Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea International Circuit, 2012

Hamilton admits championship “too far away now”

2012 Korean Grand Prix.Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea International Circuit, 2012Lewis Hamilton conceded his hopes of winning the championship this year are virtually over after finishing tenth in the Korean Grand Prix.

“I guess the pressure is now off,” he said after the race. “I guess that’s kind of us out of the championship. It’s tough because there’s so much work from the team, so much work from myself and all the people around to try and win this thing.

“We were still in the fight up until now but it’s kind of long, too far away now. But we’ll keep fighting to get as high as we can in the constructors’ and I hope me and Jenson can have some stronger races in the next ones.”

Hamilton said “rear suspension failure” was the cause of his problems during the race. “It was a real battle throughout the whole race but I didn’t give up, I kept pushing right until the end.”

Late in the race he collected a piece of Astroturf which slowed him down even further: “I was struggling to keep the car on the track whilst pushing the guys ahead and the balance was constantly changing.

“I went wide, the Astroturf shouldn’t come up like that but it did. It cost me a lot of downforce so I was struggling towards the end. Lucky to stay ahead of Perez.”

Mercedes, who Hamilton will join next year, failed to score for the second race in a row. Asked if he was concerned about the performance of his future team Hamilton said: “I haven’t seen what they had, I’m just focussing on what I’ve got.

“We’ve had three failures in three races on my side of the garage so I hope my luck changes and we have better races in the future.”

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96 comments on “Hamilton admits championship “too far away now””

  1. Seriously isn’t this three races in a row that McLaren have had a broken suspension issue with his car? Does McLaren actually want to win anymore because this is just starting to look either like ineptness or punishment for deserting the team.

    1. For sure worst reliability among top teams.

      After Newey made glass-like machine to compete with mighty Ferraris, they have looked quite reliable for a while. However, now they’re being broken trying to catch up Newey’s masterpieces…

    2. It’s great they can do 2.5 second pitstops but now the car breaks down. They’ve had the best car for the majority of races and are 3rd in the WCC and 4th and 6th in WDC. They really have screwed themselves this year.

      1. @tommyb89 – I’m sure Hamilton would rather that the car was 2 tenths quicker than Red Bull in qualifying than McLaren 2 tenths quicker in the pits.

    3. It’s amazing how many points McLaren have thrown away for Hamilton. By my estimates it is a minimum of 74 points and maximum of 94 points.

      2. malaysia Q 1st F 3rd (15)… Slow Pit Stop… 1st (25) lost 10p
      3. China Q 2nd F 3rd (15)… Geearbox started 7th… 1st/2nd (25/18) lost 10p / 3p
      4. Bahrain Q 2nd F 8th (4)… Slow Pit Stops… 2nd/3rd (18/15) lost 14p / 11p
      5. Spain Q 1st F 8th (4)… Started 24th – Fuel… 1st/2nd (25/18) lost 21p / 14p
      14. Singapore Q 1st DNF (0)… Gearbox 1st (25) lost 25p
      16. Korea Q 3rd F 10th (1)… Broken car 3rd/4th (15/12) lost 14p / 11p

      Hamilton could be blamed for the set-up issue in Japan. He came 5th but based on Jenson’s performance may have managed 3rd (loss of 5 points). Also one of his DNF’s (the crash into Perez), he was defending aggressively (loss of 10 points if you blame him). It is unlikely he could have placed higher in any other race.

      It would be good if someone could look into what the average point loss of top teams are due to technical faults.

      1. You should add in Suzuka because the team has said a faulty part led to the set up problem. He would have been at least where Button was.

  2. Mercedes surely wont be remaining out of news in next season. Hamilton is going to give that attention to mercedes by publicly stating what a “truck” he is driving in F1.

    Lewis you are going to bid for another championship after 2015 when you sign for another team and leave mercedes. This car has something “fundamentally’ wrong. Not much downforce, rear tyres get eaten up within 8-9 laps . Good luck lewis !!

