Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren

2011 Malaysian GP team review

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An extra pit stop ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race after he hit tyre trouble in Malaysia.

Lewis HamiltonJenson Button
Qualifying position24
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’34.974 (-0.226)1’35.200
Race position82
Pit stops43

McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race:


Lewis Hamilton112.046105.508104.721104.879104.663104.423104.996105.063106.162105.9106.58111.199124.252105.676104.079105.445104.102103.388103.304103.299102.919102.966103.009105.618122.238103.322102.733102.258102.457102.732102.333102.617102.525102.782103.144103.61106.927124.636103.305102.769103.276102.937102.579103.035103.781103.841103.77103.617103.587103.556103.855111.722120.472101.512101.888101.776
Jenson Button113.644105.759105.101105.203105.419104.914104.961104.753105.203105.665106.391107.557110.787123.347106.36104.098106.241103.673103.315103.411103.158102.798105.666119.681102.17102.592102.589102.133102.081102.618102.427102.417102.482102.874103.437103.595104.183107.026119.845101.388101.748102.361102.39101.713101.615101.625101.471102.12101.896101.264101.777102.722101.881102.408102.446102.694
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren were much closer to Red Bull’s pace in qualifying and Hamilton came within a tenth of a second of taking pole position – a far cry from the situation in Melbourne.

But while trying to find a way past Sebastian Vettel at the start he was passed for second by Nick Heidfeld.

McLaren got Hamilton ahead of Heidfeld by bringing him into the pits a lap earlier and giving him the benefit of a lap on fresher tyres before Heidfeld.

But at his second stop Hamilton had to switch to hard tyres having flat-spotted one set of softs during qualifying. His pace on those tyres was less good – and on the next set it was worse.

Hamilton came under attack from Fernando Alonso, but Alonso dropped back after hitting the rear of the McLaren. Hamilton was powerless to keep Heidfeld behind, though.

According to McLaren, it was Hamilton who made the call for a final extra pit stop which dropped him from fourth to seventh.

There were shades of Shanghai ’07 in Hamilton’s predicament – another occasion when he found himself lapping on very worn tyres for too long.

Compounding his misery, he was handed a 20-second time penalty after the race, which cost him another place. The stewards judged he had changed lines more than once while defending his position – something he had be warned about at the same track last year.

Lewis Hamilton 2011 form guide

Jenson Button

Button may have been out-qualified by his team mate but his race pace was better.

Hamilton’s slow third pit stop handed Button second place. But comparing their lap times is it’s doubtful Hamilton would have been able to keep him behind anyway.

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    Image © www.mclaren.com

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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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    133 comments on “Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren”

    1. Interesting to see all the stops that mattered, were faster for Button than for Hamilton. Conspiracy theorists unite! ;)

      1. Or his in and out laps were faster….

        1. Speaking of in and out laps, these tyres are pretty crazy. I understand why they refer to the tyre degridation as falling off a cliff. They seem to have fairly consistent times and then all of a sudden put in a lap 3 seconds slower. Its also surprising how quickly they get back on the pace. I remember when it used to take a couple of laps to get up to operating temperature and on the pace. Now they are quick straight away. On Jenson’s last stint his first lap was the second fastest lap time on that stint.

        2. On one of his pit stops he didn’t stop in the correct place so the mechanics had to shuffle up. I think that, and the sticky front left was the result of the 6.9 second stop.

          1. Regardless of the pit stop time length, look at the third and fourth stint. Button got quicker on each stint… normal considering fuel load is going down. Hamilton does not get better after 2nd tyre change (3rd stint) and then proceeds to get worse after 3rd tyre change. When he finally gets his fourth tyre change (5th stint) look at how his times drop down to match Buttons fourth stint.

            The question therefore is why did he not get the tyres he used on his last stint a change earlier? Clearly he was given wrong tyres on the 3rd stop. Also look how his times drop off after lap 45. Are you telling me the engineers couldn’t work out that he is going slower on these tyres than the last pair and thus call him in? He should have gone in before Alonso. He would have finished ahead of him had this happened.

            No conspiracy just awful decision making in the McLaren camp. If a mistake is made why did they do nothing?

    2. Keith, you summed up Button’s performance quite shortly.

      Anyway points to make regarding the laptimes.

      – Hamilton > Button. Not just in qualifying, but also on longer stints. This was especially true at the beginning.
      – Maybe Hamiltons’ penultimate stint has been run on used primes. He just couldn’t get them work properly. The gap between him and Button suddenly grew too large. It must have been something with the tyres besides Hamiltons’ usual aggressive driving style.

      1. Lewis also flat spotted a set of tyres in Quali that he couldnt use for the race.

        I stil think JB is a better driver than people give him credit for. But I remain in the minority :-)

        1. I stil think JB is a better driver than people give him credit for. But I remain in the minority :-)

          I’ll join you on that one.

