Hamilton regrets set-up error

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Lewis Hamilton thinks he made a mistake by deciding to take the F-duct off his car for the Italian Grand Prix.

Team mate Jenson Button used the team’s regular rear wing with an F-duct while Hamilton used a much smaller rear wing without an F-duct. He said:

I’m a little bit disappointed – it would appear that we took the wrong route by running without the F-duct this weekend. I just didn’t have the downforce today, and the car was sliding in the corners – I couldn’t push any harder because the car just wouldn’t give me any more.

For tomorrow’s race, I’ll have good top speed, but the car is going to be sliding through the corners, so I won’t be able to follow closely enough through the corners to try and pass, so it’ll be tough.

But I have to congratulate Jenson on doing a great job. Today wasn’t my best qualifying performance of the season, but we’ll still push like crazy tomorrow and fight for some good points from the third row. It looks like it’ll be a tough race.
Lewis Hamilton

He will start behind Button for the fifth time year.

2010 Italian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    79 comments on “Hamilton regrets set-up error”

    1. Turn out Jenson is brighter than Hamilton…

      1. Turned out. my grammar is absolute rabbish

        1. So is your spelling :)

        2. Comment of the day.

      2. no it was the team that decided lewis would not run the f-duct and that jenson would,how covenient given that maclaren have always favoured jenson above poor lewis,you see the team can use team orders in different devious ways.

        1. Thats not team orders, its driver favoritism you are thinking of, but its not even that, Jenson simply took the more risky decision which payed off (so far) as he often does.

          1. sorry you are wrong jenson has admitted that it was his side of the garage team that took the decision to run the f-duct and lewis,s side of the garage not to run the f-duct,if whitmarsh want,s button to win (which he does} then what better way to do this?then this results in the same things as saying to lewis buttons car is quicker than yours and making it obvious that he wants lewis to let jenson pass,same result(jenson gets pass lewis) but not obvious as ferrari was.whitmarsh knows the only way jenson can get in front of lewis is by doing this,jenson only managed to get in front of lewis by winning the 2 races he won earlier in the season was the same thing again jensons side of the garage made thr right choice of tires and lewis,s side made the wrong choice of tyres and called lewis in much to early deliberately spoiling lewis,s position so you see it is the same as team orders but cleverly not as obvious as ferrari.

            1. Of course its a team decision, a driver can not make a setup decision on his own, but at the end of the day its the driver who has the final word, and in Australia it was Jenson who made the call for tires, Lewis at the same time was conservative and relied on his engineers to feed him info to reach decisions. By the way, when Jenson talked with the BBC and explained their decisions, he started the sentence with “I” and then corrected himself and said “We, our side of the garage”

              But even if I go along with you and agree that particular decisions were made to give a certain driver better chance of success, that doesn’t mean its team orders. Its driver favoritism, which is not outlawed.

              Team orders and driver favoritism are two quite different things, but unfortunately 98% of people confuse them and therefore there have been all this accusations of hypocrisy.

              Team order – a decision enforced by the team that prevents an on track battle, prevents a race, in other words.

              Driver favoritism – a decision enforced by the team to benefit a certain diver in any way, like giving him the newest updates, less risky strategy and so on. And although this gives a certain driver a better chance it doesn’t prevent a race.
              Although letting one driver past an other one is also a way of favoring a driver its also a team order, and as team order is the stronger of the two, its to be called a team order.

            2. if whitmarsh want,s button to win (which he does} then what better way to do this?

              That is just completely baseless. Hamilton clearly made his own choice on set-up, he said as much himself.

            3. despite all if they were closely match on practice knowing thatn Ham is faster jsut tell him to use the other option and try not to do mistakes on your hot lap

            4. Seems team orders is the new theme of the moment, like dirty air, or even for sure.

            5. @janet. How deluded are you? Are you actually suggesting that McLaren will favour Jenson over their Golden Boy? Lewis is 35 points ahead of Jenson, and there is no way Jenson could get any preferential treatment over Lewis.

        2. Look at the top speed. Basically Button gambled more than Hamilton. Button top speed is way off, only faster than HRT.

          Hamilton took the safer approach and Button took the risky one and at least it payed off for Button in the qualy.

          One can argue that everyone else have f-duct, but then again, everyone else still got better top speed than Button.

