“We pitted too early” – Hamilton

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton complained about McLaren’s race strategy after finishing seventh in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hamilton made four pit stops during the race. He said: “Through the race I think my tyres went off.

“We boxed [pitted] too early then we had to box earlier. All the time we were boxing before everyone.”

Hamilton lost a place to Nick Heidfeld at the start of the race and fell behind Jenson Button when he had a slower pit stop than his team mate.

He said: “I did everything I could to keep up.

“That’s one of those days, you just have to take it on the chin and move forward.”

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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  • 108 comments on ““We pitted too early” – Hamilton”

    1. Too early and with the wrong tyres.

      1. Ivan Vinitskyy
        10th April 2011, 11:08

        I can’t believe it’s just the tires. After poor pit stop and Button got ahead, he was losing 1sec per lap. That car must have been broken, it was clear how he was immediately 1sec slower than everyone else. Tires don’t go off that quick. I hope to get the answer soon.

        1. Exactly. Something else had to be the problem. Just seemed that McLaren goofed up strategy-wise big time. Not the first time it’s happened.

          1. They slammed down his car in the awful pitstop, possibly causing some damage

            1. That was one very weird race for Hamilton and i doubt McLaren have a rational explanation for it – the radio message regarding Vettel’s KERS failure was sent to Button and not Lewis at the time when Lewis was ahead – i found that weird. For an eventless race, it just doesn’t make sense that Lewis finished 7th when he at one stage was matching Vettel’s pace.

            2. NDINYO, err they almost certainly sent it to Hamilton as well, the beeb just played Buttons.

            3. Hamilton just couldnt save the tyres.
              That’s all.

            4. Every team does that in every pit stop. If being dropped from the jacks could damage the car they really don’t deserve to be in F1.

          2. There was no problem with the car other than the guy sat in it. Hamilton was unable to make the tyres last in those conditions. The team gave him the optimum strategy for his wear rate which unfortunately was Soft, Soft, Hard, Hard, Hard. His team mate was able to run Soft, Soft Soft, Hard. This is an extra stint on the softs and one whole stop less than Hamilton. This is why he fell back, plain and simple. At the end of the day, in a race, the less time you spend stationary the better the result you will have but Hamilton had no choice. The fact that Button was able to make the Soft tyres last longer than Hamilton could get the Hards to last is clear evidence of this.

            Hamilton was the most critical of the tyres during winter testing and was pleasantly surprised in Melbourne. Back at a proper track and the issue reared its ugly head again. Hopefully Mclaren will figure something out for him or we could be faced with a season of witnessing the fastest driver in F1 securing the front row in quail and fading in the races.

            Blaming Hamilton’s result on a car problem is a bit weak when you consider his result in Australia with the bib splitter flapping around like a Spaniard in a Ferrari. Oooh, was naughty of me?

        2. He was using primes though, and Button was on options.

          1. I think that’s actually the key to Lewis’ drop-off at that point of the race. Fact is he did not have another set of softs to use because he had badly flatspotted one of his pairs in Quali yeaterday. He was then left to run the hards. And having pitted to early, they were really starting to go off, and degraded even faster after losing a little rear downforce after the diffuser got a little mangled.

        3. Ditto. More to Lewis’ result than just tyres. I think he was just feeling the pressure from Alonso towards the end a bit too much.

        4. Come on man. Just because Lewis was off the pace doesn’t mean there was something broken on his car. Sometimes you just cant find the perfect rhythm after changing tyre compounds

      2. My thoughts exactly. Brundle said there was nothing wrong with Hamilton’s times when he came in for his third stop. Puzzling to say the least.

        1. Ivan Vinitskyy
          10th April 2011, 11:12

          Brundle was wrong, wait till Keith posts the times so you can see what happened.

          1. I think he just uses his tires faster than the rest. That why he pits earlier…

            1. No you don’t think, you just listen and repeat.

            2. How the hell can you say that when he was faster than vettel at the end of the first stint. Mclaren are useless!!

        2. It fits with what Button said about the primes working remarkably well.
          After Hamilton got onto the softs he somehow dropped off in that stint.

          I do think his first stop was a bit early, but hard to tell. Worse is Lewis feels thats the teams job and not him being involved in deciding it. That is a weakness for him.