          1. Here, here.

            1. Agreed! You can see his consistency in lap times too

            2. Well last year he was in a car that he had no hand in developing, so it stands to reason he’ll be more competitive with Hamilton this season. This race isn’t going to help dispell the idea that Hamilton is particularly hard on tires and Button smooth on them, when on the hard tires Button was faster than anyone, and Hamilton was slower than just about anyone in a top car.

          2. “The Podum” is usually very good in the races, but until he picks up that .25s he gives up Saturdays, he doesn’t get up to the first tier. He is a good compliment to Hamilton, who can absolutely blaze, but still now and again has things go totally wrong on Sunday.

        2. I stil think JB is a better driver than people give him credit for. But I remain in the minority

          I’ll admit that I’m one of those annoying hot/cold fans who will now admit that since he’s joined Mclaren he’s a lot better than I ever gave him credit for. :P

        3. Always said that and always will. Some people just look at the headline times i.e Qualifying, and seem to forget the consistently quick 50+ laps put in the GP itself. Button is much better than most give him credit for.

        4. 2Ugandan Discussions
          12th April 2011, 10:35

          If he0s a better driver, where has he been all along?

          me too. JB is back!

        5. Maybe we’re still a minority but count me on. JB is far, far better than LH. McL should take note.

          1. haha good one!

        6. Regardless what you credit him for he is still as unexiting to watch as a certain Alain!

    3. I’m a big fan of Lewis, and I don’t think there are too many better drivers on the grid.

      As a McLaren fan I do get a bit hacked off when he continually shoots his mouth off after the race, only for Martin Whitmarsh to have to say he’ll feel better when he’s had a think about it.

      The facts are he was pretty hard on his tyres yesterday, and one of his stops was a bad one. He’s been on the recieving end of some great strategy calls from McLaren and great stops over the years.

      But if I was the guy working on his car at MTC till midnight, or making all of the pressurised calls on the pitlane wall, I’d be getting a bit sick of the lack of team spirit from Lewis.

      Come on lewis, win as a team and lose as a team…..

      1. If he was so hard on his tyres why did the softs not fall off even worse than the hards? Clearly this was a balance/set-up problem, or maybe he had a dud second set of hards, or didn’t put enough heat into them trying to save them.

        I don’t know what interview you saw yesterday, I didn’t hear him shoot his mouth at all, he just looked gutted, not a single criticism about the team. And the guy thanked the team about a million times for turning the car around, both in Melbourne and before the race.


        All the time he says “we” when talking about the negative bits. I call that “losing as a team”

        1. Drivers are in control of the car, for every lap. And McLaren don’t make the tyres… there are always variances in tyres.

          I just dont accept that a driver is completely out of the loop with calling strategy and also in how long his tyres last (the driver is surely a key part of them lasting or not).

          These are the comments I was referring to,


          1. Seriously you are talking about papers. Unless you heard the interview yourself take it with a ‘pitch of salt’
            Some of it was implied but never said, even the BBC text under some of the videos states things he didn’t say, but the same is true of nearly all drivers. Most of the the papers so called interviews weren’t even there and they are second hand quotes.

          2. When i read these sort of comments from McLaren fans it leaves me wondering whether this is the same Hamilton who has won the only trophy for the team in over a decade.

            After that sort of performance shouldn’t he complain? Its only two weeks ago that Button was similarly shooting his mouth off so we know that is the nature of drivers. We have heard Button blame the team strategy countless times – do the rules change because its Lewis?

            Besides, there is no direct quote of Hamilton making these complaints to the press so it would appear like Whitmarsh deliberately put the “Lewis said a few things straight after the race which were from his view in the cockpit… when he looks back I’m sure he’ll have a different opinion” quote to the media to divert attention from the team to the driver.

            Lets evaluate the Whitmarsh blame game on Sunday purely on merit – what did Hamilton do to perform so badly on the hard tires? Really, what? It can’t have been aggressive driving since he had done a good job on softs. Those hard tires were off right from the pits. It can’t have been a penalty because that came after the race. It can’t have been rain because there was none. He did not crash into anybody, did not make a bad overtaking move nor flat spot his tyres during the race. So what is Whitmarsh telling us Hamilton did wrong?

            And if we can’t nail what Hamilton did wrong then it has to be the team. We know his pitstops were consistently slower than Buttons and indeed the third was so long he gave a place up to his teammate. We know he switched the tyres when he was still competitive – FIA times colloborate that. We know he was inexplicably slow on the hard tyres – as Button said in the interview, this tyres brought his car to “life”. It was the same McLaren Lewis was driving, how come his car did not have a similar response to the hard tyres? This last bit negates the need for the soft set Lewis had flat spotted in quali – unless the teams wants us to believe he was managing the soft tyres better than the hard ones; which frankly is simply counter-intuitive.

            As i said earlier, i will watch China with lots of interest.

        2. I’ve actually read loads of the mainstream newspaper coverage of the F1 today and they pretty much all go with “hamilton blaming the team strategy” Although bizzarely The Times tried to pretend that the clash with Alonso was to blame for his lack of pace which was at best sloppy journalism and at worst deliberate distortion of the facts.

