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McLaren: Two sides of a victory
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McLaren: Two sides of a victory
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Mar 2010   |  12:54 am GMT  |  602 comments

I’m very interested in the response of McLaren and its two drivers to the events in Australia. Jenson Button won the race with a performance of measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance, while Lewis Hamilton lit up Albert Park with his audacious passing, but ended up looking diminished in comparison with Button, less in control of his destiny, less mature.

Button: Nothing to lose (Darren Heath)

That isn’t so surprising; Button is 30 years old and ten years into his F1 career, whereas Hamilton is 25 and only three years in. Perhaps because he won the title so early in his career and has been a front runner since day one, we forget that he still isn’t the complete package.

But today the difference between them was highlighted in several ways. Button instinctively knew that lap 6 was the right moment to gamble on a switch to dry tyres. His first sector made him and us wonder whether it was the right choice, but he was soon up to speed and from then on there was no doubt.

When everyone dived in for tyres, he moved up to second place behind Vettel and was well placed to take the lead when the Red Bull car failed again. From there he measured the gap to the opposition, trimming the car using the front wing adjuster and showing the same ability to nurse a set of tyres he showed in Monaco last year, the cornerstone of that victory.

The confidence that Button now has since winning the world title is there for all to see. It’s in the way he walks through the paddock, conducts interviews, greets people. He’s achieved his goal, he is loving life as an F1 driver and whatever happens from now on is a bonus. Fear of failure is no longer part of his game and that is a mighty powerful weapon.

His mechanics love him already. He comes in and thanks them for their work at the end of every day and they appreciate his honesty on the days when he doesn’t get it right.

If Button is about swagger, mixed with savvy and subtlety, Hamilton is all about the warrior spirit, but the fear of failure is still there. He was aggressive from the outset and pulled off some stunning moves. He was never going to beat Button because he didn’t take the early tyre gamble but a podium was there for the taking.

Hamilton: Painful lesson (Darren Heath)

But unlike Button he wasn’t leading from the cockpit, he was still dependent on his engineers to tell him what to do on tyres and they felt that he would benefit from a second set of dry tyres, expecting the cars around him like the Ferraris and Kubica to do likewise. But as Fernando Alonso said, the simulations in no way recommended sacrificing track position for a second or two per lap of speed advantage. Track position is king.

McLaren’s decision was partly informed by the belief that Hamilton would struggle to make it to the finish on a single set of tyres, unlike Button.

Realising the decision had been wrong he criticised the team in a radio transmission which was heard by the world, which showed a lack of composure.

“All I know is the guys do, always, a fantastic job, but the strategy was not right,” he said after the race. “Everyone else in front of me did one stop and for some reason I did two.”

It’s the “for some reason” part of that sentence which rings hollow in comparison with Button’s decisiveness.

It reminded me of China 2007, where Hamilton lost the world championship by staying out too long on a set of tyres that everyone could see were destroyed. He slid off into the gravel trap on his belated way into the pits.

On that occasion he was led by the team, which was trying to win the title that day, rather than take a safe podium that was there for the taking and which would leave him with a simple tap-in at the final race. That was McLaren hubris at its most extreme.

Yesterday Hamilton showed he is still dependent on them for decisions, but unfortunately for him, Button showed what leadership from the cockpit is all about and the contrast is painful for Hamilton. He will be stinging.

It comes at a time when he is coming out of the protective cuccoon of his father Anthony, facing the world as his own man. The lesson of Melbourne is that as a driver he clearly has some life skills to learn.

He has exceptional skill behind the wheel, of the kind which could make him one of the greats, but until he can add that extra dimension of leadership and racing intelligence from the cockpit he will not be the complete package.

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  1. Stuart Urquhart says:

    Well said James. Spot on!

    There’s a very interesting psychological dynamic developing within the team. Even as a Button fan, I’d expected things to go in Lewis’ favour this year, but what a measured performance today.

    There will be days when Lewis is uncatchable but this result certainly bodes well for Jenson at McLaren going forwards. Perhaps it wasn’t as risky a move as it first looked then.

    1. Frenchie says:

      I’ve heard The Flav wasn’t expecting a lamp post or a brick to win again in Melbourne.

      I certainly share your opinion Stuart. From the Schumacher grandstand, it was very noticeable that Jenson was managing his tyres whereas Hamilton, Webber and Alonso looked completely ragged.

      Jenson also looked comfortable. I feel he could have gone faster. If this is the case, Hamilton will have to believe what he politely said of Button during the winter.

      1. alex petrov says:

        Hmz. Strange though – Alonso is really worse at managing his tires even though he had to climb from P22?

      2. Frenchie says:

        I am talking of actually being there (between turns 15 and 16) and noticing how the drivers were performing.

        Alonso’s back end came loose more than once.

        Button looked stable and probably was managing his tyres as soon as Vettel was out (who by the way Looked glued to the track).

        Karun Chandhok was painfully slow, just as Schumacher and De La Rosa were on a different level.

    2. Andy W says:

      Sorry but I disagree pretty much completely…. The real difference was that Jenson took a gamble that paid off, Lewis/the team took a gamble that didn’t pay off.

      Yes Jenson made his call but all the commentators thought he was mad, the 4 people in my sitting room all thought he was insane when he came out the pits and went pretty much straight off the track.

      The team took a gamble that Lewis on fresh rubber would be able to catch and pass the cars in front, if they didn’t stop for fresh rubber. The problem was that Renault and Ferrari also took a gamble that they could hold a charging Lewis (and Webber) and it paid off for them.

      Ok lets break it down a bit further by looking at the drivers and situations about each McLaren driver.

      Jenson knew his tyres were ruined when he came in, and he knew that if he stayed out for another lap it was likely he would tumble down a still tightly packed field. He considered that risk against his judgement that there was a dry enough line to make the dry soft tyre work, also the fact he is one of the drivers who excels on such situations. Consider his 1st race win Hungry… Consider his performance in every wet race (yes he messed up a wet quali in Brazil, but that was as much mistiming as anything else in the strangest quali session I have ever seen) last season….

      Now lets look at Lewis, he was stuck behind Kubica and seemed to be able to make no inroads against him, he had 2 Ferrari’s sitting on his tail, just waiting to pounce. It was entirely possible that Massa could Webber him and unlikely but still possible that Massa could over take him if he made a move on Webber that failed, and who was riding Massa’s tail and unlikely to want to sit in 5th all day when he was a couple of seconds off 3rd place / 2nd when Seb retired. Lewis was in a very precarious position when the choice to bring him in was made.

      Now lets balance that against Lewis… He is a phenomenal racer he can and did put in blinding laps on his fresh rubber, if Ferrari/Renault had blinked and pitted for fresh rubber then they would come out seconds behind Lewis on cold tyres vrs his hot ones and Lewis would be gone. We also know that Lewis is a skilled and adventurous overtaker, its highly plausible that he could and would overtake Alonso/Massa/Kubica if he had fresh rubber against their old and tired rubber.

      As I said at the start both drivers took a calculated gamble, one paid off the other didn’t. We also don’t know what would have happened in the next few corners if Webber hadn’t had his slowing down problems…… Lewis and Alonso would have been on different parts of the track and fighting for position over the next couple of corners…. Lewis on fresher Rubber than Alonso and he could have had a chance at a really struggling Massa….

      As for the whole team dynamics…. Do you really think that those involved in the decision on the pit wall weren’t being far harsher on themselves than the criticism that Lewis made over the radio?

      1. Marcin says:

        I wasn’t going to comment on this article as there was so much I shook my head at, so thanks Andy for stating it lucidly.

        This is a fickle business but sometimes I’m amazed at it, anyway.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        Only problem with your view is now Whitmarsh knows they could have had a 1-2. Whitmarsh has more information because he is manning the race and we are not. He is on the pitwall. He has expensive maps and simulations and can see how Lewis is using his tires from super computer analyses. My view is he has this and more ie 20 years worth of experience – his team should not be making these sorts of mistakes where couch potatoes like us can then have a chance at second guessing his decisions. What is the use of a GBP250 million budget if somebody with a remote control half drunk on a sunday afternoon can make better decisions from 6000kms away? Or even the same decisions for that matter! It is rediculous, right? That is why one would think there is more to that team call than meets the eye.

      3. Andy W says:

        Hindsight is such a wonderful thing….

        If Lewis had been able to overtake the 3 drivers on old rubber he caught up with at 2 seconds a lap, then McLaren and that decision would have been hailed as every bit as excellent as Jenson’s. I would also imagine Alonso would be spitting dummies about Ferrari calling him in.

        As for us still drunk and wide awake people watching it at silly o’clock in the morning… We thought Jenson’s decision to change to dry tyres when he did was insane, along with the commentators.

        Its easy being a couch boss, because we know that if they had listened to us then they would have won and when they do things we disagree with but win regardless we can just laud them as heroes and pretend that we never called them idiots in the 1st place.

      4. henry says:

        completely agree with Andy, hindsight is the most wonderful of visions…we did not have the data, and even so Alonso was always going to be very difficult to pass he is a fantastic driver – but Hamilton was fast enough and if Webber had not pranged him he could still have overtaken at least one Ferrari.

      5. Cliff says:

        Couldn’t agree with you more Andy. I always find James’ articles interesting and well informed however this piece couldn’t be further from the mark… “measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance” from Jenson??? Taking a gamble due to his inability to make the inters work for more than six laps is now called measured perfection? I think not… Button was very lucky.

        As far as what happened with Lewis I believe it was a fair call from McLaren. They were covering all their bases by putting one of them on fresh rubber, & Jenson got the priority call and kept track position because he was in front. No one had done 50 laps on the soft tyres in Melbourne so it was entirely possible they would all need to pit twice. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…

      6. Jason says:

        I agree with Andy too. This is all hindsight. I’m not sure what race James was actually watching, to call Jenson’s decision tactically brilliant? I suspect James knew very well that he’d stir up a hornets nest by writing that piece! And to an extent, we’ve all bitten!

        Lets look at some facts. Jenson had already been passed, for position, by Lewis, who started 8 places further back. Jenson was going backwards, in terms of losing time to the leader and his inters were ‘shot’. He was offered a ‘window’ by McLaren, in which to pit. He made a bold decision to go in sooner, rather than later and for that he deserves some credit. However, he confirmed himself that his inters were shot and he was losing time to the leader. So in reality, what did he have to lose?

        Had Vetel’s car been reliable, nobody would be talking about this.

        Martin Whitmarsh has been very clever, in ‘bigging up’ Jenson’s role. I think he’s done this for two reasons. Firstly, in order to bolster Jenson’s confidence, which is no bad thing. He’s new to the team and does appear to work best when he’s totally at ease with the car and his surroundings. Therefore, this is very good man management by Whitmarsh. Secondly, as Lewis appeared to be ‘hard done by’, in this case, it goes against the conventional wisdom of some that the team is geared around Lewis. I’ve never believed this.

        I suspect that in bringing in Lewis twice, McLaren were actually trying to cover their bases. If the guys ahead of Lewis began to experience severe problems with their tyres, combined with Lewis quickly catching up, they’d have no choice but to pit and Lewis would probably have won the race. However, if they didn’t go off, Jenson had a sufficient gap in front. Either way, they were covered. I’m not anti Jenson and was very happy he won the race, as a brit. But for me, the best drivers of the day were Fernando, who was in last place and Lewis, who got by Button, Massa and Rosberg.

      7. James Allen says:

        How could the inters be “shot” when the first four laps were under a safety car and on lap 5 he was the fastest of the top seven runners?

      8. Jason says:

        Hi James, When I said that Jenson’s inters were ‘shot’, I was referring to the link below. I admit that he didn’t actually use the term ‘shot’, but in essense, he said he was struggling for grip.


      9. Yes Jenson made his call but all the commentators thought he was mad, the 4 people in my sitting room all thought he was insane when he came out the pits and went pretty much straight off the track.

        The problem with your analysis is:
        a) You are not driving the car. Just as Martin and David were not driving the car – they had no clue as to what it felt like to be doing that. Jenson did. That is why he could make the call and not think it mad. And it is why the commentators, including ex-drivers and ex-team-boss cannot make that call.

        Oh and the small difference, that you, like me, have never driven and F1 car and have zero idea what it is really like. You only have to look at the pathetic drive by Richard Hammond (Top Gear) in the Renault a few years back to see just how hard it is. He is used to powerful cars but didn’t even get the Renault to 100% throttle for 1 second. F1 cars are a different world alltogether.

        b) It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, apart from the people involved in the decision. In this case Jenson. In Lewis’s case, his engineers and possible MW.

        As for Lewis, yes, super fast catching them, destroying his tyres in the process, then not being able to do anything when he gets there. I would not be at all surprised that if he had not changed tyres, he may have caught and passed Jenson and then later Jenson would have eaten him for lunch having saved his tyres while Lewis burned his.

        They have different driving styles. Lewis’s style is more flexible, but on a day like this, Jenson’s style is going to pay out, the longer it goes, the better for him.

        It will be an interesting year (I hope). Jenson will shine on occasions when people don’t expect it. Lewis will be gung ho pretty much all the time.

    3. Daver says:

      As neither a fan of Lewis or Button (more F1), I wonder if in the coming years this will end up as a Prost/Senna battle. One smooth and calculating the other ruthless (if not wreckless), cold talent.

      For my mind, Lewis needs to mature if that is going to happen. At some stage you have to stop infering blame on your team when things don’t work out or go wrong. I still can’t believe that most of the blame was shipped onto the team when he lied to the stewards.

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        Just two weeks ago at Bahrain Burton was having his own blame gaming with the car. Truth is Burton is just as much a blame shifter as any driver on the grid.

    4. Henry says:

      Was there not a sense with the McLaren garage that they would try to keep button out on that set of tyres but changing Hamilton’s would have covered them in case all the other front runners came in to get another set?

      In any case, Hamilton really should become one of the greats that race was amazing, his overtaking moves were just unmatchable by anyone on the field. lets not forget that.

      1. " for sure " says:

        If there is anything at all in your argument, it is that Button can preserve his tyres, Hamilton cannot. That is what dictated the call.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        sorry but Hamilton can preserve his tires too – that is why now Whitmarsh thinks he could have lasted the race and they could have nailed a 1-2. Don’t forget Whitmarsh and Lewis have supremely more data than us here. Listen to what they are saying.

      3. Darren says:

        Lewis has always been hard on his tyres .. BUTTON=PROST :-)

      4. MikeW says:

        Agree totally. In choosing to pit Hamilton, it gave McLaren a split strategy in case the original option tyres couldn’t handle 50+ laps – and no-one thought they could around the time of lap 40.

        If the tyres could handle it (and Button would be the best person to *try* to make it happen), then McLaren win.

        If the tyres couldn’t handle it, then Lewis would win instead. But if Alonso, Massa and Kubica stayed out, then he still stood some chance of overtaking, just because of his driving style, especially if it started to spot with rain again.

        I think McLaren made a good tactical call at the time, in terms of the team, and trying to ensure they finished with at least one driver on the top step.

      5. Ahlapski says:

        Sure, JB’s driving is kinder to the tyre than LH. But there were indications from Bridgestone that the options could last the distance.

        It just different teams/ drivers opt for different strategies. I think it is wise of McLaren use do this, 8 pts in the bag is better than nothing. We don’t want a repeat of China, do we??

  2. Steve of Cornubia says:

    As much as it pains me to say so, because I am enjoying the fairy tale that is Lewis Hamilton’s career (and the excitement he brings), I have long believed that Lewis has one crucial flaw that, perhaps, could be blamed on his father and Ron Dennis.

    I believe that Anthony and Ron have so controlled Lewis’s career and life thus far that Lewis lacks a certain degree of intelligence and maturity, that which most of us learn through making our own decisions and enjoying (or suffering) the consequences. While undoubtedly having many attributes as a driver and fighter, Lewis lacks the ablity to drive AND THINK CLEARLY at the same time, in the way that Senna, Schumacher and Alonso can.

    I believe that Lewis needs guidance, but that he now wants to be his own man, and this could be his downfall. It can’t be easy, having won the WC, to accept that you still need help, but he surely does.

    1. joe says:

      yeah i agree with you. At least from now on he can take more responsibility for the decisions taken. he has matured as a driver last year, lets hope that he matures as a thinker this year

    2. Pat says:

      Add Button to the list of drivers with the ability to allocate some brain power to “work things out” whilst still driving at 100% if neccessary – although Button did say he drove well within himself and the car’s pace today – playing the long game & nicely saving engine and gearbox for a later race which this season again could work out to be a very shrewd move !

    3. CH1UNDA says:

      Lets not haste to rule Lewis as one with lower brain capacity. Look at facts. He said he should have stayed out and not pitted. His boss says in hindsight he was right. Forget that part of him loosing it – the fact is he was right, McLaren were not. How does that make him less intelligent and mature?

      Yes he already has guidance – from the team. And see where it has gotten him so far? Last it year it was his bosses who told him to stick with a lie in Melbourne: Shanghai 2007 it was his bosses who told him to stay on the track even as it was evident for all to see that the team was making a stupid gamble: my point is guidance is the problem. McLaren should start tapping into Hamilton’s growing experience. They should be willing to take risks with his calls. If they keep sidelining them and playing this crisis management PR gamemanship that is designed to make him look stupid and tantrumy, he should get on the phone with Mercedes or Redbull and negotiate a drive for 2011. He is a WDC for crying out loud. He should move before McLaren turn him into a has been champion the way BAR did with JV.

      1. Brandon says:

        If your race engineer tells you to bin it so a safety car comes out and your teammate wins do you do it or tell him to slag off?

