Hamilton: “Jenson was able to switch the tyres on extremely well”

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012Lewis Hamilton says he wasn’t able to ‘switch his tyres on’ as quickly as his team mate was in Australia.

Hamilton admitted Jenson Button was able to get up to speed much more quickly at the start of the race and after the restart.

Hamilton said: “After the race in Australia, it was difficult to understand exactly what happened. I was generally happy with the car all weekend, but just lacked a bit of pace compared to Jenson in the race.

“Afterwards, I sat down with my engineers and we went through all the data. There was a small issue with the clutch at the start: it wasn?t my fault, but we now understand and know how to improve in the future.

“My race pace was pretty much identical to Jenson?s, but he was able to switch the tyres on extremely well, which explains how he was able to pull a gap so quickly at the start and also after the restart.”

The Australian Grand Prix lap times chart shows Button was almost a second faster than Hamilton on the first flying lap of the race.

Hamilton added: “It?s encouraging and reassuring to understand the reasons for our race pace in Australia, and it puts me in a really positive frame of mind for the race in Malaysia. Plus, it always helps to be back in the car only five days after the last grand prix ?ǣ you move on so quickly.”

Button said the team’s winning start to the year will spur them on for the season ahead: “to come away from race one with such a positive result ?ǣ Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took pole, fastest lap and the victory ?ǣ is a huge relief for the organisation.

“But it?s also incredibly motivating: we know we have a great car but we?re not going to sit still with it. We have ambitious plans to develop the car and I know that everybody back at Woking is working hard to bring new components to the track, and that all our mechanics and engineers are flat-out to ensure that we maximise the package that we have this weekend.

“I think everybody knows that we are a relentless organisation; we can develop a car as well ?ǣ if not better than ?ǣ any other team. The difference this year is that we?ve started with a winning package; the challenge will be to maintain that, and I know that?s something we?re all really looking forward to doing.”

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72 comments on Hamilton: “Jenson was able to switch the tyres on extremely well”

  1. Andy G (@toothpickbandit) said on 21st March 2012, 14:53

    Odd, considering how Hamilton was able to switch his tyres on much better for his first stint of quali compared to Button.

    • track conditions were different and car was heavy on fuel

    • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 21st March 2012, 20:19

      Let me tell you like this, the team ( Whitmarsh ) put more oil in Hamilton car, that’s the reason Hamilton had tyre degration so fast, but instead pitting Hamilton immiadly, the team let him drove around with the tires and Pitted Button before Hamilton and instead of putting another soft on Hamilton car ( because Hamilton had a set of un used Soft and Button did not) no they put hard tires and they drilled in Hamiltons front wing, but why ?, i tell you buddy, i dont trust Whitmarsh! he’s a snake that favors Button

      • Maybe he does favor him,but did you ever wonder why he would favor him(JB).Maybe because he’s a safer bet,and easier to work with,more focused on the f1 instead of celebrity figures.Fast as he is,Hamilton is a loose cannon.As far as tyres are concerned sunday race result had nothing to do with tyre management.Button outraced him fayre and square,pure and simple,no doubt about that.And that is the real issue,everything equal Hamilton fancy himself to be way faster than Button.He just realised that may not be true,posture he had on podium says it all.I’m Kimi’s fan btw,so no bias.

      • lawler said on 21st March 2012, 21:12

        So what,,,,,, he has a driver he prefers? and? ……….. Mclaren should clearly state they have a No.1 and two, but they cant because hamilton would be even more emotionaly unstable and unable to perform to his £12mil a yr price tag. Whitmarsh is no snake he is a tactition who wants a drivers title but Needs! a constuctors title. To do so you need a master and an apprentice. He unlike you and most other lewis fans Whitmarsh knows which driver fits the criterea !