          Anyway the quote they used for saying Hamilton blamed the team was from Whitmarsh saying “Lewis said a few things straight after the race which were from his view in the cockpit… when he looks back I’m sure he’ll have a different opinion”

          So basically it seems he had a bit of a pop a McLaren strategy when he got out of the car, but like I said he’s not the first and won’t be the last driver to have a moan straight after the race.

          1. I agree that it’s understandable that drivers shoot their mouths off a bit. However, Lewis keeps making this same criticism it feels like when it comes to strategy and he’d be wise to have a good at someone else other than his team because they’re the guys he has to rely on.

            1. I don’t really follow. Who else should he complain to if he thinks his team brought him in too early? It doesn’t excuse any “hairdryer treatment” but I don’t get what point you’re making.

            2. Should he have kissed Whitmarsh after that sort of performance?

          2. So basically he had a go at the team in private. That’s Whitmarsh’s prerogative to report. He said nothing to the media himself.

            I don’t see what the problem is, if every other driver does this. The guy just can’t win, first people complain he speaks in PR all the time then moan when he shows a human side.

      2. It’d be nice if he’d keep his criticism quiet until he’d calmed down a bit but these guys have just done 60 odd laps in crazy heat and humidity with adrenaline pumping through them. Hamilton’s not exactly the only driver to mouth off after he gets out of the car.

        Although I have to say Hamilton’s lack of pace was ultimately his own fault. Button was pretty close in qualifying and drove brilliantly in the race to fully deserve his second place.

        1. The first part of the race lewis was pretty much faster than Jenson. When Jenson was on softs and lewis on hards jenson was only about 1 or 2 tenths faster. All went wrong for lewis after the third pitstop. Some of you need to watch the race again.

          1. Jenson was a second and more faster, it dropped down when he caught Hamilton

            1. MacademiaNut
              12th April 2011, 6:24

              After the second stop, BUT was on softs. HAM was on hard tyres. Hence the 1 sec. difference.

        2. I’m not saying he is the only driver to comment on things, but I agree with you that he could do with cooling down sometimes before giving quotes. Its the manner in which its said that sometimes could do with a bit more polishing…:-)

          As I said, I like the guy, I think he just gets a little hot headed when things dont go well.

          1. If you just ran a race when you thought you could/should have had a podium finish and right after that you have to talk to some journalist while obviously being a bit frustrated you might say some things you regret later on. It’s the emotions at that time.

            And like they said, last week people were complaining about his PR talk now he has some criticism against his team (justified or not) and again people complain :)

            Can’t please everybody I guess.

    4. The key part to the narrative here is “But at his second stopHamilton had to switch to hard tyres having flat-spotted one set of softs during qualifying”. So there lies the clue to the 2nd stint lack of pace.

    5. The extra tyre stop didn’t ruin Lewis race, matter of fact, After his incident with Alonso, he should’ve pitted just like Alonso. He was losing 2 sec per lap even before the incident. McLaren will never clarify it. But, i’m sure they gave him the wrong set of tyres for his 4th stint. The 3rd pitstop and the 2nd set of hards tyres ruined his race.

      1. It seems like they had problem with hard tyre. Interestingly Button had problem with soft tyre and when he got hard, the problem has gone.

        1. Interestingly Button had problem with soft tyre and when he got hard, the problem has gone.

          That’s often the case.

          1. Was that meant as a joke or a serious comment, either way I giggled at it.

            1. LOL, me too!

        2. lmao. all the problems in the world seem to disappear when you get hard ;)

          1. but it gets even better if you finish it off on a high!

          2. As long as you stay safe and always remember to use new rubber… :p

        3. OMG I noticed it just a minute ago lol

      2. Extra stop cost at least 22s. Losing 2s per lap with 5 laps left = 10s.
        Basically the extra tyre stop was a bit too late. He should called it when he noticed that he was down 1.5-2s per lap relative to Button.
        But I’m not driving… probably at that time the car was un-drive-able so he had to made that stop.
        Unless he was losing more than 4s per lap then he shouldn’t pit.

        1. I think the word is these tires can lose up to 5-6 seconds when they are over the “cliff.” So were talking 30 seconds, if you can stay out of the gravel.

    6. How about that 4th pit stop being a result of a RR tire being damaged by Alonso’s hit on lap 46?
      Also, maybe I’m wrong, but on the replay of that incident from Hamilton’s car it sure sounded like he backed off of the throttle just before he was hit.
      And, lastly, I see no reason whatsoever for the penalties issued to the two drivers. Perhaps the FIA should issue the stewards joy-sticks and let them drive the cars by remote control.

      1. Did you also realise that the camera went to slo mo when “hamilton backed off”?

    7. i felt the 1st stop that he did for hard tyres was a bit too early. his laptimes weren’t dropping when he pitted. he should’ve waited outside longer.

    8. In the interview Button seemed to say that the team thought that both tires would have roughly equal pace over a stint, so the soft tire deficit was not a concern for Hamilton, it would seem, until they went on the car. Well, they got that wrong, massively. They obviously did not know that the set up made the car terrible on the hard tires. This puts the team’s and Hamilton’s mistake in strategy in a different light, possibly harsher.

