An extra pit stop ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race after he hit tyre trouble in Malaysia.
|Lewis Hamilton||Jenson Button|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’34.974 (-0.226)||1’35.200|
McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race:
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.
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.
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
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