Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea International Circuit, 2012

Hamilton struggling, Ferrari confident in Korea

2012 Korean Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Lewis Hamilton went from the top of the times in the first practice session to struggling in the second as track conditions changed in Korea.

Things seemed to go better for Ferrari. Although they couldn’t match Red Bull’s sheer one-lap pace they declared themselves pleased with their race stint performance.

Here’s the data from the first two practice sessions for the Korean Grand Prix.

Longest stint comparison

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Sebastian Vettel 106.259 106.398 106.339 106.259 106.258 106.394 111.783 105.959 105.778 114.446 105.641 106.434
Mark Webber 106.572 106.28 107.82 106.691 106.678 106.636 106.481 106.267 106.414 106.13 110.666
Jenson Button 106.519 105.868 106.005 105.717 106.152 105.75 105.54 105.705 104.946 105.827 108.954 106.133
Lewis Hamilton 112.562 109.474 100.072 118.218 99.816
Fernando Alonso 105.909 105.935 105.69 105.41 105.803 105.399 104.975
Felipe Massa 105.314 105.641 106.235 105.703 106.031 105.574 105.646 105.8 105.863
Michael Schumacher 107.349 107.462 107.394 107.411 107.352 108.782 107.1 106.937 107.051
Nico Rosberg 106.56 106.835 107.033 106.813 107.452 109.124 107.32 107.418 108.09 107.933 108.971
Kimi Raikkonen 107.416 106.837 106.211 106.483 106.458 106.219 105.751 106.62
Romain Grosjean 106.227 105.978 106.174 106.928 106.606 110.439 106.307 106.157 106.223
Paul di Resta 106.66 106.666 106.423 106.336 106.388 106.253 106.295 106.121 106.786
Nico Hulkenberg 107.343 106.597 106.273 106.532 106.428 106.522 111.813 105.879 111.01 106.196 106.142
Kamui Kobayashi 107.693 108.886 106.809 107.559 107.408 106.916
Sergio Perez 102.276 100.745 115.054 107.53 100.842 101.048
Daniel Ricciardo 107.535 107.452 106.86 110.565 107.434 107.173 107.173 110.613 107.251
Jean-Eric Vergne 109.111 108.444 108.374 107.978 108.083 107.776 111.932 107.589 107.459 115.422 107.888
Pastor Maldonado 111.95 108.203 108.133 108.975 108.471 108.326 108.439 107.794 108.752 108.559 109.211
Bruno Senna 107.064 106.455 106.47 106.696 106.749 106.152 105.895
Heikki Kovalainen 107.355 109.444 107.401 107.306 107.241 110.234 107.376
Vitaly Petrov 107.366 107.447 108.142 107.898 108.613 108.388 108.508
Pedro de la Rosa 110.634 108.448 109.396 113.453 108.964 108.251 108.139
Narain Karthikeyan 115.306 111.983 107.925 107.909 108.609 108.844 107.816 108.98 108.604 108.49
Timo Glock 108.06 108.066 107.395 112.451
Charles Pic 105.424 109.665 103.636 115.675 103.066 119.162

Following today’s practice sessions Sebastian Vettel said “I think we have to improve ourselves to match the others”. On the face of it, given his 0.3s advantage over the next non-Red Bull in second practice, that seems a tad pessimistic.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2012Perhaps Vettel has concerns over Red Bull’s race pace. As the graph above shows Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus were quicker during their long runs at the end of second practice.

Of course we don’t know how much fuel was in their cars. But Vettel will know how much was in his, and therefore whether he might have cause for concern.

Certainly the other three teams all improved their lap times at a faster rate on the long run: see Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen’s time lines, and note Button was still quicker than Vettel after a dozen laps at that pace.

Ferrari have reasons to be positive about their race prospects as sporting director Massimo Rivola explained: “Today went well and our race pace seems pretty strong on both the soft and the super-soft tyre. But we have to remember that tyre degradation and even blistering can be a problem here. However, it?s the same situation for everybody and we look particularly competitive on the soft.

The weather conditions are warmer in Korea than they have been previously on F1’s previous two visits, and they are set to stay that way. Warm temperatures plus soft tyres is a combination Lotus have thrived on in previous races.

Trackside operations director Alan Permane indicated his team could be one to watch over a race stint: “Both drivers reported that they were very happy with the balance of the car when on high fuel loads and degradation levels look manageable from the tyres so it?s been a productive first day.”