      2. Steve of Cornubia says:

        I think the point is, Button made his own call whereas Hamilton waited for his team to make the call. There is no doubt in my mind that Senna, Schumacher, Alonso and some other drivers with more confidence and stature in the team would have either made their own call or refused to pit if they thought the call was a bad one.

        The fact that McLaren appeared to be managing Hamilton’s strategy for him suggests that they too have little faith in Lewis’s ability to develop race strategy ‘on the fly’. Who knows, maybe if Hamilton wass allowed to run his own strategy he might get better results, but I’m not sure.

      3. CHIUNDA says:

        my point is you never know until you make a habit of allowing him to make those calls

      4. tomjol says:

        “McLaren should start tapping into Hamilton’s growing experience. They should be willing to take risks with his calls.”

        While I’m far from a McLaren fan, if he’s not making the calls they can’t take risks with them. I suspect that may be the problem, rather than them ‘overruling’ his opinion.

      5. CH1UNDA says:

        @tomjol – he has been making the calls and being overruled by McLaren re: british gp 2009

      6. tomjol says:

        @CH1UNDA: Do you have any sources to back that up, or are you merely speculating?

    4. MikeW says:

      I’m not utterly convinced Alonso belongs in the “thinking things through clearly” club. He suffers greatly from the belief that everything is about him in each team (good article by Mark Hughes on the BBC site), as the toys piled next to the pram shows.

      My pet hate is his approach to driving through the first corner of a GP. He’ll often assume that he can sweep from outside edge through to inner apex with impunity, despite the fact that there’s someone on his inside edge – which isn’t a surprise when the cars start in 2 columns.

      There’s a fine line between an aggressive approach to convince others to back off, and just plain ignoring them. Alonso falls on the wrong side of this line often enough to question his judgement on it.

      1. Pat says:

        @ MikeW – I agree – & I think he thought Button would jump out the way like Massa did – fortunately Button is made of sterner stuff, no doubt Alonso will compute the marker Button put down and in the future and steer well clear :)

      2. tomjol says:

        …like Massa did? When? At Bahrain, when Alonso drove clean around the outside of him?

      3. Yes at turn 1 but Massa “jinked” right a little at the quickly following turn 2 and gave Alonso sufficient room to finish the move.

  3. Nick says:

    Great article James. Put into words exactly what I’d been thinking since the race. What’s going to be really interesting is how Hamilton reacts next weekend.

    1. Dave in NZL says:

      I heartily agree. A great piece James. I think this is one of the best articles I have read this season. Thank you.

      1. Tom Johnson says:

        What part of this article is great?

        Button/Alonso leading the team from the cockpit? Absolute nonsense. Drivers are employed to drive ‘leave the strategy to us Lewis’ remember that?

        What happened here was that it was early enough in the race for Button to be allowed to make a tactical decision, late in the race the team made a strategic decision with regard Hamilton.

        To repeat drivers don’t make strategic decisions whether at Mclaren or any other team, their imput is tactical only. Sorry James, Button isn’t the master of the universe and Hamilton isn’t an immature schoolboy, it was merely circumstance that determined who got to make a tactical judgement and who was subject to strategy.

      2. Spock says:

        What planet are you from Tom Johnson?
        Race car driver’s are not robots, try watching pre\post race interviews and reading well informed articles from people who know what they’re talking about before you let this kind of drivel pour forth or maybe you’re confusing real life F1 with the PlayStation where the AI drivers are robots…

      3. murray says:

        I think you’re right Tom. I just had another look at the first seven laps. Button started fourth, at the end of the first corner melee he was sixth, only just, from his teammate who started eleventh. Five laps later, his teammate took the position he hadn’t been able to improve on, in a car with the same specification. Look at it as a logical problem, if your teammate is faster than you on the same spec, your only hope of bettering him is to change the spec. Jensen’s timing was logical. Good fortune compounded the benefit of his decisiveness, which I applaud along with his great drive.

      4. Dave in NZL says:

        Tom Johnson – the content of the story is largely irrelevant. I was commenting on the way it was written. Perhaps I didn’t make it clear, but you have flown off the handle too quickly.

  4. timem1 says:

    Nicely written James. Hamilton provided much entertainment with his aggressive approach today. He is a fine driver, albeit a tad unpolished at this stage of his career. Button seems to have tapped into a whole new level of confidence this year. One characterized by patience, persistence, and taking the long view in most situations. Another fine drive from Alonso as well. It’s curious that his drive from the back of the pack didn’t get nearly as much attention as Lewis. Any thoughts on that?

    1. James Allen says:

      It was a good “save” by Alonso. From P22 to P4 by staying calm and making it happen. The drive of a champion.

      1. Most startling for me was the fact that Alonso was behind Schumacher at one point and Schumacher barely scrapped into 10th.

        Rosberg (driving the same car) fared far better. Has Schumi lost his tenacity?

      2. tomjol says:

        Comparing him to Rosberg – who wasn’t taken out at the first corner, and didn’t have to pit for a new front wing – is ludicrous.

        Alonso was only behind Schumacher before Schumacher had to pit as mentioned above – and let us not forget that the Ferrari is clearly superior to the Mercedes.

      3. Frenchie says:

        Is he your favourite to win it James?

      4. agusn says:

        Also he played politic better now by not attacking a ‘lame-duck’ Massa, and indeed helped him defense against Hamilton and Webber.

      5. FidoDido says:

        Massa is no ‘lame-duck’ he is very crafty this year. That ‘RB Spring’ almost killed him in Hungary GP09, but it seems it knocked more sense into him.

        He never started a season well before this year. On account of that and the possibility a mistake would be attributed to that injury, he was not going to push real hard.

        Not just yet!

      6. MZR says:

        Massa is the only driver to have scored points cosecutively in last 7 races. He is no ‘lame-duck’. Just a matter of time that he starts winning again. It’s only 4 points between the leaders. You never know he might still well be the champion. If you are betting you might wanna put something on him than to get the maximum return

      7. johnpierre rivera says:

        i believe this is what you mean by “the complete package.” we always seem to forget that it is not about being the fastest, it is about being fast and intelligent, and alonso has it in spades.

      8. adam says:

        So does Hamilton.In last years Aus GP he started at the back of the grid and finished fourth.
        At the end of the season Alonso may well regret not trying a bit harder to pass his team-mate.
        Hamilton and Webber showed how to do it!

      9. Adron Gardner says:

        Agreed. Character does come into play now and then. Like Alonso, Button definitely had his own days of rubbish cars and bad luck. Hamilton can’t learn it all over night.

      10. SabrinaDeets says:

        I agree, It’s performances like that on bad days that win Championships. To finish in the wheel tracks of your team mate in the same car from dead last surprised even me, how will Massa respond? He might have been 3rd but he didn’t look happy.

        James I wanted to ask, why was it that in the first phase of the track being dry (lap 10 onwards) we had plenty of overtaking? But from about lap 40 onwards it became virtually impossible to overtake? The aero performance of the cars was the same in that first dry phase as the last phase of the race, when Hamilton got stuck behind Kubica and even then on fresh tyres made little impression on Alonso?

      11. Chris Hill says:

        Not wanting to put words in James` mouth, but my guess would be that in the frist 10 laps or so after the rain the track would have been pretty “green” thus not penalising the guys going offline to overtake, whereas farther into the race the usual build up of marbles from the tire would have made an offline overtake more risky and harder to pull off due to lack of grip

      12. James Allen says:

        There wasn’t enough rain for that.

      13. Rob H says:

        Massa looked perfectly happy to me, indeed he said as much after the race.

        I don’t think he’ll care that Alonso was quicker than him, given that Melbourne is a track he (Massa) historically has an abysmal record at, and that in qualifying Alonso was 0.7s faster. Under the circumstances, I’m sure he’s delighted to have beaten Alonso in the race and picked up good points.

        It won’t be the same at Malaysia, which is a track Massa has taken pole at a couple of times. He has a much better record there so it should be much closer.

      14. SabrinaDeets says:

        Please James, I would like to know your technically informed opinion on my above comment, you’re the man who’s there at the track, with the answers. Why was there more overtaking on the initially dry track, lap 10 onwards, but after lap 40 it became virtually impossible to overtake?

      15. Craig D says:

        I think it likely has something to do with the fact that as the track grew drier, the performance of the cars and their ability to reach 100% of their potential increased – i.e. braking distances became shorter, drivers were making less mistakes and losing traction existing corners (in a relative sense to wet conditions since obviously their tyres were worse). So there was less potential to out-brake something in my opinion. And also as the track dried, lap times decreased, so the cars were travelling faster, meaning the wake from the cars was more intense, thus making it harder to stay close and overtake.

      16. CH1UNDA says:

        Hamilton was going to nail Alonso before Webber crashed into him – lets not forget that part

      17. tomjol says:

        “The aero performance of the cars was the same in that first dry phase as the last phase of the race”

        Herein lies the problem with your argument. Aerodynamics don’t work like that – a wing standing still generates no downforce, and generates no turbulence. A wing travelling through the air at ‘dry track’ speeds creates a lot more downforce, and a lot more turbulence, than one travelling at ‘wet track’ speeds.

      18. SabrinaDeets says:

        Tomjol – I never mentioned ‘wet track speeds’. I’m talking of the period of the race when all the cars were on drys.

        If the car is on dry tyres because they are faster as of lap 10 when Button started going quicker than those on the inters, then technically the track can be considered dry because you can pick up enough grip to make the tyres work. If you don’t have as much mechanical grip at this point as there was at the end of the race then the aero isn’t going to be as effective anyway. If the tyres are harder and reflect the grip levels in that early dry period of the race then aero isn’t the problem.

        So there’s quite a wide gap there in as you said ‘dry track speeds’ As I said before that 1st phase lap 10 onwards, an overtaking frenzy. Then lap 40 onwards, Hamilton couldn’t pass Kubica and got stuck behind Alonso for 8 laps.

      19. Ben Miller says:

        If somebody at Mclaren has to win I would rather it be Button. Like Prost and Senna, his and Lewis’ driving styles split opinions, and whilst under-rated in some quarters over the course of a season I still expect Lewis to be the main title challenger from Mclaren. Whilst it seems Button is relaxed and has settled in well, I envisage him having more off days than Lewis…although oz qualifying suggests otherwise, Lewis is usually able to extract that little bit more from under performing cars.

        Completely agree timem1/James – Alonso did not get enough credit. Last on lap 1, 10th by lap 13, 7th and on the back of Lewis and Massa by lap 18. Bringing the car home from the back of the grid, with decent points and when Ferrari haven’t got the quickest car, definitely solid foundations for a championship push. In my eyes he is the best all-round driver on the grid and yesterday displayed so many elements of his armoury – Red Bull and Mclaren should be worried.

      20. Stevie P says:

        My opinion, so don’t pan me too much… ;-)

        A lot of people fell off the road in front of Alonso (Kobayashi, Hulk and Buemi lap one – Petrov on lap ten, Sutil vanished at the same time with mechanical issues; Senna just before that), so his job was made far easier… plus the safety car meant the pack backed up, reducing his time losses. And let’s face it, the 2 Hispania’s and 1 Lotus are hardly going to hold him back.

        Vettel went kaput, which moved him up a place. Webber lost out to the Ferrari’s because his team messed up the strategy and\or he didn’t make the call to come in earlier. Plus, Lewis got held up in his box, which meant he returned to the track behind them after the first stop. Rosberg pitted twice which put him behind both Ferrari’s too, after his 2nd stop.

        I still think Alonso had a good drive, but it wasn’t that great – I would have liked him to get past Massa – the important point for me, is that Alonso knows the way to play the long game in the championship when he has a competitive car.

      21. nige says:

        Anybody who thought Alonso had it easy should have been watchin the in car camera. I watched alonso for at least 10 laps and he made some excellent passing moves all missed by the main program. He hung it out all race. Excellent article

      22. Saip says:

        Hi James,
        Is it possible to write an article on Alonso?


      23. Romeo ( MEX in USA) says:

        Yes. Please do. The way he made the move from the back of the grid was a real show of his quality. In Gazzeta the Tifossi are upset with Massa being slower and not allowing him to pass.

      24. CH1UNDA says:

        An article on Lewis is always an article on Alonso. Just take what a journalist says about Lewis then read the opposite and plug in the name Alonso where Lewis is and bingo.

      25. agusn says:

        That is the politic that Alonso’s now playing. He’s really smart. He’s confident that Massa is not his main competitor. Instead of grabbing just a few point from Massa, it’s better for him to have a full support from Ferrari and tifosi that he’s someone different than what he had been protrayed in Media (British media mainly).

      26. Midnight Toper says:


        What are your thoughts on Schumacher, he seems to be taking a bit of a pasting but nobody is mentioning that a) he had to make an extra pit stop thanks to Alonso, b) he posted the 4th fastest time during the race c) on his final pitstop he was held in a que behind Rosberg.

        Also, the commentators on Speed (I’m US based) mentioned that he qualified on the harder compound tyre, hence the 4/10ths difference to Rosberg in Q3. I can’t find any mention of this anywhere, is it true?

      27. Nick Pauro says:

        I rekon (hope) Alonso will win the championship in his debut Ferrari year… so long as Vettel’s car keeps conking out and Massa can be tamed… but I wouldnt bet on the latter… Massa is only just getting warmed up!

        That said, I have never seen him do a p.22 to 4th!

        Shout out to Mark Webber for my mate who is a massive fan!

      28. Andy says:

        Everybody remembers Kimi winning the Suzuka GP in 2005 after starting from the last spot, but many forget that in the same race Alonso drove from 16th to 3rd. Not quite from 22nd to 4th, but quite comparable anyway.

      29. Komieko says:

        I find it funny that most posters now decide to critize Lewis Hamilton for not making an in race decision, when only a year ago at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton questioned the team regarding saving the engine for another race would benefit the TEAM. He was advised to stay out. Many comments from that race advised Lewis to shut up and drive the car. Not being paid to think. Now that he follows his teams advice, something that bodes well for him and team in success, comes back at Lewis for not being mature enough to make decisions on his own. The guy is a brilliant driver, whether you like his personality or not. I make not like Alonso’s attitude sometimes, however he makes up in spades with his brilliant drives. Let stop with this unsupported argument that proves nothing. Let’s watch and enjoy what could be the most exciting season for a while.

      30. CH1UNDA says:

        Thank you so much Komieko. I was starting to think i was the only one remembering that incident from Silverstone last year. I made references to it elsewhere but could not recall exactly what race it was. In my opinion McLaren are playing bad politics and bad management at the same time. They have to show consistency of what they want from Lewis. If its compliance they should take blame for their mistakes. If its leadership they should take the risks that will come with Lewis making the calls. But playing with a brilliant driver’s emotions the way they are doing is not going to help them much – he is still young and has WDC on his CV: i can see lots of good teams with deep pockets that can take him in 2011. Then lets see how much use a lesser rated pairing of drivers would do to McLaren’s road car project. That 4000 cars per year for the MP4-12C depends on sinsillating performances at F1 races not surviness at managerial politiking (there is very little of the former and plenty of the later to go round). McLaren seem to have forgotten how long they stayed without a championship trophy until Lewis came along.

      31. tomjol says:

        “In my opinion McLaren are playing bad politics and bad management at the same time. They have to show consistency of what they want from Lewis. If its compliance they should take blame for their mistakes.”

        They did take the blame. Whitmarsh clearly stated that they thought it was the right decision at the time, but clearly in the long run it wasn’t as the cars ahead didn’t pit. If that’s not ‘taking the blame’, I’m not sure what is – what more do you want?

        I’ve not spent much time on this blog, neither do I care much for McLaren, but you do seem to have rather a vendetta against them.

      32. CH1UNDA says:

        @tomjol – not vendetta. as you have mentioned you are not a McLaren nor Lewis fan. I am of both (plus vettel, filipe, barichello, toyota – rip) and watch them a lot more and have seen things in the past that you would not be interested in. But i have to admit that in my case, the jury is still out on Whitmarsh – but certainly not the vendetta type jury.

      33. MikeW says:

        Alonso made some good passes in the rear- and middle-order, but for the front-runners, he mostly benefitted from their decisions to pit a second time.

        As you say, a good “save”, but the fact he had to go from P22 to P4 was because he’d originally gone from P4 to P22. Imagine where he’d have got to if he hadn’t turned in on Button, and was still somewhere around P4 in turn 2!

        That kind of cock-up detracts from considering this as a good drive.

  5. Paul E. says:

    James, You should read the juvenile rants the editors of that re-launched site pass off as ‘informed observations’ to their readers. Thanks and kudos for your astute and concise take on the situation at McLaren. – Two thumbs up!

    1. James Allen says:

      What site are you talking about?

      1. Paul E. says:

        PF-1. Found their reactions to the race way over-the-top. Kinda like junk food – tasty but ultimately unhealthy….

      2. Rupinder Singh says:

        The best part – PF! has resorted to quoting JA verbatim !

      3. hibikir says:

        I personally have found the comments of their editor staff awful for years. Little insider knowledge, and a lot of opinions that are no better than your average well informed fan. Add to that a forum that is not exactly civil or insightful, and you have a waste of a sight.

        THey have faster news updates than James does, but that’s about it.

      4. Aquila says:

        I think that’s a tad harsh on PF-1. I think there is room for F1 fans to concurrently read, and appreciate several sites, without the need to openly and wantonly favour some / criticise others in this way. Sometimes some sites get it spot on in terms of their analysis and / or opinions, sometimes they don’t. I enjoy their partisan bias. I throughly enjoyed PF1′s analysis and comment on the Australian GP, whilst I agree with James comments as above too (in fact refer to post #108 in the previous thread). I don’t see JAF1 or PF1 as either / or websites. I one for one am grateful that they (co)exist.

