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.”

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

  1. cmckinleyF1 (@cmckinleyf1) said on 9th October 2011, 13:14

    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!

  2. Oliver said on 9th October 2011, 13:27

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

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 9th October 2011, 17:38

      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)

  3. Dev (@dev) said on 9th October 2011, 14:18

    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.

  4. Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 9th October 2011, 14:28

    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.

  5. Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 9th October 2011, 14:33

    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.

    • 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?

  6. DT (@dt) said on 9th October 2011, 15:43

    Glad that the stewards are now giving reasons for their decisions. its a racing incident. lets move on to Korea.

  7. TED BELL said on 9th October 2011, 16:51

    His actions reflect the fact that he no longer is as good as he thinks he is. He continues to struggle trying to stay in the same league as the twice world champions Vettel and Alonso and his teamate JB.

    I am concerned that his antics are now becoming more desperate and we seem to witness this almost every race. Perhaps one good finish and the promise of a new car in a new season will bring back the confidence that is openly missing.

    He shouldn’t be having this continual dance with Massa, a driver who is now slipping down the pole of less effectiveness. Perhaps the real problem is RED BULL and how their 2011 dominance is affecting the moral of the second best teams that being Ferrari and McLaren.

    The bigger picture suggests that there is nothing out there to slow down the RED BULL jugernaut. 2012 should become 2011 part two. My concern now is that Hamilton is headed for a complete meltdown and where once he raced with a certain dignity today he looks like man defeated.

  8. malos (@malos) said on 9th October 2011, 17:11

    Lewis’ race today can be summed as follows from the statement of Martin Whitmarsh

    Lewis had a more difficult afternoon. We weren’t immediately aware that Lewis appeared to suffer a slow puncture to the right-rear in the first stint. That created a growing pressure differential across the rear axle, and potentially led us to add too much front wing to compensate for the lack of balance at the rear. In hindsight, that may have led to Lewis fighting to find a satisfactory balance for the next two stints as we attempted to restore the set-up he’d enjoyed during the previous two days. It was a challenging afternoon for Lewis, but he never gave up, kept pushing and scored some strong points for the team. He had the pace this weekend, so I’m sure he’ll be as tough as ever in Korea next weekend.

  9. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 9th October 2011, 17:33

    Personally,I dont think Hamilton needs to improve his pace at all,Its mainly due to the amount of Mistakes he’s made & the unfortunate hiccups he’s had over the last season & this season.Right from China(maybe even Australia),We knew that Lewis would be Seb’s main challenger for the title

    But its the risks like trying to pass Mark on the outside of Turn 3 in Turkey at the start,Bad Judgements in Monaco & Canada,where he had a Car capable of Victory & were in positions to do so.Furthermore,Unfortunate events that were saving fuel in Silverstone,Not seeing Kamui & colliding with him at Spa,Being Passive and therefore stuck behind Schumi for 20 Laps at Spa,Collision with Massa that resulted in a Drive Through Penalty & his Front Wing coming have costed Hamilton vital podiums that may have well kept him in the hunt for the Title.

    Forgot to mention Hungary,A race he should have comfortably because he was an odd 10 Secs ahead of Button & Vettel in 2nd,3rd respectively but unfortunately an incorrect Tyre Choice & Spin that almost wiped off Di Resta and that itself resulted in another Drive Through that just finished off his race,Ended up finishing 4th.

    His Mind hasnt been in the right place as well;Steaming Interview at Monaco,Again the race at Monaco & Impatience at Canada have gone to an extent that BBC Pundits are questioning whats going on in Lewis’ Life.I think things are just ok in Hamilton’s Life but a Mindset adjustment could do the trick.

    For all Lewis Hamilton Doubters & Critics,I think questioning whether he’s lost it or he’s becoming another Montoya is way too early to ask,He’s 26 & approaching the Prime of his F1 Career.Sensational Drives like China,Silverstone & Germany have clearly demonstrated that Hamilton’s most certainly still got it & will remain one of the best for a very long time.Its like a Fellow F1 Fanatic said,Form is Temporary but Talent/Class is Permanent.

    • dkpioe said on 9th October 2011, 18:09

      but we havent in the history of f1 had someone like hamilton, a product driver thrust into a top f1 team, guarenteed top drives for his whole career after being sponsered from age 11 by a multi-millionaire organisation. what we have seen is a big drop in form after a seemingly sensational start to a career. hamilton crumbled in all 3 potential championship winning years (2007, 2008 and 2010, oh and 2011 too), but was lucky a toyota driver also crumbled on the last lap of 2008. this year he has taken a dramatic turn backwards in form, and i think it just proves how lucky he has been to be in a top f1 team all his career. also the pirelli tyres have thrown in another job for him in his driving, and he hasnt been able to manage them as well as other top drivers in the sport. it shows how good the bridgestone tyres were, they required little or no driver management, but with these fast wearing pirellis we are now seeing more effort required from drivers, and drivers finishing in order of what driver is best, not which car is best – hence why vettel and alonso are proving to be the 2 best drivers in f1, while hamilton and webber are faultering

      • JoMcl said on 9th October 2011, 18:43

        well, indeed, Vettel is a pure product of F1 too!! He was even been sponsored from an earlier age than Hamilton. No wonder Vettel breaks age record in almost everything. People forgets even that carreer-wisem, Vettel has been very advantaged in comparison to Hamilton.