          1. I do think his first stop was a bit early, but hard to tell.

            I think the first stop was the right call because of the time he was losing.

            Worse is Lewis feels thats the teams job and not him being involved in deciding it. That is a weakness for him.

            Agreed, especially with the way McLaren are lately.

          2. I thought Lewis’s tyre choice were the baffling thing, he can’t have had any softs left, if he was going to pit the early you’d have thought he’d have wanted to stay on options to try and slash Vettel’s lead.

            1. Exactly, this is where it all falls down for me.

              First stint, stuck behind Heidfeld but has pace and closes right in by the end of the stint. He then pits to undercut Heidfeld and does so. Following this, he closes in on Vettel before switching to the hards. Third stint, loses ground to Vettel and Button closes in but no more than one would expect due to the difference in performance in compounds.

              Now, at this point, I assumed Hamilton was going to stay out longer than all those around him and then pit for softs before a late charge. However, he pits before everyone else and for another set of hards.

              At this point I think hmmm, how odd. I can only think that it must be tyre wear, but it seems strange that it affected him to a greater degree on the harder tyre. He then seemed to lose all pace in this fourth stint and in the end had to pit again leaving him a lowly seventh and me very confused and rather annoyed, after such a promisisng start.

              If the wear was such that he had to pit before everyone else when he was on hards and others were on softs surely the same would happen again? Would it not have made more sense to switch him to a 4-stopper so he could use more favoured softs again instead of trying to eke out another set of hards? If it wasn’t wear what was it? (if it was, why was it (seemingly) worse on the hards than the softs?)

              He certainly seemed p***ed of with the team in the post-race interview, as when it’s something he’s done, he’s usually the first to admit it. He just seems to have learnt from all the flak he got last year for criticisng them openly.

              This whole thing just strikes me as odd, not oh there’s some conspiracy with assassins from the Vatican odd, but just unusual.

            2. Yeah i didn’t get why he used the hard tyres twise(well actually three times if you count that last pit-stop) when everyone else only used them one time.
              Was he out of soft tyres?

              Also bringing him in so fast in while he was doing fine, is mystery. He was on softs and so was Vettel. No one was catching him and he was catching Vettel with half a second per lap. Why did they bring him in? Obviously his tyres where fine since he was going fast. Vettel came in after that but i have a feeling it was just as a reply. It seemed Mclaren hoped to give Leiws a fresh tyre before Vettel so he can make fast laps and catch up but it was highly idiotic when he was already catching up at half a second per lap anyway and knowing that Vettel would have replied and not risk staying out and losing time. Actually is even more idiotic than i thought because they gave him hard tyre and they knew that tyre can’t make a fast first lap since it needs more time to warm up.
              What where they thinking? Why change a good tyre and risk doing too many laps at the end when the tyre is fine and you are catching up to the leader?

              Another mystery. Why go on hard when the car looked to be flying on softs? Again it brings the question if Hamilton had no soft tyres to put.

              After putting the second hard tyre he didn’t only suffer at the ending laps but he pretty much suffered with it from the start. Button pulled away from him very easily. Actually nether his first hard tyre set was good for him. Vettel kept pulling away from the moment Lewis went with the hard tyre. If they had softs they did a mistake putting hards at the second pit-stop and then maybe they thought they had no choice but to put hard again because they wanted to reach at the end but is proved the hard tyre didn’t really have more life in it than the soft, making it a double mistake.

              Also they really have to study the data on why Button was better with the hard why Lewis just couldn’t make it work. The tyre didn’t just went off faster than Button, it was also not working and slow from the start.

            3. I found it a bit hard to fathom what was going on with him. I think he went on to hards because he had no softs left. He, I believe, flat spotted a pair of softs in qualifying. That was probably a very big moment for the race. I think at the time it happened the TV cut to Whitmarsh and he looked a bit frustrated by that. I didn’t really understand why he made that face at the time, but I understand now.

              …Anyway apart from all that he just seemed really slow as soon as he was on hards. I’ll be interested to see what the times were between them all when Keith writes an article about it.

              It’s a shame. I wanted to see a fight between him and Vettel for the lead. It’s always a more exciting race when you don’t know who will win.

            4. I found it a bit hard to fathom what was going on with him. I think he went on to hards because he had no softs left. He, I believe, flat spotted a pair of softs in qualifying.