      5. Satish says:

        Other than a few rare and infrequent articles, PF1 is a tabloid that takes any F1 happening as twists it up into sensationalist headlines. One example being their latest “Hamilton: McLaren wrecked drive of my life” :rolleyes:

      6. LT says:

        Most F1 fans will tell you PF-1 is the “Fox News” of F1 media….better avoided :)

      7. HowardHughes says:

        Funnily enough, I don’t mind PF-1. Some of their news ‘stories’ are just reheated paragraphs, but their editorial shows a surprising amount of insight and passion. PP is one that purports to be more refined and ‘in the know’, but it’s just so bitter and sarky half the time, I can’t stand it. It’s like the Daily Mail for F1; all judgemental and sarcastic….

        PF-1 is bright and bouncy by comparison!

      8. Paul E. says:

        @HowardHughes – I too appreciate the insights, humor and passion in the PF1 editorials, but I felt Pete Gill’s views on the McLaren situation at Oz really went over the top. I just needed to let James know I appreciated his sober and relevant take that gave the matter much more balance and clarity. …BTW, what’s ‘PP’? :)

      9. tomjol says:

        Hah, PF1! What a joke. It’s a shame they’ve got rid of that red header, rather made it fit in with the tabloid style of journalism (make wild assertions, attack individuals, back nothing up).

      10. Bevan says:

        How you come to your conclusions re this race is beyond me James,almost with the same awestruck lack of objectivity you used to display during M Schumacher’s winning era.Were we watching the same race James,I saw Lewis blitzing most of the field,Kubicka & Button were next in line for sure but for the advice of the TEAM you mention.Button admitted himself his intermediate’s were gone requiring a pitstop that you seemingly put down to sublime talent,that incidentally only took ten years to reveal itself.Lewis gave F1 whats it missing for once through raw talent,not hyper boring measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance.@ Paul E-guess it depends on what side of the garage your backing whether you agree with that great piece from Pete Gill @ Planet F1 or not eh.

      11. Andy C says:

        If you are implying that James is biased towards Jenson then you have not been reading James articles very long.

        James is also a big fan of Lewis. All he is doing is putting forward a balanced article of the events of yesterday…

      12. CH1UNDA says:

        Bevan – thank you for the reminder: just wanted to note an emerging trend that everytime Lewis lights up races with exciting overtaking there always follows a huge media crisis against him – Spa 2008, Melbourne 2009, Melbourne 2010 and many more. What is with Hamilton’s exciting races that always prompts journalists to criticise him even when they are mourning about how processional races are these days?

      13. Tom Johnson says:

        Alonso Button leading from the cockpit? Mythology James. Alonso at Mclaren was on record as doing what the team decide strategy wise. Button wasn’t about to decide tyre choice all on his lonesome, he was invited to decide and took the gamble.

      14. Jonathan says:

        If you remember what Red Kravitz said you will know you are wrong. The question from the team was “how about slicks in 2-3 laps?”. Jenson’s reply was “I’m coming in now” – the pit crew were sitting in the back of the garage and did amazingly well to be ready in such a short time.

      15. timem1 says:

        Tom J, You just defined “leading from the cockpit.” The driver shares info with his engineer, they work together to make the right call. You must be a Hamilton fan.

      16. Adamthestig says:

        Yes Button made the call to come in early but only because LH had just passed him and his inters had gone off…a no brainer really.

  6. Crys says:

    Thanks for that James. I’ve been reading a couple of other boards where the conspiracy theorists are out in force, insisting that McLaren deliberately sabotaged Lewis’s race and handed Jenson the win! Between the people not accepting that Jenson chose his pit stop, and those saying he didn’t deserve to win because he didn’t pass anyone on track, I was starting to wonder if anyone watched the same race I did. It’s a really hard call to say if Lewis could have got past Kubica and kept that first set of slicks going to the end of the race. I think he would have had to put in the stop at some point, those tyres were starting to look messy. Kubica was doing a hell of job defending his place against Lewis, and the BBC commentary team seemed to think the stop was a good move, and the initial progress Lewis was making on those new tyres looked pretty good.

    I’m with you, Lewis didn’t show himself in the best light with his comments during and after the race. I do wish people would stop belittling everything that JB does – goddess knows he’s made plenty of his own mistakes in the past, but right now, he’s doing a pretty fine job of being both a race driver and a WDC. I wonder what next weekend will bring.

    1. Greg from Easton pa usa says:

      While Hamilton has a natural talent, he suffers from one major flaw that will prevent him from becoming a great driver: a sense of entitlement. From the first article I read about him, even before he turned a wheel in an F1 car, he was billed as Ron Dennis’ protege who was groomed to be a champion. His preferential treatment at Mclaren along side established drivers the likes of Raikkonen and Alonso fed into this. His championship year came in a season where Hamilton’s win came by a single point and was the result of a lacking performance by Massa and Raikkonen and a last minute pass to get the winning point. Button had a period in his career (about the time he came out with his extensive clothing line) where the overwhelming press coverage inflated his ego. In the past few seasons he has matured greatly, and his hard fought championship last year shows what a mature driver can accomplish in the midst of superior competition. Hamilton’s outburst on the team radio shows his frame of mind- the team prevented him from winning. However, given his propensity of shredding tires, they had little choice bit to bring him in for tires. His breathtaking passes came at the expense of his tires and, had he paced himself, he could have finished on the podium. Hopefully he will learn from his team and teammate that he is not entitled to…the title. The competiton this season is too great for a repeat of 2008.

      1. kowalsky says:

        boris becker once said, if i could change something in my career, would be not to win winbledon so young.

      2. Greg from Easton pa usa says:

        I will remember that quote. It applies to many aspects of life. Knowing what to do with fame, fortune and success has been a problem for many young people from athletes to musicians to actors. I wish I had a little bit of that problem to deal with in my youth!

      3. murray says:

        Not forgetting that he was a champion with radio control(!) cars, the karting career in which he repaid his father’s confidence and investment by winning against other drivers with comparable equipment, and the progression through junior championships to F1, with which he repaid his father’s, and Ron Dennis’s, confidence and investment – by winning against other drivers with comparable equipment. If he feels entitled, it’s probably because he feels he’s earned it. Do you suggest that it’s a flaw because, if he does feel entitled, it’s not earned, that he just shouldn’t feel entitled, or that a feeling of entitlement weighs so heavily it slows you down?

    2. Tom Johnson says:

      How to lose one of the great drivers from your team.

      Martin Witless and his band of incompetents have plenty of form in screwing Hamilton’s strategy. China 07 when as a novice he needed help, Brazil 07 and almost Brazil 08, Hockenheim 08 and now Melbourne.

      Hamilton will grow up quickly this year and his next team will have a fantastic ‘complete’ driver. Witless and co are so desperate to show parity that they’ve distabilised their star driver: what else do you call tearing up the Hamilton/Prew partnership and substituting an incompetent junior?

      Hamilton’s misplaced unquestioning trust is ended, he’s been let down one too many times, Hamilton was happy with his tyre ware, Kubica thought Christmas had come early and alonso found it unfathomable. Hamilton’s ‘team’ didn’t even consult the driver whereas Button’ did. If that doesn’t show a complete lack of respect nothing does.

      Anyway, teams looking for a top notch driver get your bids in now, Hamilton’s out of there.

      1. Andy C says:

        if Hamilton left after once bad strategy call he wouldn’t be the driver I think he is.
        If you want some balance, and I’m sure lewis appreciates this, ron dennis and mclaren put him in one of the best cars on the grid with a lot of gamble. So let’s not forget that.
        It is fine for him to be unhappy and go off on one behind closed doors. The issue is doing it in public. I’m confident he will learn and fulfil the potential he has to be wdc a number of times more.

      2. Steve says:

        No, I’m sorry but saying they ‘didn’t even consult the driver’ and that it shows no respect is rubbish. If they didn’t consult him AND HAMILTON DIDN’T QUESTION THE CALL then that’s established operating procedure for Lewis. If that’s the case then frankly he’s not doing a good enough job in the cockpit and needs to improve that part of his game very quickly because if you rely on people sitting on the pitwall to make a call for you then sooner or later you’re going to have a situation like this. Final decision should always rest with the driver to say ‘hang on a sec guys, I really don’t feel this is the right option’. Lewis didn’t do that, ergo the ultimate ‘blame’ (if there’s blame to give which I don’t think there is considering the circumstances in which they had to make the call) lies with the driver not the team. Now if they’d consulted him and he’d said no and they’d pulled him in anyway THEN he’s got a cause for complaint.

        Let’s not forget Lewis has a history of being hard on tires (china 07 for instance…) and yesterday he showed he may not be the best judge of tire wear and mechanical issues with his memorable ‘the tires have gone off’ radio call which a) was probably wrong, it’s the turbulent air off the back of the Ferrari that caused that, and b) was one of the stupidest things I’ve seen an experienced F1 driver do as it alerted Red Bull to an opportunity.

      3. Tom Johnson says:

        But that’s how Mclaren operate just ask Alonso, he did as he was told too. In fact the idea that the modern driver is the master of all he surveys is total fiction. That Hamilton made mild criticism of the ‘team’ is a shock to this sanitised corporate world. Button was given a choice within very strict parameters, it had nothing to do with being an inspired individual, a Montgomery leading his troops to victory – that’s BS plain and simple.

        Hamilton will toughen up be less trusting and more willing to dump Mclaren eventually. But the idea that he’s a boy amongst masters of the universe Button and Alonso is laughable.

      4. CHIUNDA says:

        steve, lewis did precisely what you suggest last year and was told to shut up and drive. the team told him he was not paid to make strategy calls. revisit your pvr for details

      5. bill says:

        ok, now take a deep breath :)

      6. LJ says:

        “Hamilton’s misplaced unquestioning trust is ended, he’s been let down one too many times, Hamilton was happy with his tyre ware”

        I agree the team have let him down quite a few times and he has let them down on occasion too. It’s easy to focus on one element and not the whole.

        BTW, I distinctly remember Hamilton was on the radio when he was stuck behind Kubica in 3rd and he said “my tyres have gone”. So no, he wasn’t happy with his tyre wear. Do I think he could have done 20 more laps on them and overtake Kubica? Not very likely. If he had been sensible he would have stayed out and took the 3rd.

        Just shows you how badly he wants to win I guess and this is where his engineer should have told him to back off imo. 3rd is better than his eventual 6th.

      7. Andy Thomlinson says:

        And which team would you suggest he should join?

        Name any of the top teams and I will show you an example of how a bad call from the pit wall that has ruined their drivers race!

      8. Tom Johnson says:

        Mclaren incompetence cost Hamilton a WDC for goodness sake.

      9. Andy Thomlinson says:

        Tom he also won his WDC in a Mclaren!

        All the teams make judgement calls that look foolish with benefit of hindsight just look at Ferrari with their wet tyres on a bone dry track!

      10. CHIUNDA says:

        mercedes definitely; red bull may be.

      11. rafa says:

        And where would he go? Merc and Ferrari are definitely not for him, what with Schumacher and Alonso lying about. RBR could be a choice, if and when Webber retires, but if I were in RBR´s board I´d seriously ponder on the consequences of having two alfa´s in my yard.

        Nah, forget it; Hamilton´s best movement is no movement; race, shut up and mature. Otherwise he might end up making the same mistakes that an illustrious ex- team mate of his made, and which have been so celebrated by British fans over the last three years.

      12. CHIUNDA says:

        schumacher cant hack another year in mercedes. there is a good team with a brilliant boss. if brawn made button win a wdc, imagine what he can do for lewis

    3. Carl says:

      How can people even argue Button didn’t call his own stop? it was plain for all to see.

      I was watching the race live and at the same time I had the McLaren website open. During events their site gives you the GPS position of the cars, throttle movement, braking, distance etc..

      One crucial thing is that it also gives a read out of the team radio. So you can see what is being said in near real time and certainly before the TV commentators.

      Its a great resource if you’re a McLaren fan.

      I saw Button’s radio transmission and was like “what the hell” then the TV pickup him going into the pits.

      1. Crys says:

        As I said – I was wondering if they were watching the same race I saw… But conspiracy theorists do tend to ignore anything that doesn’t fit their own argument.

        I didn’t know the McLaren site streamed the radio transmissions – I’ll check that out next race.

    4. CH1UNDA says:

      Is this a race about who makes the best comments or who makes the best passes. I am starting to get confused by the F1 journalist community. Lewis gives us the best racing of the afternoon, but we throw all that down the toilet with one muttering on the radio! What has the world come to?

      1. Oli says:

        Ch1unda- it’s not about either of those things- it’s about who scores more points.

    5. FidoDido says:

      Jenson passed Kubica when both were on the option slick tyres.

      Kubica then shut the door on everone else.

  7. Chris Bird says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Excellent win for Button, pure class. Superb, agressive and audacious race for Lewis but crude and tactless comments about the team during and after the race.

    However, the race clearly demonstrated both the Mclaren drivers comparative strenghs and in Lewis’s case his weaknesses. He was driving live a god today only to act like a spoilt child after the race.

    Also, who is the Guy in the Number 3 Mercedes pretending to be Schumacher?

    1. Frenchie says:

      It was the Stig. Everyone knows Schumacher has a neck injury. :-)

      Schumi definetely looked like a shadow of his former self. Spending the majority of the race behind Alguersuari seemed a bit of a joke.

    2. “Also, who is the Guy in the Number 3 Mercedes pretending to be Schumacher?”

      It’s Ralf.

    3. Tom says:

      And who’s the guy in Number 4 pretending to be Nick Heidfeld…

      1. Brace says:

        Hahaha. Good one. :)
        But Nick Heidfeld would have finished on podium. ;)

  8. Josh says:

    I completely agree with the whole ‘Hamilton being dependant on his team’ thing. Personally, i found it frustrating to hear his critical comments in the heat of the race – the sheer contrast between the two Mclaren drivers’ attitudes this weekend was staggering!
    Today i believe we saw blips of the 2007 Lewis; if he wants a convincing WDC, he needs to take control of the team and apply the maturity he’s usually known for off the track, on it.

    1. mayhemfunkster says:

      The reason we saw a bit of 2007 Lewis was quite simple in my estimation. He was being beaten! Heikki never comprihensivley did that.

      Its just Lewis trying to rationalise why he was beaten as, after all, it can’t have been him, can it?!? This is how most F1 drivers react.

      Hence its better to blame the team for the “error” rather than to acknowledge his tyres were looking awful (even on TV we could see it).

      1. Shane says:

        He wasn’t just beaten in the race, Out
        of the 2 jenson set the faster lap time in more of the practice and quali sessions throughout the weekend. Lewis this weekend was comprehensively beaten by his team mate and just couldn’t understand it.

      2. kowalsky says:

        it’s like 2007, just the other way around.

      3. Tom (London) says:

        And yet in the race Lewis over took Button on the track, something I doubt we will see Button do to Lewis this year.

  9. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Lewis needs a manager NOW. Julian Jakobi, could you please step forward and help him out before he becomes his own worst enemy.

    However, what drive from Hamilton. The way in which he dealt with Button, Massa, and Rosberg shows that he is in a different class when it comes to overtaking..

    Webber, the eternal whinger and “standard setter” for the rest of the grid behaved like a twit today. He does not have the overtaking thing sorted out despite something like 9 seasons in F1.

    1. AlexD says:

      Different class? People are praising Lewis for overtaking and he was brilliant. I do not like him….meaning do not support him, but I can’t imagine F1 without him! He is one of the best. For me the most impressive drive came from Alonso…..

      1. monktonnik says:

        Yes his overtaking was as good as Button’s in Brazil last year.

    2. Tripod Ape says:

      Whilst I agree with the overall thrust of James’s piece, I think what unfolded on Sunday was more down to luck than many are giving credit for. Jenson had the good fortune for once to get his tyres working and qualify forth. He also benefited from his (inspired) gamble to switch early to drys and Red Bull’s unreliability. Lewis in contrast had the weight of the world on his shoulders on Saturday and his team’s tyre call could have worked wonders if the Bridgestone’s had fallen apart in the later stages.

      Above all though what we shouldn’t overlook is that Hamilton delivered one of the most exciting drives of the modern era; at least six top draw overtakes (none of his rivals even came close to matching that). He definitely still has a lot of maturing to do but in the meantime he’s delivering excitement in spades.

      1. jose arellano says:

        making tyres working for qualy AND making a good lap, doesnt come from fortune at all.

    3. Voyager says:

      I don’t think anyone has the ‘overtaking thing sorted out’ – Alonso breezed up to Massa who was stuck behind Kubica and there they stayed for 20 odd laps.

      1. Stevie P says:

        I believe Voyager, that Mike is alluding to Webber thinking he was in a bumper car and he could simply nerf people out of the way… what was it Webber called the young ‘uns in Japan, when Vettel hit him?

        Webber didn’t have a good race at all – maybe he feels (with his contract up, end of season), that that was his last chance for a home win. Ok, he made some passes, but for the majority of those (im(h)o), he was taking advantage of the move Hamilton had made in front of him.

        Red Bull have made noises about learning from their past mistakes… I’m not so sure.

    4. kowalsky says:

      webber just lacks spare mental capacity, when he is on the limit of the car.

  10. jed says:

    I’m sorry to say this, but i am convinced that hamilton will never go down in history as one of the great drivers. James, you are right, Hamilton is not a leader. Leadership skill is very important in racing. Apart from his total lack of leadership skill, Lewis lacks people skill, he blames everyone else but himself. This will make him unpopular within his team. In this race we see the difference between him and kimi, when ferrari in the past cocked up kimi’s strategy all kimi said is that we win as a team and we lose as a team. That attitude is not in the blood of lewis and f1 is a team sport.