    1. Do you think that maybe next year, if Hamilton is still this aggresive on his tires, and the Mercedes’ tire preservation will also stay the same, he may have to pit every lap of Korea?
      Would be an interesting reason for retirement (no pun intended), since the tire limit.

      1. I never was in favor of lewis going to Mercedes .IMO Lewis’s and Schumacher’s driving style is somewhat similar- both are aggressive drivers . So if all things remain same i.e. lewis aggression on tires and Merc tire preservation, we could see hamilton getting the same result as Schumacher got today.

        1. Do we think that Hamilton was far away from Schumacher, today?

      2. I guess you read the article about the anti roll bars.

      3. Hamilton hard on the tires is a myth that has been debunked.

    2. I suppose it depends how similar next year’s car is to this one – you’d have thought with all the expertise they’ve brought into the team, sorting out the fundamental issues of the car would have been high on the priority list.

      I don’t think they’ll produce a title winning car next season, but I’d at least expect them to have solved some of the issues they’ve had with this year’s car.

    3. Strange that ever since Hamilton said he was leaving his car has been rubbish and noncompetitive.
      Think maybe Mclaren don’t wont Hamilton to win the championship as punishment for leaving …….

      1. @mylo
        They didn’t seem to want him to win the championship early on with all those 20 hour pitstops.

        1. Nor Button then I suppose, he was realistically out thanks to that pit stop stuff and problems with his own setup already before the summer.

    4. Who say’s Lewis is aggressive on his tires in the first place ?

  3. This was make-or-break for Mclaren and Hamilton, however, instead they got worst weekend. it is virtually over now. I expected good 3 way battle but now clear 2 way fight…or 1 way dominance maybe?

    I would appreciate he would do best and win for remaining races even if he’s out. You can make it much interesting Hamilton! Surely Mclaren should help.

    1. @eggry I cant see Alonso winning unless Vettel has a reliability issue now, I doubt he’s going to be able to pull those points back on pure race results.

    2. He still can win this if:

      Vettels has an awful Saturday at Budh and an even worse start and hits Alonso’s sidepod end gets a one race penalty adding to DNFs to his account while Alonso fails to score in India too. Hamilton wins in India and in the remaining races while Vettel’s alternator fails in the US while leading and Alonso is collected by Grosjean earlier…

      1. Looks feasible! Hamilton would then, unlike today, ‘only’ have to finish ahead of Webber, Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean Vergne and Ricciardo to score some serious points!

  4. McLaren’s failure to construct the car properly is getting rather pathetic now. This isn’t a failure of a 3rd party component such as Red Bull’s alternators, this is McLarens’ own construction. For a team with the wealth and experience that McLaren have, to have 3 car problems in as many races is shocking.
    They’ve destroyed their own season, it is nobody else’s fault but thereselves. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ferrari secure 2nd in the constructors.

    1. They pretty much already have.

      1. Yeah, McLaren had so much promise earlier this season and have managed to bung it all up almost comically.

        I worry about Lewis’ future. Mercedes seemed less than 100% behind Formula 1 in their last group of comments, hard to feel good about a factory team if the factory doesn’t.

    2. as a Mclaren fan, I can only lament this. This is very much similar to the failures of 2005, when Kimi’s brilliant drives (and a few from JPM) throughout the season were punctured by recurring engine failures.

      I’ve done rudimentary calculations, and only taking into account mechanical failures or team errors, Hamilton has lost around fifty points. Button would’ve lost some as well some similar pit stop blunders and gearbox issues.

      This poor from from a team, supposedly one of the top teams in F1; I’ve been supporting them since 1999 and this season has been really devastating and disheartening.

      1. And if you add the points lost through amateur like operational errors Hamilton should nearly have the championship wrapped up by now. None of which is his fault of course, which makes the move to Mercedes make more sense. Why stay with a team that when, on the odd occasion they do have a car capable of winning the championship, throw it away for you with mechanical and operational blunders.

