Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2013

Hamilton: McLaren’s problems “not unusual”

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2013Lewis Hamilton says McLaren’s problems with their new car are “not unusual” for them.

Hamilton followed the development of the MP4-28 before leaving McLaren to join Mercedes. “I thought that the car looked the same, but I was told that they?ve changed the car completely,” he said in an interview on the official Formula One website.

“They?ve probably made some big decisions which they thought would translate into big gains, but that hasn?t happened. Actions like that are not unusual with McLaren. I have experienced that in the past, particularly in 2009 and in 2010 as well.

“So it?s not unheard of that they make drastic changes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn?t.”

Hamilton added he’s had difficult staying in contact with his former team: “I went to see them in Australia.”

“But I also tried to see them in Jerez, at the test, and there Sam Michael threw me out of the garage. That wasn?t very positive and I don?t feel very good about that.”

“Martin [Whitmarsh] has been great and I have to say that I haven?t had enough contact, so I will give Martin a call.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 59 comments on “Hamilton: McLaren’s problems “not unusual””

    1. Just reinforces that it was certainly the right time to move on. When you’re not happy in your job, you aren’t as productive, especially when you don’t feel you have the support you need

    2. “I went to see them in Australia.”
      You also went to see them in Malaysia… During the race :P

      1. I was thinking that…

      2. lol, good one. now we know the true reason why he “visited” them during the race. funny enough they told him exactly the same thing like Sam Michael … :)

      3. +1000 lmao

    3. He also popped in to see his former mechanics in KL….

    4. “But I also tried to see them in Jerez, at the test, and there Sam Michael threw me out of the garage. That wasn’t very positive and I don’t feel very good about that.”

      You really can’t expect a rival team letting you joke around the garage! You can talk to the mechanics and staff outside there and it’d be fine, I’m sure! Jeez !

      1. But, there are nice and polite ways to ask someone to leave. As commented before, Lewis had to move on and it was a good decision to do so.

      2. Depends when it was. If it’s mid session then obviously no access. At the end of he day, maybe different as long as there ain’t any top secret stuff on display

        1. @3dom I doubt Rosberg would be allowed to stay with the mechanics at Williams’ garage.

          You try to keep the car away from everyone in testing, and you let your old driver stay around the car and everything? seems a bit of a long shot, to say the least.

      3. What on earth was he thinking going into the McLaren garages in the middle of a test? Okay, so he has friends there and he wants to see them – that’s fine. But surely he’d know that the team has a programme to work through, and that they need to get through it. Having a former driver stick his head in looking to say hello is only going to be a distraction. Surely he could have waited until the lunch break or come by once testing had wrapped up for the day.

    5. How childish Hamilton and McLaren can get? Soon there will be “Lews stinks” messages on McLaren’s pitboard.

      1. Waaa Waaa… I’m telling Charlie Whiting on you!

    6. You should talk and get worry about you and your team…talk less drive more…

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        19th April 2013, 11:08

        I’m sure he’d love to, its just these pesky maniacs with microphones keep coming up to him and asking him questions. Its something called, j o u r n a l i s m. Oh dear, it seems I can smell a desperate Hamilton critic schooled at the Stewart Collage of Hamilton Hating, possible even taught by the main man himself. Would I be right?

        1. Yeah. But Hamilton could say no comments or not? If he’s asked about anything he has the free will of saying no comment or no?
          I don’t like Hamiltn but don’t hate the guy, i think he’s a really decent driver but usualy get’s lost in these wars …

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            19th April 2013, 11:32

            So you think that Hamilton would be a better individual if he abandoned his new sunny and open personality, in favour of a more “raikkonian” interviewee style? As a former F1 journalist and long-time fan, I cannot tell you how wonderfully refreshing it is to hear from a transparent racing driver, as opposed to the usual irrelevant waffle. He’s not getting into a “war” he’s just speaking what he thinks, and an opinion held by much of the paddock. I think someone with a Vettel helmet avatar is still hurting from the fact that Vettel’s name is automatically put next to the term “dominant car” in Hamilton’s latest BBC article when he was asked about the best driver on the grid, which oddly featured a prominent appearance from a certain blue helmeted driver that is coincidentally observable as my avatar. Would I be right? My avatar 1, your avatar 0.