              Those were the tyres he started the race on.

            5. A lack of new tyres would explain a lot. But if he had no new tyres why did they bring him in so early each time (apart from his first stop, that was good tactics)?

            6. Button seems to have answered the question in the interview. Hamilton ruined a set of softs Saturday. But, as Button said, it didn’t seem to matter, because the two tires had similar pace over a stint, it seemed. From this view, you can somehow see the team’s point of view and Hamilton’s frustration, to find that Hamilton’s race cratered as soon as those hard tires touched his car. Mysteriously, it worked the opposite for Button. As Button said, he had poor balance on the softs and poor set up for those tires, and the hard tires fixed him up nicely. Somehow, Hamilton’s set-up was poison on the hard tires, and this did not become apparent Friday. Perhaps, the team and Hamilton knew this, but were focused on getting pole position and getting into the distance in the first stint.

          3. McLaren obviously tried to get Hamilton past Heidfeld. A slightly earlier stop does that. So from then on they were on an earlier pit stop regime.

            After that a whole lot more things go wrong (called in too early again, bad stop, sudden lack of pace).

    2. He was very hard on his tyres though, Jenson prevailed over Lewis in what matter most in this new Pirelli era.

      1. Ivan Vinitskyy
        10th April 2011, 11:10

        He may say so but that wasn’t true for the first 2 stints.

      2. I wonder if that small damage from the Alonso incident was the key, as he pitted only a few laps from the end. Hamilton would have had to depend more on the tyres for his diminishing pace and maybe could have made them last to the end otherwise.

        1. As far as I can tell from the youtube recording, the only thing Alonso’s wing hit was the wheel. So the wheel could have had a slow puncture.

          What doesnt make sense is that he went off the track while all the load was on his left rear which is not the tire that should be damaged.

          He did pit about 5 laps earlier than the leaders, and then he had to overtake guys which would have used up his tires a lot (less grip due to dirty hair, means compensating using more lock, which then uses more rubber). So it could have been a combination of a lower tire pressure in his right rear (creating instability) and dropping off the tire-wear cliff.

          1. He did pit about 5 laps earlier than the leaders, and then he had to overtake guys which would have used up his tires a lot (less grip due to dirty hair, means compensating using more lock, which then uses more rubber). So it could have been a combination of a lower tire pressure in his right rear (creating instability) and dropping off the tire-wear cliff.

            I don’t think personal hygiene has anything to do with it.

        2. I don’t think the incident with Alonso would be the key to that, I think his tyres were completely shot. He was extremely slow long before the the Alonso collision. Also I don’t think that set of tyres was a fresh set since he flatspotted a set in qualifying. I think the commentators said it takes about 22 seconds to pit so if his times had dropped off more than 7 to 8 seconds per lap on those tyres it would have been a better option to pit.

          1. I think the lesson is that you have to move heaven and earth to have new sets, or lightly used sets available to you. you can’t go on to a used set of hards as your competitors are on new softs. that is a killer for you.

            I’m not quite sure if that was the scenario or not yet.

    3. Completely the wrong strategy for lewis the team messed up

    4. How do you guys know he is destroying his tires more then Jenson? Come on.. His tire don’t look that bad during his stop.. just a wrong strategy i guess. Lewis was all the way quicker then Jenson up till that stop.
      Shame.. Disappointing result for Lewis.

      1. Everyone were able to lap faster on the hard tires except Lewis. Webber’s pit-stop was an indicator to other teams of which tires were doing what. It is time everyone stops blaming the team. Lewis can choose to ride through if he feels he is pulled early. I have seen Schumi squeeze an extra couple of laps before pitting during his days in Ferrari to gain atmost from the tires before ditching them.

        McLaren don’t call him in, its the team’s fault. McLaren call him in, it is again team’s fault. I wonder if Lewis does any thinking at all. He mustn’t be totally depending on the team to decide the strategy and rely on his instincts sometimes.

        1. Yes, you’ve the point

        2. Agreed, a lot McLaren supporters seem to spend an awful amount of time bad-mouthing their team

        3. The driver doesn’t have the comparative times – the team does. You may have noticed that in this season and last, the comparative times are really what determines when you should box. The best a driver can do is feedback to the engineer in the middle of the lap how the car feels in the event that the team suspects the tyres are about to go off. Red Bull was doing a lot of this with Vettels Phase A and B shenanigans.