      • Cluffy_Wedge said on 21st March 2012, 22:52

        Why is it always massive conspiracy theories whenever Lewis Hamilton is concerned? If Vettel managed to make his softs go longer than LH’s mediums, how does putting softs on make any strategic sense? Most drivers (Schumacher being the biggest exception) have more poles than wins, because while a pole is the very fastest you can go round the track in that car unimpeded, in the race, **** happens. Like you know, iffy starts, ill timed safety cars… honestly, the expectations people and the media have of Lewis Hamilton are ridiculous.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd March 2012, 5:36

        I’m fairly sure this guy is joking guys. -.-

  2. Novotny (@novotny) said on 21st March 2012, 14:57

    I did feel a bit sorry for him on the podium; he was clearly gutted. There’s no shame in having passion but still behaving gracefully – mark of a gentleman, to my mind. He just couldn’t hide his disappointment. I prefer these kind of people to those that can mask their true feelings perfectly – you can never trust those types.

    V pleased for Button, mind.

    • TBone said on 21st March 2012, 15:47

      It’s not quite Prost v Senna but it does remind me of it. JB does come across as a real gent but the more I think about it the more I think he really drove the knife into LH’s race by delaying that first pit stop. Pretty clinical. Am really starting to admire what a great racer JB’s become and his Q3 lap also shows he’s picked up his game (ignoring LH’s aborted lap if relevant).

      The Sky coverage caught LH, his engineer and Sam Michael having a close chat in the corridors of the McLaren garage in Melbourne – would love to have been a fly on the wall. Surely LH would now be asking to override the pit preference rule if the driver behind is starting to show drop-off before the one in front (makes perfect sense from a constructor’s point of view to me).

      • It’s a convenient comparison to make but nothing like Prost/Senna. For one thing, Prost was far more political than Jense will ever be. Hes just an old fashioned nice guy, and will never convince anyone he isnt!

        Jense simply went for his stop at the right point in his race – nothing more complicated than that. However I 100% agree with many people that Mclaren’s strategy of giving the leader total priority for stopping is counter-productive. Lewis could easily have stopped before Jenson without affecting his race strategy, and catered for both of the approaches to race management. Giving lewis shorter stints would play to his short-sprint style and probably provide a buffer zone for the late-race harder compound cool-off time. But as ever at Mclaren their inflexibility could lose them the WDC…

        • lawler said on 21st March 2012, 21:20

          No way …… Jenson and the world knows lewis cant handle the new tyres as well as some other drivers. Jenson is 33? Much more intelligent than lewis and more importantly I would guess HATES him (like many others) to beat him is hard, lewis is top notch is many ways but Jenson knew it would punish him hard to strectch out the pit stop a few extra laps. They both know the system (which is a stupid one) but again so does Jensons race engineer?

          • M30 said on 22nd March 2012, 0:50

            But Isn’t Jenson the tyre lover’s tyres supposed to last longer? So why did Hamilton have to keep them on until one whole lap later? It’s obviously counter productive.

      • Nigel said on 21st March 2012, 21:16

        “the more I think he really drove the knife into LH’s race by delaying that first pit stop”

        I’m not sure it was deliberate (don’t forget they had no opportunity to test the tyres properly in practice), but it certainly had that effect.

        If it’s a McLaren 1-2 at the first stop in Malaysia, the undercut is a definite option for the driver in second place. Also the expected wear is pretty high, so stopping sooner than later, and going straight to the prime makes sense.

    • Jean said on 22nd March 2012, 12:13

      Myself included , and maybe it’s because JB does come across as Mr nice guy , but I think as a result he has been very understimated as a driver in the past. Even after winning WDC with Brawn GP , the perception seemed to be it was more the car than him. And guess who has understimated him more than anyone else in the world ? …………. LH himself !……. now the frustration is clearly showing , and he is trying to bite his own elbow in a sense as he can’t understand “a driver like JB” beating him.

  3. Girts (@girts) said on 21st March 2012, 15:01

    I just hope that we won’t hear Lewis asking for new chassis soon.

  4. Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st March 2012, 15:02

    Should be a great rivalry this season…both drivers are saying some good things here. Will be fascinating to watch them if/when Red Bull ups their game and gets more in the mix on pace vs. how SV was able to pip LH during the safety car period. Thank you Mac, for letting two gladiators duke it out on the track.