        3. Hamilton made a mistake on his hot lap anyway mclaren should have told him that higher downforce with the rw28 would be better, on practice they were very close but we all now that Hamilton is quicker than Button so it could ps:(Ferrari Fan)

        4. And how does this explain the decision of other teams not to run the F-duct? Are they favouring Button over their own drivers?

          1. i have just discovered all the other teams that run the f-duct ARE running the f-duct at monza,lewis is the ONLY one NOT running the f-duct which was his teams choice,does this not sound peculiar and blatantly a definite deliberate bad choice by lewis,s team?.

            1. Its understandable, with the small amount of wing that the mclaren is running the fduct would just create more drag, theres no point in using it unless he also ran more wing. Theres nothing wrong with the car, he was quickest in free practice. He just made mistakes on his laps. Believe it or not it happens.

    2. No sympathy for you lewis, you brought it on yourself. As usual they tried to look clever being different from all the frontrunners but it backfired bigtime. I’m so mad with them !!!!

      1. Hamilton’s explanations just do not make sense for the following reasons:

        1. Wasn’t the car sliding and lacking grip all weekend? If the sliding was so bad to lead to half a second gap to Button how come he and his engineers could not notice it. They had the whole of last night to make that decision and they can’t see such a big gap? How daft are these guys?

        2. Whitmarsh had indicated that they would run separate setups for one more practise during FP3 and then make the final decisions. Was this the ideal practise in which to make the decision if track temperatures were going to be significantly lower than what was expected for quali?

        I am pretty ****** with the entire team at McLaren including Lewis and Jenson for needlessly dicing with a championship! They will look so stupid tommorrow if the driver who is 35 points behind their championship leader is amongst those alongside Ferrari and Red Bull that contributes to the narrowing and/or elimination of their championship leadership because of a self inflicted disadvantage!

        1. Firstly the race is tomorrow and Hamilton has the more aggressive/attacking setup, and even if he finishes 5th its not the end of the day.

          And don’t underestimate how difficult it is to make such a change, therefore there wasn’t time to do more comparisons and time to make a decision as the packages looked very close, because its not like a average setup change, its pretty much a different car and you have to disassemble everything on the rear on the car even the floor and gearbox. Yesterday they haven’t finished changing the package when FP2 started therefore it took them more than 2.5 hours, so Friday was definitely the last time to decide, and even when you do change the package you have to remember that its completely different car and you still have to find race and qualy setup, where did you think they were going to find time to do all this?

          I’am not so critical on them and think they made the right decision to begin with, but which doesn’t look to be the optimal decision now, but nobody will know for sure until Sunday afternoon after the race.

        2. Oh come on, Lewis took one gamble, he just couldn’t quit make it in Qualli. Jens would have been a lot slower with that same setup, it is very logical he chose to do the more downforce solution.

          Sure maybe Lewis thought he would blow him away with it and now learnt exactly why Jens did what he did. But 5th is not too bad, he is only one spot behind his closes rival and the other RBR is behind him.
          It’s not like Alonso’s setup gamble in Spa that gave him 10th on the grid.
          With that massive top speed he might well be able to show some fascinating driving tomorrow and make up a place or two.

      2. Wasn’t it Button who took the gamble using lots of rear wing?

        I was under the impression that Hamilton was following the more standard Monza setup, the same as the other front-runners.

        1. Exactly, I don’t understand all these people talking about how Lewis was stupid for gambling, Button was the clear gambler!

          1. I think both were maybe taking a bit of a gamble. Lewis must have known, it would be a bit hero or zero with the low downforce package, as it required driving a lot on the limit.
            Button took the gamble of having the car feel rock solid in the tricky parts but risk not being fast enough to keep others behind on the straights.

            I didn’t see the sessions, but from the Pictures Keith posted, i had the Impression, that Webber is also running without F-duct or just less wing to have best top speed, while Vettel did use it.

    3. It’s good he took a gamble, made qualifying even more interesting. Shame it backfired for him, but at least he tried something different. Hopefully he’ll still have a strong result in the race to keep him firmly in the title hunt :)

      1. Actually I think he was playing the safe option. The same option everyone else is doing. Button took the risk of an unusual strategy and it has so far paid off.