Meanwhile Sauber discovered their car prefers the harder of the two compounds: “Generally speaking the soft tyre compound is definitely the better one for us,” said head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall?Ara. “We have to look deeper into the data to find solutions on how to manage the super-softs.”

However Vitaly Petrov’s attempts to compare both types of tyre were compromised: “[Second practice] didn?t start as we?d have liked as I could almost immediately feel like we had a right rear puncture.

“We cut run one short and when I got back in the garage we found we did have a puncture so we changed the session plan to avoid using up another set of the soft tyres. On my first run on the super-softs the balance wasn?t quite there so we made a couple of mechanical changes and they definitely improved the handling on the long run.”

Sector times and ultimate lap times

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 34.548 (4) 43.486 (3) 20.717 (2) 1’38.751 0.081
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 34.705 (9) 43.456 (2) 20.621 (1) 1’38.782 0.031 0.082
3 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 34.713 (10) 43.367 (1) 20.959 (4) 1’39.039 0.288 0.180
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 34.619 (6) 43.691 (6) 20.850 (3) 1’39.160 0.409 0.000
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 34.504 (3) 43.651 (5) 21.009 (5) 1’39.164 0.413 0.258
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 34.443 (1) 43.612 (4) 21.142 (8) 1’39.197 0.446 0.133
7 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 34.715 (11) 43.716 (7) 21.134 (7) 1’39.565 0.814 0.152
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 34.473 (2) 43.891 (10) 21.220 (13) 1’39.584 0.833 0.000
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 34.593 (5) 43.800 (9) 21.346 (15) 1’39.739 0.988 0.000
10 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 34.662 (8) 43.979 (12) 21.176 (12) 1’39.817 1.066 0.295
11 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 34.883 (16) 43.790 (8) 21.147 (9) 1’39.820 1.069 0.019
12 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 34.823 (13) 43.961 (11) 21.173 (11) 1’39.957 1.206 0.000
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 34.833 (14) 43.999 (13) 21.160 (10) 1’39.992 1.241 0.097
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 35.070 (19) 44.074 (14) 21.089 (6) 1’40.233 1.482 0.212
15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 34.761 (12) 44.548 (16) 21.226 (14) 1’40.535 1.784 0.210
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 34.882 (15) 44.333 (15) 21.519 (17) 1’40.734 1.983 0.263
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 34.639 (7) 44.574 (17) 21.576 (18) 1’40.789 2.038 0.000
18 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 34.991 (17) 44.574 (17) 21.436 (16) 1’41.001 2.250 0.199
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 35.028 (18) 44.689 (19) 21.695 (19) 1’41.412 2.661 0.190
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 35.466 (21) 45.167 (21) 21.861 (20) 1’42.494 3.743 0.102
21 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 35.462 (20) 45.133 (20) 22.017 (22) 1’42.612 3.861 0.455
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 35.726 (22) 45.187 (22) 21.949 (21) 1’42.862 4.111 0.204
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 35.772 (23) 45.539 (23) 22.360 (23) 1’43.671 4.920 0.198
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 35.796 (24) 46.133 (24) 22.380 (24) 1’44.309 5.558 0.224

Button’s sector times suggest McLaren may be closer to Red Bull than it appears, but both he and Hamilton are lacking speed in the first sector.

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.088 1’38.832 54
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.575 1’38.864 54
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.148 1’39.717 48
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’39.450 1’39.160 49
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.480 1’39.219 50
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’40.221 1’39.330 52
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’39.854 1’39.422 53
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.396 1’39.584 60
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’39.739 33
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’40.929 1’39.839 40
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’40.422 1’39.957 50
12 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’40.089 32
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’40.440 1’40.112 53
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.220 1’40.445 47
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.514 1’40.745 31
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.021 1’40.789 56
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.596 1’40.997 55
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’41.048 1’41.200 58
19 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’41.140 21
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’42.104 1’41.602 47
21 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’42.027 23
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.175 1’42.596 41
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.708 1’43.066 43
24 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’42.820 19
25 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’43.067 22
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’43.869 36
27 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’44.517 1’44.533 47
28 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1’45.735 22

Hamilton went from fastest in first practice to eighth in the second session. He had problems with his set-up in Japan due to an undiagnosed problem on his car and is having trouble getting it dialled in again.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea International Circuit, 2012“I struggled a little bit with set-up today,” said Hamilton. “There was quite a big difference in feeling between [first practice] and [second practice], which we don?t fully understand yet. This morning?s session was fine, but I made some changes for the afternoon and wasn?t quite able to get a good time out of either [tyre].”