    1. Casey says:

      Excellent point re Kimi. I cringed when I heard LH’s comments. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot, or if the tire gamble had paid off and his race came up roses. Time will tell, but I cannot help but think LH would do better with his father/support group that was once there. Not to mention a manager/coach. Looks like a youngster ‘going his own way’—with its attendant risks/rewards.

    2. Metin says:

      I dont agree with you, as James said he is in a learning curve now, as he learnt so many things from bad experiences, he will learn such things too. He was just huge disappointed to finish 6th in a race where his teammate won. Yes, Kimi was saying “we win and lose as a team” but Kimi did not support team success with his efforts like Lewis did.

      Meanwhile, I am a great Ferrari fan, not Mclaren.

    3. Pete says:

      I can remember lots of times when Hamilton has screwed up & apologised to his team for it – so a bit harsh to say he never blames himself?

      We are a fickle audience!

    4. David Palmer says:

      Totally disagree. As for Kimi, he gives up much sooner, remember the pictures of him in shorts last season?

      I think Hamilton has already achieved more than Kimi, he is much more consistent and he has so much more to give. It is early days in his career and I think he will go down as one of the best drivers.

      Every driver brings their own unique package to the sport, they all have vulnerabilities and just like everyone on the planet they grow emotionally over time.

      For Hamilton to have come back so well from all that bullswit last year showed maturity.

      This is an early season blip, he showed his emotion but still remained cool, next week all will be forgiven and he will be back in top form.

    5. LT says:

      He actually does blame himself a lot….it’s just that people with a grudge against him choose not to take it in, and still use it to attack him.

    6. Antoine says:

      Hamilton is currently the youngest WC, and had a formula one start like NO ONE before him, won the title in his second year and drove the way fans like drives to drive even if the same fans are the 1rst to criticizes him after the race no matter what. I can’t help but wonder based on what you’re ready to call a driver great.

      Remove Hamilton from Sunday’ GP it’s safe to say the race wouldn’t be as exciting as it was. Button made no pass and wasn’t even catching Vettel, if that’s the show we all wanted then I urge fans not to delete the Bahrain GP from their PVRs.

      1. jed says:

        being an exciting driver and a good driver are entirely different things. I never said that hamilton was not an exciting driver. My point is it is not raw speed alone that makes one a good driver, among other things a driver must have the capability of making intelligent decisions, a talent which hamilton does not have on or off the racetrack. I also notice that hamilton only admits mistakes only when there is no other person to blame, but if there is, he blames. He even got an old loyal employee of mclaren fired for his misdeed of lying to the stewards. He admitted fault while blaming someone else. Mclaren should have fired him too as he was at the very least as guilty as the one who got fired. Anyways, time will tell….

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        Reminder: The unintelligent decision on sunday was made by the team not Lewis. Lets not get mixed up. I agree that your advice to McLaren to fire Lewis in 2009 would have been the intelligent decision. But as i just pointed out, McLaren have issues with making intelligent decisions.

    7. Michael C says:

      Well said – Kimi was (is) always dignified in defeat and doesn’t throw blame around – even when as now seems to have been the case last year (Badoer Fisichella) the car was extremely difficult to drive. Hurry back soon Kimi!!

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        Look where it got Kimi – booted out of the most exciting motor sport on the planet by the biggest player in the business. Tells you Kimi’s way did NOT work because it was NOT the right way.

    8. Bob says:

      I was under the impression results are the measure of a great driver.

      Far too much is being made of Hamilton’s frustrations. It happens all the time, yet we never hear it on the radio if it’s a Force India driver complaining.

      People need to get some perspective. This is a non-story.

      1. jed says:

        Results are not the be all and end all in determining the talent of the driver, otherwise every person would unanimously agree that schumacher is the greatest f1 driver of all time and that jaques villenueve was better than his dad gilles villenuve. Anyways, if hamilton was any good then he would have been able to asses the situation and chose to stay out till the end. When he decided to come in as the team tolsdhim too, he should not blame them for the results. His act of pitting means he agreed with the team. Mind you button made the decision to pit and won the race because of his decision. Hamilton does not have this kind of leadership, he is dependent on others.

      2. Bob says:

        “If Hamilton was any good”

        I stopped reading any further after that. Sorry!

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        Difference: McLaren gave Button a choice and gave Lewis an order. There is a world of difference between those two.

      4. Antoine says:

        Amen to that…

  11. S-D says:

    As far as I can tell, McLaren’s strategic calls in the latter part of the race were solid – based on the following arguments:

    * Jenson had to keep running as long as there was a chance that Kubica, Alonso or Massa could make it to the end of the race.

    * If none of Button, Kubica, Alonso or Massa could make it to the end of the race (puncture risk, for example), Hamilton’s position after stopping for fresh rubber earlier would have left him leading the race.

    * Additionally, a safety car at any time during the last part of the race would have handed the advantage to anyone on fresh tyres – they would immediately be up with the guys on worn tyres *without* having trashed their tyres while chasing. If this scenario had occurred, Hamilton would have been well placed to attack Alonso with much fresher tyres than he had in the actual race.

    Of course the call was ‘incorrect’ with hindsight. But I think that it was correct when trying to cover all possible scenarios as best as possible. Reminds me of Barrichello’s fury at the 3-stop strategy he was left of to cover all bases early last year (I forget which race).

    1. Hutch says:

      Well said. For many reasons it was the right call but it just didn’t work out.

    2. Frenchie says:

      Great arguments S-D. You made my day as I really didn’t think about the safety car aspect of things.

      Thank you.

      1. Tom says:

        I think SC would have played in hands of the front runners (1stoppers) not those who had changed the tyres already. They would have gone for new tyres and came back to the track with fresh tyres giving them a big advantage after the restart.

    3. virtualmark says:

      I totally agree. For the team this was the right strategic call. They had two cars well placed in the field, and it gave them the flexibility to cover two strategic options.

      It played out in Jenson’s favour. But as you point out, a safety car with 15 laps to go and we’d now be talking about what a great win Lewis had.

      I’m a Lewis fan, but I was really disappointed with the toy tossing over the radio late in the race. It was the right strategy for the team and in the end Lewis took one for the team. He needs to grow up.

    4. jocker12 says:

      brilliant James!

      very very good point S-D!

    5. Martin P says:

      Absolutely spot on.

      I thought and still think McLaren made the decision for the team, not the driver – which is how it should be.

      By splitting strategies they were the only team on that track in a position to pick up the win no matter which way the wind blew.

      Ferrari had both eggs in the same basket and Renault only had on egg in the first place.

      For me it was a great tactical call by the team and I have no doubt that if the positions had been reversed they’d have asked Jenson to come in. The only difference is that after the race Jenson would have given us his grin and said “I only got P6 but I had some fun on the way”.

      Clearly this stung Lewis and it’s as much about Jenson picking up the first win as him only coming sixth, but it shows how much his balance is towards himself, not the team.

      Great call by McLaren which suggests they’ve learned from the mistake in China 2007.

      1. Martin P says:

        Two other stars of the weekend that are being overshadowed by this story though;

        Alonso – what a drive! Class and composure, like Button.

        Martin Whitmarsh – how impressive was he on the BBC forum afterwards? McLaren is in safe hands and I have to say that with Brawn, Whitmarsh & Horner on the pit walls we’re in for a decade of classy F1.

      2. Paul says:

        A little stunned by the classic Alonso drive the 6 back markers are atleast six secs slower than his ferrari so he was gonna pass them anyway, considering the fact that Massa struggled all through the race and kept him behind him I dont see what class you are talking about.

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        turns out Ferrari collected 37 points and McLaren collected only 33. cant see how the decision was best for the team with those kind of figures

    6. Ben says:

      Exactly. It was the correct decision. At the time no one knew for certain the tyres would last; only one driver can win the race – the strategy guarranteed it would be a McLaren.

      However, I feel it is unfair to criticise Hamilton for the comments made over the radio – for a start we get a director’s highlights and it is only something that has been added in the last few years. I am sure that in the past drivers were even more vocal when they felt let down like Hamilton did.

      Even at the end of the race, his comments were rather restrained considering he has just stepped out of the car and would have still been pumped up with adrenaline. He didn’t criticise the team like Barichello did in Germany last year – he just criticised the decision – which given the fact that McLaren has one of the biggest (if not the biggest) mission control set ups, from his perspective it would seen strange that they would get it so wrong.

    7. Tommy K. says:

      Well thought!! That’s exactly what happened in my opinion! Button and the others took a BIG risk considering the nature of this particular track where safety cars can always be deployed at any time! Having this in mind, however, Lewis should never complain to the team. They made the correct choice. It just didn’t come their way!

      1. GP says:

        I’m not sure about this. Lewis certainly thinks it was the wrong call.

        I read elsewhere that Alonso said the simulation showed a second stop was not the way to go, track position was more important.

        This situation reminds me of Senna’s last race for McLaren (Albert Park, I believe). In the last third of the race the team came on the radio to ask him to pit for new tires and he refused to. He said the tires were still good and he would keep going. He won the race.

        If Lewis is not happy with the team’s calls he should make his own, like the big boys.

    8. Nick says:

      Yes. Your right. the covering of a possible safety car is an important thing to note. It’s important to note the state of Hamilton’s tyres when he pitted too. Luckily for McLaren they have that set and can analyse them to find out if they were right or wrong. Unfortunately we will never find out the result of that analysis. I bet Hamilton is going to find it out though! :-)

    9. Bison says:

      The sad thing about Lewis is that everybody including his team expect him to overtake everybody all the time. He got held up by Kubica and suddenly there was something odd about it and the team panicked (what about Alonso by Massa). With patience Lewis would have passed Kubica without a doubt…..but nobody expects Lewis to be patient which is a shame. As far as ranting is concerned all the driver rant we just don’t hear many of them complaining but we will always be forced to listen to Lewis so another news article can be written to make a story for the whole season.

      Button wasn’t brilliant he was just lucky and should have admitted to it to the press – even he doubted his own strategy how can everybody be praising him all of the sudden. I don’t buy this myth about him having nothing to lose, every champion fears losing…..others just fear it more than others. Button definitely fears Lewis on the track after Sunday’s race, he won’t get lucky all the time.

      Lewis will bounce back if he chooses to forget the Aussie GP but learn from it. Button will help Mclaren win the constructors championship which is what he is there for. Lewis will destroy him on the track as long as the team moves away from this myth about Lewis chewing up his tyres a lot more, it definitely wasn’t the case on Sunday before he pitted.

      The best thing Lewis can do from now is to learn when to overrule team decisions, and when to accept them. If he masters that well he will a be great in F1 terms.

  12. S-D says:

    “Reminds me of Barrichello’s fury at the 3-stop strategy he was left ON to cover all bases early last year (I forget which race).”

    1. Explosiva says:

      It was the Spanish GP.

    2. Erico says:

      S-D, Barrichello used 3 stops against Button’s 2 in both Bahrain and Barcelona. Button won both races.

      You’re only as good as your last race. That has never been more true.

      People are really hitting hard at Hamilton, goes to show how much they expect from him. Button had a fantastic race, but I expect things to turn the other way around already at Sepang. He just has to keep his nerves, there is a very long season ahead.

    3. Franck says:


    4. Carl says:

      All Brawn didn’t need to do a three stopper that race though, they just needed to cover their rivals. Three stopping is an aggressive strategy. Barichello is not an aggressive driver.

    5. Milton says:

      I believe it was Monaco. Button changed his strategy to a two-stop during the race, and that granted him the victory.

    6. Bob says:

      Barcelona I think.

      1. S-D says:

        Yes, this is the race I was thinking of.

  13. chairmanmeow says:

    Hasn’t Hamilton learned from Alonso that publicly criticizing his own team is counterproductive? He owes his whole career to McLaren….

    1. Silverstoned says:

      True. But to be fair the lad had been outstanding on the track and his teammate had a pretty huge helping of “luck” come his way. Understandably he was a bit miffed.
      At the same time, while the truth of James’s analysis is unquestionable, the important thing is whether LH will learn from this.

  14. Anthony Hocken says:

    Both Jenson and Lewis drove great races. But saying Jenson was the calmer of the two is pointless. It’s easy to be calm when you don’t have an eventful race. Lewis had two major setbacks, neither in any way his fault, so we was entitled to be less than thrilled about it. If they were subjected to the same in the race people would have a point, but they werent. Anyone would be annoyed in the same situation.

    There was no reason at all to bring Hamilton in. He was managing his tires fine. Looked guaranteed for a podium. Then his team made a glaring blunder. There was no way it was ever going to be the right decision and it was clear at the time it was made, not just in retrospect. Which is why Hamilton showed frustration at the time. Experience didn’t have much to do with it. Rubens had been in a similar situation and got angry too, and he’s one of the most experienced of all time.

    These drivers put their heart and sole into this. They’re just being human.

    Yes Jenson made a good decision to come in. But Hamilton was managing his tires better when they were next to each other on the track and Jenson was being left for dead at the time. It was part desperation that he opted to pit early. But still brave and credit to him.

    But as for what they achieved on the track, Lewis outshone Jenson. He had a better start and he overtook Jenson on the track. The rest was poor team management and another hot headed clumsy moment from Webber.

  15. teamworkf1 says:

    All of you make me laugh.

    We are in the same situation as Mika and David here. You CAN NOT compare these 2 drivers. They are both different!!!! And ’cause they are different doesn’t mean one of them is wrong!!!

    Lewis has passion, tenasity, intuition, consistency, and he likes to express himself.

    Yes, the whole world was hearing him, well, isn’t what we want??! Isn’t what we want to see and hear from a driver, as a human beings?!!!

    Don’t we all miss Jacques Villeneuve??!!

    Therefore, stop critizising Lewis and accept him as he is . . . mature or not, he deserves to win and questioning when he doesn’t!!!

    Lewis an JB ARE different, accept that!!!

  16. pingu666 says:

    from what we know it was a team call for him to pit, and it did make some sense, but it didnt work out. not much more than that.

    and if you where going to pit one of them, made sense for it to be hamilton.

    and you hear worse on the radio on nascar, even from jj and knaus

  17. teamworkf1 says:

    And i forgot to mention . . . for those criticizing Lewis’s mentors Anthony and Ron Dennis . . . where Lewis could it be without them?? Thanks to the their guidance is that Lewis is a World Champion so young!!! What was JB doing all these past TEN years??!!

    So, do not put Lewis down because his past!!!
    Do not forget how, where and when Lewis started his career!!!! :P

  18. Joe says:

    Interesting perspective James. I think the difference is really highlighted by Hamilton’s “Who’s decision was it to pit me!?” quote. In contrast, Button won the race because of -his own- decision to pit. So surely Hamilton should be placing as much blame on himself as any engineers. If Button had the option to make his own strategy decisions, so did Hamilton. He could surely have said that he didn’t think it was a good idea to pit at that time.

    Personally I think he either wouldn’t have been able to pass Kubica any time soon, or he would have destroyed his tires before the end of the race if he hadn’t pitted anyway. In the final few laps, Lewis was complaining about graining, on tyres that had been used half as much as Jenson’s!

    It’s an interesting dynamic developing at McLaren, and I’m glad to see Button showing his qualities when so many people had written him off before the season began. Ecclestone’s comment about “Hamilton is simply quicker than Button” a few days ago may well be true, but that’s not all there is to winning races and scoring points.

    1. Adamthestig says:

      “In the final few laps, Lewis was complaining about graining, on tyres that had been used half as much as Jenson’s!”

      Seriously??? How can you compare, Jenson had kubica providing a cushion so he could pace himself nicely. Lewis had to smash in 10+ quali style laps to hunt down Alonso! Of course the tyres wouldnt last long. The wouldnt have been much use in nursing them and getting to Alonso on on the last lap!

      I can see Mclaren’s and Lewis’s side but it was a tough call. The radio comment was mostly down to shock after seemingly passing the whole grid and only being 5th!

      For me you cant compare the races of each driver. Ignoring the lucky call by Button only because he burnt his inters and got passed by Lewis then my overview is:

      I think Lewis could easily had driven Buttons race but I doubt we will ever see Button drive a race like Lewis did.

  19. Explosiva says:

    Excellent analysis, Mr. Allen.

    There are people screaming their heads off, shouting conspiracy theories. There was no guarantee that Lewis would’ve caught and passed Jenson precisely because he is so much harder on tires. People forget that racing isn’t all about raw speed. Strategy and tactical decisions also play a huge role, especially when everything is thrown into the mixer with inclement weather. Button showed maturity and decisiveness today that Lewis couldn’t.

  20. MrRyan says:

    Give me a break.

    Im no Hamilton fan, but why do we find the need to physco analyse every word from his mouth.

    Hamilton and co are racing drivers. Hardly the most articulate bunch on the planet.

    The drivers cant win with the media. F1 is blasted for being boring and lacking any characters, and then when someone does step of the party line they are nailed to a cross by the media and fans alike.

    go figure.

    Ill watch the racing and leave the gossip to the office girls.


  21. teamworkf1 says:

    One more and i finish . . . Remember the movie “Days of thunder”?! . . . if you don’t, watch it again!! :P

  22. Ragerod says:

    Nice article but I disagree with a couple of core topics, Button’s leadership and Hamilton’s dependency.

    Consider the situational differences. Everyone was going to pit for slicks and the pack was close together when JB pitted it was just choosing the right moment (inspiration or luck? his tyres were shot after all, did he have a choice?), something many drivers have done in the past and the driver is in a better position to make that call in that situation.

