Hamilton did not have a puncture at Suzuka

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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No puncture for Hamilton in Japan

Lewis Hamilton’s abrupt loss of pace at the end of his first stint in Suzuka was not down to a puncture, as previously suspected.

A Pirelli spokesperson confirmed to F1 Fanatic the McLaren driver did not suffer a puncture.

Hamilton was running in second place when he began losing time on lap six.

On lap eight he ran wide at Spoon curve and was passed by Jenson Button and was caught by Fernando Alonso by the end of the lap, when he pitted.

Speaking to the BBC in Korea Hamilton said: “My tyres had degraded quite a lot and I backed off which lost me a huge amount of time. It turns out the we didn’t have a puncture it was just heavy, heavy degrading.”

Update: McLaren have supplied more information on Hamilton’s tyre degradation, read this comment for more.

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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

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    126 comments on “Hamilton did not have a puncture at Suzuka”

    1. How is this possible?

      1. When it’s Hamilton anything is possible.

        1. Thank you kind sir, you made my day :D

      2. @ivan-vinitskyy @tommyb89 Massa took a band-saw to it.

      3. I suspect it could be because Hamilton is generally more aggressive on tyres, compared to Button. But it was strange to suddenly degrade like that.. he did say that he backed off but why.. …

        1. Well he did put a lot of heat through those tyres, as he used them for a fast lap in Q2 and for his lap in Q3, so it might just be those 3 extra laps of heat were too much for the tyres he started on heavy fuel on to last much distance.

          1. @bascb Hamilton did four runs in qualifying, one in Q1 (on mediums), one in Q2 (on softs) and two in Q3 (both softs).

            He did not set a time on in his second run in Q3 so you are correct when you say he would have started the race on the tyres he did his first run in Q3 on.

            According to Pirelli, in the race he ran used soft tyres for the first three stints followed by a set of new mediums for his final stint. This matches the strategies of Button, both Red Bulls and both Ferraris.

            Given that, Hamilton must have had on new sets of soft tyres for his run in Q2 and both his runs in Q3. In other words, if he had been using the same soft tyres at the start of Q3 that he had in Q2, then he would only have used two sets of softs, not three.

            So I don’t believe the tyres he started the race on were necessarily any older than those the other front runners were using. Unless I’m overlooking something, which is a possibility with these tyre rules!

            1. Spot on! No wonder he was so dejected afterwards – he knew the lack of pace was solely down to him. And allow me to withdraw my statement questioning why you hadn’t mentioned the puncture in the race review…

            2. @keithcollantine Good thinking. I wonder how much advantage you would have for only using two sets in qualy – and having a brand new one for the race. Any guestimates?

              Also, your comment should be COTD. Or are you not allowed to get one? :)

            3. @Keith what about the tyres they used during the free practice sessions? Do they get extra tyres specifically for FP or is that just when Pirelli are testing new compounds?

              From what you’ve said it would make sense that he used brand new tyres for each qualifying run, unless he had used an extra set of softs in FP for whatever reason.

              If he wasn’t on older tyres than the others then I would be very worried because his tyre degredation seems to be getting worse as the season is progressing. And if I remember rightly, there was speculation mid-season that Pirelli had been changing their compounds to make them harder and therefore last longer.

            4. @McLarenFanJamm Drivers begin Saturday practice with four sets of each type of dry-weather tyre. They have to hand back one set of each before qualifying.

              It would be extremely unusual for a driver to use more than one set of soft tyres in practice. I expect a the footage from the session will show Hamilton only used one set, which would then have been handed back, leaving him with three.

              Pirelli did introduce harder versions of their ‘medium’ and ‘hard’ tyres earlier this year, but not the soft tyres.

            5. @enigma

              I wonder how much advantage you would have for only using two sets in qualy – and having a brand new one for the race. Any guestimates?

              The best case study for this in the last race would be Michael Schumacher, who did his third stint on new soft tyres. He was the highest-placed driver in the race to use a set of new softs.

              He put them on when the safety car came out and kept them on for 17 laps, jumping ahead of Massa (who was held up by Rosberg) in the process.

              It’s likely he could have stayed out longer. When Hamilton passed Rosberg, Rosberg headed for the pits. Therefore Mercedes had to bring Schumacher in too because he already had a gap over Massa – staying out longer would run the risk of coming out behind Massa again.