“So now we?ll work hard to figure out what direction we want to take. The Red Bulls look pretty quick, but Jenson wasn?t that far off their pace this afternoon. So that?s good. We?ll make some changes to the balance overnight, and hopefully we?ll be in better shape for tomorrow.

“As I say, this afternoon Jenson showed that our car has pace; all we need to do is fully extract it. If we can improve the balance overnight, I think we can be competitive.”

Pastor Maldonado could only manage 18th in the second session following a technical problem on his car.

Another driver who feels there is more to come from his car is Paul di Resta: “The long run pace looks quite competitive, but I don?t think my short run pace was representative because both my runs were compromised by traffic and I didn?t get a clean lap.”

Speed trap

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 320
2 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 319.5 0.5
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 318.2 1.8
4 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 317.6 2.4
5 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 317.5 2.5
6 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 316.8 3.2
7 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 316.5 3.5
8 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 316.3 3.7
9 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 316.2 3.8
10 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 316.1 3.9
11 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 316 4
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 315.8 4.2
13 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 315.4 4.6
14 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 315.4 4.6
15 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 315 5
16 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 314.5 5.5
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 312.3 7.7
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 311.4 8.6
19 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 310.5 9.5
20 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 309.7 10.3
21 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 308.7 11.3
22 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 308.7 11.3
23 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 308.4 11.6
24 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 308.3 11.7

Lotus ran their new Coanda exhaust on Kimi Raikkonen’s car. The previous version had been designed to extra maximum power from the engine and, in Romain Grosjean’s hands, it was quicker in a straight line. However if the Coanda exhaust allows them to generate more than enough downforce to make up for that it will be an upgrade that pays off.

Red Bull continue to show much-improved straight-line speed following the introduction of their much talked-about Double DRS.

The cause of McLaren’s poor times through the first sector is revealed to be the lowest top speeds out of all 24 cars. McLaren have already started using their eighth engine this year – if they use one more they will take an engine change penalty. Perhaps they had their practice units dialled down further to last longer?

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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64 comments on “Hamilton struggling, Ferrari confident in Korea”

  1. According to Adam Cooper Hamilton had a damper problem in Japan.

    Nevertheless, we could be in for an exciting (3 way?) fight for WDC!

  2. Ferrari look surprisingly competitive on race pace this weekend. When Felipe’s long stint lap times are quicker than Vettel’s, you know Ferrari should be a contender.

    I’m really hoping Red Bull do not overcome their race pace issues and pull something out of the bag again

    1. Let’s ballance that with me hoping your wrong, and Redbull will find some pace. Damn, im getting tierd of allt these people wanting something bad to happen to Redbull just cause they actually did good the last couple of years, and people find it somewhat less interesting. Being the team they are, and producing the results they do, they should get some respect and not just wishes for bad luck.

      1. I really don’t get your angle here. It’s like you’re suggesting everyone should be happy to see them win and dominate, just because they can. It is less interesting to see the same team at the front, especially if you don’t support that particular team. I don’t support Red Bull, and as such would like to see their pace be significantly worse here than it was in Japan. However, most people fear that they will be strong, which is a form of respect; we respect their strength within the current field enough to assume they will be the outright fastest most of the time — as they have been for the last few years. Everyone supports different teams and drivers and has every right to, so if most wish some poor luck to befall Red Bull, so be it — it’s just the nature of sport and the people who follow it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

        1. Maybe people want to see something different to Vettel breezing away from the 2nd place driver at the start until he gets a 5s advantage and basically keep that advantage until the flag. Maybe people want to see an actual fight for the win or as I like to call it: racing.

          1. That’s exactly right. It’s not out of order to dislike a certain team or sportsman’s success if you don’t support them. I’ve never really liked Red Bull or Vettel — even if I do respect their abilities — and so wish to see them struggle from time to time. I don’t see how that’s out of order.