    In comparison Hamilton’s only input into a decision to pit for a 2nd time is the condition of his tyres (bad communication?)and everything else is determined by the team because they have access to time gaps and so on. I think China was the team’s decision as well so I would consider it trust in the team, not dependency.

    I would argue that the events don’t highlight Button’s leadership or Hamilton’s dependency but show Hamilton’s lack of confidence to question decision’s made by the team and highlight Button’s believe in his decision making ability.

    1. tkay says:

      i couldnt have put it any better Ragerod…Consider the situational differences James!!!! Stopping for slicks on a damp track is a driver’s decision coz he has the feel on what the track conditions are, whereas a strategy stop is mainly a team’s call as they have better infor on whats happening i.e Mclaren made a good call in Brazil 09 on lewis…so why would he doubt them now if they tell him to stop?? Really dont know where your recent mountain of criticism/hate for lewis is coming from lately James.

  23. F1 Kitteh says:

    Its quite amazing to read Hamilton’s post race comment, did you count the number of times he used “I” and “my”? Clearly a selfless team player … NOT. He might be a faster driver than Button, or even most of the field, but clearly he’s in need of some coaching on how to be a human being..

    1. Tom (London) says:

      Why don’t you say what you really mean?

      1. F1 Kitteh says:

        I meant EXACTLY what I said.

      2. Tom (London) says:

        That’s a shame, what an extreme reaction to a trivial event.

        I am sure Lewis Hamilton would never question your humanity.

  24. rfs says:

    Great win by Button, but I still think Lewis’s pace and driving skills will let him come out on top. I just really hope he doesn’t end up complaining again when things don’t go his way.

  25. TG says:

    I can’t agree less with the comments judging Lewis’s “attitude”. If I’d just raced my heart out the way he had only to be stumped by a bad strategic call, well, you know what, I’d probably be a tad miffed too, to put it politely. Especially knowing that bad team directives had cost me a championship before.
    Regardless of who makes the calls the driver should be able to rely on the brain trust behind the pit wall.
    I’m sorry, but I’m not going to run down the one driver who, more than any other, made Melbourne one of the best F1 spectacles of recent times.

  26. Frenchie says:

    Great analysis James. Your blog is always a must after a race (and worth checking on a daily basis I might add).

    Lewis comments on strategy at the end of the race echoed those of Monaco ’07 when he showed his number 2 on the car.

    Bearing in mind that his teammate is English and speaks the same language (both explicitly and implicitly), having such an attitude might be detrimental to him in the long term.

    Alonso’s English then was better than average but not of a native standard. That’s what caught him out in end and put Hamilton on a pedestal with similar performance inside the car.
    Communication and media skills go a long way in F1.

  27. CD says:

    The old bull and the young bull…

    Very impressed with JB’s performance, although I can’t help feeling even HE was a little surprised by the result.

    Disappointing that Webber nor RedBull made the call to pit earlier, but it was great fun watching Lewis and Mark chase down Alonso, I think we all knew it would end in tears.
    An amazing job from Fernando(and I’m a Ferrari fan who still has a little trouble with him)so this helps. I wanted Massa to win.

    I think the podium was very telling,
    The most experienced champion TEAMS.

    Also James, Great work from you and Tom on OneHD.

    Praying for rain in Sepang, not as much as last year, maybe just the last 15 laps.

  28. Prisoner Monkeys says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Jenson Button gets nearly enough credit as he deserves. Too many people have written him off simply because he’s partnering Hamilton. If both drivers had experienced the other race, Lewis Hamilton’s early stop would have been described as a tactical masterpiece, and Jenson Button’s second would have been foolishness and that he would have no-one to blame but himself. But as it stands, Jenson Button was apaprently lucky, while Hamlton was robbed by the team.

    Lewis Hamilton may beat Jenson Button at the end of the season – but I’m willing to bet that if he does, the final result will be much closer than most people assume it will be.

  29. Hamilton’s juvenile whining and whingeing over the radio reminded me of some of the complaining that Juan Pablo Montoya did in his Williams days, which led to him being slapped back on one occasion in a race by the team.
    The team needs to sit down and inform Lewis that you never ever throw your team under the bus in a public forum, and especially not in the middle of a race. If Lewis was driving for Roger Penske, Roger would have already torn him a new one, politely but unmistakably behind the scenes. All it does is to piss off the people that Lewis needs behind him to win a championship.
    The difference between Lewis and his toy-throwing and Jenson and Fernando was stark today. Jenson and Fernando used their heads and brains, as a result Jenson won and Fernando collected a pile of points for fourth place, without getting frustrated and throwing the car off the road despite getting stuck behind his team-mate. Lewis drove brilliantly aggressively but wore out his tyres in the process and then had to whine publicly when he could not make any further progress. He needs to be told that he cannot expect to have the team behind him if his first response to issues is to point fingers.

    1. Aasakaa says:

      …Hamilton… Montoya.

      Right. What do both have in common? They’re racers, aye? God bless ‘em.

      My daughter and I watch F1 to watch the racing, not ‘driving’. We watch Top Gear for that.

      Monster Montoya was always a treat to watch with his pugnacity; same with Lewis -nobody can deny he’s an out and out racer.

      So, James -who was your ‘Racer of the day?’ We know who ours was.

      O/T You are missed, JA – Sergeant-Major Leggard makes me want to drink tabasco from a pint glass rather than have the sound turned up on telly.

      Is it not?

      Regards to all.

  30. Andrew says:

    Great read James.

    Lewis is certainly coming across as a spoilt brat after the Aus GP – he seems intent on blaming the individual “responsible” rather than just putting it down to a bad day at the office and learning from it.

    Looking forward to hearing your insights throughout the season on ONE down under!

  31. Greg from Easton pa, usa says:

    While Hamilton has a natural talent, he suffers from one major flaw that will prevent him from becoming a great driver: a sense of entitlement. From the first article I read about him, even before he turned a wheel in an F1 car, he was billed as Ron Dennis’ protege who was groomed to be a champion. His preferential treatment at Mclaren along side established drivers the likes of Raikkonen and Alonso fed into this. His championship year came in a season where Hamilton’s win came by a single point and was the result of a lacking performance by Massa and Raikkonen and a last minute pass to get the winning point. Button had a point in his career (about the time he came out with his extensive clothing line) where the overwhelming press coverage inflated his ego. In the past few season he has matured greatly, and his hard fought championship last year shows what a mature driver can accomplish in the midst of superior competition. Hamilton’s outburst on the team radio shows his frame of mind- the team prevented him from winning. However, given his propensity of shredding tires, they had little choice but to bring him in for tires. His breathtaking passes came at the expense of his tires and, had he paced himself, he could have finished on the podium. Hopefully he will learn from is team and teammate that he is not entitled to… the title. The competition this season is too great for a repeat of 2008.

  32. Jhonnie Siggie says:

    James, I thought this was an incredibly harsh article. F1 is a team sport and if Hamilton is ever paired with the brilliance of Ross Brawn, he has the potential of achieving success of MSC proportions. He relied on the team for the strategic aspect and it didn’t work out today. Also, if you think about a race as a whole, Hamilton alone added about 40 percent of the excitement. F1 is much richer because he is here and I am grateful for that.

    Also, Button is getting way too much credit for this win. The way I saw it is that Hamilton passed him on track and he thought to himself that his drive so far is not fitting for a world champion. So he decided to Pit rather than look silly and it worked out for him. The argument of the feel he has for when to go on slick tires is completely overblown. If you want to make this claim that this is due to his brilliance, then why didn’t MSC or Alonso think of it before he did? Is Button suddenly the best driver because he won one race?

    My version of events is that Button got whooped by Hamilton on Track so rather than fading into Oblivion, he pitted out of desperation. But who cares about what I think, I don’t have a website. James I have a feeling you’ll be eating some of these words by the end of the season.

    1. tkay says:

      +1000000000000…couldnt have put it any better!!!

    2. Adamthestig says:

      I agree with you on exactly why button pitted. Everyone glossing over the passing master class by Lewis and expecting him to protect his tyres. Jenson would have protected his tyres in that situation and limped home and the end of the points.

      Also about the radio call. Put yourself if his position when you cant see how the race is going…he was just very surprised. He did some moaning last year on the radio in turkey but noone picked up on it….oh thats right we all have forgotten how well he got on with a bad car last year, very mature dedication shown and now lost on many.

  33. David Jerromes says:

    Good call James.

    Lewis should listen to what we all heard him say over the radio regarding the state of his tyres!!

    His team responded and Lewis duly pitted.

    He then questions who’s call it was….??

    Lewis, you are an amazing driver, so very exciting to watch and with brilliant car control, BUT stop blaming YOUR team!!

    Button is all calm to your raging bull

  34. Glen Slagg says:

    James, marvellous comment and analysis, spot on. Nice to hear you doing the driver interviews after the race, too…I think it was you, anyway.
    I loved Hamilton’s drive but hated to hear his unfounded criticism of the team. He doesn’t give the impression of being a great thinker. He complained that he couldn’t pass Alonso because his second set of tyres were STF – so one could easily imagine that, if he had remained on his original set, they would have been down to the canvas and he wouldn’t have been challenging anyone for a podium.

    1. bill says:

      i agree, theres no way he would have made those tyres last the distance, the team gave him an agressive 2 stop startegy and he did an outstyanding job on abusing his tyres and gaining positions, but once the first set was gone, midway through the race, he had to pit for a fresh set or end up in a gravel on turn 13.

  35. Kirsty says:

    Some day, you gamble and win, some day you lose.

    Isn’t the praise for Jenson a bit too glowing James?

    Rubens showed similar ‘leadership’ from the cockpit last year, didn’t get much attention from the pundits.

  36. Paul says:

    I don’t think you can “blame” Lewis for following his pit teams advice. If his pit crew advise him that his tyres aren’t going to last then what can he do other than trust them? Even if they were wrong (and ‘we’ can’t know that, perhaps ‘they’ can if post analysis has been done on the tyres) he at least had a fighting chance. If they were right and he ignored them then he had no chance, he’d have been lapping on slower tyres and still had to pit again.

    I think it’s sad news for us spectators though. The results of Webber and Lewis’ attempts at 2 stopping will have more or less assured that we won’t see any teams trying it as a general strategy so we’ll be back to processions as everyone will be in the same boat.

  37. jocker12 says:

    however James….
    “Track position is king.”
    lap 6 – Button was in P7
    the teams, based on the forecast, were expecting rain for other 10 – 15 minutes.

    Button comes into the pits for slicks –
    my opinion is roulette, less leadership, with all due respect.

    He comes out at the and of the pack, and… miracle… no rain… time for almost everybody to pit…
    Button starts approaching “Luscious Liz”, a lady that cheated on his master Vettel… Again.

    What followed it’s history…. one of the best races in years!

    1. GP says:

      In a post race TV interview, Button said that the reason he pitted early is because his intermediates were shot. He added that as the circuit was drying it convinced him to pit for slicks.

      Yeah, that Luscious Liz is a real bitch these days…

      1. jocker12 says:

        Button is saving tires… that’s how he won the race… I don’t buy this idea with him pitting because the tires were shot !?

        He gambled and he got lucky…. less to non leadership for Button.

        Hamilton fought until the end, followed teams instructions, but was very unlucky…. He got a lot of dirty air chasing and passing other cars, and his tires were in an obvious bad shape, but Button drove in clean air, watching the tv screens on the side of the track….

  38. Crid-Los Angeles says:

    James— Excellent post.

    F1 blog-readers often say that bloggers should report but not editorialize. To whatever degree this is opinion and not straight factual reporting, I’m glad to have your insights about what yesterday’s race meant.

    (OK, maybe that’s because I agree with every word!)

    Seriously, the correlation between temperment and outcome in F1 is endlessly fascinating, and you’ve provided some new aspects to consider.

  39. Ayrton says:

    Interesting developments at McLaren and I do agree that Hamilton definitely needs to mature more and start making his own decisions. Having said so, my sense is that in general people are magnifying Button’s win today. Was the decision to change tires really a brilliant one or just the only one left given his issues with the intermediates? Indeed, he is a more mature driver and is definitely a more centered guy and a likable one too, but unfortunately those are not necessarily must have qualities of a brilliant driver. The ability to win in any condition and with a challenged car are though, and that is where I think Button has always fallen short. Throughout his career he has only been able to win in “weird” races (like his first win in Hungary or yesterday’s race) or whenever he has had a significantly faster car, beyond that he has been an “average” driver. I am not a Hamiton fan (and clearly not a Button fan either) I am a McLaren fan and I am really happy for today’s win, but if you ask me who is going to be able to bring the team back to a winning streak against Alonso’s Ferrari, Vettel’s Red Bull and even Schumacher’s Mercedes I would have to say Hamilton looks better suited for the fight than Button (that is if we can get him to cool off and make his own decisions).

  40. Antoine says:

    Hi James,

    I’m really curious to know based on what exactly you found Hamilton’s conduct “less mature” in Sunday’s race?

    In Bahrain the world complained about the lack of show/overtaking, Hamilton did it and yet he’s called immature for that? Personalty I see nothing wrong for a driver to “TRUST” his team with strategy because after all they’re a team.

    It’s sad that some drivers never get the right critics or judgement in the eyes on analysts or fans, Hamilton and Schumacher are a prime example. Mark Webber took Hamilton out and no one seems to mention that :-(, I’m curious to know what the world would have to say had Hamilton taken Alonso out while trying to make a pass, I’m sure we’d be talking about sanctions to follow if that was the case, VERY SAD indeed.

    Ted Kravitz spoke to McLaren during the race and confirmed on TV that according to the team it wasn’t necessary to bring Button in since his tires were fine, so it’s safe to say both drivers Button and Hamilton sometimes rely on the team to make this kind of call despite Button being responsible for the gamble earlier in the race.

    This is the first time ever that I’m disappointed with your analyse, I really am.

    1. Antoine says:

      Also it wasn’t a race of two but of 24 drivers, simply because Hamilton didn’t beat Button does not mean he did not drive a good race.

    2. James Allen says:

      Read the article again, nowhere does it say that Hamilton is immature for passing….???

      1. tkay says:

        but it does say he is immature for following a team call…thats just sad man!!

      2. jose arellano says:

        hami fans. they are just blind

      3. teamworkf1 says:

        The problem was that if they didn’t call Lewis in, Lewis was gonna pass JB!!!! and as JB said, now he feels part of the team!!! McLaren needed him to win this race!!! Unfortunately, was too obvious the “team fix”!! **grin**

  41. James W says:

    Hamilton forgets how aggressive his driving style is, and how heavy handed he can be on his tyres. I highly doubt he would have managed to nurse one set of softs for 50+ laps like Button did and still pull off all the overtakes he did. That said, Alonso managed…

    Maybe Hamilton should have gone for the harder tyre? Slower initially, but the thicker rubber would have held out for longer and would have come good later on in the race. It is clearly evident that Hamilton is still learning in F1. As you point out James, he has 7 years less experience in this harsh business/sport.

    Highly interested what Schumacher could have done yesterday had he not been tagged by Alonso at the start. From the looks of things he would have been in P4 or P5 after the first corner. Given how good he used to be in the wet/dry conditions, he oculd have been in contention for a podium yesterday I reckon.

  42. Tom Shirley says:

    Button gambled and won.

    Lewis followed orders and ‘lost’, although I think he deserves more respect for a brilliant drive which ended with Mark Webber apologising and Martin Whitmarsh accepting responsibility.

  43. alex petrov says:

    Very good points mentioned in this article. The real Lewis of 2007 is back again. Funny though, it was Alonso who took all the blame in 2007. This year he’s starting to blame the team. I believe this is just a beginning – there will be blames to Button’s side also. We can see many drivers who came from lower series, went to low level teams and were developing, expecting and getting better results. British media boy came to top level McLaren (claimed himself as good as Senna), started destroying his team at once (2007 Monaco and so on) and was able to see only himself and his results. What’s changed after three years? Nothing! Media boy has already got one title under his name and next step he wants to do – like some mad genius from children’s cartoon movie – rule the world and have everybody under his feet.

  44. mclarenfan says:

    I believe you are reading way too much into a gamble from Jenson he had to make after Lewis passed him… and a bad strategy call for Lewis.

    By the end of the season, it won’t even be close btw the pair…its not everytime Jenson can make lucky calls and then cruise to the finish line, Lewis showed why he is the best driver on the grid today. and was the only one able to really overtake cars just as fast as his or faster.. and by calling his team out finally for another stupid call to sabotage him, is finally letting them know he isnt that wide-eyed kid anymore. Watch this space, this is the peak of Jenson in his battle vs Lewis.

    At the end of the season, the superior driver will be clear.

  45. Phil says:

    While I agree that Lewis is lacking in some maturity, and maybe lacks some tactical awareness that for example Michael Schumacher shows, I think that Jenson’s tactical prowess is being overstated – correct me, if I’m wrong, but I believe Jenson was given the option of staying out or not, and he chose to come in primarily because his tyres were shot – i.e. he really had no choice.

    Up until this point, he had been passed by his teammate. In other words head to head Jenson lost. Yes, the call worked out for him, but again Lewis showed that on the track he’s more than a match for Jenson. And, it’s this driving ability which I don’t think Jenson will be able to match.

    Maturity can however be learned.

  46. Adron Gardner says:

    A tad bitter when a new teammate shows you up? Hamilton sounding like Alonso at McLaren in 2007.

    1. mcr says:

      NO, Lewis sounding like Lewis in 2007.
      Too bad he doesn’t have Alonso now to claim he is the number 2 driver in the team and his dad to go to the FIA and force a team investigation.