      And the early stop to jump Heidfeld was a curse in disguise and made the situation even worse. They got by Heidfeld, but left themselves too short to get to the end with the performance they could get from the hard tire. Even with these two negative situations, coming so early for stop #2 was still the proximate cause of this catastrophe. (not sure which stop is at issue from the title here). He was catching Vettel and probably could have gone longer than him as well.

      As far as overall race pace comparison, we should not overlook that Hamilton was massively held up by Heidfeld in stint one. But of course, that is his fault for getting passed at the start, and that’s how the cookie crumbled. This is not to knock Button, he drove a great race.

      As far as the final stop choice, that is a non issue. He couldnt even keep it on the track at that point.

      1. Precisely, the early stop to jump Heidfeld was what ruined the race. Because he ended up having to go past cars after each stop which would not have left his tyres in a good shape, despite that there was still plenty of life left in both sets of softs.
        Mclaren dropped the ball twice, the third time was the final blow.
        It defies belief that the team expected him to stay out on those horrible sets of tyres.

        The choice to come in for a late stop was the right one, at least it proves without doubt that the previous sets of tyres he was using were at fault and neither was it his driving nor the car.

        Mclaren left it late for Hamilton to try and make it into Q3 hence the mistake that flat spotted the tyres. They tried to see if he could make it using hards, when they spotted that wouldn’t work, the should have sent him out on the softs earlier rather than waiting till the very last minute.

    9. Basically..
      **** happens. Roll on China

    10. No mention of Hamilton lapping similar times to Button in the third stint despite being on hards to Jensons softs?

      Nor of the pit blunder that cost him 4 seconds and the place to Button?

      How about the fact that his stillborn second set of hards were not a new set?

      Or his damaged diffuser after the Alonso incident?

      Plenty of missing but significant information adds explanation to Hamiltons race.

      1. No mention of Hamilton lapping similar times to Button in the third stint despite being on hards to Jensons softs?

        See the chart.

        Nor of the pit blunder that cost him 4 seconds and the place to Button?

        Last paragraph.

        No idea what you mean by ‘stillborn’ in this context.

        Hamilton did have a damaged diffuser after the contact with Alonso, but he was in trouble long before then.

        1. I see the chart, I think it’s significant enought to be mentioned though.

          You got me on the pit stop Keith, I’ll give you that one!

          His second set of hards were already used and evidently had seen their best before they went on the car during the race. This is also a significant factor.

          1. Why don’t you start your own blog and spend hours analysing these things and doing write ups then? Not many sites have this many write-ups this quickly and only one person writing them. This is Keiths full-time job.

            Keith works hard, I get really annoyed when people pick tiny little problems up, ok correct a spelling or grammar mistake, but come on give him a break.

            1. How do you know I don’t already?

              Maybe you should contribute to the site with something of substance.

          2. Hewis Lamilton
            12th April 2011, 18:09

            Just curious, who used the second set of hard tires you are referring to? Each team is given the same number of tires per race weekend, I don’t see how you can use the set of tires being “used” as an excuse for Hamilton.

            1. Regarding the second set of hards, here is a graphic representation of how bad they were – from the moment they went on the car.

              Button vs Hamilton

    11. Monumental cock-up on Hamiltons part! Grrr

      1. No, Massa and Alonso would have caught him on-track anyway.

        Despite what the article says he was in 5th before the extra stop, as Webber had just got by when Hamilton went off.

    12. Davidson suggested that weird set of hards may have been part of a bad batch composition wise, did any other drivers have a similar freak loss of pace? I doubt these tyres are made in single batches ;)

      1. Hamilton had to put a used set of hard tyres on for his last stint, simply because they were the only decent tyres he had left.

    13. From the horse mouth:


      “The launch was fine, it was a reasonable start,” said Whitmarsh. “The Renaults attacked down the outside, and I think it was a good clean attack. Lewis was a bit bottled up on the inside. Thereafter he was behind Nick, who had good end-of-straight speed, better than ours. And therefore it was difficult to deal with it, and therefore he lost time.

      “When we stopped I guess he was 7-8s behind Sebastian. At the end of that run it was probably only 4s, and he’d passed Nick, so that was a reasonable position to be in. For the next stop he didn’t quite get away cleanly on the paddles, so he came out behind Petrov. That cost him a little bit, but he got past. For the next stint he was on a new prime, and it was fine, he was more or less matching Vettel [on options].

      “Then for what we hoped would be his last stop we had a used prime. He stopped a bit short so the gunman had to re-adjust, so he lost a second or two there, that put him behind Jenson, and he was also having to defend from Webber at that point. And he just couldn’t get those tyres going…”

      1. horses mouth, even! :)

      2. Well nice of Withmarsh to disown his driver.
        But failing to point out that Hamilton’s choice to make a last stop showed that his previous 2 sets of hards where either not prepared adequately or were compromised, not deliberately, in some other way.

        1. Oh dear. The words ‘straws’ and ‘clutching’ spring to mind.

          His he disowning his driver or his he telling it like it was?