      2. He did not said that he want something bad to happen to Red Bull , he just said he did not want Red Bull to pull something out of the bag (maybe something like half a second per lap)
        this is a forum & everyone is free to express his opinion as long as he respects the others

        im getting tierd of all these people wanting something bad to happen to Redbull just cause they actually did good the last couple of years

        not just because the actually did good the last couple of years but maybe because this team is going beyond the rules (hole, ride height,engine mapping,flexi wings…..) & always getting away with it

        1. @tifoso1989 – Red Bull have never broken the rules. “Going beyond the rules” suggests to me that you believe that is the case. Actually, the reason they have been “getting away with it” is because, surprise surprise, they didn’t break the rules!
          If Ferrari found the advantage that Red Bull had last year I doubt you’d be challenging the cars’ legality…

          1. no you are right they haven’t, they have just got away with what they have done ;-)

      3. @me4me I can’t possibly say how much I agree with your statement. This constant Red Bull bashing is both disrespectful and tiresome to read.

  3. Heh, I guess the rumors about disappearance of Alonso’s title hopes were premature.

    1. Vettel’s dominance at Suzuka triggered some premature conclusions. I remember Valencia when Vettel was extremely fast and flying away until SC was deployed and quickly opened a sensible gap when SC went in but the race after Red Bull was nowhere that dominant form.

      1. @jcost

        Exactly my point. Ferrari’s pace was underestimated, Alonso’s first corner puncture dimmed the picture, yet Massa’s race pace proved to be more than satisfying and should provide an indication that the title race is far from over. I think everything is open and Vettel cannot put the champagne in the fridge just yet.

        1. good drive from massa , but he was flattered by the fact he got through the carnage at the start , and that he had better tyres than any of the other leading cars …starting on new options meant that he could run longer in the first stint and make some overtakes in the pits because of that

    2. @cyclops_pl That is true, ONLY if this is a true indication of what pace will be like on Sunday. Which I doubt, as RBR have been historically strong at Yeongam (and most Tilkedromes, in fact).

  4. Long stint comparison looks good for McLaren, Ferrari and surprisingly Force India.

  5. I’m not getting too excited yet about RBR’s apparent lack of long run pace. We have seen this year that driver can go longer on their tyres than last year, and the 2011 race was already a relatively easy two-stopper. So even if Vettel runs out of his super softs a few laps earlier than McLaren and Ferrari, he can make it comfortably to the end of the race on two sets of new softs (somehow the Red Bull seems better on those tyres). If Alonso or Button is right on Vettel’s tail at the end of the first stint, they may have a chance of beating him, but on the other hand, Vettel has a pretty good record of converting poles.

    1. I think Red Bull went longer on their set of super softs than everyone else, albeit at a slower average pace. I don’t think they are lacking in pace, by FP3 they’ll reclaim the deficit to Ferrari & McLaren I think.

  6. In a mixed metaphor, Ferrari look soo ‘bullish’ on race trim, especially considering that Massa was using softs.

  7. Vettel is hardly beatable when starting from pole. I hope alonso will be in front of the grid and can keep up with the red bull.

    1. Exactly, he is hardly beatable so he’ll probably win the race!

      1. you mean Adrian Newey !!!!

        1. This sort of nonsense is exactly what @me4me is referring to.

    2. Vettel is hardly beatable when starting from pole.

      Clearly you missed the 2010 season.

      1. & the 2011 Canadian Gp

        1. and the 2012 Canadian GP. I think it could be a repeat of that: Vettel got pole, but was quite slower than Hamilton and Alonso on Sunday.
          It’s actually quite strange, Until Monza RB suffered a lot in quali and had an excellent pace on Sunday.

    3. Clearly you missed the 2010 season

      & the 2011 Canadian Gp

      During both of those seasons he also won a fair few races, not to mention 2 world championships…

  8. William Brierty
    12th October 2012, 16:55

    Hamilton has just one weekend every year where everything goes right (Hungary ’12, UAE 11′, Canada ’10, Singapore ’09, China ’08, Japan ’07), the rest of the time he is painful to watch. How can anyone have that much misfortune and bad luck? Vettel definitely doesn’t. Alonso doesn’t. Button doesn’t. Webber doesn’t. Even Massa doesn’t. You can’t help but think that it is Hamilton’s own fault. Maybe because he’s so easily distracted and unfocused he cannot guide the team clearly onto his preferred setup path, meaning that McLaren are forced to use Button’s more driver-refined setup on Lewis’ car. But then, because he clearly cares so much about being competitive, he gets all stroppy and unconstructively depressed when the setup doesn’t suit his style. He lacks the focus and charisma to rally the team around his style’s requirements, and ends up essentially becoming a no. 2 when he clearly has the most speed of any driver on the grid. I say it’s “painful” because he has probably one of the greatest natural talents the sport has ever seen, and it is being wasted. Lewis has a comparable, if not greater, talent as that of Vettel, but Vettel is making the most of his talent, because when Vettel rocks up at a Formula 1 weekend he thinks about Formula 1, not his girlfriend, or his relationship with his dad, or his relationship with members of the team, or how much money he wants to earn in the future, or what status he thinks he deserves…