  47. FemiA says:

    Your analysis has one very large hole; Jenson was in a relatively desperated position and he had to gamble. Do you seriously believe he would have made that call if he was where Lewis was on the track at the time?

    He wouldn’t.

  48. Steve Arnott says:

    Sorry James, but I disagree with the theme of your post. While you make many valid observations, I believe that yesterday’s race was just an example of McLaren hedging it’s bets by using two different strategies, one to consolidate a strong qualifying position and the other try something different to make up for a bad – and crucially out of position – starting place.

    Vitally, Hamilton was quicker than the cars around him, and, based on the evidence of the first race, trying something different was the only way to pass.

    Regarding the pit calls: Button was this >< close to looking a complete idiot. I contned that the only reason he had to make that very late call was because he was slow on inters. Getting passed by your team mate on-track is an eye-opener, and no mistake. Had it been the wrong decision we'd all be discussing how Button had paniced and his inferior car control and inability to get heat into his rear tyres had let him down.

    I say it was a brilliant but unusual race which saw a brave decision by a driver and a 'safe' decision by a team. Reading much more into this is projection, and inferring far more than is really there.

  49. Stu says:

    Excellent article James.

    I am developing a bit of an issue with Hamilton (for want of a better word), he doesn’t seem to be getting any maturer despite his relative age and time in F1 & keeps getting himself into some terrible PR positions. Not enough thinking about what he’s doing before doing it I feel… The contrast between him and Button, IMO, is wide and very noticeable.

    I also believe he wouldn’t have made his tires last, he’s not exactly known for keeping them in good nick.

    1. Mary says:

      you obviously missed turkey 2009 last year did you?where lewis practically drove a one stopper

      1. Stu says:

        I didn’t miss it no, but then at the same time I can’t remember every detail of every race I have seen! :)

        My point was that Hamilton is hard on his tyres which is well known, and that still stands.

  50. Ali Unal says:

    Is there something that I missed? Should Hamilton have not followed the team strategy and pitted for himself? He obeyed what team told him to do and he knew even in the race that it had been a bad decision. Then, how come did Hamilton turn out to be non-mature or non-complete driver?

    He may well and truly a non-complete driver but this conclusion could in no way be predicated on what was happened in the race IMHO. This only proves that McLaren made a mistake, evethough it was a logical call on the surface, and that Hamilton was so eager to get past anyone in front him which was instinctive.

    We’ve heard lots of drivers complaining about the strategy. What is wrong with it? Just because we could now hear team radio uncensored, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t similar radio conversation in the past.

    We don’t know what he could have done about his tyres after he would have passed Kubica and settled for second if it wasn’t for the second pit stop. Kubica told press that Hamilton’s tyres at the time he cought him was better than Kubica’s, who stayed out for the rest of the race.

    McLaren made a costly error and Hamilton was critical about that. That’s not wrong and doesn’t prove anything about the maturity in terms of racing. I don’t say the maturity in terms of personal character, it’s the maturity of a racing driver that matters, and I believe Hamilton is yet to show that he lacks or he has.

  51. fenman says:

    I sometimes like to recall the scene in Blade Runner where Dr Eldon Tyrell explains mortality to Roy Batty.

    Tyrell: The facts of life … to make an alteration in the evolvement of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established

    but this, all of this is academic. You were
    made as well as we could make you.
    Batty: But not to last.
    Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!
    Batty: I’ve done… questionable things.
    Tyrell: Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.
    Batty: Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn’t let you into heaven for.

    Obviously the worrying part for Ron or Martin reading this as metaphor, is what Roy in the next scene proceeds to do to his “father”.

    Lewis has (largely) thus far bought into the McLaren numbers and process ethos. Even when the analysis-paralysis has cost him dearly.
    I then remember Nurburgring 09, Phil Prew condescendingly slapping him down in front of a similar global audience over the radio, telling him to just drive and let the engineers worry about strategy.

    He has now witnessed the older Button give a proverbial two fingers to simulation and mission control, and reap the rewards and the plaudits. This is surely a critical stage in the evolution of Hamilton.

    Will he spiral off into paranoia and lose the team, will he now be double-guessing every call that is made, can he trust the pitwall or will he consider that the team calculatingly sacrificed his Oz race to cover the odds/SC/weather. (à la Monaco 07, which led directly to Hungary 07, and all that followed)

    Or will this instead be the catalyst for new growth, new self-reliance, a new more adult, more healthy, more self-actualized relationship between him and the team. Not a boy anymore, but a man. But as Tyrell said “A coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established”, can he make that leap into the unknown.

    It will be fascinating to see what direction this all goes, but something broke on Sunday, and whatever happens, it won’t and it can’t go back together the same way.

  52. james says:

    So Hamilton is angry that he had to have a second stop. Correct me if I’m wrong but when he cruised up to the back of Aonso didint he complain that his tyres had ‘gone off’

    God knows what his tyres would have been like if he had of stayed on the one stop!

    I can see there being more Button cars in the MTC than Hamilton.

    1. Adamthestig says:

      What do you think happens to tyres when you smash out 10+ qualy laps to make up 20 seconds on the guys your were just in front of.

      Would you have liked him to manage his tyres like he is more than capable of and not hunt Alonso down!!??!

  53. chris green says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into this issue. Did the McLaren team split its strategy? After all it is a team sport. Imagine if everyone in front of Hamilton did stop a second time. He’d be looking like a hero. But that’s what rain can do. It shakes up the usual strategy. Button has the right temperament for that kind of race and he just did a better job than Lewis – all weekend..
    Weber also suffered from the Red Bull pit strategy.Weber had to wait until Vettel did his stop which was in itself probably 1 lap too late. Bringing cars into a congested pitlane is risky so I could see the reasoning but it just didn’t work out. Vettel luckily maintained his lead after his stop; but it hurt Weber. That’s racing.

  54. Edwin Kwesiga says:

    Brilliant article James, absolutely spot on.

    It was an extremely aggressive and impresive drive by Lewis only bettered by Alonso’s supreme drive that was overlooked.

    It would have been unlikely that Lewis’ tyres would have lasted the duration of the race as he was constantly overtaking and spent a lot of time in Kubica’s ‘dirty air’.

    Jensen’s drive was very impressive and measured and he made the most of the conditions. If the track is dry and it is down to pure speed Jensen will struggle to keep up with Lewis but changeable weather along with the new tyre rule may just give Jensen the chance to make the most of his strengths to counter Lewis’ blistering speed.

  55. yos says:

    Hello James, unfortunately in F1 what we see is where does one finish in the race, I am afraid if hamilton had made the move on kubica and finished second, or if his move on alonso worked with out the distraction from webber you would probably write another article praising him. He had a bad weekend, he made it to 6 position by overtaking button and thn he showed to the world why he is the best by making some daring moves, i am sorry but if F1 is all about driving around without caring to take on a wheel to wheel then its a bore. Button was good all weekend but he was partly lucky to make the changes of his tyres in the right time. This weekend showed that he is already comfortable with the team and the car, no mater what happens from now on there will not be any excuse for him if he is beaten by hamilton.

  56. Phil E says:

    I think you’re absolutely right James. Hamilton has heaps of raw talent but little in the way of racecraft. He’s still in the “go at top speed for two hours” phase, which is undeniably exciting but not always successful.

    This was brought sharply into focus by his inability to get past Alonso despite having newer tyres. Alonso’s were clearly completely shot – he couldn’t even get the power on properly out of corners – yet he still managed to keep Hamilton behind him. It didn’t appear to occur to H that, having failed to get past A at the end of the pit straight on three or four occasions, that he would have to think of something else. It’s not like he was going to scare A into a mistake.

    One of the ‘thinking’ drivers of yore – Senna, Prost, Schumacher for example – would have been trying stuff out. Repeatedly going off line somewhere to clean it up perhaps, to have a go at Alonso in a more favourable spot.

    One thing I was delighted to see though: a good, old fashioned, guy-on-new-tyres-going-hell-for-leather-after-the-leaders-on-very-old-ones. Let’s have lots more!

  57. Ziz says:

    I don’t really think that Lewis’ mental fitness was on top in the last part of the race- tiredness played an important factor in the outbursts and the relative lack of progress I think. No wonder, he drove an awesome but long race without any resting period. And of course for him it was a terribly unlucky weekend :-) that couldn’t have ended well.

    But you are rigth: he drives like Senna, he overtakes like a god, he’s got a spirit of a warrior. But still lacks in maturity compared to the “old” Senna for example (yes, we all remember only the matured, over 30 Senna I think).

    The maturity of Lewis will come when he accepts the “Dark Side” of his. That he cannot be loved by everyone unconditionnally. And that he is not a “good boy” althogether- especially not on track. Now he still wants to convince everyone that he is the perfect Little Lewis, and tries to accept others’ ideas to please them to be a perfect teamplayer, because a good boy is always a perfect teamplayer. But a certain beast comes forward from time to time and suprise Little Lewis (and everyone else). Sooner or later he’ll sit down and come to terms with himself totally. It happened with Senna, with Schumi- when they realised that they were capable to risk everything, even life or dignity for WINNING (even if these Great Ones were very sorry afterwards from time to time). In Lewis’ case this conscious decision is yet to be made.

    I mean IMHO it is not a problem that on an unlucky weekend a strategic mistake was made- the problem is the reaction and the convinction that he doesn’t know how to avoid it next time…

    Great race by Button (and matured Alonso!)- he was level headed and lucky and made no mistake. But it was not his performance and personality that gave spice to yesterday’s race :-)

  58. guy says:

    James – I’m not sure i agree with your comments.

    Remember Jenson’s rant last year ‘how did we make this car so bad’. Also jenson was behind lewis and struggling for grip (he couldn’t get the most out of the inters ) when he came in for slicks – as such it was a calulated gamble (also rain was expected 10 mins later which never arrived) – jenson did not have a great deal to lose – unlike lewis had he done the same. Finally – i think every driver relies on their engineers for overall race strategy – this is totally different to tyre choice (wet/dry).

  59. John Johnson says:

    No James, I disagree with your assessment. Yes, Hamilton relies on the team for strategy calls but so does Button. Button had to make that call yesterday as he had just been overtaken by his team mate – it was a gamble. That he pulled it off is both lucky and inspired.

    It was obvious that Hamilton had been a sold a pup. His incredulity that the Ferrari’s wouldn’t be pitting confirmed to him that the decision of the team for him to pit to cover the Ferrari’s was wrong.

    Your article intimates that he could and should have overruled the team. What would have happened if the Ferrari’s had indeed pitted and the strategy was the right strategy. He’d then be accused of disobeying team orders.

    I still cant get my head round why the team would pit one driver but not the other. Oh, I forgot, Jenson is better on his tyres, so his tyres would last the race but Lewis’ wouldn’t.

    Lewis was used as a rear gunner. He doesn’t like it but he may have to get used to it.

    Funny how Jenson, when interviewed by Sky, mentioned that as a driver one should look after oneself first, the team second. That is what he did and came on top. Lewis gave the opposite response and it showed – he is a team player first, a driver second. How long that will last is anyones guess.

    1. Martin P says:

      That would be valid, if Lewis had an clue what was happening.

      Clearly by the shock in his voice when he realised the others didn’t have to pit again shows he was clueless. So it had nothing to do with being a team player.

      Also, Jenson’s “rant” last year was how did WE make it this bad, not “who did this to me – give me their name”. Although it shows that both have either the bonus of extra brain capacity on the edge or the minus of being prone to distracting thoughts, it does show a less than subtle difference in mindset between the me and the we.

  60. rusty says:

    I’m sorry James, but I think that you’re completely off base here. Jenson’s tire change was one of desperation (he has said that he had destroyed the rears on his inters) and he lucked into the position of being able to take advantage of Vettel’s misfortune. There was nothing more to it than that.

    Why shouldn’t Lewis tell his team just how the the decision was over the radio? The radio is there for communicating with the team, not for the entertainment of the fans. The last thing we should expect is for the driver to watch their words, just in case the brain dead masses are listening in.

    It’s not life skills that you are expecting Hamilton to learn, James, it’s political skills. That’s something that holds no water with me. If I my boss is acting like a fool, I will (and have done on many occasions) tell him or her. Better an honest person, than the slimey politician that Jenson seems to be.

    I don’t understand how Lewis is supposed to “be his own man” when he has been frequently told “you drive, leave the thinking to us”. Germany 2009 comes to mind, and remember, it was the TEAM that told Lewis to stay out in China 2007 for so long. The last time he decided to ignore what the team had said, he was essentially sh*t on from a great height for having tor audacity to ignore his orders.

    Mind you, I’m happy that Jenson grabbed the win for McLaren.

  61. Nevsky says:

    While I agree Lewis Hamilton must start taking more responsibility from the cockpit, I have never the less doubted the famed strategists at McLaren. Ever since the China debacle you mention (and there was another bad call – which I can’t immediately remember), I have thought that they fell short of Ferrari, for example, as far as strategy is concerned.

  62. Toby Coulson says:

    Button’s head is ruled by his brain where as Hamilton’s is ruled by his a heart. Hamilton has a lot to learn but on raw speed is the faster of the two drivers. We have a driver pairing that is akin to the Prost/Senna years on driving styles. I just hope the relationship doesn’t go the same way.

    1. Mr.Simi says:

      If your referring to Lewis being like Senna you need to stop right there! Senna was the complete package in racecraft and mental toughness. Lewis still has to develop the latter.

      1. Toby Coulson says:

        I was referring to their driving style. Senna was an aggressive driver as is Hamilton. Prost was a smooth driver as is Button. No where do I say anything about the overall package of Hamilton compared to that of Senna.

      2. Mr.Simi says:

        Fair enough…I’m just tired of the UK press & blogs making this association. Lewis is not Senna. If anything Alonso is closer to that association.

  63. Spencer says:

    A good article James but I think too many people are trying to belittle Lewis for a drive that helped make the Oz Grand Prix great.

    Last week the whole race was slammed for being a complete bore!! No one is saying that after this excellent race.

    If we look back to a few weeks ago just after testing, one of the Bridgestone guys said that the tyre degradation between Lewis and Jenson was very marginal. They agreed that there were two different driving styles but concluded that it was the chassis and its suspension that played a bigger part in looking after the tyres. Hence BMW being particularly soft on its rubber.

    There is no way that you drive like Lewis did from 11th on the grid, passing all those big names on track without your tyres suffering.

    We slam Lewis for complaining about his strategy because he is young and immature, but did we not slam Rubans last year for the same thing??? Isn’t he the most experience driver on the grid?? Put your self in their shoes. They are not racing for a bit of entertainment on a Sunday afternoon, they are racing for their careers at the pinnacle of motor sport. In their shoes, I think most of us would be exactly the same.

    I agree that when Lewis hit P3 he should have said I’m not coming in, my tyres are just fine. But when he took his own way in qualifying back in 2007 against Alonso, he was slammed again….. The poor guy can’t win.

    Whilst I’m taking nothing away from Jenson’s excellent drive and win. I would rather see the warrior approach of Lewis any day than the carefully calculated boring drive we saw from Jenson. He made one calculated risk after being overtaken by his team mate which helped deliver the win. Had Lewis not been on the attack, we would all be sat here complaining how boring F1 has become.

  64. Tom says:

    Why did McLaren allow Lewis’s petulant radio message to be broadcast? I assume the teams have control over what they release to the world feed, so I’m surprised they put that transmission forward. I bet it made Ferrari chuckle.

    On the whole “Hamilton losing his head” issue, I think he’s been harshly treated. Journalists are fully aware he makes for good copy and they take advantage of his being a sensitive soul – defensive, rather highly-strung and easily wound up.

    The whole Burnout-gate was ridiculous – he lit up his tyres for the fans and gets nabbed by a copper trying to earn some brownie points. If he’d refused to give it some welly the forums would have been full of fans saying he was a misery or he was stuck up. He can’t win. If it’d have been a Kimi Raikkonen-figure the media reaction would have been “Good old Kimi, the free spirit – boys will be boys!” But Lewis gets hammered for it.

    I think James is bang on in pointing out the chinks in his armour, especially the contrast with his team-mate, but as Lewis himself admitted at the start of the year, he can learn a lot from Jenson, perhaps more than he initially realised. But yesterday I don’t blame him for letting out his frustration – regardless of who made what call, he drove a stunning race from a mid-grid position and ended up with only sixth, so it’s understandable he felt hard done by.

    But long-term he should certainly consider teaming up with someone who can better help focus his mind and channel his energy positively, as Jenson himself would no doubt testify. In 2007 he worked quite closely with a sports psychologist called Kerry Spackman who helped him a great deal by all accounts. Perhaps he should give him a bell again.

  65. K2San says:

    I fully agree with the comparison between the two drivers but let us not forget the first three years of Button. I believe the team will nurish Hamilton; will explain what happened and I do believe that Hamilton will grow. Besides all that can you imagine what a combination that might bring in the future? A “mature warrior” driver? I still believe it’s great for the fans to see him overtaking and to hear his comments. I’m also now very curious to see what’s happening over the rest of the season between the two drivers.

  66. Josh says:

    If this race demonstrated anything, it’s that compromising mechanical grip adds a tremendous amount of passing.

    Gillan is clearly correct.

  67. Nathan Smith says:

    Another great article James.

    I think it’s clear that Lewis is a quicker driver than Jenson, but that isn’t enough to win a World Championship.

    We’re set for a fascinating season between these 2. A lot of people will be eating their words.

    Where are you, Eddie Irvine?