          Regardless of how one looks at it, something was really wrong today at McLaren. We don’t know what but it was a disaster for a driver who could easily have finished second to finish 7th in a race that had not major incidents, no rain, no penalities etc.

          1. Liam Thompson
            10th April 2011, 12:47

            I agree with your analysis of the comparative times it seems as though the McLaren team do not have the inclination to make the right decisions throughout the race when needed. There is a break down of communication between the engineers and Lewis that is evidently clear.

            Lewis has lost his aggresive edge he used to be a lion when he first came on the scene and he had his father to help him in the paddock whenever the McLaren team were not pulling their weight.

            I believe Lewis Hamilton is still facing a lot of discrmination for being a man of colour from all corners of F1. If it’s not the drivers it’S the FIA and maybe even from some quaters of his own team. In this race the team were dreadful and this is not the first time this has happened. Ever since the appointment of Martin Whitmarsh from the legendary Ron Dennis, Lewis has had so much trouble with the McLaren team.

            No wonder people are questioning if he will remain with the team. It seems as though they are trying to push him out and allow Jensen to be their number one driver. I was fuming today because he was in such a good position today but the team made so many stupid mistakes throughout the race.

            It’s a disagrace and I believe that Lewis Hamilton should give his team a good telling off and take no prisoners in the process.

            He has to address this problem or he continue to suffer throughout the season.

            Great race for Sebastien Vettel. A great driver and a credit to the sport it’s just a shame we don’t have the likes of Hamilton to really challenge him.

            1. This is pathetic. Just because Hamilton shows poorly in a race the whole paddock are racist. What a load of rubbish!! Utterly inane!! Just accept that Lewis is human and will not perform perfectly every single day.

        4. The thing is it’s not the team and Lewis, lewis is a member of the team, he can only feed them his information/feedback and rely on the teams decision as they hold all the information. In modern racing for driver to start acting on their own valition would be pretty niaive. I think McLaren as a team (including Lewis) need to look at the data collected here and implement a better way of developing strategy with the new tyres.

          1. Lewis took fresh hard tires on his second stop and was lapping the same pace as Button on softs. He lost 8 secs to Vettel when he was pulled in as he did a high 1:43. Macca then put him through on hard tires with a hope that he would be able to finish the race on those tires (I think) and asked him to conserve them. But the tires were good for the first 5 laps and began slowing him down and was eventually caught by Alonso. Maybe Hamilton is hard on the tires or maybe Macca thought Alonso wouldn’t have the pace to catch him on hards since he was using softs all through till the penultimate pitstop.

            Either way, no use blaming the team, instead he should look at increasing the co-ordination with the team and be able to hand a few decisions himself.

            Either way I think Ferrari with Alonso had more race pace in store than Macca. It will be clear as the season progresses.

    5. Did Alonso running into him damage his first set of hard tyres? That was something which came up in the Star Sports commentary.

      1. He was already a second off the pace before that which is why Alonso hit him in the first place. Being slow was the cause on the contact, it wasn’t the contact causing Hamilton to be slow

        1. Alonso is a 2-time champion. He made a rookie mistake.
          And Lewis is gonna have a tough year with his ability to save tires.

      2. It was his second set, and he might have although he was running on them for 15 laps of so. Because of this they were destroyed anyway.

      3. But the reason both Button and Alonso cought up was Hamilton not being fast in the first place.

        A bit strange where he lost that pace.

        1. I was surprised how slow he was in that stint. The commentators mentioned that he didn’t have a fresh set of harder tyres for the race, so maybe that was the cause. He was looking pretty good until then. The tyre situation is interesting this year. It is not only how you manage your tyres in the race but how you manage the tyre allocation over the weekend. Of course they always had to do this but it may be a little more pronounced this year

    6. Second race in a row that Mclaren have screwed up the strategy undoing all the good development work on the car.

      The race was lost from the first corner for Hamilton, following Heidfeld really hurt him.

      Just like Buttons second set Hamiltons third set were very slow for some reason. Nothing to do with conserving tyres on the third set, they were slow straight out of the pits

      1. Thats the thing. Lewis just looked slow . Quite unlike him especially on a new set of hards…There must have been another issue with the chassis. The damage caused by Alonso couldn’t have helped either.