    1. You might want to take a look at all of his wins. So 1/season is pretty off. And I wouldnt call it bad luck when he makes a mistake.

    2. when he clearly has the most speed of any driver on the grid

      I still don’t get this. Why is it so clear that he has the most speed above all the others? It is fair to say that he is one of the fastest but not the fastest. These last years as far as I am concerned, Vettel has been the fastest guy, the one to beat. Some would come and argue that it was because of the car, but who can say how much is on the car and how much on the driver? On the other hand, a fast car suits a fast driver. I don’t see how Red Bull would have taken a “slow” driver, knowing that they had one of the fastest cars on the grid

      1. You don”t need to get it because just like you think VET is the fastest in the grid, he think HAM is the fastest in the grid. And with the same logic you brought up on the fastest car, VET cannot be proved to be the fastest even without not the fastest car. When some says the success of VET pretty much depends on Mr. Newey does that hurt you belief of VET being the fastest?
        Don’t get me wrong. Just saying being fastest is relative dynamics not static absolution, is my point.

        1. You got it all wrong what I said. I didn’t say Vettel is the fastest, I said he has been, looking at the facts. Hamilton is among the fastest on the grid, but there is no evidence to claim he is the fastest, as it is for the others as well. To claim be the fastest, you need to prove that. It is this attitude, among other things, that can damage a driver performance, the strong belief that he is the fastest. For one’s sake, Hamilton excuse for tweeting the telemetry was to show why he hasn’t been faster than Button on that day.

      2. even alonso says he is the fastest ; maybe you don’t think he knows what he is talking about

        1. Perhaps, but opinions will differ. Moss for instance, believes Vettel is the fastest out there.

    3. McLaren are forced to use Button’s more driver-refined setup on Lewis’ car

      And we all saw how well Button’s skill at setting up the car was utilised earlier this year? :\

      Also the comparison with Vettel is a little off. Vettel still gets everything he wants handed to him on a plate, whether or not he makes a mistake or has a stroppy weekend. He has the luxury of that cushion. You get the sense in Mclaren that regardless of how well Hamilton is doing or not, the team are reluctant to embrace him in the same way, for a variety of reasons. Which IMO is to everyone’s disadvantage.

      1. Agree.

        This year, Jenson has voiced his problems with car balance more often than Lewis and whenever Lewis has problems with set-up or any other people mention either bad luck or his inability to properly set-up his car, I just think those arguments are not consistent with stats. One can raise the bad luck card for his gear box failure in Singapore or being collected by Grosjean but bad set-up is just a bad call an they still can fix it.

    4. I’m at a loss as to how you came to the conclusion he only has one perfect weekend a year. I think you’re selling some of his performances a bit short. I’m also surprised that you listed his Abu Dhabi victory as his best of that year — surely his exceptional win in Germany far exceeds it. In Germany he fought tooth and nail against two other cars for that win, in Abu Dhabi it’s arguable that he would have won it at all, were it not for Vettel’s early exit at the second corner. I also fail to see how some of his other wins could not be classed similarly to the handful you’ve already listed. USA 2007? Pole and win. Not a foot put wrong. Australia 2008? Pole and win. Again, nothing went wrong for him and he suffered no bad luck or mistakes. There are plenty of others worth mentioning as well. Korea last year, actually, was a great race for him. Yes, he didn’t win, but it’s not just about that, it’s about the level of performance. He took pole in a car that was clearly slower than both the Red Bulls, and suffered through the race with debris destroying his car’s balance, holding off a persistant Mark Webber all the while, with some of the best racing between two drivers that year (side-by-side in high-speed turns for nearly a whole lap) If you’re factoring in team mistakes, in the pits or otherwise, I think it’s unfair to suggest that’s down to him in any way. It’s no secret that Lewis has suffered some dreadful luck in the pits this year — more than any other driver — and it hasn’t ended there with faults out of his control (Spain’s refueling debacle, to name just one instance), and that has been painful to watch as a supporter, but I don’t see how any of that can be attributed to himself. Just like his constant troubles last year couldn’t be placed at the team’s doorstep.

