Hamilton believes he could have been on pole

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton believes he lost enough time to make the difference between pole position and second place.

Speaking after Sebastian Vettel beat him to pole position by one-tenth of a sceond Hamilton said: “That was an almost perfect lap – I lost a tenth-and-a-half in Turn 14 – so we’re much closer to the front than we’d anticipated, which is positive for us.”

Some forecasts have predicted rain during tomorrow’s race but Hamilton hopes they’re wrong: “It’s been dry for the past two days, so I hope it’s dry tomorrow.

“Being on the front row certainly helps when it rains, and it also gives us more opportunities to take a step forward.”

Hamilton added he expects they will have to make three tyre changes in a dry race.

Team mate Jenson Button also felt he could have done better in qualifying: “I had a touch more oversteer in Q3, but that’s the set-up direction I chose to take.

“The balance was pretty good, but I hurt the tyres a little bit too much in the final sector, and that left me in fourth.”

2011 Malaysian 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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    48 comments on “Hamilton believes he could have been on pole”

    1. Either way front row is brilliant for McLaren, I hope he can get ahead of Vettel quickly and force him into running wide at turn 1.

      1. Force him into running wide, or plain dirty? Hamilton is well known for playing dirty back in 2009, but then we shall see in 2011. I believe Hamilton is a changed person since revenge bestowed upon him in Singapore 2010

        1. No just plain forcing him to run wide. Nothing dirty about it, just get him out of position so he can get mugged.

          I want to see another Silverstone from Seb, that was brilliant.

        2. Malcolm (@)
          9th April 2011, 18:58

          Playing dirty in 2009, and well known to who……you??

    2. great performance , mclaren are a lot closer and i expect a good fight tomorrow.. i think hamilton could win if he manage the tyres.

      1. that’s a HUGE F1! :)

    3. Could have? Well he didn’t and that really matters. Fastest around the track Vettel. Better racer, Hamilton until Seb proves he an really pass someone with out a crash.

      1st corner, wait and see… I think it going to be a great race throughout the grid!

      1. It does seem like Lewis has to justify why exactly he wasn’t on pole. It was a great effort from him anyways, but I think he should forget about ‘could haves and should haves’. At the end of the day, Vettel nailed the best lap.

        I think tomorrow’s race is going to be absolutely awesome, and I think Mclaren have already closed the gap to Red Bull. It seems like it is a level playing field between the top 2 teams.

        1. Nailed the best lap? Hmmm… maybe but how do we know that if he did the same lap in a Mclaren he wouldn’t have been slower? I can’t believe Mclaren is really 1 tenth away now. At least not in qualifying pace. I actually think Lewis and Alonso do better laps than him but they just don’t drive a Red Bull.

          1. Nailed the best lap ‘time’ is what I meant.

            I honestly did not see Red Bull with a huge quali advantage today. Jenson and Mark’s performances are a good indicator of their car’s true pace. Jenson is not capable of driving the wheels off a car. He is probably as quick, or just slightly slower, than Mark on quali pace. And if you look at the time difference in their quali pace, you can see that at least today, the Mclarens and the Red Bulls were pretty evenly matched.

            1. And even if Vettel would not have been as fast in a McLaren, mute point. You could argue Alonso could have taken it one handed in the Red Bull, but he is with Ferrari by choise, just as Lewis is with McLaren and Vettel with Red Bull.

              As you said Todfod. A very nice battle and looking good for a closely fought race.

      2. Geordie Porker
        9th April 2011, 14:20

        Alex – I think you’ve missed the point. This comment is not for fans, it is for both the sponsors and Red Bull. If Red Bull sit there thinking “we’ve just got the pace, but we’ve got it” they’ll take less risks. Comments like this are usually to try and force a mistake. But that’s just my opinion! :)

        1. Or maybe him was just honestly saying how much faster he could have gone for no other reason than that it was true. It doesn’t always have to be some big mystery/conspiracy.

    4. Sush Meerkat
      9th April 2011, 12:38

      thats all well and good Lewis, I mean R Kelly believes he can fly.

