Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Hamilton “gobsmacked” after “shocking race”

2011 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

Browse all 2011 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Image ?? McLaren

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

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. Mmm…
            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. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

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

      1. Massa was ahead of Hamilton until the latter broke his front wing, so your point doesn’t stand.

  4. 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. 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.

    1. preaty much same situation in Red Bull Kamp.

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

      1. 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.

    2. streetfightingman
      9th October 2011, 12:41

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

      1. When I saw it it reminded me of what happened with Kamui in Spa. He just didn’t see it.

    3. 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.

    4. 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. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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. “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

    1. 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.

      1. Riight … because any of us here have experience with mirrors vibrating in 130mph winds …

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

  8. 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.

    1. I think it was vastly different to the starting incident. Just because Vettel knew Button was there and purposefully defended in the way he did.

      Hamilton at least can say it was an honest mistake.

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. @ 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.

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

    3. 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

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

    1. you want to know on track or off?

    2. hamilton has touched massa 3 times, losing him lots of championship points in the process. massa has touched hamilton once, infront of cameras to show his dismay at hamiltons poor driving.

  11. “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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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. 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.

    1. @ady

      Despite following his team mate into the pits Webber was able to leapfrog the battling Hamilton and Massa with his stop. Massa also jumped past Hamilton after pitting on lap 23.

      See: Button holds back Alonso and Vettel for Japanese Grand Prix win

      1. Thanks Keith

      2. So that means Mark passed them both despite colliding with MSC, although I guess they were both busy colliding with each other.

        1. WEB finished in front of HAM because he usually does. Webber has finished in front of Hamilton 30 times in the past 3 seasons to date, Hamilton finished in front of Webber only 21 times. Webber has beaten Hamilton on points every year to date. Does anyone see a pattern?

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

    1. @paulguitar That’s unfair on Button. He was quiet last year and for the first half of this year but he’s not had anywhere near as bad a time as Hamilton while at McLaren.

  14. 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.

    1. Hamilton? Past his peak? Come on, that’s really not the case, is it? The guy is in his mid-20’s with formidable talent. Once he learns to channel his aggression correctly he will be right back on top. As for Button, he would do well to stay at McLaren, he’s on form BECAUSE he’s at McLaren and he’s at one with his car. You can’t take that with you.

      1. @AndrewTanner You could read that either way, just depends on who you think is no 1.

    2. I’m assuming that was a joke, but only based on the last sentence…

  15. 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.

  16. Hamilton did seem to genuinely not realise Massa was there but Felipe was entitled to take a line and once alongside Lewis has got to leave him a cars width

    Bit odd then, the stewards explanation on Vettel/Button was a bit strange as well. At least we’re getting reasons nowadays though!

  17. Higher tyre wear???
    Hamilton ran longer on his softs than did Button.
    But clearly Mclaren are not even bothered with Hamilton’s race anymore.

    1. I think you’ve been mistaken mate i didnt watch Quali but if im right but the fastest time Lewis set for Q3 was on a set of Tyres also used in Q2,the session when Lewis was fastest.

      As for McLaren not bothering about Lewis’ race anymore well the reason why the pit stops happened how they did today was because Jenson outqualified him & therefore, Jenson is given No.1 priorities that regards Race Strategies(He gets the opportunity to pit first every time)

  18. Hamilton needs to calm down & be focused about whats happening ahead & also behind him. He is so shockingly awful & the worst thing is that everyone expected Hamilton to blow away Button completely, but we are seeing one driver totally focused with his work & other getting distracted or probably not willing to learn from mistakes.

  19. I think Lewis needs to relax, calm down and listen to the people around him with his interests their genuine concern. He is finding himself in can’t win situations all to often now and seems to be indecisive and hesitant, he needs to be able to rewind a bit and trust his intuition, I think this is what he has lost when he appointed new management over his father. His fathers calming influence gave Lewis the confidence to trust his talent. I can only see him continueing to spiral in this low confidence-indecision-mistake spiral he seems to be in at the moment. I like lewis, I love his style but he is obviously a creature of confidence and at the moment this is whats lacking.

  20. I don’t see how HAM-MAS can be compared to VET-BUT. Entirely different kind of incident.

    HAM-MAS was basically the same of Buemi and Heidfeld @ Nurburgring. I don’t know how much not seeing the other driver (which could be in the case of Lewis) could count as a discrimating circumstance. Drivers should be aware of the surroundings.

    I think Penalty number 6 is missing.

    1. So button should’ve been penalized on canada incident?
      No one overtakes on that corner from the outside.

      How many points do they have to haul to get constructors?

Leave a Reply

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

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.