  68. KP says:

    Actually from Jenson’s comments on BBC1 forum, he did not gamble but effectively that was the only option he had – as otherwise he was going to go backwards (particularly after Lewis overtook him on lap 5). This is because JB’s inters had “gone” and I imagine most of the field’s including LH’s must have too.
    I thought the more interesting analytical/strategic aspect was whether McLaren should have called LH in straight after JB on lap 7(not lap 8 when when everyone went in). Plus JB mentioned there was a dry line appearing with admittedly damp sections too.
    All above info would have been available to Mclaren strategists who actually were in the best position to make the right call. The drivers can only only have limited info in terms of grip and possible dry lines.

  69. drplix says:

    Fantastic race. Impeccable drive by Jenson.

    You have to feel for Lewis, the second year in a row at Aus, he’s driven a storming race only to end with his faith/relationship with the team in question.

    James, its becoming a cliche, but are we not seeing history repeat, Prost vs Senna, thinking to victory versus pure racer instinct.

    What a year its going to be.

  70. Simon A says:

    James, I haven’t seen any pictures of Lewis joining in the celebrations. Am I missing something? I’m sure in the previous 2 seasons Heiki would join in the celebrations when Lewis won. He said himself he had the drive of his life, and Jenson also said Lewis was one of the first to congratulate him so I’m not anti-Hamilton in any way. He was clearly not a happy bunny, but wasn’t listening to the team instead of making his own decision the issue he had last year in Melbourne, and as you said in China 2007. I hope Lewis learns to take those decisions quickly, for his own sake. Without refuelling F1 is a thinking drivers challenge, it’s no longer the mad dash it was previously. Can’t wait for Canada now.

  71. citizenross says:

    James, there’s a few points I think you’ve missed here..

    How many passes did Button make on his easy cruise to victory? In my opinion the mark of a great racer is his ability to pass on the track, as well as making key strategical moves.

    Everyone seems to have forgotten that we witnessed Lewis romp up to back of Button within the first few laps and pass him outright on the track. If he hadn’t been ordered in for a second stop, with the unbelievable pace he had, I think there was a real chance of him catching and passing Button again, this time being for the lead. As Martin pointed out in his great commentary – “Hamilton knows he’s in with a chance of a win here.”

    If Lewis had been allowed to carry on, it would be such a different story, everyone would be in awe of his pace, talent and determination, instead everyone is jumping on the all too easy experience over youth bandwagon. Fascinating! I cant wait until later in the season, when Lewis comes back fighting – something he does best!

    Love the site – keep up the great work.

  72. Moira says:

    You say “Jenson Button won the race with a performance of measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance” yet he himself has said that his early tyre change was a necessity rather than a choice. From that point Jenson cruised to victory as the drivers in front of him pitted and then Vettel crashed out – surely tactical brilliance requires a little more effort!

    Hamilton on the other hand spent an hour and a half fighting his way to the front only to be called in by the team as he was about to take second place – a move that Whitmarsh has admitted was a mistake. Is it any wonder he was tired and emotionally charged when he made that radio call back to the pit wall. Yet for this moment of frustration the British and International press, including yourself, are having a field day. You have taken it upon yourselves to destroy the boy’s reputation, ridicule him, label him as dependent and immature.

    The people that really need to grow up are the men and women attempting to bring down one of our greatest sportsmen.

  73. Shaun says:

    I only came to F1 in 97 so never saw any of the Prost-Senna races but is it fair to say the styles are akin to those of JB and LH? As I understand it Prost would see the big picture and save tyres and brakes for the latter part of the race, Senna would fight every inch.

    Last season JB was criticised for playing the numbers game but look at what he was holding back (Brazil). LH gets criticised for his balls-out style of attacking 100% at every corner.

    I think Mclaren have made a brilliant decision with this driver line-up; one looking at the next corner, one looking at the finish line or the end of the season.

    Two final points; I was glad to hear Martin Whitmarsh say JB provides so much feedback as Ross Brawns comments recently could be seen as insinuating that he did not whilst at Brawn. Also, JB knows what an honour it is to be where he is and I am chuffed to bits for him. Australia showed his gamble to join Mclaren to be justified and I hope this season will give him the opportunity to silence his critics who put last years wins down to the double diffuser and nothing more.

  74. El Shish says:

    Seems there are a few short memories around here. Button does come off as cool, composed and, this year at least, is the consummate team player. However, we only need to look back a few months to his jittery days when Brawn were struggling and Red Bull were reeling him in. The ‘how oh how can this car be so bad’ radio transmission – though not directed directly at the team – wasn’t that dissimilar from what Hamilton said this weekend. I’m not saying that Lewis might have spoken out of turn but, let’s face it, this isn’t the first time that this has happened. China 2007 isn’t the only example. The wrong strategy in Valencia (I think) where the team had a massive advantage in qualifying and still opted for the riskier two-stop strategy, ultimately exacerbated by a blown stop and now this. I hate to say it but, for all the resources invested in the team and technology, Mclaren continue to make many errors when it comes to pit-stop strategy. Given one of them has potentially cost the team and driver a championship and this one could well prove crucial come the end of the year, I can’t see how Lewis is anything but justified in saying what he said.

  75. Alistair Blevins says:

    Great insight – you hit the nail perfectly on the head.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Button and Hamilton take from the weekend and how they use what they’ve learnt.

    I find it interesting that few observers have given Button a shot at the title. He clearly has a mountain of confidence, and his ability through all phases of the race was there for all to see.

    Hamilton will learn, and prosper over the longer term, and will learn much from Button’s vast experience (from both ends of the grid), making him a more complete competitor.

  76. Dave says:


    You say that Hamilton was never going to beat Button, but had he not got held up in the pits he could have come out in front of Button, much like Kubica. I think Hamilton drove a stunning race, but got unlucky in the pits, when his team made and error, and when Webber crashed into him.

    I also dont see what the fuss is all about for him saying the team got the strategy wrong. Its nothing like as bad as Rubens rant last year, and he is the most experienced driver on the grid.

  77. Andy Kent says:

    Difficult one this. I can see the point you are making, but with only three years to his career I’m not sure what more people can expect from Hamilton at this stage.

    The team obviously made either a strong recommendation or an order to Hamilton to come in as they believed, based on accurate previous experience, that Hamilton was likely to wear through his tyres. What was Hamilton supposed to do? Tell the team he didn’t need tyres?

    Lewis has had a nightmare weekend with the out-of-the-park issue completely overblown by the media (which, amusingly, the BBC repeatedly raised then tempering it with my same comment), and I think this decision by the team just capped the weekend off. Interestingly if the FIA had not decide to broadcast Lewis’s in-car comment no-one would ever know what he said……..

  78. Harry says:


    Jenson himself said on the BBC Forum that he had no choice but to go onto the Slicks because he had lunched his Inters and “was going backwards”. He even said that he thought he ws in trouble because the pitlane was so wet. Sure Hamilton was pissed off and lost his head a little. However (according to Jenson himself), it wasn’t the tactical masterpiece that you and others are making it out to be – just a bit of luck with the timing.

  79. Scameron says:


    Before we all jump on the Lewis v Jenson top dog debate. Both drivers have their positive and negative attributes.

    The way this race played out the cards fell in Jensons favour.

    Firstly for the first round of stops he states clearley himself that he had to come in to change onto the dry tyres as he was struggling fo balance on the inters. He had just been over taken by his team mate as he says he was going backwards.

    Secondly Lewis was badly held up on his first stop by being held in the box for traffic in the pit lane.

    The team made a safe call to change to a second set of tyres on lewis’ car. Jenson had called to complain of wear to his set out in the lead. Lewis was stuck behind Kubica loosing time and damaging his tyres. To split the stratergies seems a fair and mature call from Whitmarsh and co.

    Had the long run set of tyres degraded badly, the ferrari’s and Kubica gone for a change as they had worked their sets hard all race we could have been looking at a different result and prasing the hard racer style and cool team management.

    This has nothing to do with loosing cool or different smooth syles. (Kubica P2 with aggresive defnsive moves.)

    Jenson is known for telling radio calls such as ” come on guys how have we made this car so bad” when things dont go his way. We would think lewis’ call was the first of it kind to be heard from any driver.

    Lets let the drivers sort this out on track over the championship and leave the physcho babble for the teen soaps.

  80. David Palmer says:

    I think that is an unfair comparison, chances are Button just told his engineers he was finding the tyres losing speed and they offered him the chance to come in. Meanwhile Hamilton is like Schuey, he makes the best of what he has got. Nobody else on the track was considering a tyre swap so early in the race even if I was!! To me it was obvious because the rain was predicted to last 15 minutes with more later, the guys responsible for strategy would know that and have access to the satellites. Neither Button nor Hamilton could or should be expected to know that.

    A drivers job is to drive the hell out of a car, sure he can have an idea, but strategy is not his job, nor should it be. Imagine if Button had not recovered when he went off straight after coming out on slicks, people would be singing a different song.

    The fact is that Hamilton’s job is to drive and yesterday he showed great talent coming back from 11th. Where his maturity is lacking is in washing his dirty linen in public. He has to learn to think “what would the management want me to say” before opening his mouth in a press conference. There is no point getting angry with the team or the strategist, they took a gamble and it did not pay off. How many times have they done that and saved the day?

    I have long felt that Mclaren was a little risk adverse and that they had lost opportunities in the past, so it is good to see them changing.

    Losing his cool like this can well be because of other turmoil in his life, possible upset with father, lost girlfriend, new competitor at work. However, they are all character building and I have total faith in his driving ability, I predict (hope) he will be world champion this year. I like Button too, but he had it last year and they must be good little boys, play nicely and take turns!

    A promising start for both drivers of Mclaren and a very exciting race to watch, considering the fat fuel laden cars I was not expecting it to get interesting until much later in the race, thank goodness for the rain!

  81. Mattw says:

    Interesting observation James. However I think you are being a little harsh on Lewis for following the team’s instructions on the second stop.

    The team made the decision based upon looking at what the other cars were doing, something Lewis could not have known.

    Yes, it proved to be wrong in the end, but McLaren hedged their bets. No one really knew how good the soft tyres would be after 50 laps – so McLaren covered both basis.

    If Kubica and the Ferrari’s pitted – then I am sure the team would also heve instructed Button to stop as well.

    At that stage of the race it was not so much about leading from the cockpit – Button was simply in the right place at the right time – Lewis was not.

    1. AA says:

      Exactly. A good decision by McLaren to hedge their bets. If the tyres had gone off, Lewis would have been poised to take victory. Either way, a McLaren would have won the race.
      Pleasure to watch Hamilton come through the field though. True racer.

  82. Guizotia says:


    What absolute nonsense!

    Jenson himself said that he had thrashed his inters (his reason why Lewis passed him I guess). He had two choices: early tyre change or continue to go backwards. Choosing the former option is not a sign of tactical brilliance, it was a sign of desperation of the situation he had put himself in.

    Can we try to be a bit more objective rather than switch the hero worship Lewis suffered for a few years onto Jenson.

    1. russ parkin says:

      you seem to be one of the few that picked up on jenson brave decision. he was forced to come in and didnt make a drivers decision. come on people wake up

  83. AlexD says:

    James, I have heard news that Ferrari used new engines yet again. Can you check and confirm it? That would be really strange.

    1. kowalsky says:

      they put the engines they canged in baharain back on. At least for practice sessions.

  84. P Byrne says:

    There are two nuances that haven’t been mentioned in all this.

    Firstly, Button is being lauded for his mature decision to change to slicks. However in the post-race press conference he admitted that he was finding it very difficult on the intermediates and had little to lose from a switch. Indeed, I think Hamilton had passed him at that point.

    Secondly, I’m sure McLaren ‘mission control’ were at least partly influenced by the fact that Hamilton does not look after his tyres as well as some others and would most likely have needed to come in anyway. He was even complaining the SECOND set of dries were gone by the time he came up behind Alonso! How the hell did he expect to extract 75% of the GP out of them like Button?

    So I don’t think Button’s victory was quite as masterful as some would have you believe. It was born of necessity – he just cannot handle a mis-handling car as well as other topliners. And Lewis, for all his temper-tantrums could never have made his tyres last the difference.

    No-one seems to have noticed that the real winner in all this was Alonso who afterwards claimed to be delighted because the main title rivals finished behind him – he mentioned Vettel and…Michael(!) Can we detect he doesn’t view Jenson as a threat for the WDC?

  85. Matt says:

    Come on James, Jenson pitted for slicks out of desperation. Retrospectively it turned out to be the right decision but it wasn’t a case of Jenson feeling out the conditions and making the right call. He was struggling immensely to generate heat in his intermediates and just lost track position to Lewis and was probably in line to fall even further.

    Hamilton is a clear level above Jenson when it comes to speed. Lady luck smiled on Jenson today but the scales are still tipped emphatically in Lewis’ favor.

    Australian Autosport Community

    1. The Artist says:


      Whilst I’d agree with you, up to a point, that on raw pace, you’d often expect Hamilton to be ahead of Button, but I’d completely disagree that “Hamilton is a clear level above Jenson”. This weekend, Hamilton qualified 11th and Button 4th. You cannot do that if you are a slow driver, which Button is not. I think you are blinded by the fact that Hamilton came into the sport and amazed people, whilst Button was chugging around in awful cars. Button has been, and still is, the most under-rated of all the current F1 drivers!

      1. Matt says:

        Anyone can have an off weekend, Lewis didn’t get it right in Qualifying but his race was quite exciting. Jenson was last years world champion, I think he’s past the point of being underrated.

        Don’t get me wrong, Jenson did a great job and it’s a win McLaren wouldn’t have walked away with had Heikki still been in the car but it hasn’t changed my expectation of how the year will play out, which is to say in Lewis’ favor.

        Thanks for the reply.

        Australian Autosport Community

  86. Olivier says:

    I think Vettel & Hamilton are in the same boat. Great warriors with amazing skill and determination, but no leadership from the cockpit: I am mystified why Vettel did not pit when he noticed sparks at his front leg tyre. Instead he was just waiting from a pit call and ended up in the gravel.

    You journalists should’nt be too harsch on Hamiltons outbursts in the cockpit. Remember he was in the middle of a fight, with lots of adrenaline rushing through his body. No wonder he was not keeping his composure and having a tea conversation. It makes F1 very human. Just like Alonso. He made me laugh when he told his Ferrari mechanics to f*ck off when they informed him that Lewis was closing in very rapidly :D

    1. bleh says:

      Why would he wanna pit? Either his breaks are shot (which they were) and his race’s just as over as if he’s in the gravel or they’re fine and he just threw away the lead to enjoy the scenery in the pits.

      And unlike Hamilton, Vettel who is younger than wunder-Lewis didn’t rage against his team even though this is the second time he lost an all but certain win due to technical issues that are less about design (a systemic issue) but about sloppiness.

  87. momo says:

    your comment about lewis is very unfair,what he say about the team was true,there was no need to call him in his tyres was fine, it was a bad leadership from the team, jb did a superb job no doubt,same thing from lewis he was the driver of the day, but dont take a hit at lewis , i completely desagre whit the idea that drivers not allow to speak they mind, why dont u question the possible reason behind the call,it cost not only lewis but the team some good point mclaren is not suppose to make this sort of rookie- like mistake.

  88. MIKE SPA says:

    Congrats James, again a great article.
    As a equal lewis and button fan, i do feel lewis is more dependant on the team for the decisions (which can be wrong at times as they are not in the cockpit). Jenson was fantastic yesterday a great lesson in race craft -which you just can’t teach.

  89. Adrian says:

    More bad press for Lewis –

    ‘Mr Pallas criticised the 25-year-old British racing driver on the day that Victoria launched a Don’t Be a Dickhead road safety campaign.

    Asked whether Lewis Hamilton met that description, he said: “OK, I’ll say it. He’s a dickhead.”‘ (Minister for Roads for Victoria – BBC).

    “I hope we put a proposal as the GPDA to see if we can have the mirrors back to where they belong – and it is something we mentioned in the drivers’ briefing on Friday. We have all been quite honest and said that we all have difficulties – apart from Lewis. The problem for me is that we are driven by the aerodynamics, but the mirrors situated on the aero stuff vibrates.” (Rubens Baricello)

  90. Simon says:

    Frankly, I am tired of the anti Hamilton remarks that surface each and every time he makes a small mistake or isn’t quickest. Are we all forgetting last year when Button made his similar famous broadcast from the cockpit: “How can this car be SO bad?”? I don’t recall articles being written about him accusing him of “not being the complete package”.

    These guys are on the world sporting stage, they are racers and they want to win. If they are not winning, they want to know why. They are fired up with adrenelin and they all do and say things they probably regret.

    The qualifying broadcast made me angry. I have never been a fanatical sports fan shouting at the TV. There was such an undertone of negativity towards Hamilton. Obviously his antics the night before did not help and he probably paid the price with his grid position.

    Hamilton’s drive was fantastic on Sunday. He had moved up 4 positions by turn 4. A couple because of Alonso’s spin, but following that he picked off his team mate, and started moving up the field. Only two weeks ago we were all complaining that F1 is going to be a boring procession this year and for me this guy lit the track up with his gutsy moves. Button drove carefully and already having had the advantage of the tyre change managed to stay out front and look after his tyres.

    Furthermore, Hamilton hasn’t “slated” his team as many other articles state. He merely questioned the call for the second tyre change and quite rightly so. Perhaps his tyres would have gone the distance, perhaps not.

    It’s time for the negativity to stop. It would also be nice if Brundle and Couthard could show a bit more passion for their British drivers, instead of constantly praising Alonso and the tiresome Red Bull team / drivers.

    1. Stevie P says:

      Go read Brundle’s piece on the Beeb website… he called Lewis as his driver of the day.