              Looking at Schumacher’s lap times, he hadn’t reached “the cliff” yet and probably could have gone on longer had it not been tactically advantageous to do otherwise.

            6. I thought he had used that first set used in Q3 for Q2 as well, thanks for clearing that up @keithcollatine as its always a lot better to go from confirmed info then assumptions :-)

              That means Hamilton really somehow set up his car to really eat into his tyres even more than Vettel!
              Also interesting to see how that Schu comparison holds up, seems the qualifying really takes quite a lot of life out of the tyres.

            7. hm, typing too fast for my own good, it seems I missed the n in your name @keithcollantine ! sorry.

            8. @keithcollantine

              They have to hand back one set of each before qualifying

              Why aren’t they just given 3 sets instead?

            9. They are given 4 sets of each before FP3 and have to hand back 1 set of each after FP3 and before qualifying.

            10. @matt90 Then they wouldn’t have enough sets to use for the practice sessions I think.

              Only the FIA could think up rules like this! :D

    2. The car wasn’t pusing out at one corner under braking. I thought it was a pretty easy observation to say the tyres had just completely fallen off the metaphorical cliff.

    3. Lewis Hamilton has had the worst luck ever this season! it is unbelieveable! :\

      1. How is this worst luck?

        A puncture would have been worst luck. Tyres going off is just down to Hamilton’s driving style.

        1. Older tyres. He started the race with the set of tyres of his best lap time, i.e., his first stint in Q3.

          1. and about 7 other drivers started the race on the tires they qualified with. Did he do a hot lap in Q2 with those tires?

            1. They were old tyres yes, used in Q2, Q3 and the start of the race, that seems to explain it.

          2. still. how is that luck?

            failing to do a flying lap in Q3 is not down to luck. there is plenty of time.

            1. everything this season has been bad luck for Hamilton, Compared to other driver Hamilton has had the worst Season with Luck and general racing

            2. I think you are confusing bad luck with bad judgement. Hamilton has had zero DNF’s from circumstances out of his control, and Button has had 2. That’s 100% of terminal mechanical problems for his team-mate. Seems pretty lucky in that respect to me

          3. Please, please. This myth is debunked several times in this article alone.

      2. I don’t think you can blame his whole season on bad luck alone. You make your own luck, in my experience.

        1. Lol in your vast racing experience, you made your own luck, that made me laugh.

          1. What a very mature response. Thanks very much for your contribution.

      3. Hamilton has always been harder on his tires than average ever since his starting in F1. Look at China 2007 for a prime example. There was excessive tire wear on Hamilton’s car where he ended up going off in the gravel. His teammate Alonso had no issues at all with his tires in that race.

        Hamilton’s tire wear issue has nothing to do with luck. It is just the result of the way he sets up and drives the car.

        1. Alonso didn’t have tyre problems because he preferred not to use rain tyres on a dry(ing) track, so he pitted earlier. Why McLaren didn’t pull in Hamilton earlier is one of the greatest mysteries in F1 history.

          1. Actually Alonso came into the pits on lap 32 one lap after Hamilton got stuck in the gravel. Both drivers had come into the pits earlier in the race but had opted to stay on their hot intermediates until the second round of stops.

            More rain was expected and McLaren wanted to be sure of the rain before bringing Hamilton in. Then, on his worn tires, Hamilton misjudged the pit entrance and found the gravel trap.

            Hamilton could have won the wdc that day if his driving style was easier on tires. McLaren’s call on pit strategy that day worked fine for Alonso but was the wrong one for Hamilton.

            1. I think you are underestimating how easy to is to go off on a wet track. It could have very easily been Alonso in that gravel trap.

            2. Ok, I read back the race report. Hamilton was harder on the tyres and he stopped earlier, so that’s why his intermediates were ruined. When he started losing seconds a lap, I would have pulled him in immediately. He was well ahead of Alonso and the championship standings prescribed him not to take any risks.

            3. @Mr draw. You are right! Not taking any risks would have been the right play but Ron wanted Hamilton to win the wdc that day in China and to do that Hamilton had to finish the race ahead of Alonso. This made getting Lewis on the right tires for the rest of the race imperative so he hesitated to be sure of the rain. (It is also why Ronny made his infamous comment, “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.”) But Lewis had completely used up the usually super durable inters and the delayed call to pit became a very high risk strategy.