          All of the tyres come from the same batch, so anything wrong with Hamilton’s tyres will also be found in all of the other prime tyres. There is no preparation that can be done other than to ensure they are heated in their tyre blankets. Maybe someone switched them off!

          Still, you can’t beat a good conspiracy theory is what I always say.

          1. All of the tyres come from the same batch

            They might but I doubt it.

            Even if they do they can be first off or last off, how many are ran in a batch??? there can be significant difference.

            One of the commentators mentioned that there was inconsistency and that not every set was the same. I’m sure they will get there but the tyre are £$%&

      3. That’s a lot of busses to throw a driver under in one sitting. One of those busses just misses though. The gunman had to readjust? The man on the left front was staring at that thing for ages before he locked the wheel. I was just looking at him wondering when his reverie would end. Anyway, that stop cost him more than “a second or two.” That was just a terrible stop.

      4. Wow Whitmarsh threw Lewis under some sort of AIRbus there. I can only think there’s going to be a reckoning at the end of the season, and this may be why Lewis has not signed an extension yet. It seems since Whitmarsh has taken over, the team has lacked that little ‘spark’ it had when Dennis was there. Martin does seem and he would probably admit it, like Button more…but as a Team Principal he needs to take lessons as far as protecting your driver.

        1. Let’im sign for Virgin, HRT is too good for’im

      5. He stopped a bit short so the gunman had to re-adjust, so he lost a second or two there, that put him behind Jenson

        This is simply not true.

        At least two and possibly three of the tyres were on and signalled as ‘ready’ before the front left was even off the car, I wonder why those engineers didn’t have to re-adjust.

        Looking at the footage, Hamilton was right on the marks – if the front left engineer had to adjust it was he who was not on his marks.

        He lost four seconds as a result.

        1. Have another look.

          1. What exactly needs looking at VXR, the positioning? The time?

            Hamilton Pit Stop

            It’s clear that Whitmarsh remarks are incorrect.

      6. So why did they pit him so early on his first set of hards when he was doing fine on them?????

    14. The graph speaks for itself. Button was the faster and better driver of the two yesterday. Button does have very similar qualities to the Professor Himself, Prost. Button sees a race as a marathon and thinks quite far in advance compared to other drivers.

      Hamilton is quicker than Button, no denying that, but overall, I would say that Button is better than Hamilton (que the OMG are you blind!?!11!!!!? comments).

      Given that this year appears to be about management (tyres, deploying KERS and deploying DRS), I wouldnt be suprsied if Button mounted a more serious title challenge than Hamilton. Just a hunch, but I wouldnt be suprised.

      1. The graph actually shows them having a similar pace, what the graph doesn’t show, is Heidfeld slowing Hamilton down making Button able to keep up in the early parts of the race. The stint when Button is faster is when he was on softs and Hamilton was on the defective hard set. And as we know, the softs are faster than the hards.

        The true test of driving ability is not having external factors like other drivers interfering with a drivers true pace.
        Vettel is able to storm away in the lead because he doesn’t have any driver in front of him and can thus go at a steady but fast pace.

        Before the first rounds of stops, Despite being behind Heidfeld, Button couldn’t keep up and was consistently about 2-3seconds behind.

        Button is a fast driver, but honestly, he will only win the championship by aiming for 2nd and 3rd places and hoping the lead drivers hit misfortune because that is what he can achieve right now with all his tyre management thing.

        The best time to compare two drivers in identical cars is when they are running 1st and 2nd. Once they are running behind other cars, so many factors interfere to give an inconclusive result.

        1. The true test of driving ability is not having external factors like other drivers interfering with a drivers true pace.

          Have you ever thought about watching rally cars instead?

        2. The best time to compare two drivers in identical cars is when they are running 1st and 2nd. Once they are running behind other cars, so many factors interfere to give an inconclusive result.

          Or rather a result which doesn’t fit with the conclusion you’d like ;-)

      2. Sound more like a wish than a hunch to me.

    15. The stint when Button is faster is when he was on softs and Hamilton was on the defective hard set.

      Stop it please! If Hamilton’s tyres were defective, then everyones tyres were defective. They came from the same batch.

      Fact is that you have 6 sets of tyres for qualifying and the race, 3 sets of each compound. Use them wisely. Because if you ruin a set of soft compounds in qualifying and then find yourself having to stop four times in the race, chances are that all that is left in the cupboard is a set of very worn hard tyres.

      1. Well, tires have been known to be inconsistent set to set. These are not toasters flying off an assembly line, or cookies from the same batch.

        But the fact remains that if you are not thrifty with the tires Saturday, then you may end up using old busted tires in your time of need. I saw Hamilton locking up big time in qualifying. It was exciting, and he darn near snatched pole, but the costs came due.

        Question is though, if the tires were “used,” how did they not know they were so terrible, you know, when they were being “used”? My theory, looking back at Keith’s typically invaluable P2 long-run charts, is that, as it was Button not Hamilton who did the long run, Button was better able to atune his set up to the low grip scenario. Hamilton only did a shorter run, and his drop off was greater.