        Regarding today’s race, Hamilton was truly outstanding. To keep up a half decent pace, fiight brilliantly wheel to wheel and hold on to win a point despite having to make an extra pit stop was a drive worthy of the Champion Hamilton should have been this year.

        1. *considering the broken anti-roll bar of course, which should have made what he did impossible

  5. I said it back in March. This season will be Mclaren’s to lose. They have succeeded in doing so, in spectacular fashion.

  6. I just kept laughing at the look of that astroturf hanging off Hamilton’s car. It was just so tragic.
    It really highlighted how ridiculously bad, not only his race went, but the whole McLaren operation. Which has seem faulty right from the start of the season, but they seem to have completely lost the plot recently.
    I don’t know what’s going on in Woking, but it just seems like they are getting sloppy and demotivated.
    Hopefully the lack of pressure will let them find their mojo, and at least take back 2nd in the WCC. But I fear that its lost. If they don’t end this season on a high, and without Hamilton at them next year. Then it might just go from bad to worse. Hopefully they can prove me wrong.

    1. That astroturf was perfect. A perfect microcosm of their season.

    2. I fear next year isn’t going to be much different. Subjectively, it’s going to be the first year since 2005 (or further back if you really rate Kimi) that they don’t have a top 3 driver in their line-up. No offense to Button

  7. Lewis Hamilton conceded his hopes of winning the championship this year are virtually over after finishing tenth in the Korean Grand Prix.

    To be brutally honest, his hopes were probably truly dashed as far back as the Belgian Grnad Prix.

    1. To be pointedly pedantic his hopes were set back in Belgium and truly dashed at Korea.

      1. On a similar note, I’m kinda glad McLaren are out of it now. I don’t think I could handle it, going down to the wire and McLaren undoubtedly self-destructing at the last race.

        1. better now than later, you have a good point.

    2. No, Belgium is far too early a point to pick out – even with the benefit of hindsight. The Mclaren car at least still had good momentum back then, and we’ve seen the turn around in Vettel’s fortunes in just a few races.

      The car failure from P1 in Singapore is the one I’d go for, as Mclaren has completely lost its momentum from that point. A trio of car component failures in as many races is not good enough for a top team. I don’t remember even the Red Bull from 2010 suffering that kind of failure rate, although at least it had the advantage of being significantly faster than the rest when it was working.

      It certainly justifies his decision to leave Mclaren IMO (they do seem to constantly screw up in ways other teams don’t), but then of course Mercedes will have to produce a much better car over the next couple of years to put him in a better position than driving a good car plagued by “Mc-Opp-itis”.

      1. I agree. Singapore was a fatal blow and this rear torsion bar failure is nail in the coffin. It’s amazing in how many different and various ways McLaren shot their foot, rather than shot in the arm.

    3. Hungary is where he gave up. A flat tyre and he wanted to retire but the team forced him to stay out. Thats the attitude problem he’s had for the most of the year.

      1. ”Hungary is where he gave up. A flat tyre and he wanted to retire but the team forced him to stay out. Thats the attitude problem he’s had for the most of the year.” – Rubbish!, btw it was Germany and Jonathan Neele afterwards that Lewis had too stop anyway but he stayed outside to collect data for Button, get your facts right!. And do you mean with attitude problem ?, McLaren as messed up nearly every race for him this so Lewis has every right to be angry!

  8. So HAM was defending from Kimi and Grojean during second stint and trying to pose aggression to two Toro Rosso in third stint with his rear stablizer broken? And also defending from Perez with additional big astroturf flying around his car? That’s sounds something jaw dropping.

    1. I don’t know what “jaw dropping” means, but if you refer that Hamilton didn’t have problems because he was capable to defend from Lotuses, I think it’s wrong. Lotuses were/are very slow on strights, the only place you can overtake, nowadays.

      1. No, I meant he was heroic just as Whitmarsh said, esp giving fights during almost two thirds of the total laps with defective car. And also it should be very dangerous.

  9. Boring race after boring race at the moment. It’s not even a case of “no on track action but interesting strategy”.

    Just boring boring boring. At this rate they might as well stop showing races live and just show us the F1.com race edit videos.