    4. All it was, was him being to hard on the tyres. Nothing else.

      1. Agreed, though I don’t like the fact that this is having such a negative effect on some of the drivers. You can see that both Alonso and Hamilton are very fast drivers, but their style of driving has been hugely impacted by the fact that they are not managing their tyres as well as Vettel and Button.

        Although I am a fan of strategy don’t get me wrong, but I preferred it in the day when you used re-fueling as your strategy. This left a lot of guesswork and didn’t discourage drivers from “racing”.

        I’ve found that recently when we are in those stints where teams are having to manage tyres and fuel levels in the race it becomes a bit dull. Also the tyre choices which Pirreli have used are very aggressive it becomes too much about strategy, and not enough racing.

        I don’t know if anyone agrees with this?

          1. Ah sorry, I must have glossed over your bit in support of re-fueling. Other than that I agree with your sentiments about F1 being too dependent on tyre conservation this year, albeit only at certain tracks it has to be said.

            It certainly rewards the smoother drivers and not those that throw the car around the track aggressively.

            How many cars have actually crashed out due to driver error this year after pushing that little bit too hard – for example look at Japan? Is it because drivers have to play the long-game too much perhaps?

            1. I haven’t noticed Alonso having much problem with it. The only problem I thought he’s had this year is his car is useless!

            2. That is the same as myself, I am a webber and hamilton fan too. I just really hope moving into next years season that Pirreli are better with their tyre choices for some of the circuits!

        1. I also don’t like the negative effect tyres are having on some drivers, but that’s especially true this year as I support Webber and Hamilton; if I supported Button and Vettel, I would mind less, I suppose.

          Of course, in previous years there were also some drivers that struggled with the Bridgestone tyres. Remember Button’s tyre-warming woes in the second part of 2009? I don’t think he would have outperformed Hamilton if they had been team mates then…

        2. Totally agree with the above.

          I’m admittedly not a fan of the way tires dictate the race weekends now in F1. There, I said it. I feel better already.

        3. Yes, entirely.

          But the fact is Hamilton was ‘managing his tyres’ (yaaawwnnn!) fine at the start of the season. The issue seems to be poor setup more than anything else, which presumably has more to do with his own lack of form and confidence.

      2. It seems like many are forgetting that Lewis started the race on old soft tyres due to the qualifying debacle.

        As we know Lewis didnt set a time in his 2nd run in Q3 – as a result he had to start the race on the old set of softs which he had set his 1st hot lap time with (they were scrubbed set of softs). For the rest, they had set their fastest times on a brand new set of softs.

        This meant the tyres Lewis started the race on were a few laps older then his rivals.

        This is why his tyres degraded quicker compared to the others.

        And then when he came in for his 1st stop..mclaren adjusted the front wing angle to the point where it ruined his 2nd stint on fresh tyres and as a result his 3rd stint was also compromised as he had to come in a couple of laps earier then the rest.

        1. The front wing angle change problem was put down to McLaren having not realised Hamilton had a puncture. Now we know that he didn’t have a puncture so the front wing adjustment can’t be blamed on bad luck after all, but a bad decision between Hamilton and his engineers.

        2. As explained above, I’m not convinced his tyres were older than the others’:


        3. @SupaSix-1 Yeah, you’re right. At least thats exactly what Mark Hughes explain in his race report in this week’s Autosport magazine:

          “…Things had gone rather less well for Lewis Hamilton. A conspiracy of circumstances meant he didn’t cross the line in time to begin a second Q3 lap, his first attempt on used tyres – fastest of all at the time, 0.1s faster than Button’s first run – standing as third fastest…”


          “…Lewis was pushing harder than Button at this stage and you wondered about the wisdom of that, especially as he was on tyres that were already four laps older because of the circumstances of his qualifying the day before…”

          – Mark Hughes in Autosport

    5. Out of the hairpin, we were onboard with Jenson as we saw Lewis struggle massively with the back of the car on the flat-out curvature towards Spoon, before running wide in Spoon itself. So I thought he had a puncture even before they mentioned it.

      If it was just degradation, then he stayed out (was left out, if you will) too long, and not for the first time (China 2007, anyone?). Still, it’s surprising that his tyres could go from slightly degrading to completely undriveable in about 2 laps.