      2. You should get off your hihg horse vx.
        Saying tyres are defective doesn’t mean they are bad. Perhaps Mclaren selected the wrong sets because they didn’t think they’d need them. It is easy for you to overlook the fact that haven made his final stop, his lap times improved. Doesns’t that imply there was at least a better set of hard available?
        Yes its hard to know how much life exists in a set of tyres before they go on. So it was just one of those things and not like a deliberate thing afterall Jenson had such a predicament last year but no one made an issue of it.

        1. You go into qualifying and the race with six sets of tyres, three sets of soft compound and three sets of hard compound. You do not throw any away.

          Hamilton flat spotted one set in qualifying, so he’s already a set down compared with everyone else. He starts the race on a set of used softs and at the next stop puts on another set of softs. That’s all his soft tyres gone. He then puts on a set of new hard tyres which work well, but then has to put on a used set of hard tyres which do not. Not happy with those he then pits for another set of hard tyres that are probably the worst tyres he had to choose from at the start of the race. But he only had to do a few laps on them, so he could push them quite hard to get good times out of them, but not enough to make up for the deficit of having to stop for them.

      3. Stop it please! If Hamilton’s tyres were defective, then everyones tyres were defective. They came from the same batch.

        Seriously.. you are a joker. So the set of tyres I bought 6 months ago that had a buldge on the wall where the wall was to thin means that all other tyres from that batch should be recalled. I don’t think so.

    16. Thanks Keith for the chart and analysis.
      I wonder though if you would be kind enough to change the scale to accommodate thousandths of a second. I suspect the graphs will show the differences better.
      Thank you.

    17. Lewis fastest lap of the race came on hard tyres just after his final and driver called last stop. By then of course he was better off staying on the crap hards that he’d been given in his long third stop that dropped him behind Button. You can clearly see from the graph that his car was fast on hard tyres even with a broken floor/diffuser (only .3) behing Buttons fastest lap but its clear that once behind button on his first set of hards werent right. He dropped 2 seconds in one lap and then another second for the following laps until under fire from Alonso.
      You can see why Lewis came in for another set, it just came too late, but then you have to see how the tyres are working for a few laps. If McL pitted him on lap 45 whilst ahead of alonso after the accident he would surely have finished 4th or 5th.
      Shame he didnt get a small puncture…

    18. The reason he fell behind Button was because he stopped short in his pit box and the gunmen had to readjust their positions. It cost him a couple of seconds, at least.

      If he had any crap tyres left it was probably because he had taken too much out of them in qualifying. He did not have a broken floor or diffuser. No mention has been made of this in any interviews or post race analysis. Nor have any doubts been shed on the quality of his tyres.

      1. Tell me you spotted gthat while watching.

        1. It’s Martin Whitmarsh’s own words. Have a look on page one.

      2. The reason he fell behind Button was because he stopped short in his pit box and the gunmen had to readjust their positions. It cost him a couple of seconds, at least.

        The evidence proves this is not true.

        He did not have a broken floor or diffuser. No mention has been made of this in any interviews or post race analysis. Nor have any doubts been shed on the quality of his tyres.

        It’s statements like these that need erasing from history – one lie at a time if need be.

        Regarding the diffuser:

        Hamilton: “I think he got a bit too close, and, when he pulled out, he just clipped me with his wing and broke my car’s rear floor. I don’t how much downforce that lost me.”

        Regarding the tyres:

        Hamilton: “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.”

        Source: mclaren.com

        1. But that would have been mainly about Lewis feelings of being hit affecting his car. Certainly the team would have looked at the floor (remember it was that titanium one) and found no damage.

          And everything fits with McLaren giving Lewis used hards for the second stint on hards.

          Why would the team start lying and blaming unfairly?

          1. The floor (and lower right portion of the wing) was clearly damaged as can be seen in this image.

            1. OK, that proves the floor was damaged. But it does not say much about the state his tyres were in before the incident.

              Sure enough Lewis wanted to stop for those last laps, that was his call. It will have been just taking to much out of them at the start, not helped with the diffusor damage and not feeling right on them.
              But that does not say anything about McLaren treating Hamilton unjust.

            2. I don’t think McLaren are intentionally putting Lewis at a disadvantage, on the contrary I think they are doing a superb job thus far as a team and both Lewis and Jenson are well positioned to have a great year.

              The problems arise when statements like the above emerge that go against the available facts. Some of those that spread such untruths have clear agendas – and that’s fair enough in a supporter-driven enterprise as long as the other side of the coin is equally represented.

              Also, if the team want to avoid critisism they have a duty to report the truth especially when the team principle says the pit delay was Lewis’s fault when evidently it wasn’t.

              Regarding the second set of hards, here is a graphic representation of how bad they were – from the moment they went on the car.

              Button vs Hamilton

    19. Good race from Jenson, he did well. Classic example that qualifying matters less and less this season.

      I did cringe a little when I saw Lwei’s flatspot.

