2011 Korean GP team review
Lewis Hamilton was back on form in the Korean Grand Prix.
|Lewis Hamilton||Jenson Button|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’35.820 (-0.306)||1’36.126|
McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Super soft 20.846s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 20.584s|
Rain or shine, Lewis Hamilton looked quick in practice. He carried it through into qualifying, topping all three parts and breaking Red Bull’s stranglehold on first place this year.
Having done that, he failed to lead a lap during the race. He came under immediate attack from Sebastian Vettel and the start, left a gap for the Red Bull driver to squeeze through at turn four and that was that.
Hamilton slipped back, battling a mysterious understeer problem which led him to make all the changes he could in an effort to make the car turn in.
Under the circumstances he drove a fine race – easily the best since his Nurburgring win – to fend off Mark Webber’s attempts to take second.
His only slip-up came after switching to soft tyres for his final stint. He ran wide at turn four and Webber pounced. The pair ran thrillingly side-by side through the following sequence of fast turns, Hamilton clinging to the inside line to keep Webber back.
At one point Webber got past him at turn one, but Hamilton lined up the Red Bull driver in the DRS zone, took the place back with ease, and went on to finish second.
This was a welcome return for the old Hamilton: superbly quick over a single lap and excellent in wheel-to-wheel battle. He called it “one of my strongest races of the season”.
“There was so much pressure from Mark behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race.”
But his downbeat mood even after taking pole position on Saturday told that all is still not well beneath the surface.
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Super soft 20.766s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 20.758s|
Button was crowded out on the first lap, falling from third to sixth, and that dictated the rest of his race.
He admitted afterwards he thought Webber was alongside him at turn three on the first lap, and was surprised to find Massa there when he turned in. He ran wide trying to re-pass Massa at the next corner, falling behind Webber and Fernando Alonso.
Button dropped back from the group initially but closed in later on in the stint, then made for the pits on lap 14. Nico Rosberg followed him in, but got out ahead of the McLaren driver.
The pair swapped places twice as they returned to the track – Rosberg running wide at the first corner, then re-passing Button in the DRS zone. Button made the decisive move on the next lap, using DRS to his advantage.
Despite that delay both the Ferraris came out behind him, promoting him to fourth. He caught Webber but even as the Red Bull driver was queued up behind Hamilton, Button couldn’t find a way past for third.
Like Hamilton, Button complained of understeer: “Towards the end of each stint, the front end would drop away: I just couldn’t get close enough in the last sector.
“I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn’t get close enough to Mark to use DRS.”
2011 Korean Grand Prix
- Hamilton wins close vote for Korean GP Driver of the Weekend
- Unhappy Hamilton and muted crowd in fans’ Korean GP videos
- 2011 Korean Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for the Korean GP driver of the weekend
- Red Bull: Team clinch title despite missed one-two
- McLaren: The old Hamilton reappears
- Ferrari: Alonso “gives up” on pursuit of Button
- Mercedes: Unlucky weekend for Schumacher
- Renault: No points for third time in six races
- Toro Rosso: Alguersuari shines in team’s best result for 50 races
Image © McLaren