      I also don’t understand the sudden insinuation that he can’t guide his team to set his car up how he needs it? Disregarding Korea’s second practice, as his troubles there may disappear tomorrow, he’s only struggled once this year to get his car right. In Spa, he clearly made a costly mistake with his chosen direction, but that’s not indicative of his skills to set a car up correctly. In Japan, it was clear to an idiot that something was not right with his car and accounting for his pedestrian pace — which turned out to be a faulty damper or some other component of his rear suspension. So, I don’t feel it’s fair to use this against him. At all the other races this year, he’s clearly been the most able to get his car dialled in on a consistent basis — and far better than Jenson. I think, when you cite Button’s as being more refined, you’re obviously forgetting his general struggle to set a car up to his liking, and his appalling mid-season slump — all down to how he was setting up the car; badly.

      Also, while I agree that distractions outside the race weekends seem to have more of an impact on Lewis than any of the other drivers, I don’t think it’s fair for you to assume what he’s thinking when he turns up at a Grand Prix — you can’t know that. I would say it was a definite and obvious problem last year, but one that’s had little influence on him this year. Just look at Monza and Singapore, when distractions and controversy surronding him were rife, he turned up and dominated Monza’s race and both Qualifying and the race at Singapore — until he was unduly robbed by his gearbox.

      1. He took pole in a car that was clearly slower than both the Red Bulls

        In the second half of the season including Korea, Mclaren often had qualifying pace on par or better than RBR (just like Hungary, Italy, Japan and Abu Dhabi). Without the debris issue in the race, Mclaren were on par with RBR in Korea.

    5. Not to interrupt your Hamilton pity party I’d like to point out Alonso has had a slower car than Vettel or Hamilton since 2007. Surely that is the worst ‘luck’. Had things been closer I firmly believe Alonso would have at least a third title already.

      1. Alonso’s 2007 Mclaren was not slower than Hamiton or Vettel’s cars
        Alonso’s 2008 Renault was not slower than Vettel’s car.
        Alonso’s 2010 Ferrari was about there or therabouts with Hamilton’s Mclaren.

        1. Alonso’s 2007 Mclaren was not slower than Hamiton…yes but he had the team aginst him …e.x China gp.
          Alonso’s 2008 Renault was not slower than Vettel’s car. Yes the car where in the same level and he beat vettel that year
          Alonso’s 2010 Ferrari was about there or therabouts with Hamilton’s Mclaren. No Ferrari were slower. AND yes he still beat Hamilton

          1. Alonso’s 2007 Mclaren was not slower than Hamiton…yes but he had the team aginst him …e.x China gp.

            The tinfoil hat brigade can whinge about that Ron Dennis quote until they’re blue in the face – it doesn’t actually prove Alonso he was disadvantaged.

            But those same conspiracy theorists would scream blue murder had the tactics McLaren used in Monaco that year favoured Hamilton instead of Alonso. I’d like to know how that race fits into your ‘McLaren screwed Alonso’ version of history.

          2. In 2007, he had the same car as Hamilton, end of.

            In 2008, Renault were the 4th fastest team (only behind Ferrari, Mclaren and BMW), STR the 6th (well behind Renault and Toyota). They weren’t even close.

            In 2010, Ferrari and Mclaren were roughly even, and Alonso indeed beat Hamilton. But of course Ferrari will look slower with post-accident Massa in the other seat.

          3. The tinfoil hat brigade can whinge about that Ron Dennis Aquote until they’re blue in the face – it doesn’t actually prove Alonso he was disadvantaged.

            When there was rumours of Lewis leaving McLaren for Mercedes Keith wrote a nice article with the pros and cons for Hamilton in doing so.

            A “con” was “hampering his 2012 title chances”…….

            Keith, have you become a conspirationist??

          4. @astonished

            Keith, have you become a conspirationist??


            Keith wrote a nice article

            What article are you referring to?