  5. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 21st March 2012, 15:07

    Jenson really was lightning on that restart, and now we know why. Once again his superior tire handling ability is coming to the fore.

    Can’t wait to see how this plays out in Sepang, where the true pecking order should be a little clearer.

  6. insider said on 21st March 2012, 15:18

    As lewis said, he just lacked a bit of pace compared to Jenson in the race, and that’s all there is to it, he was sad at the end of the race because he knew things could have turned better. Expect a lot more from him this season.

  7. maxthecat said on 21st March 2012, 16:10

    I’m starting to think Lewis maybe suffering with Depression. I thought about this when Garry Speed died and looking at Lewis you can see there is a lot more going on. Did anyone see Nicole in the pits? The girl looked like she was a hostage and really did want to be there, it was really odd.

    I hope he sorts this out because there is no doubt on top form there isn’t really anyone who can keep up with him.

    • i dunno if your right about that or not. it’s a wild stab in the dark really….but it could be true. i did notice that nicole was having a hard time watching. it didn’t really make sense for the first race of the season the way she was reacting.

      lewis just needs to chill out. i think he is sensitive to criticism so he needs to stop listening to it. he also needs to be very careful in talking to the media. these stories about his mental state are very damaging. if every journalist you meet is asking you about your mental state then how do you avoid feeling like crap. ….that’s especially the case if you do actually have a problem.

    • Baron said on 21st March 2012, 20:09

      Keep taking the tablets Dr Max and try not to watch too many soap operas or reality shows – it can make one extremely paranoid.

    • lawler said on 21st March 2012, 21:25

      Since when exactly? 2009 OR 2010 OR 2011- In 2008 Massa was only a point behind and it was MASSA! So i ask again SINCE WHEN !

    • Alex W said on 21st March 2012, 23:19

      Anyone could have depression (and i hope lewis doesn’t) but it is impossible to tell by looking at him on TV!

    • David BR (@david-br) said on 22nd March 2012, 0:42

      Lewis is suffering from Whitmarsh Syndrome and not much else. They’re just on entirely different wave lengths. I’d like to see Hamilton driving for Brawn/Mercedes, to be honest, someone capable of thinking more outside the box. That said, some of Lewis’s current dilemma is down to him becoming distracted and failing to invest more time in learning about engineering and design issues while he was the undisputed number one driver at McLaren when Kovy was there as his team mate. Now Button has assumed control of the team, Hamilton is being stifled and must be feeling overlooked – his input is probably seen to matter far less to the team than Button’s for a whole load of reasons, including the fact they have a stable design now and the issues centre so much around tyre preservation (while in Button’s first season at McLaren, Lewis was the only one sometimes who could actually drive the car – like Alonso he has the raw talent to learn to adapt to a tricky car more quickly). If you radically changed all the parameters, I’m sure Lewis would immediately return to the top. But for this year, he really has to just follow in Button’s wake, learn from him and try to maintain the same constancy, matching him on the track (and exploiting the fact he will almost certainly beat Button in qualifying). If he can keep his head and concentrate, Hamilton still has an ideal chance to win another championship this year. Whatever his choices and decisions about the year after, he needs to make the most of 2012, because as he’s learnt, these years are far from guaranteed.

  8. Sign your contract as soon as possible, otherwise……….

  9. OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 16:46

    A driver has to wonder what he did wrong during the race. Lewis is not an actor he can’t pretend. He is happy the way his race went, starting with his clutch problem.

    Those who say Button did great by choosing when to stop and destroying Hamilton’s tyres, should remember that the team is quick to protect Button when his tyres are gone despite he is behind Hamilton.

    • lawler said on 21st March 2012, 21:28

      Uhh yeah when they are running different strats but melbourne they exactly the same game?

      • OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 22:31

        I guess as they were starting from 1st and 2nd position they had to be on the same strategy or very similar.
        Teams have been known to alter the fuel levels depending on the starting position of their cars.
        I doubt this was the case here though.

