McLaren gearing up for Red Bull fight in 2012

2012 F1 season preview

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Jerez, 2012

McLaren's MP4-27 has bucked the trend for stepped noses

McLaren have not followed the 2012 trend for stepped noses – their MP4-27 is the only car revealed so far with a smooth nose.

It clearly looks better, but will it cost them in performance?

The team have been world championship runners-up for the last two seasons and are aiming to bring Red Bull’s domination to an end.

McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale told Sky today: “This year I think we start in better shape, certainly.

“It’s there for the taking; if we work hard enough and pull together as a team we should be aiming to win this championship.”

Car 3: Jenson Button

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap6sn1JM4aA

It was clear throughout 2011 that Jenson Button has found a happy new home at McLaren.

He produced a consummate performance in his second season with the team, winning three times and scoring more points than his fellow world champion team mate.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2012

Jenson Button was runner-up in the championship last year

Button excelled in getting the best out of the fragile new tyres introduced last season. On the face of it, with Pirelli bringing softer rubber for their of their four compounds, he stands to benefit further this year.

Whether he can turn that into the basis of a championship campaign will, of course, depend on how competitive the MP4-27 is.

Button said that is likely to remain something of a mystery until qualifying in Australia: “You do all the work you can with your team and get the best out of the equipment that you have, and then you arrive at the first race and you see.

“I mean, even in practice on Friday before a race you don’t know where you stand. Qualifying is the place where you find out where you are compared to your competitors.”

The rivalry between him and his team mate adds a fascinating dimension to the contest. The pair are closely-matched but team harmony was put to the test when they clashed in Canada last year.

Car 4: Lewis Hamilton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z76w-I95oss

Lewis Hamilton had a season of extreme highs and lows in 2011.

The highs included three wins – two of which were classic Hamilton victories in China and Germany where his prowess in wheel-to-wheel combat won him the day.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Jerez, 2012

Lewis Hamilton needs to bounce back from a difficult season

But the lows – and there were many of them – came on the too-frequent occasions when his racecraft was found wanting.

The result was a string of needless collisions, a record number of trips to see the stewards, and a public row with Felipe Massa.

Although Hamilton was not always at fault it raised questions about his state of mind. His deliberate non-celebration after taking pole position in Korea fuelled speculation that all was not well within the Hamilton camp.

This year Hamilton will benefit from the experience of Didier Coton, former advisor to Mika Hakkinen. His progress will be keenly observed for signs of whether he can cut out the unnecessary mistakes that spoiled his 2011 campaign.

But that wasn’t the only chink in his armour last year. While he usually got the better of Button in qualifying, the tables were often turned on race day as Hamilton couldn’t make his tyres last as well as Button. It’s an area where he needs to improve this year.

This is an important season for the 2008 world champion as he weighs up his options for the future. His McLaren contract is up for renewal and his public chat with Christian Horner in Canada last year provoked speculation he is considering a move to Red Bull.

McLaren MP4-27

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g1NfoDOjJQ

The MP4-27’s smooth nose makes it stand out in a field of step-nosed rivals. But inevitably, it has led to speculation that they might be missing a trick.

In a clear step forward from last year, the new car has run reliably in pre-season testing. In 2011 McLaren struggled with a complicated exhaust system and eventually abandoned it on the eve of the new season, bringing in a new solution for the first race.

The MP4-27 is substantially changed from its predecessor. Aside from the nose, one of the most visible changes is to the sidepods, where the U-shaped vents of last year are gone.

Technical director Paddy Lowe said: “This car in many ways looks quite similar but… underneath [there's] a great deal of change.

“Every single part has been assessed, optimised for weight, stiffness, performance in any other respect. And when you add all of that up you get a car that’s net quicker, that’s the name of the game. So in every area the teams are tasked to find that one percent, two percent because we’re looking for that total.”

Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2012

Jenson Button puts the MP4-27 through its paces at Jerez

Engineering director Tim Goss added “there’s very little that we’ve carried over,” onto the new car.

“We’ve worked extremely hard at producing a very integrated, aerodynamic and design package.

“There are a few features that we were pushing very hard from early on in the project and we’ve just stuck to the things that we think really, really matter, where we’re going to extract most performance from the car, and I’m just really proud of the whole team and their efforts so far this year.”

Last year as McLaren strove to put Red Bull under pressure there were times when they failed to take advantage of the performance that was available to them. Notably in Monaco, where a failure to get Hamilton’s car on track early enough in qualifying turned a potential shot at victory into a weekend to forget.