    1. Ha. So bored by the race I lost track of which article I was commenting on!

    2. I actually fell asleep in the middle …. Zzzzzz

  10. so far away is the championship ham picks up some green and does a Bob Marley on track

    1. He did have Bob on his helmet once, Mclaren on the other hand need to get rid of seedy and whitty, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  11. That Hamilton was even able to score a point is a great feat.
    There is not point saying anything about Mclaren, their season as a whole says it all.

    1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      14th October 2012, 13:20

      Agreed. It seems like they’ve always had problems at any given point in the season. They started off with the fastest car, but with all the operational errors – botched pit stops, throwing away a pole position by putting too little fuel in the car. They resolved the pit stop issue, only to fall behind in the car development race, falling so suddenly off the frontrunners’ pace. They restore the car’s race-winning potential with comprehensive updates, only to be suddenly beset by one reliability issue after another – broken suspension here, gearbox failure there.

      As a McLaren fan, it pains me to say this, but their entire season has been a comedy of errors.

  12. Well, at least he’s honest. All they should concentrate on now is keeping Lotus off their back with regards to the constructors championship.

  13. They’ve just thrown this title away. It really looked like, from Belgium to Singapore, they’d found their feet; sorted their problems and asserted themselves as having the fastest and most consistent package. Hamilton looked like recovering his season’s earlier losses, and staging a great resurgence for the Championship fight. After their second successive gearbox failiure in Singapore, though, everything has just fallen to pieces. The dominant pace they appeared to possess is clearly no longer a factor and they’ve returned to shooting themselves in the foot at every possible oppurtunity — as they were so adept at doing in the beginning. It’s frankly embarrassing when you contrast it with the excellent jobs Red Bull and Ferrari have been doing all season long. McLaren can no longer claim to be F1’s most professional team; the closest to perfection – that belongs to Ferrari and Red Bull, and McLaren barely deserve mentioning in the same breath. It’s a sham just how exceptionally they’ve thrown both this year’s titles away.

    1. Well summed up. And another year is waiting for them with self-proclaimed best race driver in the grid as No. 1 and new raw diamond who is regarded as just a good driver by another good driver or No.2 in Ferrari. Of course Whitmarsh thinks differently on this point and everyone deserves his own opinion though.
      And Domenicali is said to opine like this

      “But the pressure he (Perez) will have at McLaren will be much lower than what he would have had to endure if he was signed by Ferrari,” he added.

      Maybe this is going to be too much insult to self asserted and garage dominant new No. 1.?
      Anyway, it seems sure thing that McLaren is bound to go down a slippery slope. Good luck.

  14. A bit off-topic: I really like these driver- and team-quote articles that have been appearing on F1Fanatic since last week. So, thanks and keep up the good work!

  15. Mugambian President
    14th October 2012, 14:47

    On the positive side, this anti roll bar problem kind of prepares Hamilton to the AMG kart he will be driving next season, he will need this level of fighting spirit and efforts for next season just to achieve a somewhat similar result every GP, i should expect. As for Mclaren, i am at a loss for words to describe my disappointment at recurring problems on Hamilton’s car.

    1. alonso said it best ,lewis as all rite to leave mclaren when is the last time they win any of the championship , apart from when lewis win in 2008 , they allways throw it away

    2. Apparently Hamilton as already written off Mercedes having a championship winning car next season, so I think he will take any success as a bonus. 2014 will be completely different however, and I expect a get out clause for 2015 to perhaps Red Bull if Vettel goes walkies.

      As a Hamilton fan I do believe Whitmarsh and Button have kind of got their way by seeing him off, although there is no doubt Lewis’ antics have certainly helped the process along.

      When you think about the last three years, it’s been a complete turn around. Button is now the team leader at McLaren, but there’s a problem… he isn’t that fast unless Goldilocks is in town and the car is ‘just right’. Unfortunately at McLaren the 3 bears are still at home.