      1. @adrianmorse

        Looking at Hamilton’s lap times from the stint you can see his times going off from around lap six:


        He was slower again on lap seven and halfway around lap eight it looks like he “fell off the cliff”.

        1. Thanks, I had to do some digging to find the article, only to find it was in a reply to my message :)

          I think what’s very interesting about this graph is that it clearly demonstrates the differences in driving style between Hamilton and Button (minus means Hamilton is faster):

          Lap 1: -1.1s
          Lap 2: -0.98s
          Lap 3: -0.48s
          Lap 4: -0.28s
          Lap 5: -0.09s
          Lap 6: +0.83s
          Lap 7: +1.24s
          Lap 8: +4.8s (Button overtakes)

          I think these differences have nothing to do with Button’s smoothness, but more with the fact that Button has the patience to pace himself at the beginning of stints, whereas Hamilton immediately starts putting in quick laps.

          1. Also Button tends to struggled in the first few laps (look at Monza, Silverstone, Canada, Barcelona) etc

        2. Now we know why drivers change tyres. Massive degradation.

        3. I think people can read too much in to the whole hard on ones tyres thing. I do think Lewis can do THAT much to ruin them, overlays have shown that late breaking is so marginal to wear, and spinning up the tyres isn’t something Hamilton particularly does. So maybe he is a lap more unkind on them, but also mayBe he’s too timid when they start to go off, and other drivers such as button and alonso are less scared of the cliff because they read them better?

          Just a thought, no forced opinion

          1. I think people can read too much in to the whole hard on ones tyres thing. I don’t think Lewis can do THAT much to ruin them, overlays have shown that late breaking is so marginal to wear, and spinning up the tyres isn’t something Hamilton particularly does. So maybe he is a lap more unkind on them, but also mayBe he’s too timid when they start to go off, and other drivers such as button and alonso are less scared of the cliff because they read them better?

            Just a thought, no forced opinion

          2. Sorry, iPad having a mare. That was meant to be “don’t think he can do that much……”

      2. China 2007 was down to his own decision not to come in for tyres, if I remember correctly.

        1. Pretty sure he stayed out on the teams advice because of what the weather radars were telling them.

    6. His driving style resulting the tyres degrading heavily just as bad as having a puncture

    7. Weird. I thought it was a puncture when I first saw him struggling, and I was surprised it took so long for the commentators to cotton on, but turns out they were right after all.

    8. thats bad. sad for him. poor guy has to change his aggressive driving style for all this. he probably hates the pirellis.

    9. does anyone else absolutely hate this season’s tyres?

      1. Nope. I love them. They’re the reason for all the great races this year.

        1. Agreed with @SirCoolBeans

          These tyres have been brilliant this year. Such a shame that next year the teams have a bit more freedom with them, i predict it won’t be as interesting next year in terms of tyres..

      2. I assume you hate the tyres based on it hampering Hamilton? I point you to China and Germany where it didn’t seem to be an issue.

    10. Still doesn’t explain the typre pressure drop McLaren team saw in telemetry and called Lewis in? Not to mention the supposed wing change tehy did at the pit stop to counter somethign else.

      1. It probably does explain the pressure drop actually. If the tyres fall off the cliff it means there is very little rubber left on the tyre. Therefore there isn’t enough rubber density to keep the heat in the tyre. This then allows the gas in the tyre to shrink thus lowering the tyre pressures. The disparity in pressure from left to right can be explained by the track being half clockwise and half anti clockwise and as the lap was incomplete tyre wear was higher on one side than the other causing a more significant temp/pressure drop on one side.

        1. Thanks coefficient, reminds me why it was mentioned as a slow puncture

        2. That is sensible. But if that is true, then this phenomenon should be observed at the end of every stint, no? It’s not like they have never run the tires off the “cliff” and don’t know what kind of mysterious forces operate in that realm. Do we file this under McLaren operational failure?

          1. I don’t think that is necessarily so DaveW. As can be heard from the radio traffic between drivers and their engineers, a blow by blow account of tyre deg is given by the driver to the engineer. This leads one to suspect that anticipating the “cliff” is a skill that has been identified and assimilated by those drivers with the aptitude to do so. As such some drivers can avoid driving beyond the useful life of the tyre. Perhaps Hamilton is one of the drivers that hasn’t quite nailed this process yet. Also, Some drivers like JB just don’t shred their tyres like Lewis so its not even an issue for them.