        1. As far as I know the other front runners are all using the F-duct. Hamilton is not.

          1. Clearly the F duct was not the issue, he clocked one of the fastest speeds at the speed trap. His setup was the safe option because it is the usual low downforce route that everyone other than Button has taken.

            1. According to Hamilton not running the F duct was the issue. If he had the F-duct he’d ahve more downforce and stability in the corners. I think both were gambles really.

            2. @Steph
              When he said that he meant using the same setup (or similar) to Button. F-duct doesn’t give any downforce or stability, it just negates most of the drag from the rear wing down the straights. Having an f-duct while keeping the rest of his setup the same wouldn’t have made much difference (probably just made him slightly slower since it will create some drag itself – I’m guessing enough to make it not worth using with a low downforce setup)

            3. aah right thanks Skett

          2. I thought it was the case that only Button and the Williamses were going to be running it?

    4. It would appear, Button’s end of the garage has the brighter race engineers.

    5. f1 fans can look on the bright side. Hamilton in 5th makes the race unpredictable, if lewis had grabbed pole , it might have been an easy ride 4 him. But now he can show some of his overtaking wit and as always , he will give 100% . The start should be interesting . Long straight into turn one ,someone trying to defend leaves the door open and gets nailed into turn one like hamilton did to massa in ’07. :-)

      1. He’s going to have worse drive out of the corners and he’s going to be poor underbraking, he’ll have to fight to overtake Redbulls.

        1. He will be quick to the first corner and good out of the chicanes though, not so good through Lesmos. If he does make progress it’ll be a drive he has to take out of himself, McLarens big hope is Button.

          1. Exaclty might make for a fascinating race tomorrow where Hamilton will have to try to get past through top speed or making up time through staying out longer/pitting into a free space early.
            And Button will have to get the corners right to keep Massa behind (and Alonso if he manages to pass him) on the straights.

            Exactly what we wanted and a bit like Turkey with cars having different strenghts fighting it out.

      2. see, that will not happen as massa will be instructed to drive into lewis to make sure alonso wins! :-P

        1. But he would have to slow quit a bit to end up fighting Lewis from his 3rd place starting slot!

    6. Lewis is not on the wrong setup – this is Monza. :)

      1. yeah, not sure why people keep saying he took a gamble. He went the normal route, button took the gamble :D

    7. Younger Hamilton
      11th September 2010, 16:34

      I Just cannot understand why Lewis mentioned that the car was sliding around now after quali he had yesterday (1.5 HRS) to figure out if it was sliding around or actually ok but Low fuel or High fuel runs if they did both they should have known this but what if its better in the race than Qualifying and vice versa for Jenson who knows, Only McLaren

      1. me too – just doesn’t make sense – you expect these guys to have more information and make better decisions and occassionally they throw these rediculous blunders

        1. The track temperature was about 10 degrees hotter than it was this morning though, which may go some way to explaining it.

          1. Yeah but it was hot during fp2 as well. I think he’s just making typical racing driver excuses.

            1. Yea, the car was always going to slide more without the downforce from the rear wing. Lewis is good in driving slippery back ends, but he just didn’t manage it here today.

      2. The temperature was hotter during qualifying meaning his low downforce setup will even have less downforce. Secondly his tyre pressure will be higher meaning less contact patch.

    8. Should he not manage to somehow fix downforce issues until tomorrow then he’ll suffer early at the race, with the cars sliding in their heavy weight. Such will be his luck tomorrow, but it happens. Button was the better pilot this race out from the two.

    9. Hamilton made mistakes on both flying laps in Q3, he and everyone else should just accept and face that fact.

      Nothing wrong with the car set-up he has been faster all weekend up to Q3 when is mattered.

      IMO he still has the fastest set-up, but can he consistently not make the mistakes, faster but harder to drive and it caught him out in Q3 with a poor performance by his standards.

      1. yeah…exactly what happen, LH make lots of mistake in the second sector and in one point was distracted by MW which was the fastest lap but hi pull up little bit for another one and blow up…

      2. Lewis was fast all weekend up to Q3

        “My interpretation of Button using the F-duct is that he doesn’t think he’ll beat Hamilton by doing the same thing as him.”
        – I think alot of people agreed with this untill the end of Q3

        1. dead right this was the only way button could beat hamilton

        2. Well it makes perfect sense to do something different from Lewis, as both drive the car a bit different as well.
          Just as long as it’s not doing something different only for being different.