      1. Yes he believes. Look at the start in 2007:


        1. That was awesome. I remember that. He has to be the most exciting rookie since schumacher.

        2. Laranja Mecanica
          9th April 2011, 18:05

          Yeah, pretty good start by Alonso

          1. Oh now come on.

    5. I believe the Mclaren is still 0.5s behind, its the drivers making the difference up to the RBRs

      1. Perhaps. I’d put it at 0.25s though.

        1. looking at the average lap times for all the practices / qualifying so far, I’d say that’s a fair guess. I would certainly put RBR’s advantage in the 0.15 – 0.3 range

      2. I dunno, Hamilton is quick. But Mark is no slouch, and I think people underestimate Vettel.

        1. People underestimate the reigning world champion who was 1s quicker last race? Well, you got me stumped

    6. he always saids that, he is beginning to annoy me, is always i can b quicker, i made a mistake, just admit u r quick but u werent quick enough, stop making excuses, we all know u r quick u dont have to be the quickest all the time

      1. He had to say something, as they must talk there.

        You just look at it the wrong way, because you dislike the guy.

        – He admitted he made mistake(s)! That’s worthy for a human.

        – He complimented to the car and the team with it! Because according to him, the car tech was capable to grab pole, he was at fault not to do that!

        – He’s perfectionsist (he must be to progress), and almost always you can’t say your laps to perfect. Maybe a couple of flying laps in a year or in a whole career, what you can deem perfect!

        With Hamilton e.g. Abu Dhabi 2009, Silverstone 2010, these are qualifying laps what he felt special.

        If he left one or one and a half tenths in it, then it was a good lap.

        He was talking about his Q3 lap. What a surprise! The pressie was about the Qualifying of the Malaysia Grand Prix just after Q3! Huh!

      2. I’m sure you are one of those people whose standard response to anything Hamilton says is ‘he is begininng to annoy me now’. Please do us a favour and stop watching or reading his interviews.

      3. All he’s doing is pointing out where he could have done better. Get off his back.

      4. u dont have to be the quickest all the time

        You realise it’s Hamilton you’re talking about. If he’s not the quickest, he’s not happy.

    7. Hamilton taking the fight to RBRs especially Vettel. Tomorrow will be very interesting. I predicted Hamilton for the win.

    8. I believe Liuzzi could have been on pole (if every other driver crashed out in every session).

      1. Ha! ;)

    9. He is speaking plainly. What’s the problem with that? I don’t see a “should have” anywhere. He admits he didn’t do 100%.

      1. I was just being incongruous for the sake of it earlier.

        Well done him but I’m not a big fan of either Hamilton or McLaren so bum fiddle sticks.

        1. I thought that was funny :)

      2. i agree, its nice not the hear the driver blaming the car for a change, (not a dig at button :P )

        1. Even Button did not so much as blame the car, he just stated he had to work around overstear he acheived from his setup.

          Interestingly it seems Perez trick/acheivement had a lot to do with having a pretty oversteery car in AUS to save the rear tyres.
          Maybe Button is hoping to squeeze a bit more running out of the tyres tomorrow as well.

          1. I thought it was understeer? It would make sense, as tyres losing grip would start to slide, counter-acting the lack of turning grip at the front.

            1. No. He’s deliberately gone for oversteer. Probably as a result of not running quite as much wing as Hamilton. A smart move? Certainly it will help on the straight bits.

            2. Sorry, to clarify, I mean Perez chose understeer in Melbourne.

    10. Haven’t you guys forget, Vettel is a better starter as compared to Hamilton, Alonso and Webber ;)

      1. He is? :shock:

    11. I noticed the back of MC cars looked higher than usual today.

      1. Still chuckling at your comment. Good one!

    12. Again Button admits that he didn’t get the best from the tyres.

    13. Ah..I thought it was Hamilton who got the flat-spot, was it Button then?

      Things definitely look better for McLaren than they did in Melbourne.

    14. There is nowhere in the article that Lewis actually says he could have been on pole.
      I guess Keith is attempting to paraphrase him and has made an assumption about what Hamilton may be saying.

      Saying “we are much closer to the front than we’d anticipated” is quite different from “I could have been on pole”!

      1. There is nowhere in the article that Lewis actually says he could have been on pole.

        Nor does it say Hamilton said he could have been on pole.

        So let’s not split hairs. Hamilton believes he lost 0.15s, and that lost time would have been enough to put him on pole position.

    15. Doesn’t matter whether it is dry or wet the start will be great between Vettel & Hamilton. But a slight disadvantage for Hamilton as he start on the dirty side of the track,not sure whether Red Bull using KERS if they don’t then I think Hamilton can jump Webber off line.

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