      2. Indeed.

        In another part of the interview Hamilton said that “they [the team] told me I had a puncture”, going on to explain that this was why he was so conservative through 130R.

    11. It is so, so depressing that in current F1 you get penalized for going fast. I am amazed that people refer to Hamilton’s driving style as if it is some kind of defect to be quick!

      I am thinking more and more that in 2011 the drivers not capable of showing this kind of pace are benefiting, simply because they can only drive slower by their own limitations, and this in fact helps them.

      I totally accept that it has created some exciting races, but put them all in GP2 cars and I think Hamilton would just waltz off into the distance. So something is a bit wrong here.

      1. Not to take anything away from Hamilton, but last year they were driving on bulletproof Bridgestones. Being quick reflects in the timing tables and is relevant to the set conditions drivers are competing in. If we’re going to play down the Pirelli tyres, then China was ‘only’ a win because of the tyres. Still, we saw an exciting race and a smooth overtake for the win. Tyres weren’t an excuse then, they shouldn’t be one now either.

        On the other hand, Vettel was fast last year and he still is this year. Yet his teammate is also struggling with the Pirelli tyres. Being fast at a given time calls for adaptation to the racing environment (be it tyres, areo, KERS, etc.).

        1. Yes China was down to tires, wrong tire strategy cost Vettel a win.
          I’m sure is some team published their calculations on how much their drivers spend saving tires/fuel/engine we wouldn’t call this racing.

        2. xtophe, this comment makes the most sense of any so far on this thread!

      2. Perhaps, if he could stop crashing into Massa.

      3. @paulguitar Whoever crosses the line first is the fastest driver.

        Managing the car (not just tyres but brakes, engine, etc) has always been part of F1 and maybe even more so when cars were actually fragile and most did not finish the race. only recently have have drivers been able to push 100% the whole race because the reliability and performance of the cars improved so much (safety as well). So i would say that Pirelli have not spoiled this but just returned to the days when this was normal.

        1. @vjanik

          Yes, I take your point, it is just that the purist in me is horrified that to be a slower driver is actually a benefit with the current regulations.

          1. No it isn’t!
            Vettel is faster then Webber and therefore he is destroying him. Same story with Alonso and Massa.
            The tyres have nothing to do with how fast you are, but how well you manage the tyres.
            The trick this year, is being quick without wearing your tyres down instantly.
            Hamilton hasn’t been able to do that as well as some of the other drivers. Therefore it is hurting him.

            You can’t blame the tyres, as they are the same for everyone.
            It is the drivers who have the problem if they are unable to make them work.

            1. Yes, yes, I understand this too, that all the drivers are given the same situation and need to make it work. What I am saying is that it can be a disadvantage to be super-quick.

              An excellent is example is actually from a few years ago in Turkey. Hamilton was much faster than anyone else in turn 8, and as a result of this I believe he had to make an extra pit-stop. My point is that a driver should benefit from speed and talent. To see some of the comments at the time, many people were criticizing him to being ‘too fast’. I wondered then as I wonder now whether F1 is really the ‘right’ sport for someone to follow if they hold it against a driver for being ‘too fast’?

            2. The thing is, seeing as he had to make an extra pitstop he clearly WAS going too fast (and therefore added to his overall time). Grand prix’ aren’t sprint events – that’s what qualifying is for. The races have always been about managing the car/tyres as well as strategy and outright pace and taking away such an integral part of a race would cheapen the experience imo.
              My point is that there is more to talent that pure pace – car management and setup is equally as important

            3. @paul he has never driven faster, its just the rest take into account when and when not to use that speed. Its about playing the long game.

              i remember turkey, and once at hungry too. I can bet drivers like alonso would take tyre wear into account when setting the car up. Look at fernando at suzuka, average in qualy amazing in the race. been the same story all year with schumi too. thats experience!

              the other guy that has done well is jamie in STR

      4. @paulguitar It’s all part of the sport. I don’t necessarily think it penalises you for being “too fast” but it definitely penalises you for not being smart with your speed.

        Other drivers have adapted to the tyres, others have found the Pirelli’s more suited to their driving style (Button, Vettel, Alonso) and others are struggling to adapt to the different demands they place on the driver (Webber, Hamilton).