            1. That’s you’re opinion not mine. Mine is that the driver’s are there to race and to win, not to snoop around and trash talk the previous team. The fact is that Hamilton usualy with his “personality” in fact shows a character with few immature moves…
              Well if you’r counting, please count as well F1 Racing world titles, please let me kknow after…

            2. @hipn0tic If thats your view can I ask why you are looking and reading a F1 News site? This is for news, speculation and gossip, it’s all part of the sport and indeed all sports.

          2. And I am sure that if he says “no comment” He gets accused of being an arrogant pig who doesn’t need to talk to the journalists… Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t… Hamilton’s F1 life story.

            1. @georgetuk I want to read and listen drivers opinions about their team and each other, trastalk teams and drivers is not for me, they can give a valid opinion of themselves, but perhaps, they talk about other teams to not talk about their one…
              For the record i defend that opinion with everyone…

            2. trastalk?

    7. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      19th April 2013, 11:03

      I love this. Last year it was just Lewis and I that thought that his move to Mercedes was a good idea, and now everyone is thinking the same. All there is left to do is to say: “I told you so!!!!!!”

      1. Not really. I’m one of those, who thought leaving McLaren was a bad idea and while I’m genuinely surprised about Mercedes’ pace so far, I still think that in the long run McLaren is a better option for any driver.

        In my opinion a big part of McLaren’s problems at the moment is that they don’t have a top driver. Obviously it’s a big advantage for Mercedes to have Hamilton and Rosberg, instead of Button and Perez.

        1. I still think that in the long run McLaren is a better option for any driver.

          I remember a lot of people saying the same thing when Schumacher went to Ferrari.
          McLaren haven’t won a WCC since 1998 and Lewis’s WDC win in 2008 is their only WDC since 1999 and as a team have underperformed for the last decade.

          If McLaren don’t get their act together soon they could well go the way of Williams and end up as just another midfield team.

          1. @beneboy
            It’s of course always hard to predict how teams will succeed in the future. I would’ve picked McLaren over Renault after 2004 and RBR after 2008 and I would’ve been wrong in both occasions. But I think the odds are against Hamilton, even though it’s possible Mercedes turns out to be the right decision for him.

            I don’t think McLaren is the best team in the long run, in my opinion Ferrari and RBR are better options, but I do think that McLaren is a better pick than Mercedes, who hasn’t been very succesful either. Just ask Rosberg whether he thinks he had done better in Mercedes or in McLaren during 2010-2012.

          2. Mr win or lose
            19th April 2013, 13:30

            Last year Lewis made up his mind. He drew the conclusion that even when the McLaren was the car to beat, they couldn’t dominate the championships. I think for him it was a very shocking discovery after the Red Bull-dominated 2011 season. It came clear to him that it takes more than just a good car to win championships: one has to rely on good teamwork too. And teamwork is McLaren’s Achilles’ heel, considering the poorly executed pitstops, dubious race strategies and refueling issues in qualify. So even if Mercedes is beaten by McLaren on pace in the long run, I think the better strategic decisions make up for that. Having said that, being the number-1 driver now is also an important advantage.

        2. Hotbottoms
          Button is a top driver, Perez is an unknown quantity…It is clear that all of Mclarens current problems are car related – which I personally hope will be much improved by Barcelona. I’m reserving judgement on Perez until he is given a decent car but JB has proved he is a top driver long ago..

          1. @jochenrindt78
            That depends on the definition of a top driver. In my books only Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Räikkönen are the sharpest top and Button is in the next group. I wouldn’t say that “clearly” all their problems are car related. Surely we can atleast agree that Hamilton/Button was a lot better pair than Button/Perez is?

            1. Sure I agree Ham / But was a better overall line up but the problem is still car related this season – Mclaren are struggling because the car isn’t fast enough. If it was on par with say a red bull / ferrari then button would be scoring big points and Perez would hopefully be somewhere nearby. In my book, a “top driver”, is a world champion.