      In other news, Button called Kobayashi an “idiot” today, I hate to think of the repercussions had it been Hamilton. Ok, that’s all my ‘fanboy’ comments done for today :)

      1. @john-h,

        and I expect a get out clause for 2015 to perhaps Red Bull if Vettel goes walkies.

        Guess Adrian Newey’s contract with Red Bull is expiring around that time and without him, I think I doubt any winning cars from Red Bull nor the so called all time youngest-greatest DO SOMETHING finger boy bonanza.

  16. Feeling much better about Hamilton leaving McLaren for Mercedes after Korea after all what’s the difference moving from one midfield team to another.

    1. Mugambian President
      14th October 2012, 15:07


  17. Despite all the problems with Hamilton’s car it was great to see him battle with other cars on track. It was probably the biggest highlight of the race for me. Its likely Hamilton won’t be challenging for the title next year but if that means watching him start midfield and battling with cars all race long then I will be happy :D

    1. ruth517 (@spanishconnection)
      14th October 2012, 17:43


  18. Anybody else notice how unstable Hamilton’s car was @ high speed? Hard braking only seemed to exacerbate the issues, with the front end darting this way & that… I’m amazed he managed to keep it on the track, let alone attack & defend the way he did. Lewis will definitely not be any worse off at Mercedes. McLaren proves once again that nobody can muck up a season quite like they can. Pathetic.

  19. The saddest thing I read recently was that Hamilton booked 16 lanes of a Suzuka bowling alley to take the McLaren mechanics out for a farewell party and they all snubbed him to go on a charity fun run with Jenson instead. Sounds like he’ll be the loneliest man in the world for the rest of the season …

    1. Where did you read that from?

        1. So the mechanics should drop a booked event, because Hamilton wants to throw a farewell party? He said himself that they were already booked. Should have checked the date first, shouldn’t he?

          1. That’s true. But my common sense is that there should’ve been some rearrangement at the very least in its minimal respect, unless there was only disgust and hatred each other.
            But generally this soap opera thing should be OK ’cause in some sense it shows McLaren’s biz morale and their attitude on Hamilton. Why not one more shot in the foot when the damage all done irrecoverably.

          2. What? Cancel on a CHARITY event so as to feed his ego a little bit more? I can imagine the tabloids would have spun it badly either way.

    2. At least he would have won.

    3. After his drive today, the Mclaren mechanics ought to be taking Lewis out, not standing him up.
      It was a pretty gutsy drive from someone who has allegedly checked out already, and that point might just be important to McLaren in the championship standings at the end of the season (if they can get their act together). Every place is worth several million to the team…

      1. Though at least Martin Whitmarsh was suitably appreciative after the race.

  20. Lewis dragging the carpet: shouldn’t he have been black flagged? Truly a very dangerous situation not onlt for Hamilston but anyone following him.

    1. Yeah. And shouldnt the race have been red flagged until a present severe threat to drivers was dealt with? This is not as bad as he manhole cover that snagged JPM but is really inexcusable.

      I’ll be happy to see the back of this terrible, budget race track in this squalid, lame venue. It looks like it’s set in a tidal marsh, against the charming backdrop of harbor cranes.

      1. Well, that’s because it is…

  21. I don’t care how fast Maca’s car is or how clinicaltt there factory is, or how great there history is, if you can’t manage to give a driver like Lewis a oportunity to win than it shouldn’t be a risk going to Mercedes next year. At least he can try to make something special. Remember that Hamilton is the only guy that that won a championship till Mika for mighty McLaren. That’s just speaks about how lost they are. Beat luck to Lewis.

    1. spelling aside, this. And it’s not like there haven’t been similar opportunities. How many close calls have there been? 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 (arguably)

      I’m still in my wallowing phase but Renault and Red Bull have won more WDC and WCC than them in this new century

      1. Sorry about my spelling (damn smart-phones :)). I was chewing my nails while I was watching Kimi, Montoya (who was fast motherf….) and than Lewis, of course, loosing race wins and than championships, because of bad management or non reliable (but fast) car. I’m sick of it.