        Lewis has the talent, and time, to overcome his current issues and providing McLaren can continue to deliver competetive cars and he does get his head round the tyres I see no reason why he couldn’t win another WDC.

        Basically, don’t write off him or the tyres based on one season.

      5. If you want fast go to the drag races, that’s fast! If you want a race “driven” to the conditions with the equipment on hand F1 is it. Fast isn’t as useful as quick and smart.

    12. Tyre degradation rate may be somewhat dependent on the driver’s style in some degree like in the case of habitually slamming the brake frequently resulting in lock ups and making a lot of skidding or drifting so on.
      But looking at the list of top speed of each driver at speed trap Hamilton is not even in top 5 in terms of speed. Also it doesn’t make much sense assuming his style is critical factor in tyre issues.
      This leads me to a curiosity that even though we assume he had really bad habit of driving which is damaging his tyres far faster than others more or less, still it does not make much sense to say all the blame falls down to Hamilton’s driving style.
      No expertise here but feels like there should be some other explanations or reasons….

      1. Low top speed = high cornering speed = high tyre wear. The higher the cornering speed, the higher the downforce pushing the car to the ground and the higher the centrifugal forces which rip apart the tyres. This explains why the front runners usually need more pitstops than the backmarkers. So the car setup does make a difference in tyre wear; probably the same goes for driving style.

    13. What then about the team’s report of a “pressure differential across the rear-axle” or something to that effect?

      1. that was because they thought there was uneven degradation and they adjusted the car making it worse.

    14. A friend works with him and know him :D He’s great !!!

    15. An awful lot of people seem to be forgetting how many laps those tyres of Hamilton had done before laying into him. He’d done an extra stint in Q2 on those tyres, pushing them at qualifying pace not once (as those around him had done), but twice. This includes extra in and out laps.

      His tyres seemed to go off about the same time as everyone elses did, he came in only a lap before Vettel. This is a man who’s been extremely good with his tyres all year in a car that treats them well. Given this, then Hamilton actually managed to make his tyres last longer than Vettel had managed. Again, despite his first stop being a lap earlier than Vettel, Vettel had to pit for a second time on lap 19, whereas Hamilton managed to stay out on his second set until lap 21. Both their third set of options lasted for the same length of time.

      Suzuka was a track where tyre wear was ridiculously high, and the cliff was exceptionally steep. As Hamilton’s tyres had so much wear on them already before the race began compared to those around him, he was the first driver to discover on raceday where the cliff was, and just how precarious it was.

      Regardless of any other mistakes he did or didn’t make during the weekend, I don’t think you can use this to try and pour more criticism on Hamilton’s driving style. His tyres were going to go off at that point anyway.

      1. Actually, Vettel was being brought in earlier to avoid having his tires go off the cliff. If McLaren was following the same strategy, they should have brought Hamilton in several laps sooner each time. (why was Massa able to close so quickly on Hamilton on Lap 21?)

        But the RB7 was surprisingly harder on its tires than many thought it would be.

      2. @hawkii I’m not sure about that – I’d appreciate your thoughts on the data, see:


        1. If that’s true then strike everything I said, but I swear Ted Kravitz reported he’d gone out on a used set of options for his first run in Q3 while everyone else was on new ones. Not the first time the BBC have got duff info from McLaren and/or misunderstood what they’ve been told.

          My bad!

          1. I believe the tyres were new for first run in Q3 but were left on the car for the 2nd run which never came to fruition. Hence he had to start the race on the same set.

    16. Keith, the link from your article takes me to http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/15287313.stm. Can you highlight the area in the article where Lewis had claimed to have commented “My tyres had degraded quite a lot and I backed off which lost me a huge amount of time. It turns out the we didn’t have a puncture it was just heavy, heavy degrading.”? Perhaps you linked it to the wrong article.

      In the most recent comment from McLaren MD Jonathan Neale on 12 October, he defended Hamilton’s performance, saying his strategy was ruined by a puncture in his first stint.

      1. @vho It’s in the video on the page (which might be region-restricted).

        1. well I guess I have to take your word on it.

    17. In the official Formula 1 site they posted the press conference from today. http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2011/10/12642.html, Lewis did not mention anything about his tyre problems in Suzuka. So far I have not found another site stating that Lewis did NOT have a puncture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to jump to conclusions but the fact is there is nothing else out on the web at the time I write this that states the same claims that Keith has made int his article.