        1. I think for some reason the cars balance was wrong, his line changed and he was lifting more in the middle stages, obviously the car was lighter but perhaps his confidence in the car was also flagging.

    7. I don’t think it’s only about the strategy. Maybe he got a bad set? either that or there was something wrong with the car. If his last stint pace was good, then it was definitely a bad set.

      1. That doesn’t stand either, his last 3 stints were poor so it’s the car not tires.

      2. ~I think you are correct a bad set of tyres seems the most likely answer, I think the lap times will show that, new tyres should be that slow on the 2nd lap onwards after pitting. Buttons second set also seemed slow (or was he looking after them)

      3. That’s the centre of the mystery, Button looked fine on hard tyres where as Hamilton didn’t. I think we might hear something about a car or balance problem.

        1. It is interesting, I don’t doubt that on his day Jenson can be faster than Lewis but I do doubt that kind of margin without some form of problem. Does anyone know if Hamilton was driving the same damaged chassis as last week or was it a new one? Did they repair the old one or give him a new one?

    8. It is a pretty good bet that something was going on as the team were telling Butto about Vetel not bring able to use KERS when Button wa only in third place. This communication took place after the first prime sto for Hamilton when he was in second place. It kind of seems that the somewhat slow stop for Hamilton was a way to let Button by without any questions. This to me suggests that Mclaren knew that Lewis was not their best hope in this fight.

      1. Makes sense – question is what? Why did McLaren feel Lewis was not their best bet when he was ahead?

    9. Hamilton’s time compared to Vettel’s was still ok before the team called him in for the harder tyres. The slow stop put him in traffic but that can’t explain the poor lap times afterwards.
      So yes they did pit a bit too early but he was still going to end up slower on those hard tyres.

    10. Quoting Tim, From Edingurg, “How many times do we have to watch Lewis’s race ruined by appalling strategy. McLaren are useless.” I couldn’t agree more.

      What a joke! Bravo FIA! So all of a sudden everyone can overtake now can’t they! And you call this Mickey Mouse race, racing? smh…

      1. wat did FIA say?

        1. The FIA are the ones that sanctioned this Mickey Mouse DRS that now allows driver to be an overtaking expert arent they?

    11. Lewis struck me as being pretty strong until the last 10 laps or so of the race. Alonso didn’t do him any favours but he just didn’t seem in it towards the end. I think he was lucky to come away with the damage he did.

    12. I agree with earlier comments that there might be more to what happened to Hamilton than meets the eye.

      He switched on to hard tyres while everyone else around him chose softs – his pace seemed good and he was holding on to Vettel (albeit gradually losing a bit of time) and keeping Button around 1.5s behind him. Considering the tyres are supposedly up to 1s per lap slower, I thought things were going well for him.

      He then switched to another set of hard tyres before those around him stopped again (which I thought at the time was odd, surely they should last longer than the soft tyres?), even though his pace still seemed to be good.

      The 3rd stop was poor from the team, but his pace after that was gone (this was before the incident with Alonso). Was he on used hard tyres at that point? Was it just a bad set of tyres? Was there something else wrong with the car?

      Hopefully Keith’s lap time analysis will shed some more light on it.

      1. Excactly why the hell did they pit him for the 2nd time so early?? His pace in the first set of hards was fine. He could have gone to the end on that set I believe

        1. I don’t think they could have gone to the end by any means, but they did compound (no pun intended) the bad strategy by bringing him in puzzlingly early.

          1. Yeah instead of going for two 16 lap stints they went for a 13 lap and 19 lap stint. Seriously odd.

      2. I think that regardless of whatever the extra issue may be or even if it exists, the strategy was wrong to begin with. They went onto the slower tyre when there was still too many laps until the end of the race for the durability pay-off to work out. Only McLaren of the front teams did this except for Webber, who was on 4 stops and out of sequence anyway.

    13. Yeah Lewis was on pace on both is soft stints. He was still doing fine in the third stint on hards, and should have stayed on longer.

      Maybe he was thinking of covering button by pitting earlier because button would have pitted before him. This was defenitely a mistake as he now had to go on hard tyres otherwise he had no chance of making it to the end.