    8. Whilst its nice the Lewis wants to see his buddies in Mclaren still, I cant help but understand why Michaels would threw him out of the garage. He left them last year & for a rival team and if I was Sam Michaels and a former-driver of the team waltz back to my teams garage I’d do the same. Im not accusing Lewis of being a spy or anything like that, and there are excellent places to meet friends in rival teams, but the team garage isnt one of them.

    9. He left them! Why would they want him snooping (which is what he should be doing if he gets a chance). I’m sure that they will be some of the team that he will be close to but perhaps while they are busy working is not the time to catch up.

    10. Though it’s great Lewis still wants to see his old team, this is the sort of thing that should be done on a Thursday in the paddock, not whilst everyone is working in the garage during a race weekend.

    11. The Blade Runner (@)
      19th April 2013, 11:23

      Let me give you a scenario:

      You run a sales company and your top performer has left your business to work for a rival in the same industry. This is despite your considerable efforts to retain his services. 4 months later he wanders into your company’s sales room whilst his former colleagues are busy working and wants to “shoot the breeze”. What do you do?

      Anybody with half a brain or more would do what Sam Michael did and ask them to leave!

      I admire Lewis as a driver. He is massively talented and has always been exciting to watch. As a person though, the more he reveals himself the more immature and frustrating I find him. The fact that he cannot see the reason why Michaels reacted the way he did says more about Lewis than anybody else.

      1. Immaturity on both sides, I would say…

      2. Exactly! Or if you worked for Coca Cola and headed for Pepsi, and one day you decide to visit you mates in Coca Cola`s production line…

        1. Exactly! Or if you worked for Coca Cola and headed for Pepsi, and one day you decide to visit you mates in Coca Cola`s production line…

          Presumably thats to try and steal the recipe – they need to know the exact proportion of spit and hate that makes up Coca cola.

          1. Presumably thats to try and steal the recipe – they need to know the exact proportion of spit and hate that makes up Coca cola.
            Would be better trying to sneak out the recipe of who Mc Laren calls a “soft drinks company” and not a racing team!


      3. Everyone is making assumptioins here as no one knows the exact circumstances nor the nuances concerning the incident. His words were “threw me out of the garage”. Surely that is what he feels happened.
        I have gone to see former employees before, and i wasn’t “thrown” out. If they felt it his being there was too sensitive, surely there could have been a better way to handle the situation rather than making him feel like he was being thrown out.
        Lewis is not immature at all, he is just to very sensitive to how he is treated, and that’s because he wears his heart on his sleeve. He his hurt at the way he was treated there because he can’t believe McLaren would think he was snooping around, when all he wanted was to say hello.
        The point is, it’s McLaren/Dennis who have been acting immature regarding Lewis’s depature from the team – and that’s because it hurts them more than they care to admit.

        Anyone who has been sacked from a job (i have) would testify to this when you are escorted from the building becasue they thnk you are a risk and may do something harmful to the company.. It actually hurts more than the sacking because it questions your integrity. I understand why company’s do it (they have to protect themselves), but tht does not makeit any better.

        On a different note, Coutharld, a former McLaren driver and a BBC journalist was allowed into the McLaren garage numerous times to poke his camera’s around the car – despite being a RBR ambassador at the time. I don’t remember him being “thrown” out.

        1. Well maybe, but just because Hamilton feels like he was thrown out doesn’t actually mean he was, you just said that Coulthard wasn’t “thrown” out than why on earth would Hamilton be. Maybe Sam Michael told him in no uncertain words that he is should be in his own teams garage and I thinks that’s perfectly fine. People are not there to play nice even though Hamilton seems to expect people to be nice to him all the time.

    12. I’m actually finding myself quite liking the Lewis Hamilton who’s emerging at Mercedes – he seems to be a bit more mature now that he’s flown the nest. I think he’s gelled with Merc as a team – irnonically the way Button seemed to gel really well with the Mclaren guys when he moved there.

      that said, while I can understand him feeling a bit hurt by Sam Michael chucking him out of the garage, he’s got to accept that it was probably a bit naive to think they’d be happy with him hanging around the garage during testing.

    13. These posts are so biased. You guys comment as if you saw the incident in person.

      It looks like he did not like the way he was turned around, not the fact he was turned around.

      1. + 1. I can’t see why this is so difficult for people to understand.

