed massa yet again.

        • David BR (@david-br) said on 9th October 2011, 18:29

          Sorry, I don’t hate Massa, I just don’t respect him anymore – after Germany last year – as a competitive driver. A pretty common sentiment, to be honest, in Brazil, where I live. And the personalization of the attack on Hamilton is just tiresome in the extreme. He seems bitter over 2008 still, which he shouldn’t be. He drove well, but nobody stole the title from him.

          As for the incident, remember Canada? Remember Button failing to see Hamilton and causing a similar collision? Only at considerably higher speed.

          You seem to think Hamilton would have some plausible reason for wanting to cause a collision – risking damage when, even if he had seen Massa, which I doubt, he’d know he had little or no chance of getting past him. So why ruin his own race defending too aggressively and colliding? It makes no sense.

  12. Ady (@ady) said on 9th October 2011, 12:59

    How did Lewis loose out to Mark? Didn’t see any overtake, so I assume it must have been during second round of pit stops.

  13. paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 9th October 2011, 13:03

    I am gobsmacked too, lately it has been as though the McLaren drivers have swapped helmets………

  14. Diego said on 9th October 2011, 13:13

    The number two pilot at McL is well past his peak in F1, he’d better retire or move to NASCAR or whatever. And the number 1 pilot is squandering his chances for a second title by staying at McL when he’s obviously in top form now. Maybe he shouldmove to RBR replacing Mark Webber, another has-been. I’d vote Sakon Yamamoto and Luca Badoer for McL’s pilots next year.

  15. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 9th October 2011, 13:14

    He could have avoided,for no reason he needed to defend that harsh with Massa as he knew that the spot light will be on him.Though I don’t think it is a big enough crime so that he will get a penalty for that.His first mistake was loosing his position by running wide at Spoon curve.He needs to understand the behavior of the tyres as this is one of the important features of F1 these days.In the remaining 4 races he needs to learn how to be calm because at the moment that is what helping.

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