    10. I think McLaren is experimenting for future races and that explains the reason LH is close to the Bulls ;-)

      1. What, you think he is meant to use that backwards facing camera on Vettel behind him if he tries another weirdly wild maneuver and the forward one on Webber’s backside?

    11. Disappointing. I really hope he can salvage a podium tomorrow, I think he can beat the Red Bulls and Massa.

    12. He can win if he is super aggressive on the first laps.

      1. With a very unstable car, soft tires and a full tank, he will certainly experience fast tire degradation. He will be forced into an early pit stop and will have a very tough end of the race, with worn tires, compared to the opposition that will be able to better manage theirs, and later pit stops.

        Despite being the fastest driver in F1, Lewis keeps showing immaturity and lack of risk management skills, compared to Button. When you are leading the championship and has a package capable of winning the race, you must manage risks accordingly. I wish Lewis would be wiser.

        1. huh? the guy is 25…besides, his setup was pretty much the standard route for monza???? I fail to see the reason why everyone’s killing him for this…Jenson’s gamble paid off; great, it happens…this isnt the last race of the season.
          Besides, how many times has Lew out-qualified Button?
          You’re making it seem as if NO driver who led a championship this late had anything not go their way. Chill out.

    13. First time in 18 races that none of the Redbulls are on the frontrow

      1. Yes, that is good news. I still didn’t want Ferrari to do well here after Germany and last week, but during qualifying I was still hoping they would at least get close, and I did cheer for Alonso when he did it, and Massa getting third. But also for Button getting a 1st row to split them, or the race might have been a bit dull up there.

        1. wudve been more fun cause if massa wudve passed alonso by the end of turn 1, what wud ferrari tell massa to let alonso go thru? :-D

    14. Geez, you guys are being abit harsh on hamilton. He made a wrong call on the set up, thats all. This still takes nothing away from him as a driver. No one seems to have a go at button whenever he just isnt as fast as hamilton on countless occasions this season. But the few number of times hamilton makes a wrong call, all praise is on button and his decision making skills.

      Note: Button is 35 points behind hamilton for a reason. Calling hamilton immature is rediculous..

      1. Couldnt have said it better myself. Lewis makes one wrong call and everyone is descending upon him like the wrath of God, jenson has been lucky on some of his gambles…come race day though, he has been nowhere near Lewis’s pace for the most part.

      2. Tom M in Australia
        12th September 2010, 3:59

        Agreed. Lewis is in the form of his life this year, and is at the top of the championship in a car that’s not the best out there. Name the last guy that did that in a McLaren…

        He chose a low downforce setup at Monza and people are attacking his intelligence and maturity?! Get real.

    15. Let’s wait until tomorrow. Button will get murdered on the straights, that is if cars can follow him close enough through the chicanes.

    16. Yeh, yeh, here we go with the predictable put-downs.

      The deficit to the pole time is worse than it should be. Both laps either had mistakes or had Hamilton dealing with a car in front. In reality, 3 tenths would be a more likely deficit.

      And the race is not qualifying. They will not be wringing the car out on the edge anywhere near the whole way through.

      They can even twist the wing angle a bit on the grid (I’m sure that’s allowed, if not, at the first stop), sure there’s no F-duct but it might help.

      Everyone (including Hamilton himself) seems to have formed an opinion on the basis of 10 minutes. Over the rest of the weekend, he was dead level with his team-mate despite having a different set-up throughout except in one practice session. Unless Jenson sandbagged 4 tenths, which is pretty much unlikely, the issue is not the set-up.

      Out-driving Webber to the first corner, Hamilton would then have maybe three opportunities to make up at least one more place on the lap, if not more, and another opportunity at the beginning of Lap 2 if he’s lucky. With Webber looking like he’s not going anywhere above 5th, that’ll do Lewis for his championship hopes.

      Or he might crash at the first corner. I don’t have the guaranteed answer!

    17. Personally, I’m bit dissapointed with Lewis Hamilton throwing his toys out the pram. I was worried that Hamilton would go for a F-duct today. At least now he can drive naturally, as opposed to trying run from pole. Its gonna be a real classic…with Webber/Jenson cornering well and Massa/Hamiliton faster in a straight line…with crash test dummy vettel behind and kubica ready to pick up the pieces…its got to be the best start ever…

    18. Nah, don’t quite agreenwith what’s said, cornering, straight line speed and whatsoever are just part of the car. The driver has a big influence as well. Just imagine vetted being in a car that is fast on the straight, and the classic crash kid will be back.