  10. DaveW (@dmw) said on 21st March 2012, 16:49

    Thats 200+ races of experience for Button there. Button knows that Hamilton has a tenth or two on him on Saturdays, so he has to work out how to master the car to win the race. Hamilton’s speed has forced Button to become a grand master in the car. Hamilton has to respond by spending more time with the engineers, or better time. (Which, Max, is why I was annoyed to see Nicole pop up again!) McLaren now have the best car and the best driver pair. They reliabily can win the pole if the car is able with Hamilton. And they can win the race with pace or nous, which ever finishes first.

    However, I have no doubt Newey has already discovered a new element or solved the mystery of dark matter, with his pencil and notebook, which he will use in a shocking new upgrade soon. So McLaren better make hay now.

    • OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 17:20

      you raise a point about Hamilton spending more time with his engineers. Apart from the telemetry stuff, the race engineer is the crucial link during the races. But Withmarsh changed Hamilton’s race engineer, Button had first choice as world champion. Hamilton was left with a novice who is not in the strategy decision loop. Hence we have Turkey 2010 and various other strange calls.
      The driver ahead determines the pitstops? Well button’s engineer can stop Button any time he likes even if Button is in 20th position.

      Hamilton is not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the team is routinely extracting the worst from him.

      Even the race he won in Abu Dhabi, had Button got ahead of Webber, Button would have found himself ahead of Lewis by hook or crook.

      Lewis’ only hope of finishing ahead of Button is if the other teams get their drivers to out qualify him, but if Mclaren is running 1 & 2, Button will be made to win.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st March 2012, 17:32

        Button had first choice as world champion? Really? I thought LH was a WDC too, not to mention most think of Mac as ‘his’ team.

        • OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 21:55

          Well when Button joined Mclaren, he was the current champion.
          Withmarsh talked about equality, including eliminating any advantage Hamilton had being in the team prior to Button.

          Button was defacto team leader, hadmore priviledges in the name of fairness.

          Now Button is entrenched, Hamilton is looking like the new entrant. Talk about role reversal.

          Now the Button garage knows of team strategy, Hamilton’s don’t have the faintest clue.

      • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 21st March 2012, 18:37

        The usual conspiracy theories. Since you have such great insight into the way McLaren works, do you have a view on why the team chooses to persecute and hamstring (NPI) one of its own drivers continually in this way?

        • OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 22:48

          The team is not concentrating on getting the maximum from both drivers.
          That is not saying all of Mclaren are doing that, just that Witmarsh sets the tone and direction of the team.

          Withmarsh is preoccupied with his fairness philosophy and is over compensating Button.

          If Hamilton was put first in anyway, it would appear as if Button is the no2 driver.
          Plus the fact Withmarsh has just taken a liking to Jenson which he is entitled to.
          But he blamed Hamilton for almost anything that went wrong last season. Even when the team was at fault.

          • Aussie Fan said on 22nd March 2012, 2:12

            OOliver, do you have a single shred of proof or evidence to back up this claim. For a start which SPECIFIC engineers are you referring to when you refer to a “rookie” etc

            Its all good to make wild claims, but it helps to have some facts to back them up hey….

          • OOliver said on 22nd March 2012, 7:12

            @Aussie Fan, I very much doubt you are refering to my comment because I don’t remember using the word “Rookie”.

            And if you don’t follow all the F1 news continously, you can’t expect me to give you a around up of all that went on regarding Mclaren’s race engineers.

            If you were not aware that Hamilton’s formr race engineer got promoted, thenby some twist of fortune, later got to sub as Button’s race engineer, then bla bla.
            If you didn’t read various Withmarsh interviews where he talked about having both drivers start their first season as team mates, on an equal footing, you expect me to go dig up that info for you?

  11. infy (@infy) said on 21st March 2012, 16:56

    LOL at the excuses he is making.

    It is as if he would not accept that he was lacking the skills to beat Button, so the engineers decided to create two reasons why he was slower, so not to hurt his motivation.

    Too bad people instantly believe everything the team says…

    • You can’t be serious..