        You sum up pretty quickly. Hamilton is still very fast, just look what he did two weeks ago in Singapour. He had the fastest time in Q3, before the second run!!! His lost of pace today does not mean he lost pace in general.
        People have a tendency to draw conclusion from single event…

      • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 9th October 2011, 18:49

        I am pretty amazed that some folks have such a fundamental lack of understanding of how things work in F1 and, indeed, at the top of most sports.

        Hamilton was never ‘guaranteed’ a top drive, it was totally dependent on him delivering results. He did this in the junior formulae in a manner not seen before or since. In addition to this, he was not backed by MacLaren as some kind of social experiment, it was due to his astonishing and much demonstrated talent. Have a look on you tube at some of his karting races.

        In 2008 Timo Glock did not ‘crumble’. This whole scenario has been explained on this and other sites ad nauseam but perhaps you should do a bit of research.

        As to the tyres, ithey have certainly changed the way a race is won and lost. Personally I find it hugely disappointing that drivers are more likely to win if they effectively drive slower. I want to think the fastest driver has the best chance, which certainly does not appear to be the case in current F1.

        To me the closest comparable driver to Lewis was Gilles Villeneuve. Stunning natural speed and talent but wanted to win every lap and every corner. perhaps not the best way to win championships, but F1 and all sport is much the richer for guys like these.

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 10th October 2011, 6:59

        Webber faltering – I’m not sure what planet your races are held on but here on Earth Webber is so far ahead of HAM that little Lewis can only be considered a top 5 driver at best and not the son of the F1 Gods. I’ve posted earlier that WEB has beaten HAM in two thirds of all races in the past three seasons to date (sorry but it has to be repeated (30 to 21) and has finished the year ahead of Ham in points 2009 10 and looks like 2011. To say that HAM is just having a bad year is a bit of a joke as the stats show that he is utterly consistant as a top five runner and not a champ in waiting.

        • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 10th October 2011, 9:08

          I think Webber being in possession of Red Bull might have helped him a little with the statistics, eh?

          Half a dozen difficult races for Hamilton and we have posts putting him alongside Webber and Massa as a ‘top 5′ or ‘number 2′ driver. I must say I expected better on the posts here which usually are some of the most informed and sensible of all the F1 blogs.

          • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 10th October 2011, 10:32

            Half a dozen difficult races! It’s almost three seasons and HAM has been behind, thats not just a blip and the stats don’t lie. WEB is in a great car to be sure but if he was really as big a dud as we’re hearing he wouldnt keep having his contract renewed would he? Pray tell why HAM isnt a 2 or top 5 when that is what his performance over the long term has shown.

        • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 10th October 2011, 11:54

          I actually like Webber, solid driver and seems like a top bloke. But I can’t see that he would be able to compete with Hamilton in equal cars, and the fact that as you yourself actually point out in another post that Hamilton has finished ahead of Webber 21 times in a hugely inferior car comprehensively backs up this argument.

          Also, Hamilton until his current run of dreadful form was the clear number one driver at MacLaren. Just take a look at the end of year reviews from last year for a reminder. So I think it is still fair to call it a ‘blip’ at this stage. If Jenson consistently continues to finish ahead of Hamilton, even in the dry races without odd weather/tyre situations, then this appraisal will be duly revised.

  10. ukk (@ukk) said on 9th October 2011, 20:55

    Taking a step back and looking at it – why is HAM banging wheels with MAS all the time and not for example BUT or VET, or even WEB? Because HAM and MAS are so evenly matched this year that they often run at consecutive positions.
    Sad for HAM.
    Unlucky for MAS.
    The overall standings confirm this.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 10th October 2011, 2:51

      The last two races Hamilton has been banging wheels with Massa because of bad luck.

      Singapore he was compromised at the start by Webbers slow start and had to back out and ended up behind Massa.

      Japan he had a puncture so he dropped back closer to Massa because he had to pit earlier than planned.

      With out those two issue he probably would have had little to do with Massa in either race

  11. Remarkable win for Button. I was actually amazed to learn in the stats article that this was his first full-dry race win.

    Alonso was most impressive though. He came to a very strong second with a car that did not look like a podium car on Saturday. He just keeps flinging that car up the road.

  12. babis1980 (@babis1980) said on 10th October 2011, 10:57

    I think that Hamilton must seriously try to stay away from trouble for the 4 remaining races. His second half of the season reminds me Michael Andretti in 1993!!!! Just kidding. The frustrated Hamilton is no good for the team and no good for himself. Button is the no1 driver at McLaren at the moment and he can’t do anything about it so his frustration is building more and more. Did you see him how he was at Thuesday at suzuka? He almost burst into tears. Scary….

    But he has a big problem with Massa. And Maldonado too. Do you remember what he said after Monaco. “These drivers are absolutely ridiculous, this is stupid” he said then.

    Surely they are not friends. The latin american are very different from the british. We all know that. We also don’t forget that every driver in F1 don’t want friends, wants to win. But these drivers must stop clashing in the circuit because ….. this is getting borring for the fans!!!!!!

  13. I would imagine that Lewis is more disappointed with himself than we are with him right now. He’s probably been beating himself up for much of this season and in all sports it’s the ‘game between your ears’ that counts when the going gets tough. His self image is undoubtedly changing, along with our expectations of him, and it is sad to see someone with so much talent making the errors and having bad breaks at the rate that he currently is. At his best he is huge entertainment, but right now things are all a bit cringeworthy for him. I hope that he can get his head back in tune soon. F1 needs the ‘characters’ that stop it from becoming a boring procession, and Lewis is certainly a ‘character’.

  14. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 10th October 2011, 16:55

    Hamilton said:
    “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.”

    …another chance to crash Massa next weekend

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