    18. If that’s the case he was doing fine until the point both he & Button came to 130R,he lost the performance greatly,was there any message to Hamilton not to fight with Button as the later had the chance to fight for the WC?

      1. Not that was broadcast, but given McLaren’s history of saying they would let their drivers race you’d think FOM would have jumped at the chance to broadcast that kind of message.

    19. I don’t doubt his tyres were degrading. BUT the way he slowed down after Button passed was purely to slow Alonso down so he couldn’t pass Button in the pits. Which is exactely what Colthard was hinting at.

    20. Here’s a link to a video of Lewis saying that he didnt have a puncture.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKXCJe9KZSo&feature=feedu. I have a lot of respect for lewis and you can see how dejected he is.. he needs a good result, and i am a Alonso fan.

      1. Thanks for posting that link, couldn’t find it earlier today. @vho will be interested in that one for sure.

        1. @BasCB

          Yes, thanks for the link sngt2 as the BBC doesn’t allow videos to be published to my region of the world.

          The reason I questioned Keith’s article but more so the BBC one that he referred to did not make any mention of Lewis’ comment – pretty poor journalism for missing out a critical piece of information relating to Lewis’ lack of performance around lap 9. Nevertheless, there is still nothing published on ESPNF1 yet either.

          It’s not that I don’t trust Keith’s articles, but he accused me of jumping to conclusions regarding Lewis’ puncture after I’d heard and read information from reputable sources – like Martin Whitmarsh, the BBC broadcast, Jonathan Neale etc. I refute that I was jumping to conclusions based on the information I had at the time that I wrote the comment – on the 9th October. How could I be jumping to conclusions if I was merely the messenger of information published by those closest to the team? It wasn’t until the 13th October that Keith had the opportunity to refer to Lewis’ admitting to not having a puncture – and I can understand that from time to time people retract their comments once they’ve found further evidence that supports the opposite. So on the 9th October when I commented about Lewis’ puncture it was correct from my perspective that I was relaying the message from reputable sources and I wasn’t jumping to any conclusions. It’s a pity that Keith chose not take a humble approach to advising his members of Lewis’ latest comments from the BBC – but engage in a tit-for-tat approach – the kind of behaviour that I find diminishes any respect for the founder of this site.

          BTW, I’m not looking for excuses for Lewis as I’m not a fan of his – but I don’t hate him either. I just thought it could’ve been a more exciting race to have Lewis in the mix with Jenson, Vettel, and Alonso.

          1. @vho your welcome. I was glad about finding this video available as well as it was pretty revealing that what was treated as a given fact by most on Sunday suddenly turned out to have been not true.

            I think we had one time before this year where Pirelli after checking the tyre cleared it was not a puncture this year.

            Fully agree with you on how having Hamilton up front might have really lightened up the action.

          2. @vho

            You (and others) commented that I overlooked Hamilton having a puncture during the race when I wrote my race report.

            Of course I did no such thing. I did not know for certain he’d had a puncture, and nor did you. The difference is I waited until I found out one way or the other by talking to the people who would know. You, on the other hand, jumped to a conclusion based on second-hand information.

            I invite anyone to compare those approaches and tell me which of them is “poor journalism”.

            1. @keithcollantine

              You (and others) commented that I overlooked Hamilton having a puncture during the race when I wrote my race report.

              My comment was that I observed Lewis having a tyre puncture on lap 9 – it was a response to JUGNU’s comment – nowhere did I reference it to your article, unlike some others that accused you of being biased. I wrote a comment to those referring to the assumed biased in your defence, but it never got published because it went to moderation.

              Of course I can’t know for certain as I wasn’t physically there to inspect the condition of Lewis’ tyre – hence I relied on information that was broadcasted by the BBC at the time. McLaren had told Ted Kravitz that it was a puncture during the race… And McLaren confirmed it in comments made by Martin Whitmarsh post race and by Jonathan Neale on the 12 October – you could hardly classify that as being second hand information?

              In regards to my remark at “poor journalism” it was in reference to the BBC article – and not to yours – you merely provided the link to it. The reason why I say the BBC article is poor is that they don’t allow streaming of their videos in all countries and they did not mention it in their text about the puncture.