The hiring of Sam Michael from Williams as sporting director is partly aimed at ironing out these operational flaws. He describes his role as “sorting out the race team – and when I say sorting out, it’s already a very defined machine.”

“But McLaren is all about making things better than what everyone else is, and not using existing standards as a benchmark but trying to create new ones.”

McLaren have made a bad habit of going into new seasons with cars that are well off the pace – such as in 2009 and, to a lesser extent, last year. The early signs are the team have avoided falling into that trap this year, though as ever we won’t know for sure until the first race weekend.

McLaren’s championship form

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Championship position 9 10 2 4 5 6 3 3 1 3 2 3 8 7 9 6 2 5 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 4 4 4 4 1 2 2 2 3 3 5 2 3 11 2 3 2 2
Wins 0 0 3 1 0 0 1 3 4 3 6 3 0 0 0 1 4 1 12 6 4 3 15 10 6 8 5 5 0 0 0 3 9 7 7 4 1 2 1 10 0 8 6 2 5 6

McLaren in 2012: Your view

Which driver do you think will hold the upper hand at McLaren this year? Can they take the fight to Red Bull?

Have your say on McLaren’s prospects for the 2012 season in the comments.

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63 comments on McLaren gearing up for Red Bull fight in 2012

  1. Girts (@girts) said on 1st March 2012, 13:02

    If Hamilton is able to empty his mind from everything that distracted it from racing in 2011, then I believe Button doesn’t have a chance against him. Pirelli tyres should be a bit more driver-friendly this year and teams will also have learned a lot about them so that might help Hamilton, too. And the mood at McLaren seems to be optimistic.

    I tend to think that Hamilton had an extremely unstable season in 2011 and that Button’s performance was very stable, very decent but not breathtaking. I believe that this story is true and it shows that McLaren themselves actually thought that their car was not much worse than RBR’s in 2011. But Button was not quick enough and Hamilton was too inconsistent.

    So if Hamilton can put the recent past behind we might be standing ahead of a classic F1 title fight between Hamilton and Vettel.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2012, 13:34

      I don’t agree there @girts While you are perfectly right in saying that Hamilton has it in his own hands to get on top of his performance, I Button will stand a chance. One key area Hamilton will have to improve is his strategical thinking about the race or indeed the whole weekend, so as not te be cought off guard by team mistakes.

      First of all, last year Button showed that he can win when the car is not absolutely perfect for him, something many thought was his weakest spot. And I think Button is still riding on the wave of confidence that stemmed from 2009 and can make it happen if the car is good enough to get in front of Vettel on a regular basis.

      Off course for McLaren the most important thing is to cut out the too clever thinking during qualifying and stop making little mistakes to make their life harder. Not to mention the car has to be fast enough to win right from the start.

      • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 1st March 2012, 14:05

        One key area Hamilton will have to improve is his strategical thinking about the race or indeed the whole weekend, so as not te be cought off guard by team mistakes

        Which is possibly the reason he’s brought in Didier Coton, so he can get some advise in those situations and learn and improve. Sam Michael’s appointment should go some way to improving the team’s strategic thinking too. I did get the impression that most of the strategy errors last season seemed to happen on Hamilton’s side of the garage though. Jense is just more experienced in this area I guess.

        Otherwise though, I don’t think that (even at 100% performance) Lewis would trounce Jense in the way that people seem to think. As you pointed out, Jense proved some doubters wrong last year with some of his performances, which were equally as good as Lewis’ best imo. If both drivers are on top of their game then we could be looking at some tasty rivalry between them this season.

        IF McLaren have a capable enough car, it could well be a three-way fight for the title between Lewis, Jense and Sebastian (at the moment, I can’t see Webber or Ferrari being strong enough, just my opinion).

      • Enigma (@enigma) said on 1st March 2012, 21:44

        @bascb

        Last year Button showed that he can win when the car is not absolutely perfect for him.

        I don’t think so – not saying he can’t win when it’s not perfect, but I don’t think he proved that last year.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2012, 22:11

          @enigma, you think he proved it way back already?

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 2nd March 2012, 11:18

            @bascb I don’t think any of his 2011 wins came in a car that wasn’t very good.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 3rd March 2012, 5:45

            @bascb @enigma I don’t think he has ever proved he can win when the car’s balance is off for him. To have a predictable car is an absolute must for him. As is shown in Brazil – he was quicker on the harder, slower tyres than he was on the softer quicker compound; because he preferred the balance on the hards.