      Ofcourse the collision with Alonso had some impact but still i cannot understand why he was so much slower in the final stint compared to everyone else??

      Another thing i suspect is that since Lewis seems to have gone with a higher downforce setup he was not doing so good with the hard tyres.

      Overall the RedBulls are awesome and I doubt anyone can catch them. If I have to give anyone a chance to beat Vettel for title it has to be Alonso and then Webber.


    14. Hamilton and Alonso made contact on lap 47. Alonso pitted on the same lap, recovered and finished P6.
      I think Hamilton also should have pitted at the same time and Mclaren made a blunder by asking him to nurse the car to the finish after all Hamilton was forced to pit 3-4 laps from the end because of increasing problems. Hamilton was lucky because of Petrov or he was P8.
      Another poor call by Mclaren.

    15. What I don’t get is why Hamilton didn’t go onto soft tyres at his 2nd pit stop, why did they put him on hards, when everyone else was on softs and he was holding his tyres up just as well as anyone else? At that point he was also only 3 seconds behind Vettel and closing in on him. By switching to hards, he would then have to go longer and slower, which would mean, although he’d have softs to put on at the end, he’d lose track position to Button and maybe some others. It’s almost like he only had 2 sets of softs he could use?

      Why the hell did they pit him though when he was catching Vettel on softs and had no problems??

      1. There might be information we aren’t privy to at this stage, though.

        For example, did Lewis have any more soft tyres available when he switched on to the hards, or had he used them all up to the point where it would have been detrimental to use another set of them?

        Similarly, what were the condition of the hard tyres that he used during the race?

        I think it was Brundle who said during the race commentary that one thing that needs to be improved is information about who is on what tyres, and when.

        Knowing how many new sets each driver has available at the start of the race (and each part of qualifying), which set they are using at any given time and – although I’m not sure it would be possible – how many laps each set has done, would be great information to have during the weekend.

      2. That the biggest question. In his second soft set he was catching Vettel and they pulled him in. Why? Why bring a driver in when he is catching the other guy with half a second per lap?

    16. I think Hamilton’s first stop was about the right time. He was really slow on what was supposed to be his last stint though. I don’t think there were any problems with his car (at least none were mentioned) but his times weren’t great. I have to say when I read this article I got an awful sense of de ja vu. Hamilton has to rely on the team and accept the strategiesn given or actively be involved in choosing them himself. He can’t keep critising the team when it seems like he doesn’t know how to work out a strategy himself because it’s just going to cause tension.

      1. Not sure to what extent I agree with that. During a dry race, how much of a part can a driver actually play in deciding when to change tyres?

        It’s the team that has all the comparative timing data. It’s the team that knows when other drivers have pitted. It’s the team that can see where the clear air might be. How much influence can the driver exert, other than to feedback the condition of the tyres (phase 1, phase 2 etc).

        I think when people talk about some drivers being able to make calls better than others, a lot of the time that is in relation to wet races – which I think is a different matter.

        The less influence a driver has in the process, the more right they would have to criticise the team if things go wrong (in my opinion). However, I don’t know what level of influence they can have, therefore it may be that you are right about Hamilton.

        1. My point is Ham should really back his team more and retrospective criticism isn’t going to help. He can’t do much with strategy in a dry race I agree but he could be more assertive. Very few other drivers have the same nature of complaint as regularly as Lewis.

        2. I don’t want to have a go at Lewis and of course you’re bang on that Hamilton can only have a limited role in influencing strategy but he can’t keep getting out of the car and blaming everyone else as even if it is true it just causes tension. Hamilton is one of the few drivers that consistently makes this criticism and it doesn’t stand up all that well when Jenson’s side nails it. He either has to accept it or increase his role in that side of things. I know it’s only a little thing and JB admitted himself today was confusing and he didn’t entirely understand it but this problem keeps happening to Lewis and there has to be a reason.

    17. Just saw Hamilton has been given a 20s penalty for moving twice when defending his position. Does anyone have any more details?

    18. The question is why did Lewis hamilton use hard tyres on his last pit stop- he had already used a set – why did nt he go back to using soft tyres which obviously allow for a faster pace, since the obligatory hard tyre set had already been used

      1. He flat spotted the softs in qualifying.

        Strange that Button said that the car “switched on” when he put the hard tyre on.