      Hamilton will do well I guessl ,maybe 2 nd , 3rd or fourth if nothing bad happens. His ability to break late due to the apparent science that he is able to exert a greater force to the breaking pedal when needed, will allow him to gain places .

    19. Hamilton simply messed up in Q3. Alonso, Button and Massa all went 3 tenths quicker from Q2 oto Q3. Hamilton went 2 tenths slower.

      Even with this setup you’d expect Hamilton to be able to half a second faster than he did.

      Of course you’d expect Hamilton to be 3 tenths faster than Button in Q3. So indeed perhaps he lost an extra 3 tenths there. And thus pole.

      McLaren claimed they were faster on the harder tyres though, so it could very well be that we get to see another impressive series of overtakes from Hamilton.

      That is, if he manages to get through turn 1 with those two Red Bulls around.

    20. It’s amazing that the single explanation for any failure by Hamilton to dominate is that he is not “smart.” I wonder why that particular perjorative springs immediately to mind among so many. Is he notoriously bad at crossword puzzles? Does he not have enough A-levels? Too working class, perhaps? Who knows? What we do know is that he’s leading the points, having dominated the erudite Mr. Button, in the races.

      I don’t think there was any issue of making the wrong call. Both set ups were dead equal throughout all of practice. Track and weather condiions were about the same too. In Q2 the McLarens were, again, dead even. he simply got it wrong in Rettifilo in Q3. Thus, to say that his call was somehow daft, much less than that it reflects on his mental abilities, is less than honest.

      Regarding the race, I think Keith failed to recall the results of his typically informative analysis that in practice, McLaren, in either set up, was up to .7s faster than RBR or SFM on the hard tire on long runs. Practice also showed that Ferrari and RBR was about equal with them on the soft tire. So we have seen the second part of the analysis play out. And tomorrow we will see the first. Alonso is not running away with this race.

      1. I think Keith failed to recall the results of his typically informative analysis that in practice, McLaren, in either set up, was up to .7s faster than RBR or SFM on the hard tire on long runs.

        I think that’s more likely to be a case with the high-downforce set-up Button’s gone for than Hamilton’s. Remember Hamilton used the high downforce set-up in FP1.

    21. I was surprised that Hamilton didn’t choose that same strategy as Button did as that was a real good one from him.Hamilton will struggle today but he also need to make sure that he can target the podium. Expecting Massa beating Button by starting on the clean side & Hamilton doing the same with Webber then he can challenge Button who is 15 km/h down on top speed relative to Hamilton.

    22. to todfod: i am not deluded your reply is stupid,it makes NO difference to maclaren who wins the race out of button or lewis they still get top points in the constructors championship,it is common knowledge that button is whitmarsh,s favourite,always has been.button will soon overtake lewis points if whitmarsh continues to favour jenson.

    23. In a way Jenson and Lewis both took gambles, I must admit that I thought keeping the F-Duct would be the best thing to do this weekend and Jenson has proved that I think.

      The race is going to be very interesting though and I’m not entirely sure, but Hamilton might have made the right choice and Button’s low top speed might leave him vulnerable to passing maneuvers at the end of the long straights at Monza.

      Hamilton needs to pay most attention at the moment not too Button but to the man just ahead of him, Mark Webber. Although the other drives can close in on the two of them they are still the championship leaders.

      I don’t agree at all that McLaren should interfere with who finishes where amongst their two drivers at the moment as either could win the championship and as far as the team is concerned the Constructors Championship is more important – it decides their share of TV money etc.. – so total points between the two drivers is what they’re looking for.

    24. It is Hamilton who as took the risk, I believe all the frontrunners are using the f-duct. I don’t understand hamiltons decision to go different. Everybody keeps banging on about hamiltons straightline speed, but if hamiltons car is sliding all over at the parabolica he won’t get close enough to overtake down the straight.

    25. Who is using the f-duct?

      1. all the drivers who run the f-duct are running the f-duct at monza except lewis,strange ay? lewis is the only one not running the f-duct.

    26. Hamilton champion? Not a chance

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