          5. I am refereing to this one

            Hamilton becomes focus of 2013 F1 driver market

            where you wrote:

            But there are compelling reasons why Hamilton might not want to leave McLaren: concern over compromising his championship effort with McLaren over the rest of 2012

            so, in my book you think that McLaren will/should/shall?? not treat him as before.

            As they did with Alonso,

    6. Let’s just say Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton are all pretty fast!

    7. Elliot Horwood .
      12th October 2012, 19:47

      so Silverstone 08 when he won and lapped every car apart from top 5 was a good race for him? Okay…

  9. Wow, RB’s race pace looks awful. They are at least one second slower than Mclaren and Ferrari. I think that they will find some pace on Sunday, but it’s going to be difficult for them to get a good result.

    1. @yobo01 – How exactly is Red Bull’s pace awful? They are at the top of the timesheets (see above). Their long run pace is perhaps 2/3 tenths of McLaren’s but this is only FP2, and you can’t jump to conclusions just yet.
      It’s hardly going to be difficult for them to get a good result, I think a 1-2 is entirely possible.

      1. @vettel1 Yeah, I got carried away a little bit after seeing the times on the graph. I think they will improve, but it’s not common to see Red Bull so weak on long runs.

        1. @yobo01 – It’s fine, they’ve locked out the front row and their pace is good!

          1. When Horner was asked about his concerns for the long runs and the race on Sky after quali he asked the guys on sky whether they knew the fuel loads in the Maccas and the Ferraris and this suggets that the Bulls were indeed pretty heavy on those long runs.

    2. They were very consistent and amongst the top 3 during the runs.

  10. Interesting that Button was faster than Hamilton, I still remember his terrible performance here in 2010.

    1. Yeah, its a bit of a surprise to see them this way round. If I was not mistaken, Button also did that long and consistent run of him on the supersofts.

  11. It is weird to see McLaren so far down the speed trap data. Someone earlier suggested it was a DRS issue but I wasn’t really buying that.

    Suddenly the RB8’s lead doesn’t seem quite so stable as you can guarantee that a fresher engine will be going in for qualifying for McLaren.

    1. @andrewtanner I dont think Mclaren used their DRS on their long runs

  12. My mate who does some body work prep for McLaren, reckons they are deploying a subtle DDRS this weekend. So qualy would then be great – RB/McLaren shootout

  13. Ok first of all, the team with the worst luck is Mclaren, and the driver with the worst luck is Hamilton. Does anyone remember 2010 Spain, when with two laps to go, Hamilton’s wheel failed, if he had finished he would have been champion that year, and few people know this. Secondly, this year, they are out of luck, whenever they were in a 1-2 position, one car would retire and the other be first. Third, Hamilton is the fastest driver of all, that is for sure, but the team are making stupid mistakes, and him as well. Honestly, I’m a Mclaren fan, and prefer Jenson, as I think when he gets his setup to his liking, and he finds the balance that he likes, he is unbeatable, particularly on race pace, but as a driver Hamilton is better and a faster driver. There are 5 races to go, lets hope they will be fantastic as the whole season has been, and lets hope that Mclaren finally win something, or at least Ferrari( who I don’t like a lot). Just please no Red Bull, I’m sick of them. :D

    1. Does anyone remember 2010 Spain, when with two laps to go, Hamilton’s wheel failed, if he had finished he would have been champion that year, and few people know this.

      Well, you fail to consider Alonso or Vettel’s misfortune that year.

      1. Oh did I forget to mention his other misfortunes, Italy, Singapore, Japan-gearbox, Hungary… they certainly didn’t have more bad luck than him. Also Mclaren, in reality had the 3-fastest car.

  14. and so the words go on ! i must admit, i am a hamilton fan have been since he started, prior to him turning up in f1 and almost winning world champs in his first year, i had gotten bored, when williams renault parted, i lost interest. i had been to the williams garage many times, as i used to produce their sporting jkts at my factory… but then along came lewis !and the sport was re envigorated, me and my freinds re charged with this little flying genius, another british winning driver!!! wow, BUT what has happened ? [ the team has let him down this year ] it would have been nice for him to have stayed,, but mclaren are NOT consistant! and do not seem to know what they are doing one week good two weeks bad ! its a shame … so why not give mercedes a chance ? lets be fair all the other main drivers have moved at least once ! taken the plunge ALONZO for one! so lets not be too critical of lewis mercedes could set up a good team, if not he can retire a wealthy young man,good luck

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