        1. He started on that set so that doesn’t explain it.

          If it’s true though, we have tyres that go away faster but only the same amount available to the teams. Bravo.

    19. During a dry race, how much of a part can a driver actually play in deciding when to change tyres?

      I’ve no idea. Maybe he should ask Perez?

      1. Perez had planned and set his car up to make that work. It wasn’t a judgement call on-track.

        1. Wrong actually. The team never expected to stop only once. No one did. They were in constant contact with the driver and were asking how his tyres were. He gave them feedback. That’s how it works.

    20. Hamilton and McLaren made a monumental pigs ear of the race today, they brought him in too early for his 3rd stop. I really don’t understand why they would bring him in before his tyres have started dropping off and then to bring him in again with 3 laps left was an even more stupid decision.

      He could lose ten seconds per lap on his tyres for the last 3 laps and it’d still be better strategy than pitting as he would have the opportunity to at least try to defend his position until the end. And Lewis really should have looked after his tyres better.

      What an anticlimax.

      With good strategy Hamilton could have won the race today. McLaren need to sort their act out.

      1. His first set of soft tyres were ruined by trying to get passed Heidfield. After that it was downhill all the way.

        With good strategy Hamilton could have won the race today. McLaren need to sort their act out.

        Good strategy includes feedback from the driver on how well his tyres are holding up. They can’t tell what is tyres are like sitting in the pit lane.

        1. yeah because the driver can just look stick out his hand and measure how much compound is still on the tyre …

          1. Subaru_600BHP
            11th April 2011, 0:29

            no the driver will feel in the grip of the car and will know if the tyres are going off or not, its the drivers job to inform the team the right time to the change the tyres in my opinion, especially with these new type of tyre

            1. You would think so. Hence why Vettel referred to his tyres as having been in different phases. No one on the pit wall will know that better than the driver.

    21. Amazing how Lewis is always the first/quickest to blame the team. Never his fault. He’s turning into a real diva.

    22. Post race interviews are so telling.

      “Then, during the race, my tyres kept dropping off; we pitted earlier than was optimal, and ran out of tyres at the end. I’d hoped to make the end of the race on a set of used Primes, but they didn’t last so we had to pit right at the end of the race.”


      1. Indeed, the “we pitted earlier than was optimal” says it all really.

        Well they gambled on overtaking Heidfeld in the pit and in the end Hamilton came a few laps short because of that.

        It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since so much else went wrong.

        1. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since so much else went wrong.

          Too fast on the soft tyre. Too slow on the hard tyre. Some work to be done yet on how he uses the tyres.

    23. Before the race, I, and many others, predicted that Button could prosper because Hamilton (and Webber) would not be able to manage their tires well in the first stint. For both of those guys, it was worse than that, as they were stuck in tire-killing on track battles. This seems to be how it played out. But, for Hamilton, even after having been massively held up by Heidfeld in stint one, in stint two, he was pressuring Vettel. He was looking good. Then suddenly, he came in early for soft tires, had a terrible stop (again!), and then it all went pear shaped. The hard tires were terrible for him, somehow. Button, whom the team let jump Hamilton was just walking away from him on older tires. My view is that Hamilton, have stopped so early for the hard tires, knew that trying to keep up with Button would be a mistake—he needed to run to the end. Indeed it was very plausible scenario for him, even with such an early stop, and it seemed that Vettel would now feel the heat of knowing he had to get to his hard tire window before losing so much time he would have McLaren’s right on his back. But this year, the tires don’t work that way. They just die no matter what you do, so he was slow and the tires gave in anyway.

      As far as the finger pointing, if, at the crucial junction when Hamilton was catching Vettel on his second set of softs, Hamilton is the one said, “I am catching the other guy and my tires are better than his now too, let’s pit” then he is the goat. But that seems inexplicable—even if he did, its the guys on the wall watching the GPS and clocks who have to say, “terrible idea, Lewis, stay out.” What else are they up on that wall for?

      In the end, this is like a classic Button race. It begins saturday when he gets his normal ration of .2-.3s from Hamilton. Then, driving cleanly in the background of the lead battles, he optimizes the strategy to move forward.