            2. The reason why I say the BBC article is poor is that they don’t allow streaming of their videos in all countries and they did not mention it in their text about the puncture.

              Actually not about the puncture but about Lewis’ comment on not having a puncture.

              In all honestly, I usually don’t make direct comments to the articles anyway – nothing against you – as they’re generally about the facts that you have at hand during publication. There are times that I have seen where you or another author may go back to the article to fine tune it. But in order to get the story out as quick as possible you have to rely on the facts that are presented before you – so hence I rarely make comments about the article itself.

              What I do find amusing are comments from others in regards to excuses for their favourite drivers, conspiracy theories, and different angles of analysis of races etc. Sometimes I won’t even read the article and skip straight to the comments instead.

    21. So in Suzuka we had a pretty good idea about what does it mean a sudden “drop-off” when talking about Pirellis…

    22. “Real racing happens with equality”

      What do people think about this With the current tires in mind?

    23. I am sure that I heard BBC commentators say that Lewis went out on his first Q3 attempt using scrubbed tyres, and that was the same for all the other drivers. They all then came back for a 2nd run to be attempted on brand new tyres.

      1. That may be what they thought at the time but I don’t see how it squares with this:


        1. If you listen to the replay of this morning’s Korea practice 2 on BBC 1 red button (on now), at about 75 minutes in to P2 (i.e. about 15 minutes before the end of P2), David Croft says he has checked it out with McLaren and that Lewis DID use scrubbed tyres in Suzuka Q3.

          Croft says that Lewis had used those tyres for his Q2 run.

          1. I did hear that, but as I said in that comment above I don’t see how squares with the facts as I understand them. If anyone else can figure it out please do.

    24. He then went on to drive a very long stint on the same softs, at least 3 – 4 laps longer than Vettel and Button.
      The problem is not the tyres, it is Mclaren.
      They didn’t send him out during qualifying at the right time hence he was forced to attempt 2 qualifying runs on a set of tyres on a track were teams were trying to make the minimum number of laps possible.

      Qualifying is when the tyres take the most abuse and Mclaren is not getting Hamilton to run efficiently. Someone is not doing his job properly or Hamilton is no longer their priority.

    25. That just makes Whitmarsh’s comments that the reason Hamilton hit Massa was that he was distracted by a puncture (even though the supposed puncture was a stint earlier than the Massa crash anyway) even more ridiculous.

    26. Something to bear in mind when accidents occur is the tire conditions at the time. Worn tires not only affect lap times but also control and cornering. I’m not convinced that Lewis is harder on tires as the lap time graphs show that in his 2nd stint, he did more laps that Jenson, but on an average the differences are minimal.

      I believe that the cars (Both McLarens) were set up wrong with lower than the required down force evident by the high top speed in each sector of the race and also the cars were under fueled. This subdued the drivers and hence strategy, tires and timing played a larger role.

    27. Have had an email from McLaren explaining more about what happened to Hamilton on that lap and how they came to understand the problem was tyre degradation rather than a puncture:

      On Sunday evening we felt that it was a puncture, but the picture became clearer that what had alerted us was a sensor indicating a loss of pressure from the right-rear.

      That message was radioed to Lewis as he literally accelerated away from Spoon – so he faced the dilemma of taking 130R flat – with the knowledge that a potential puncture could spit him straight into the wall – or ease off, which made him vulnerable from behind.

      That subsequently proved to have been caused by degradation – although that wasn’t clear until after we’d left the track on Sunday.

      1. Good follow-up, it explains his very slow last lap on those tyres at least, and indicates that the 1.4xs on the previous lap was a sign of the cliff hitting him.

        Did they also perhaps go into the question of whether HAM used old tyres for a “banker” lap in Q3 for his first, and as it turned out only, timed lap there to answer the question about the tyres age?

        Would be great to have that cleared up too, as I heard BBC 5live repeating HAM was on older tyres in that first stint to explain why he had to come in early with degradation in the FP2 broadcast.

        1. @bosyber

          Did they also perhaps go into the question of whether HAM used old tyres for a “banker” lap in Q3 for his first

          No but, as explained above, I don’t see how he could have.

          1. Yes, I know, and your analysis was quite convincing, that’s why it would be great if McLaren could just confirm it; I don’t see Pirelli getting it wrong, or they would have already mentioned it on twitter, with how active they are :)

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