            When the car is not balanced the way he likes it; he’s still out at sea. Which doesn’t matter much if he can always dial it out – which he seems to be doing of late. I don’t remember him saying the car felt rubbish during 2011.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd March 2012, 13:06

            Which doesn’t matter much if he can always dial it out – which he seems to be doing of late.

            @raymondu999, i guess that was what I had meant to say, that Button seems to have found a way to get his car setup in a way to be fast with it most of the time

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 1st March 2012, 13:39

      Yes, the fact everybody says Button had a fantastic season and Hamilton had a poor one says a lot about both drivers.

      Jenson is good, but in case MP4-27 is capable of winning from day 1, I’d put my money on Lewis to fight for WDC.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 14:00

      I find that article interesting in that they were saying what they needed to work on was one-lap pace so they could start outqualifying SV…fair enough, but to me if one doesn’t have race pace these days, DRS will quickly take care of any ‘one-off’ hot laps in quali meant strictly to put oneself higher up on the grid if not on pole. I would be more worried about race pace as a team rather than thinking they can keep a faster car behind them for very long while DRS exists. Pre-DRS, sure…much better chance of keeping cars behind you…nowadays…not so much.

      As to Button ‘not standing a chance’ if LH gets his act together…I find that hard to imagine after last year, as in, even if LH has a much more straightforward season and heads JB, I don’t think it will be a trouncing by LH. JB should at least be in there with a shout. After all, he does have the experience of winning races and a WDC too…

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 1st March 2012, 14:26

        One Lap pace is still highly crucial because Vettel’s strength was gaining enough distance during the first few laps to prevent anyone getting near him once DRS was available.

        Whether there was any exhaust/tyre-heating trickery or not, he still managed to have everything available to him at the start of the race, when it mattered most. Webber, conversely, was better once under way, but everyone mugged him and almost half his races were compromised as a result.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 15:02

          Fair comment, Optimaximal…I was thinking of it as (or at least as the article Girts referenced) one-lap quali pace as opposed to pace for the first few laps of the race to form a gap, like SV was able to do as you point out. Either you have race pace and you can ‘DRS’ people and can keep yourself from getting ‘DRS’d’ or you don’t, and all I was suggesting was that without the race pace, putting the car on pole means nothing if you will soon be caught up on Sunday and then passed easily thanks to DRS.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 3rd March 2012, 5:47

            @robbie Or not. They’re trying to avoid a situation like Barcelona 2011.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 3rd March 2012, 18:20

            @raymondu999…my apologies…not getting the reference. LH came in second to SV and was within a second in the end, and JB fell back to 10th in quali but clawed his way back up to finish 3rd. ie. they showed race pace, no? Or, did you mean LH couldn’t DRS his way past SV for the win so ‘DRS’ing’ someone is not a given?

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 3rd March 2012, 18:32

            @Robbie What I meant was better race pace isn’t the only thing you’d want. Vettel had inferior race pace (clearly) in the last 30 laps of the race; and Lewis was within a second for 17 last laps.

            There are times when track position is still preferrable to race pace. That’s what I meant.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 5th March 2012, 12:26

            Got it raymondu999…I think sometimes I fall into the trap that DRS is always going to make it easy to make a pass as long as you can get within a second of a leading car, but that clearly is not always the case. No question you are right that track position is sometimes preferable to race pace.

            And it sure was even more important pre-DRS…no that I’m a fan of DRS whatsoever…I’d prefer they gravitate toward cars that are less aero dependant while maintaining mechanical grip through sticky tires.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 1st March 2012, 21:48

      @Girts Hamilton at his best will be faster than anyone, but even if he gets back on track I wouldn’t rule Jenson out. Hamilton is extremely quick, but even if he has a normal season there’ll still be a mistake or two and a crash or two. And Button’s strategy, thinking and experience will pay off, so I think, even if Hamilton’s back at his best, his team mate will still give him a good run for his money.

    • Balu said on 2nd March 2012, 4:45

      Hamilton had a straightforward season in 2010 and Button was in his first year in Mclaren – The end result was hamilton finished 26 points ahead of Button..just about a race win. And in old point system around 11 points.
      I don’t see any trouncing and clear dominating pattern here.
      If one lap pace was the only defining factor we all know that Trulli would be the greatest F1 driver post 1990s( I haven’t seen F1 before that to comment)..