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st March 2012, 17:15

        Agreed, N…lacking the skills, infy? How did he manage pole then? I think you are not an LH fan (I’m indifferent to him) and so to you he is making excuses…to his fans, they are reasons. I think you will find that the majority of people believe LH to be the more skilled driver of the two, (although I think JB has upped his own game starting last year) and LH is one of the most skilled in F1. I personally still question his mental game, but skills? No way.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st March 2012, 17:28

      @infy Hamilton described how he made a poor start and wasn’t as quick as Button on tyre warm-up. Both of these were observable from the outside: we could see he made a poor start and we could see how much quicker Button was in those two situations.

      So I fail to see how this is Hamilton “making excuses”.

      As it happens, someone said something similar about one of Button’s radio transmissions last weekend. Button was describing a problem he was having with a car, and they called that ‘making excuses’. Which was also wrong.

      Here’s the thing: we are talking about professional racing drivers. They analyse what they’re doing to the nth degree to find an advantage and to eliminate shortcomings.

      • Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 21st March 2012, 18:50

        Well said Keith!

      • Jay said on 22nd March 2012, 0:29

        Well said Keith.

        I dont see why there is an argument here. As many have said, Mclaren probably have the best car and driver pairing on the grid. We cant draw conclusions over favouritism based on 1 race! I think Martin Whitmarsh has been quite fair, in comparison to Ron Dennis! ;)

        I think the media has made Lewis out to be a real cry baby, which is unfair. Its probably true that he has had some personal problems, but as professional, this is not an excuse that is acceptable to defend poor performances. If he is well truly depressed, he needs to seek medical advice, or maybe even take time off. If his girlfriend would rather be in Hollywood, why drag her to the race? If I were Lewis, I would just stop babbling to the media about how is “head wasnt in the right place” and just get on with it. He needs to shed some of his PC image and tell a few people to **** off once in a while…sadly he hasnt done this yet.

        The podium on Albert Park drew a start comparison between a man who is at the supreme peek of his abilities and confidence, and a boy who looked rather lost and confused.

      • Luis said on 22nd March 2012, 2:52

        Sorry Keith, but stating “i was not my fault” is a classic excuse. Yes, blame it on the mechanics and engineers……I like LH but he needs to work harder and wiser. I like his aggressiveness, his passion but he is no Senna….
        I want to see a good and fair fight between JB and LH for the good of the sport.

        • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 22nd March 2012, 10:43

          He stated he had a discussion with the engineers where they went through the data and then implies that the decision between both he AND his engineers was that he wasn’t at fault. There is no blame there. Stop looking for a stick to bash him with.

    • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 22nd March 2012, 7:45

      6th year in F1 and its the same ‘We had a problem. It was not my fault’. I don’t know how he expects the team to treat him fairly if he is going to behave like this. Not to mention his constant criticism about race stewards *cough* Mansell *cough* and hype issues up when getting docked. I’m sorry, but this guy has serious issues and if left unchecked he won’t last in F1 for long.
      Regarding the conspiracy theory to favor Button, seriously what exactly did Lewis do to deserve an undercut apart from ruining his tyres and that too when not even running close to his teammate? Why should the lead driver be punished for no offense of his? Consider if Lewis gets the undercut and Jenson has a poor pitstop he will lose his 10 sec lead for nothing. Admittedly he is fast, but how many laps can he do consistently without locking up the tyres? If he doesn’t win thsi year he can very well go to BoringCars series

  12. Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 21st March 2012, 18:58

    Let me tell what happend Hamilton, Whitmarsh overfueled you car, so you where slower then Button, that’s 1. point 2, you should pitted before Button and after you came, the team should put you on Soft you still had and Button did not, but instead, the team puts you on hard tyres so you could not past Button who had obiously less oil in his tank, Whitmarsh is simply a snake of man who favors Button above Hamilton!

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 21st March 2012, 19:41

      please for god sake, tell me you forgot to put a smiley at the end of your sentence indicating sarcasm, because if you were indeed serious than…….

      • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 21st March 2012, 20:14

        Yes i’m serious, everybody knows that Whitmarsh favors Button above Hamilton, can’t you see/read that ?, i seriously don’t trust Whitmarsh. explain to me why the team did not put Soft tyres for Hamilton ?, Hamilton had a set un used Softs tires, so why did the team not put it on Hamiltons car ?, why did the team pitted Button before Hamilton while Hamiltons tires where going off ?.. Explain that to me and i will take my words back

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st March 2012, 21:02

          @concalvez00 It’s McLaren (and pretty much everyone else’s) policy to give their lead driver preference over when they pit. That way there can’t be any handbags!

          What you’re suggesting about fuel is particularly pretty ridiculous. You have no proof of it, it’s just silly. Over fueling his car would leave him a sitting duck for Vettel.

          • Aussie Fan said on 22nd March 2012, 2:15

            Guccio so now that has been explained to you, are you going to take your words back as you said???

        • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 22nd March 2012, 10:50

          Hamilton had a set un used Softs tires, so why did the team not put it on Hamiltons car

          @concalvez00 – Jenson was also put on to a set of the mediums at his first pit stop, this is because the teams saw the times that Alonso (the first man on to the prime compound) was putting in and realised there was very little difference between the two compounds, performance wise. The fact that they should last longer than the softs is an added bonus. As you saw, Hamilton easily kept Vettel behind him on the second stint whilst he was on primes and Vettel was on options. The only reason Vettel past Hamilton was the timing of the safety car, if Hamilton had not had to meet the minimum delta times then he would have still been ahead of Vettel.

          It’s one race, I suggest you calm down.

    • rankx (@rankx22) said on 21st March 2012, 19:43

      omg, now everything is clear to me.
      thank you so much!

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 21st March 2012, 23:06


      Hold on, you want to tell a driver what happened in his own race?

      I’d love to have had your grandstand seat for that race…

  13. DMC (@dmc) said on 21st March 2012, 20:19

    I think whoever of the two got to the first corner first would have won the race in a similar fashion. But if this season becomes about tyre management button will win hands down, and you can argue all you like about who’s the most skilled driver, the way this sport is going that could be most valuable tool any driver has.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st March 2012, 20:52

      @dmc It’s a skill set in itself. Personally I can take as much enjoyment in watching a scrappy, feisty race from Hamilton as much as I can a calculated race from Button.

      • DMC (@dmc) said on 21st March 2012, 22:33

        I hear what your saying but Jensons silky smooth style definately helps. I just think the tail out ballsy drivers are being penalised.

        • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 22nd March 2012, 10:54

          @dmc – Perhaps they are, but surely they need to learn and adapt to the new rules? You could argue that the Bridgestone tyres penalised Button because he was generally considered to not have the pace of certain other drivers, and due to the strength of the Bridgestone compounds the others didn’t need to worry about tyre wear.

          • James (@goodyear92) said on 22nd March 2012, 13:04

            Yeah but a fundamental part of racing is speed, it’s not the same thing when you’re struggling to look after your tyres. If your not as ultimately fast, that’s not struggling to adapt because it’s not your style, that’s just you.

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st March 2012, 20:46

    Summed up perfectly in the last paragraph really. They can develop a car incredibly well. Their bounce back in 2009 and their turn around after Melbourne last year following the octopus exhaust issue just proves that when they hit the ground running they are going to be a very hard force to stop.

  15. zicasso (@zicasso) said on 21st March 2012, 23:11

    Button is clearly better at managing tyres and his experience helps him make cold decisions. It’s obvious he played to his favour and delayed LH first pit stop. Great for him as he had the advantage. Lewis his emotional and passionate and that is something everyone knows. The media and other teams are playing a game making comments about Jenson suggesting he is better/quicker and Hamilton, unfortunately, is falling for that. That’s what is scaring as I love Lewis and know he is the quickest guy out there. I am starting to doubt he LH is the best as he seems not be able to ignore others and just focus on his strength. I really hope he will be capable of that this year.

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