  22. Even as a fan it became difficult to feel down about Hamilton’s race because in the end it was just slap-stick. The whole thing was so absurd it was more comedy than horror. After the astroturf wrapped around Hamilton’s car I half expected to see Mr. Bean’s emerge from the car in the parc.

    A lot of people are weighing up whether Hamilton made a dumb move to go to Mercedes, based on their current performance. It’s a still a good question. But it’s very worrying to see what is going on with McLaren as they end the season. Button is back to his swoons, one or two cars fail in every race. Between having to school up Perez and find grip for Button they will be nowhere.

    1. Totally agree. I guess that only thing that keep McLaren fans faith was Lewis, and now his gone. Good point about Mr. Bean :).

  23. Kenneth Ntulume
    15th October 2012, 8:55

    I wonder if the BOD of the McLaren team are concerned about what is going on with their org, from the sheer operational sloppiness, to the clumsiness at which they handled there contract negotiations with Lewis………am assuming anyways that they considered Hamilton as relevant to there brand value or perhaps they too dont think they have lost much, I better hope that actually McLaren have a plan………that next year they are going to blow us away

      1. Don’t McLaren have board of directors in their decision making process? Anyhow they even may have wanted to sack Lewis out for some reason? If not, the series of recent events evolving out of them these days does not make much sense.

        1. @leotef I was asking what he meant by ‘BOD’.

          1. @keith-collantine – I assume it means “Board Of Directors”.

          2. And I wrote it down in the comment ;)

          3. Kenneth Ntulume
            15th October 2012, 21:40

            Yes, @keith-collantine as pointed out BOD meant (Board of Directors)..

  24. There’s not really much to fault about Hamilton’s performance, he is giving it everything that he can. McLaren need to look at themselves.

  25. I hope that McLaren will have a miserable next season. I think that the biggest problem in this big corporations is ego of the CEO. In this case it’s even worse as since Ron step down (following spy-gate) his word is most important, even if he admits that Martin is the man :)). And his ego is saying that McLaren can do well without anybody “important”.

  26. You talk like mechanical failures and unfortunate pit-stops are something that only happens at McLaren. All the other teams have had or have the same issues, some in the past others now. It evens out in the end.

    Lokk at Ferraris 2008 season, which he started off well. Then suddenly Raikkonens bodywork caught fire and the exhaust broke. The next thing Ferrari did in another race that year was t to put both drivers on the wrong tyre on a dry cirquit, nobody could understand what they were thinking. To top it off they forgot to unleash the refilling rig from Massas car ant took him out of another race. That season Ferrari cost both their drivers a lot of points, and Massa lost the championship because of these incidents. That year Hamilton won a title due to mechanical failures and unfortunaqte pit-stops by others.

    Red Bulls 2010 season was hit hard by mechanical failures (I seem to remember 3 og 4 for Vettel alone), KERS-failure (almost every singe race), and then finally Vettel were driving 3 races in a car that he felt was not right, as it turned out Red Bull eventuelly found out that the frame was crackes and not stiff enough. Vettel would have wrapped up that championship 3-4 races before the end if not for these incidents, now he just managed to win.

    Even in 2011 Red Bull and Vettel had at least 2 failures that cost then victory. And don`t even get me started on Webber, his misfortune with KERS is unbelieveable. He`s been fortunate not to have so many pure mechanical failures, but he`s made up for it in KERS-failure. I`ve lost count of the races where Webber has lost out due to KERS-failure.

    Look at Michael Schumacher this year, he must have set some kind of record in mechanical failures for the last 10 years this year. And that`s the car Hamilton is going to drive next year.

    F1 is a development race, sometimes you push over the limit and as a consequence you get mechanical failures. But it`s better to have a fast unreliable car than a slow reliable car any day.

    But in the long run it evens out between the teams. McLaren had a couple of years with bad reliability when Raikkonen was there, but from 2007 onwards McLaren has been among the most reliable og the most reliable car out there until this year.

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