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd March 2012, 11:46

      @girts Hamilton and Button have very different strengths. Hamilton is aggressive whereas Button is generally a smoother driver yet he still gets the job done. Perhaps if the drivers were more similarly matched then you could argue that one of them would have the upper hand eventually, but given that there is such a big disparity in how they race (and how good they both are in their own right) I believe that it will be a hotly contested battle at McLaren over the course of the championship.

  2. Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 13:09

    I guess for now the safe thing to say would be that at least Mac seems to be looking to start off this season on a good footing, albeit with their pace relative to the Red Bulls unknown. At least they don’t seem to be having technical issues, nor do they seem to be complaining about pace. So yes, I think it is a safe bet to say they will at least take the fight to Red Bull at some tracks, because if they were able to do that last year and presumably the cars are closer together due to rules stability…nuf said…

    Will it be JB or LH that has the upper hand? I expect that they will both be strong, and even though JB gained the upper hand last year and LH had some ragged moments, doesn’t mean the same thing will happen again. But I think JB has earned the right due to last year’s performance to at least get the nod prior to this season starting. It is up to LH now to prove last year simply carried some off moments for him and that he can keep it together better than that. I he doesn’t he will simply open the door for JB who showed he can hold his own just fine on a team that some still think is LH’s. I note that some are starting to suggest LH needs a change from Mac and Mac from him, so I guess if he has some more ragged moments this season and JB continues to excel, then those rumours on LH will ramp up bigtime.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 1st March 2012, 13:44

      The one thing I hate the most about pre-season tests is inability to clearly compare one car’s performance against other… whatever, wait is finally coming to an end!

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2012, 13:37

    As for the nose, last year showed that McLaren has a good concept of car design that is missing just a little bit.
    Suddenly changing that and going for a high nose would only bring the danger of doing something too clever again (like the focus on KERS in 2009 or the fancy exhaust in the winter last year).

    Not to mention that they would be worse off with finding the right setup for it, wheras now they can focus on that right from the start.

  4. mclaren (@mclaren) said on 1st March 2012, 13:44

    Certainly getting the feeling that Mclaren will definitely take the fight to RBR and will give us a classic this season. On JB V LH, if LH rids of all the distractions, JB hasn’t got a hope in hell, if LH is otherwise, then JB for sure will pounce. After all, it did take LH the season he had for his team mate to outscore him i.e his worst ever and crashing numerously out of GP’s!

    Hope Ferrari and Mercs also spice up the action and add to what hopefully will be a classic year in f1.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 14:15

      As I said above, I personally can’t imagine JB ‘not having a hope in hell’, no matter what LH does this year. LH had the season he did, so I think it is a bit folly to say it is only because LH had his ‘worst ever’ season that JB outscored him. Wouldn’t that be like FM saying if only he had a better season than FA he would have outscored him…or same with MS at Merc…if only…the fact is LH and MS did cost themselves points that may have put themselves ahead of their teammates. So be it. That’s racing. Lesson for them…you shouldn’t get into collisions if you want to best your teammate, and everyone else for that matter.

      I think the troubling thing for LH, and to me what he still has to prove, is that he can have a relatively trouble-free season. I recall that he threw away a couple of WDCs that were his to lose, and nearly did the same on the day he did win his WDC, so to me the onus is on LH to prove he can get through a season more cleanly.

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 1st March 2012, 17:06

      ‘JB hasn’t got a hope in hell’ – Really?

      In 2010, the only reason Jenson finished further behind in the points was because of two incidents in Spa and Monaco that weren’t his fault and cost him a sizeable amount of points. Was that a disastrous year for Lewis Hamilton? No it wasn’t, and Jenson was just as good.

      In 2011, Button raised his game, and admittedly Lewis had a bad season, but that doesn’t take anything away from Jenson’s performance, and to say that he wouldn’t have a hope against Hamilton if they were both on form is just plain ignorant.

      • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 1st March 2012, 20:36

        In 2010, the only reason Jenson finished further behind in the points was because of two incidents in Spa and Monaco that weren’t his fault and cost him a sizeable amount of points

        Casually forgetting Lewis’ retirement in Spain due to a wheel rim failure which would have been a guaranteed 18 points, plus the gearbox failure in Hungary whilst running 4th (I think). Both of them had retirements that weren’t their fault. So, it wasn’t “the only reason”.

        Although, your last paragraph makes a fair point.

  5. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 1st March 2012, 13:58

    For my own sake, I hope McLaren fails this year, but we all know that’s unlikely to happen.