      2. I wasn’t there and neither were you so can you in good conscience tell me that he certianly was “thrown out”? Maybe he just over reacted because he expected to be welcomed back with peoples faces turning into a bright smile as soon as they saw him.

        1. so can you in good conscience tell me that he certianly was “thrown out”?

          @brny666 – w/ this statement you illustrate the exact point that @vishy is making – that no one commenting here as any factual basis upon which to make any statements that support or deny the allegations of (and reasons for) Hamilton’s being thrown-out of the garage. Yet you claim by your post that either @vishy or @kbdavies is saying that Hamilton was “thrown out” when neither of them say that! Gah! They’re inferring that Hamilton was upset not at being removed from the garage but rather the manner in which this took place, which is a reasonable inference to make and doesn’t even require supporting or denying the claim that he was thrown-out. Sheesh. Talk about biased.

    14. I can understand why Sam Michaels asked him to leave… its just not right to have the driver of a rival team stroll into your garage whenever he feels like. Although when Lewis says “threw his out of the garage”I dont know how literal he was being. I guess how Mclaren handled the situation might not have been ideal

      Anyways.. I’m happy that Lewis is doing good at Mercedes, and I honestly believe that he has been the most crucial team member to have left Mclaren over the past decade. His comments on Mclaren’s decisions regarding car development is spot on.

      Mclaren’s stupidity is obvious in their choice for 1st driver. Jenson should not be leading a top draw team, the guy is just not good enough

    15. “Hamilton added he’s had *difficult* staying..” ?

    16. I don’t think this will make for pleasant reading back at Woking. It’s foolish to burn your bridges as you go because you may need to retreat back across them in the future. Yet another Hamilton clanger! Oh well, at least he’s candid if a little loose tongued.

    17. Sam Michaels was probably worried lewis would start “tweeting”

    18. Over the winter, Hamillton said in various interviews, how he would bring ideas, etc, over to Merc, from what he experienced at Mclaren. It may not be crucial car data, but more like working systems, etc. He is then surprised to be asked to leave the McLaren garage, after spouting about the aforementioned to the media. For those who think it was wrong to be asked to leave, can you imagine Ross Brawn being happy about Button wandering about in the Merc garage, talking to some of his old workmates. It is not normal for a driver from one team, to be allowed into another team’s garage, regardless of who it is, so I don’t see why Hamilton can’t appreciate that.

    19. 23kennyboy23
      19th April 2013, 16:35

      People say the Jenson/Perez lineup is weak and I’d have to agree, but to be honest they could only have slightly improved on that with Hulkenburg, they still more or less have the best drivers available to them at the time.

    20. McLaren enjoys UPS and DOWNS.
      Unlike Redbull they don’t wanna be consistently on top.

      1. When no one excepts, now and then, they’ll just come up with dog of car.

        Then enjoy developing it throughout the season.
        Then almost be fastest just as the season ends.
        Hahaha! So funny….

    21. Here you go.

      McLaren PR director Matt Bishop responded by saying: “Sam didn’t throw Lewis out of our garage.

      “Rather, he gently guided him out since our car was being worked on by our mechanics at the time, with a number of its dismantled components clearly visible, which no-one from a rival team should see.

      “Lewis knew he shouldn’t have been in our garage in the first place, just as all team personnel know they shouldn’t enter rival teams’ garages.”

      Bishop pointed out Hamilton had also spent time in their paddock hospitality “at a number of grands prix” so far this season and had always been “warmly welcomed”.

    22. I don’t think Hamilton has done anything wrong regarding to his move to Mercedes, but he should have factored in that McLaren weren’t going to see his move to Mercedes in the way they should, I don’t think he should feel the need of hanging out with his old crew he is guilty of nothing and he should try to avoid mixing himself with his old crew during F1 operations.

    23. “But I also tried to see them in Jerez, at the test, and there Sam Michael threw me out of the garage. That wasn’t very positive and I don’t feel very good about that.”

      That’s just a manly issue, a bit of body contact can spring nasty reactions, every guy has experienced that rage. Perhaps Hamiton was discussing the manner he was sent out, that according to Whitmarsh wasn’t impolite, what’s impolite was to stand near another f1 team, a bit like staying to close behind someone at the atm.

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