    24. I had thought Lewis over-drove the tyres in what turned out to be his penultimate stint. However, comparing Buttons and Hamiltons stints, Lewis was consistently off the pace for the third stint. It seems he failed to get the tyres working, for whatever reason. To blame that on a bad strategy call by the team is simply incorrect in this instance.

      I can’t possibly understand why he was pitted for a fourth stop with just a handful of laps to go; did he complain about the tyres or did the team insist? Either way that call shouldn’t have been made.

      1. The call was made because Free Practice revealed to the team how many laps Hamilton can get out of the tyres before they “fall off the cliff”. You need to change the tyres the lap before that happens as when the tyres do “fall off the cliff” they don’t just lose a bit of perfomance, they lose 5 or 6 seconds a lap and that’s if you can keep hold of the car when the tyres are through to the canvas.

    25. let’s be real. the ferrari is better than the maccain race trim pace and almost as good as the red bull. alson has had bad luch at the end of the first corner of the first lap in both races and if it wasn’t because of the crash with hamilton he would have finished 2nd. the fast laps shows this ,he hasthe second fast lap of thrace in both of the races. they just need to sort out the qualifying. last but not least, it is not truth that they pitted too ealry as hamilton says, buttton by pitting early won alot if spots. the ferrari si thecar that takes care of the tires the most, they always pitted last amonth the top 3 cars. but thisis a disadvantae since the car that pit first is about 2-4 seconds faster per lap than the car that has the soft tires ofr say 10-12 laps.

      I SIAD IT HERE YESTERDAY< THE FERRARI IS BETTER THAN THE MACCA. MACCA fan is i was you I would be quite worried.

      1. Of course, it’s all clear now. That’s why Jenson Button finished his race 37 seconds before Massa and 57 seconds before Alonso, because the Ferrari is better than the Mclaren.

    26. Ferrari is clearly not faster in race trim, and Alonso by no means would have finished ahead of Jenson if it hadn’t have been for the collision.

      May I remind you that at this point, Jenson was over 10 seconds ahead (I can’t remember the exact time), but Fernando wasn’t going to pull a second a lap on him and still keep his tyres fresh enough to overtake.

    27. I blame his team when everyone stayed on & preserved their tyres cause they thought rain will come they changed for no reason.I was surprise that he couldn’t get pass Nick despite having DRS at the beginning.

    28. Come on guys you know it was an obvious that there was either a problem with the car or the last tyres where completely Shot when they where put on. Button pulled out about 10 sec on Ham within a few laps.

      I find it really funny how Mclaren can get strategy (and pits) so wrong for Ham and so right for Button. (seem to remember Button being about 30secs behind Ham at one point)

      Seems to me that Mclaren feel the need to overcompensate for Button because he is so much slower than Ham.

      1. That’s a really funny post. :)

        If the last set of tyres were completely shot when they were put on, then whose fault is that? Whose fault is it that he had no more soft tyres left for the race?

        You will also have noticed that Button made adjustments to his car to compensate for tyre wear and balance issues. It was his decision to make those adjustments, which made the car better.

        Button is better able to set up the car for and during the race, even if it means compromising qualifying. Hamilton tends to try to drive around problems, but that’s not going to work on the Pirelli tyres.

        Hamilton looked completely clueless as to what the problem might have been when being interviewed.

        1. I’ll admit that he needs to start making decisions himself about strategy and set up.

          He’s obviously putting too much trust in the team which he shouldn’t be doing since whitmarsh took over.

          And yes Button is clever but what a boring driver?? I only ever see him overtake during the pits? And also it doesn’t matter that Button can preserve his tyres better as he seems to find trouble getting heat into his tyres or finding the set up (well these are the excuses he uses in 90% of the races for being slower than Hamilton)

          1. You win the championship in whatever way is best for you to do it. Boringly or otherwise. Not that I don’t think Button can’t overtake with the best of them, which indeed he can.

            Button shouldn’t have any problems getting heat into the Pirelli tyres. Massa and Schumacher also seem to be making better use of these tyres than they did with last seasons Bridgestones. Perhaps Hamilton is now getting too much heat into them?

    29. Another problem was seeing Button ahead of him on strategy and Alonso in his mirrors rattled him and he lost composure which exacerbated the tyre problems as he began to over drive, killing the tyres even quicker.

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