    Button and Hamilton are both very strong drivers, but I think the latter has the upper hand. Even with all the drama of last year he still managed to score three wins. Two more than Alonso and Webber. That’s a champion trait if I ever saw one.

    He won’t have it easy though. Jense’s vastly improved since 2009, and I can definitely see him matching his teammate once again.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 1st March 2012, 14:38

      ‘For your own sake’?

      What, have you bet huge amounts of money on RBR winning or something? Surely the odds will be so even you wouldn’t make anything.

      • Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 1st March 2012, 14:49

        Not really, it’s just a fancier way of saying that I want to see them endure some problems for once.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 15:14

          For once? I think they would say they had problems last year. Problems with their exhaust starting in testing. Problems with pace too often, starting in the off season. Problems with LH’s ragged performances. Problems beating SV to the WDC. I don’t think Mac ever again want to have more problems than they had last year. I guess spygate and liegate are things they won’t want repeated either. ie. ‘for once’ seems rather generous.

          • Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 1st March 2012, 15:55

            Last year? Sure, they couldn’t initially keep up with the RB7, but nobody really could. And at the end of the season they were the only ones even remotely close to Vettel.

            I admit that my usage of “for once” may not have been the best, though.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 16:06

            Fair comment, Pamphlet…was just having a little fun with your ‘for once’ but that is hard to translate in text. For sure you are right that they can draw something positive from how they progressed by the end of the season and closed the gap to SV and secured themselves 2nd in the WCC, not to mention JB’s 2nd in the WDC. Many teams would love to have those kinds of problems.

        • baldzak said on 2nd March 2012, 0:46

          Short memory dude, you’re forgetting 2009.

          It was pretty crushing watching Hambo and Teflonso duke it out for 13th place at Silverstone.

          But we did get Button winning the WDC, ooh and Barrichello won one too, which was nice.

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 1st March 2012, 14:00

    Superb as always Keith!

    I don’t think it was simply Hamilton’s mistakes that helped Button outdo him last year. I specifically remember on race day Button on more than one occasion having better pace, if not the only one catching Vettel, especially as the race progressed. In that light, either of these guys have a great chance if the the team can pick up from where it left last year.

    However – Vettel, on the other hand, seems to be harnessing the strengths of both of these two, and effortlessly so.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 1st March 2012, 14:41

      If you think about it, it worked in is favour that McLaren had two drivers fighting for wins. If (for example) Button who had taken all 6 of McLaren’s wins, we might have seen a massively different championship.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st March 2012, 15:40

        True but I still honour any team that legitimately hires the two best drivers they can, and truly lets them race it out on the track with equal opportunity. If MW had been able to shake SV’s cage once in a while, that too would have changed Mac’s chances.

  7. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 1st March 2012, 14:26

    I’d love Button to remain as competitive against Hamilton. It was a great battle to watch last year!

    As for the MP4-27’s pace, I’m as in the dark as everyone else. I’ll be extremely disappointed if they’re the only team that can take the fight to Red Bull. I’d love to see Ferrari and Mercedes at least being as competitive as McLaren.

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 1st March 2012, 14:38

    This year is the moment of truth for McLaren, they have alredy had these two champs last year, they look as hanging on very well, they both won races last year, so the obvious step forward is to win the championship right? Remember the time when Kimi won more races than Alonso but missed the championship because of the inconsistent car? or the battle McLaren had in 2007 (with Kimi as a rival this time) when they permitted an open battle to Hamilton and Alonso… Mc Laren are a team used to winnin WCCs from time to time, you can see the regularity of this… 98 (and 99 WDC) by Mika and 2008 by Hamilton, so they need another hit this time. Of course Red Bull is the team to beat and noone can deny it. Newey’s creatures are bloddy fast these recent 3 years (even including the Brawn time)

  9. MW (@) said on 1st March 2012, 15:04

    The difference in driving styles of the 2 Macca drivers will give the team an advantage. It’s like a 2 pronged attack!
    After each drivers skill level is considered each driver is just a gambler in the risky game with infitite variables which is F1 racing.
    Button and Hamilton choose to operate at opposite ends of the risk scale.

    High risk = High rewards.. Low risk= might just clich it if lady luck turns her back on the rest of the grid

    I think thats what makes it difficult to read between these two at this point in the season..

    My bet is that Hamilton can employ some sound risk avoidance strategies while allowing himself to race in a typically ballsy fashion and just clinch it..

  10. Lemon (@lemon) said on 1st March 2012, 15:13

    In this article you state “Hamilton couldn’t make his tyres last as well as Button”, and i’m sure that i’m wrong but I can’t remember that really being a problem for him last year. Could someone give me an example?