    20. Hamilton was faster until the botched pitstop and the dud set of used tyres. Button was just lucky that’s all.

      1. Obviously it’s better to be born lucky than good.

        Why does everyone believe that Hamilton put on a dud set of tyres? Is it too much to take that he couldn’t make them work?

    21. Why do the majority of Hamilton fans seem to be unable to even consider the possibility that he just had an off race, or made a mistake in the setup of the car, and instead constantly rail on about the team sabotaging him or the stewards wanting him to lose? The man isn’t a god, his team, contrary to many of your beliefs WILL want him to do well, and the stewards try to be fair, is that so hard to believe?

      1. Why do the majority of Hamilton fans seem to be unable to even consider the possibility that he just had an off race, or made a mistake in the setup of the car, and instead constantly rail on about the team sabotaging him or the stewards wanting him to lose?

        Trying to say that the team sabotaged his race is laughable, and shows a poor understanding of how the McLaren F1 team works.

        Trying to say that Martin Whitmarsh doesn’t support Hamilton enough is also laughable.

        Why would they want to sign him up for the rest of his career if they only intend to hinder his races?

      2. Yup pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton is a great driver but in this case I think it was a combination of his setup and flat spotting tyres in quali that lost him the race, not the team screwing around with him and benefiting button as many have said

      3. Adrian Morse
        12th April 2011, 8:38

        I guess what is hard to understand, or at least swallow, is that he put a set of newish tyres on (the flat-spotted set were softs, right?) that suddenly made him one of the slowest drivers on the track just because perhaps he didn’t quite get warming up the tyres right (or something).

        Also, I don’t remember Hamilton ever having an off day. There have been mistakes, of course, but no races where he was off the pace all day.

        That’s not to say he didn’t do anything wrong last Sunday. I suspect on his first stint of hards he was asking too much of the tyres in a bid to match the pace of Button and Vettel on softs. I think towards the end of that stint the gap between him and Vettel quickly increased from about 6 to 10 seconds, so his tyres seemed to be going off quicker than the ‘soft runners’ which would explain his relatively early third stop to me.

        Finally, the reason Hamilton fans are so fervently hoping for an explanation (like having accidentally put intermediates on his car at the third stop), is that we are hoping there won’t be a repeat next Sunday in China. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Hamilton fan looking forward to this season with some trepidation. The McLaren looked average at best in testing, and Hamilton complained that in order to preserve the Pirellis, he felt like he was doing outlaps. Then Melbourne came where the McLaren shone and Hamilton managed his tyres just fine, so I heaved a sigh of relief. Now I just hope China will be business of usual, instead of going into a season where we have to pray at every pitstop that his McLaren isn’t suddenly transformed into an HRT.

    22. The team & the driver is falling apart. The team is making bad decision & the driver is making bad judgement on track. They have the pace to handle the Red Bull but if they don’t work together well then they won’t be able to make anything happen.

    23. McLarenFanJamm
      12th April 2011, 8:45

      Hamilton called for his extra final stop because the set of primes they stuck on him for his 3rd stop were a USED set and were basically destroyed way before the end of the race, hence his lack of pace.

      On the first set of primes he used he was generally lapping under a second slower than Vettel who was still on the option tyres, which is what was expected to be the case.

      Asking him to do 18+ laps on already worn primes was a poor call from McLaren but, like Whitmarsh, I expect him to bounce back in China. He’ll be setting a record for most races for a driver who’s only ever been with a single team and he’ll be looking to make up for Malaysia. His rivals should be very wary if they see him in their mirrors this weekend.

    24. Hamilton could of won it if he didn’t get stuck behind Heidfeld but he didn’t, everything else is due to that and that fact he flat spotted his tyres in Qualifying.

      Button drove a great race, very intelligent and very consistent, he only started pushing the tyres in the first stint after half way through the stint (up until that just laping within 0.5 of Hamilton) a well worked second.

    25. Right guys we need some official info to clear this because I just cannot believe any of this is hamiltons doing. They have 6 set of tyres for the weekend. I cant exactly remember his runs but I’m assuming this.
      Q1.- 1 run on a new set of hards
      Q2- 1 run on a new Set of hards or the ones he used in q1 + 1 run on sfts
      Q3- 2 runs on new softs
      So you guys are telling me that one of his hards have gone off completely in 1-2 laps of qualy?? I’m not having that at all!’

      1. So you guys are telling me that one of his hards have gone off completely in 1-2 laps of qualy?? I’m not having that at all!

        That is the bit I find a little strange too. Keith’s graph shows that Lewis was doing well until his 3rd stop for the set of used primes – certainly no tyre wear issues indicated when compared to Jenson.

        It’s possible he could have wrecked 2 sets of hard tyres during Q1 & Q2, but it seems an odd occurrence. Lewis was immediately slower after that 3rd stop, so it wasn’t as if he only started destroying the tyres during the race.

        1. Just been looking at the relevant regulation on tyres for 2011, which says (summary):

          A further eight sets of tyres will be at their disposal for the rest of the weekend (comprised of P3, qualifying and the race), although one set of each specification must be handed back before qualifying.