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 1st March 2012, 18:31

      look into the race charts of the 2011 season… there is always a chart about..in which lap the drivers came in… or who get the maximum out of it….
      Button IS just unbelievable smooth on his tyres…… it´s like Jenson makes sweet love to his tyres while Lewis just takes them for a quick romp… i know, i know:D but i find it quiet fitting actually

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 1st March 2012, 21:11

        It’s not just the smoothness of Button’s driving, but also his intelligence; Jenson sometimes deliberately drove slower in order to preserve his tyres. One example was in Japan. After Jenson got pushed onto the grass by Vettel at the start, Lewis set about chasing Vettel, immediately going as fast as the tyres would allow. In the first two laps, he was perhaps 7 tenths faster than Jenson, in the two laps that followed perhaps one or two tenths faster. Then followed a few laps in which they were evenly matched, and then Lewis’s tyres were falling off the cliff and he was losing seconds a lap.

        Another example of Hamilton’s tyre woes was in Valencia, were early in his second stint, his team was on the radio telling him to slow down, whereupon Hamilton replied: “I cannot go any slower!” A few laps later his team asked him to speed up, and now he had to reply that he couldn’t go any faster.

        In 2010, on the Bridgestones, I feel Hamilton was able to outpace Jenson on most days, while on a handful of days Jenson could match him. On the Pirellis, however, I’m not sure Jenson can be so easily beaten in terms of ‘stint management’, and anyway I don’t see that as Hamilton’s strength.

        Nevertheless, as a Hamilton fan I do hope Lewis can consistently pull something out of the bag. If the McLaren is a challenger, though, then Jenson will certainly be challenging.

  11. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 1st March 2012, 15:29

    What shocks me about McLaren is how they consistently be a top team, yet not win as many Championships as they should. Their last Constructor’s title was in 1998! Since then, Ferrari, Renault, Brawn and RedBull have all won titles. They only have one driver’s title in the last decade, a lucky one with Hamilton, who only won it by a single point!

    A team with such fantastic engineers, designers and men in charge, a team that has employed Kimi, Mika, Coulthard, Montoya, Alonso, Hamilton and Button over the past decade should have more to show for it. Yes, Ferrari, Renault and RedBull have all had dominant periods, but McLaren has always been right there, nipping at their heels. I’m just wondering what it’s going to take to get them to make that last final step.

    • Ragerod said on 1st March 2012, 17:48

      I think it just shows how hard it is to win and how small the margins are. If Hamilton is lucky to be a World Champion then he is equally unlucky not to be a double World Champion.

  12. Lex said on 1st March 2012, 17:04

    if they know whats good for them, dont focus too much on RBR and Ferrari cuz my boy Kimi’s team is looking FIERCE and FAST!!! 1st day baq and topping the timesheets by 3 and a quarter tenths…ohhh

  13. Jabbah said on 1st March 2012, 17:55

    Keith – Unless the last time McLaren won a championship was 1998 I think there may be an error in the chart…

  14. carl craven said on 1st March 2012, 18:29

    If only I had Button’s luck. Lucky to win a race, lucky to win a title, lucky to be the only team mate EVER to beat Lewis Hamilton, even luckier than Alonso in that sense.

    He should put a pound (just the one) on the lottery, with his luck he wouldn’t need any more.

    Or could it be (Nah, surely not) that he actually deserves credit for his success.

    I guess if Lewis does beat Jenson by improving his strategy it will be down to Lewis’s superior skill and nothing to do with his ‘new’ adviser. And if he doesn’t, I guess he was badly advised.

    It’s true to say that Button didn’t beat Lewis last year. Lewis did that all on his own. He had some bad days when he should have made better decisions before he even arrived at the track probably. I hope he has a full on year so that we can see two great team mates having a good season and giving us the best show F1 can give us.

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 1st March 2012, 18:35

      oh sweety …. why so sour?…. :D:D:D lol i totally get a kick out of people like these ….so pathetic… :D

    • caci99 (@caci99) said on 1st March 2012, 21:31

      I recall the day when Jenson was walking by the backyard of an F1 track and Williams picked him up because they found him handsome at that young age. Yeah a lot of luck.
      Are you saying that every one is there by chance and they just got lucky? Only Lewis is there because he deserves it, but he is unlucky?

  15. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 1st March 2012, 22:53

    that photo of lewis is nothing short of amazing!!!

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