          That does add the possibility that one or more sets of hard tyres used in the race were also used in P3. Lewis did 23 laps in P3.

          1. Why would they use a set from practice that had done 20+ laps when they could use the 3 sets from qualifying??

            1. My only point was that, in theory, they could have used some of their 6 sets for qualifying / race during P3.

              I don’t think they would have done though.

            2. I really do believe he had a bad set on his 2nd set of hards in the race. He was fine on his 1 set of hards. I’m not buying he wrecks his tyres excuse either as he was fine on the softs

    26. The extra pit-stop was a bad call from Hamilton. His pace was poor on his final set of tyres compared to Button, but he was consistent and running similar times to Massa. It was obvious to the team that he couldn’t gain anything from an extra stop and he should have trusted them on that. He should have maximized his result and finished ahead of Massa. He would have been 6th after the penalty, so he cost himself two places.

    27. All these cries of Hamilton wrecking tires quickly don’t really seem to be supported by the data. Wow the set he was on for the 4th stint were bad/ weren’t working for him. The difference between them and the set for the 5th stint is dramatic!

    28. You shouyld also know that Hamilton’s floor was damaged after Alonso hit him. Which can affect the performance too.

      1. The car was fine once he changed off that set of tyres, but he didn’t have enough laps left to make that pit-stop worthwhile.

    29. I still don’t think Lewis is mature anytime things go a little wrong for him he crumbles.

      As son as he saw JBb ahead of him it was all downhill. An off race they happen but LH still better than JB are we all going to assume Massa is better than Fernando now aswell??

    30. Precisely, and think he would have changed earlier but the team kept telling him to manage the set. Data cannot lie. Defective sets doesn’t implie a conspiracy, just that for whatever reason they didn’t come alive.

    31. Mclaren doesnst listen to Lewis this is the second time in 2 years when he has tlld them the tyres are gone yet they still insist that he continues until he ends up running off the track from a lack of grip.

    32. The important notion is that LH times through the pit lane are ALWAYS slower than JB’s. Even when their actual stop was exactly the same length as stops one and two, the overall transit time through the pits is longer for Lewis than for Jenson.

      Now as one enters pit lane the pit button must be hit and the car’s computer takes over the maximum speed through pit lane.

      So setting Button’s pit lane speed close to the speed limit earns him valuable seconds in the overall excursion though the pits.

      Setting Hamilton’s computer a few km/h slower will make him lose time even if the
      actual pit stop is every bit as fast as JB’s.

      Now, who play with these settings except Mclaren’s engineers?

      For some reason, LH fares always better when Ron is present at the pit wall.

      Is it mere coincidence?

      Since LH did not criticize his team directly to the press, why in the earth should Whitmarsh mention it?

      Can one safely say there is no bad blood between them?

      1. Now where did you get that information that is key to your theory, i.e. Hamiltons speed limit being set lower?

        I have not seen any evidence so far to suggest something like that. Even if Buttons pitstop would have all been faster, it might just be as simple as how they go into the pitlane. Schu had an edge on Rosberg here last year, just from experience.

        1. it is just a matter of looking at the graphs and reading them. Elapsed time is longer for LH than for JB even from the same baseline.

      2. If you’re talking about the times from the pit lane entrance to exit, that includes the driver stopping on the marks and getting a clean get away. In which case, as much of it is down to the driver as the team.

        For some reason, LH fares always better when Ron is present at the pit wall.

        Any proof?

    33. I don’t know about that mate. But ine thing I know Button is Whitmarsh’s star child. He showed that after Turkey last year when, instead of reasuring a driver who was puzzled as to hearing one thing on the radio and finding a different reality on track, he went into a tirade more or less telling Lewis to go sod off. How much of a disrespect to a driver can that be. Not saying Button isn’t a capable driver,, but too much effort is being made to make him comfortable in the team at the expense of Lewis. The excessive obsession with driver equality is even getting in the way of sound racing judgement.

      1. he went into a tirade more or less telling Lewis to go sod off

        What a preposterous exaggeration. Nothing of the kind took place.

        1. Having gone through this post i get the feeling that there is quite a big proportion of McLaren fans that do not support Lewis in the team and that group includes Martin Whitmarsh – may be the kid should just move to Redbull and get over with it.

          1. and that group includes Martin Whitmarsh

            I think that’s a complete fabrication based on spurious reasoning without a scrap of proof.

            But by all means try to convince me otherwise.

            1. “i get the feeling” – that is the key phrase; i am not making any allegations so no need for proof. It is my take from reading submissions on the post.

            2. Keith you don’t remember what Withmarsh said after the Turkish race?

            3. Something entirely innocuous that was twisted out of context by pyjama-wearing conspiracy theorists?

            4. This is an article about Lewis’ tyres not working. Not any form of conspiracy, I only replied to a comment made by someone earlier but it ended up taking us way off the point.

            5. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/90705 – i have a feeling Whitmarsh is about to tear Hamilton’s contract for a second time in the young driver’s career with McLaren

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