      I’m sure that that kind of chatter goes on, on the radio all the time between drivers and the pit… why did the FIA release that particular snippet?

      It was the tone and the accusation, in Lewis’s voice, that is in question, for me. Not what he said, but the way he said it…

      1. russ parkin says:

        tone? so he was an inch from alonsos ass and had webber trying furiously to run him off the road. come on.

        true about button totally slated ross brawn and nothing was said. lots of people like to hate lewis hamilton. the same as tiger woods i suppose. i cannot think of any connection though..

        people need to stop harrasing the great talent as f1 would be outright boring if lewis was not in it.

      2. Stevie P says:

        Yeah, the tone… don’t you think Lewis sounded angry \ peeeed off? I did.

        I’m not slating Lewis, I think he is an exceptional talent – and one of the best 3 or 4 racers in the world – but there’s a time and a place to air your grievances (especially if you’re a Macca driver), as you say Russ, not an “inch from alonsos ass” or with “webber trying furiously to run him off the road”. His competitors will be rubbing their hands with glee to see Lewis losing his cool.

        Err, I don’t recall Button slating Ross Brawn, when was that? I recall Rubens’s “blah, blah, blah” comments.

  91. LT says:

    Even as a McLaren and Hamilton fan I’ll readily admit he has flaws which I hope he’ll iron out with more F1 and life experience, and that leadership is definitely one of them. However, I still think as a racer he is unrivalled. I read the comments from the last article and was just laughing at how many people (mostly red fans) saying that he would not have passed Alonso. I would like these people to go and have a look at the footage of the lead up to and just after the moment Hamilton was taken off by Webber. At first glance it looked as if he was trying the impossible. But if anyone looks at the footage again in detail, by going on the outside, he forced Alonso to take a slightly non-preferred line into that corner knowing well that it would likely comprimise his exit (and it did Alonso made a dire mess of the exit), giving Hamilton an opportunity to switch back and use better drive on the exit to overtake. Unfortunately thanks to Webber, we never found out if that would’ve worked.

  92. Chris P says:


    Excellent well balanced article – You don’t air your dirty washing on a radio – You calm down and deal with it later – Jensons skills and maturity are now on show as he finally is in a good team. Lewis is a fantastic talent but needs to still grow up a bit. I hope when he reflects he will see the way forward

  93. Jake Pattison says:

    Button had a great win, for sure, but I still think he is easily discouraged. When it all goes right for him then he the most confident driver in the world. But if he gets a rough trot then he doesn’t quite shine so much.

    Button needs to drive like he did yesterday when he is in 15th or 20th position. He should definitely take a few lessons from Alonso if he wishes to retain the title this year.

  94. Chris Brown says:

    James, interesting angle on this but I think you are missing the bigger (and more obvious) picture here.

    The headline for me is that Maclaren made a big mistake today that Ferrari and Renault avoided. F1 is a team sport and its primarily the teams’ responsibility to make these decisions. They – not Hamilton – made the mistake today.

    Maclaren have let Hamilton down a few times now – including as you mention the 2007 World Championship. He is entitled to be annoyed. Blaming him for not over-ruling a team mistake seems a bit the wrong way round to me.

  95. chris says:

    Jenson pulled it off yesterday and derserves everything he got, but ‘instinctive tactical brilliance’ is a little wide of the mark.

    The tyre call was loaded with risk and was more of a gamble than a stroke of genius. Context is everything and Jenson had a poor start, banged wheels with alonso and got done by lewis at turn three. Jenson was going backwards and my reading is that his emotions at that point would have clouded his decision making. It was a nothing to loose play.

  96. Freespeech says:

    With respect but I disagree with a number of your points and think the conclusions as published on Planet F1 are more in line with the truth (http://www.planet-f1.com/race-features/6059194/Conclusions-From-Australia…)
    Jenson Button drove really well but his win was as much about luck as it was skill. Seeing Lewis Hamilton take with ease when both on the same tyres showed me the real difference between the two drivers and said a lot about Jenson Button.
    Does anyone on this site believe Hamilton would have taken Alonso with such ease as he did Button?
    Button’s a great driver when all is well but unlike both Hamilton and Alonso he is unable to get that extra from the car when all isn’t so well.
    The overtaking moves by Hamilton were magic, just as Senna would have done.
    Yes Button did really well and good for him but James Allen and others should not use this as an excuse to have a go at, without doubt the driver of the day Lewis Hamilton

    1. kowalsky says:

      more like the drive of the day, because the driver of the day was button.

  97. Kenneth says:

    Very well written piece! Thumbs up!

  98. Bello from Nigeria says:

    Spot on James. Nobody tells us like it is. I think Hamilton will grow to be one of the best drivers, like my dad always tells me, “experience is the best teacher”. He is just 3 years into his career, already he has a world championship under his belt. He is probably a little vulnerable now i guess considering his papa ain’t around. But i am sure he will be build up confidence, thats life.

  99. Ben G says:

    If I was a McLaren mechanic, I know which driver I’d be secretly rooting for from now on…

    1. Alanis Morisette says:

      Yes indeed.

      Lewis, the actual racer, rather than the chap who coincidentally made a lucky call when he couldn’t drive on inters after being passed by his team mate, and won because Red Bull can’t provide their absolute gem of a driver with a reliable car. Plus he had the buffer of the excellent Kubica keeping a flailing Massa at bay, and it wasn’t the genius win people make it out to be.

    2. kowalsky says:

      he is lucky he is british, otherwise it would be like 2007 just the other way around.

  100. Derek Lorimer says:

    Jenson has taken a great step forward in defending his championship. I think Lewis is somewhat rattled by Jenson. I think he believed that he would easily out qualify and race Jenson and that hasn’t happened.

    It will be very interesting to see how he responds in Malaysia.

  101. Peter Williams says:

    James, do you believe that Lewis’s first set of soft tyres would actually have lasted? He is renowned for being extremely aggressive with his tyres. Remember Brazil 2007 and Turkey 2008 when he had to make additional stops?

    1. Mary says:

      Convinently you seem to forget Turkey 2009 where he did a one stopper and came 4th. Lewis has shown that if required he cam manage his tyres as well as any one in F1

  102. Patrickl says:

    As Schumacher explained in the pas and again Alonso explained last year, EVERY driver just listens to his team when it comes to strategy.

    I’m not talking about stopping one lap earlier or later to gauge the weather conditions, but when they had called in Button, he would have come in too.

    They didn’t have to call in Button since he was in the lead. They could simply wait.

    They wanted to get Hamilton past Kubica and apparently assumed that all drivers would make an extra stop.

    When you make the stop first you gain time, so they opted to call Hamilton in. Of course the whole thing fell apart when only Rosberg and Webber went for two stops and the top 4 simply finished the race on their worn tyres.

    Drivers HAVE to trust their team to make decisions like that. They cannot calculate when the best time for a stop is

    Besides, Hamilton was really past Alonso had Webber not rammed him off and he got past Massa several times already, so why not again.

    His final 5th position is an amazing achievement when you consider all the adversties Hamilton had to overcome.

  103. Richard S says:

    Amazing James!

    James. Do you think its going to be closer between the two McLaren drivers than we all first thought? Its an amazing contrast between the two. Both have different quality’s in driving and personality. I think this is going to shape up to be a great battle!! Cant wait.

    I felt like a on Christmas eve waking up early for the race and i was disappointed. Fantastic!


  104. AA says:

    Dont know why people are moaning. A good strategic strategy split by McLaren. If the tyres had not lasted for everyone else (an unknown at the time) then everyone would be saying what a great move by McLaren. They split the strategy, and won the race as a result.

  105. JoFarr says:

    interesting reading James albeit slightly biased. i usually love reading your informative threads

    i don’t know how everyone who posted here feels after u drive one of ur best drives and finish shunted off the track … and expect not to say anything!

    everyone seems to forget how many times, from the middle part of the last season, we heard button criticize the brawn team and the car (to the world) for its handling because it was not to his liking. he will probably do the same when and if he’s still in the championship race later on in the season – hats off to him though for his measuered drive and his intuitive and albeit somewhat lucky ( – his words he had no grip and no other option) call for tyre change.

    yet after [B]A[/B] fantastic race which i still cannot get over u try to diminish lewis for uttering a few words the FIA made public, probably out of the thousands he said on his radio. it is just one race yet everyone is pointing his finger – let’s give him time please

    im a mclaren fan but after yesterday the team disappointed me a bit after hearing martin’s words after the race

    1. Steve says:

      You do realise that James Allen is just about Lewis Hamilton’s number 1 fan don’t you? Do you not remember his Monaco GP commentary in 2008? I would suggest that you are completely blind to Hamilton’s faults if you complain that this article is biased. This is the MOST balanced piece of journalism I have seen on this topic!

      Well done James.

  106. Lee Gilbert says:

    Yes James – the one thing Lewis has not yet developed is his ability to lead strategy and over ride the team thinking.

    Lewis probably has the “feel” to know when to lead the strategy already but doesn’t just do it! So I do not think he’s that far off – he just needs to get in the car and tell the Pit Wall when he’s coming in

    Looking at how fast Lewis learned things last year – I would put money on that next week in Malaysia (if conditions require it) Lewis will now just do it

  107. Lewis would no way have got to the end of the race on 1 set of tyres, with his aggression even his second set was showing graining at the end of the race, had he relied on one set of tyres for 50 laps IMHO he would have ended up having a similar incident to Kimi at Nurburgring.

    Button is a smooth driver who’s style is conservative on tyres, Lewis is very hard on his tyres.

    McLaren did the right thing pitting him as I really don’t think his tyres with his all action style would have lasted 50 laps.

  108. DRN says:

    I think Hamilton had an opportunity to show some maturity at the end of the race, he could have congratulated Button and enjoyed the celebration. Instead he acted in accordance with his new Australian nickname, D***head.

    1. kowalsky says:

      he is looking like alonso in 2007

    2. Mary says:

      I believe jenson confirmed that lewis was one of the first people tp congratulate him.

      God the poor kid just can’t win can he.

    3. Lexus says:


      Jenson said Lewis was one of the first to come and congratulate him. Do you now see why you appear as a Hamilton hater whether or not you are.

      1. DRN says:

        They all say that though. I like Hamilton, he’s a proper racer, but I’d like him more as a fella if he had been in the background with the rest of the McLaren boys on the BBC coverage.

      2. Steve says:

        Yes, the first things that he said was in the post-race interview where he moaned about his result. Yes, he congratulated Button (After the press conferences), but by then had already been moaning on live tv. He should have been much more magnanimous in the post-race interview. “We made a mistake”. In my opinion it was wrong to suggest that they would “find out whose decision it was”.

  109. freddie says:

    so lets recap

    Jense choosing to drive his car into the pits is the equivalent of Lewis refusing to comply with the instruction “Pit this lap”.

    And that feeling your tyres go off on a drying track and being passed by your teammate is great strategic thinking, while not knowing what the other teams are doing and relying on your team’s appointed strategists is “not leading from the cockpit”.

    Then being angry about it and demanding a better performance from your strategists is “a lack of composure”.

    A really warped interpretation, very disappointing.

  110. tobi-wan says:

    I can sympathise with Hamilton on this though. He drove a great race I thought, a real racer’s display only to have the team bring him in unecessarily and have Webber punt him off.

    Yes, if the finishing places were reversed and Button was brought in in the same scenario, he would probably be more measured in his comments.

    I’m sure he’ll learn more diplomacy but I quite like a driver who speaks his mind and shows when he’s unhappy.

  111. David Smith says:

    I was struck by the reaction of Martin Whitmarsh. there was a man who clearly was overcome by what he had just witnessed. I got the feeling that perhaps he felt a certain measure of vindication over his choice of driver (Jenson was his call right?). I also think that the dynamic in the garage will have just taken a very significant adjustment. Next time Jenson speaks about something any issue of what the other driver might think about that will be gone I think. That was a BIG result for Jenson and indeed Lewis. Dealing with the raw speed of a teammate is one thing (Jenson), dealing with their ability to out think you is something else (Lewis). S-D – I agree with you re McLaren’s thinking. I might add that IMHO they were certain that Jenson would be OK on his tyres and uncertain about whether Lewis would be, that would be because of the data they have on how he treats his tyres so far this year I think.

  112. Keith says:

    Jenson chose to come in for tyres after being passed. Lewis complied with the instruction “pit this lap”.

    I don’t see how you can say these are the same thing. Are you saying that for Lewis to ‘lead from the cockpit’ he had to refuse to come in? And was a driver supposed to know if the Ferraris were stopping? That’s the team’s job, surely.

  113. Andrew says:

    Why didn’t Hamilton overrule the pit call and just stay out on those tyres? Has he never done that before?

  114. Skaffen says:

    Great piece James, I thought Button was a class act yesterday and I’m amazed how many comments there are on various sites basically dismissing Button as lucky. You would think that after the race wins and WDC last year, and now winning yesterday’s race in a car that was probably not the fastest, that people would have to start giving him a little credit. It makes me wonder what he has to do to be actually ranked as a good driver by some people; it’s as if they’ve already decided that he’s not a good driver and nothing short of 7 WDC titles will prove otherwise.

    1. kowalsky says:

      i do. I thought he would be blown away by hamilton, but he is proving me wrong. Can he deliever that kind of performance again? I hope he can.

  115. Alex says:


    I am going to caveat what follows by saying that i very much enjoy your blog and hold your opinion in high regard. However i would like to point out the following;

    If you watch the re-run. Button’s last minute dive into the pits was a desperate gamble, one that very nearly proved disastrous. He’d been going backwards since the lights went out and had just been skinned by his team mate. To suggest he’s a more complete package than Hamilton is extraordinary. Lewis drove one of the best races i’ve ever seen and Button wins with a lucky strategy call. You may say that Lewis is more mentally fragile yet Schumacher and Senna weren’t the most stable of characters and it didn’t stop them winning multiple titles. Also i seem to remember Jenson had a bit of a meltdown when things got tight down the stretch last year. Anyway rant over, i’m going to be patient and wait until Malaysia, i expect the Mclaren won’t be as competitive and then we’ll see who the more complete driver is.

  116. Hyperion says:

    What a fantastic analysis and comparison between the two drivers.

    However, I feel (as well as Anthony Davidson), that Jenson was forced into the early stop because Hamilton has passed him on the track. So I can’t quite agree that it was ‘instinctive tactical brilliance’; albeit it was a fantastic drive from Button.

    There is little doubt that Hamilton relies on his team to make the racing decisions. I remember McLaren making a similar mistake in Germany- not pitting under the safety car, making Hamilton pass cars on the track for the win.

  117. Ryan says:

    Nice one James!
    I have become increasingly annoyed with Hamilton since his debut and yesterday I lost all respect for him. What I think is interesting is that he probably wasn’t aware that Button made his own choice to come in early. I’m sure he feels pretty sheepish today, after realising that Button took the initiative while he just followed orders, later on. He needs to grow up because, despite his obvious talent, he is quickly becoming the most ‘unliked’ driver in the paddock.

    As a byside, what did you think of Webber’s performace, James? I thought it was atrocious. Several huge mistakes. He is clearly very quick on a single lap but has never been able to race with other cars around him. He is lucky Seb has had mechanical problems or he’d really be well behind him. Webber has done well to stay in F1 for as long as he has done. He is a very mediocre driver. He needs to make way for someone better.

  118. jese says:

    What a one sided view of what transpired on sunday? Can i suggest a different view and i hope it will be aired?

    Button was overtaken by several cars including Hamilton and his intermediates were gone. He was given the option by his engineers to come in and try the slicks because he was in no better position with the tryres he had and might end up worse…..so he accepted the offer. What is so brilliant about that? Luckily for him it worked and he gained track position why everyone was pitting. In contrast Lewis when he came in for the slicks lost quite a bit of track position because he had to be held in the pits for safety reasons. He re-emerged worse of and went about working his way up to 3rd. The engineers call him and tell him to “box box this lap” I know because i was following Mclaren radio comm online from Maca website. He was not asked for his opinion like Button was and infact his tyres were fine at that point. Are you suggesting he should have said no …i won’t pit? I don’t think Button in the same situation would also have said no. He had evry right to be angry bacause the strategy was not right. I think he might be more assertive in future but to blame him for wrong strategy by the team is not right. Button was lucky, he had no other cars to have turbulence on his tyres leading from the front and Kubica was acting as a barrier for he was quite slow and impossible to overtake. So what great driving is evrybody going on about? The only great drive i saw was by Hamilton, Alonso and Kubica.

    1. david z says:

      spot on jese, I saw exactly the same race as you!


    2. John Johnson says:

      Well said that man :thumbsup:

  119. Chris says:

    I find it interesting James that you compare Jenson making a tyre call (one in which he has all of the data he needs right there in the cockpit) to Lewis not making his own decision about strategy (in which the team need to analyise hundreds of peramiters that are not available to the driver). Hardly comparable really are they?

    I agree that Jenson is clearly the cooler charachter and has a wealth of experience to lean on, it’s not as if any driver in the field would have been in a position to argue with the team telling them that a second stop is the best strategy.

  120. Sam says:

    People changes their opinions every race.
    What they forget is the underlying pace of each driver.
    Button won fair and square but let’s face it, it was a chaotic race. We have seen someone like Fisichella completely outclassed Alonso in a normal race or two.
    But everyone knows what happened in the end.
    And don’t forget Button didn’t exactly out-pace his teammate, it was like “Sh1t my teammate passed me and the track is drying. Screw it, let’s gamble.”
    And Vettle’s misfortune helped him a lot.
    With the help of strategy and luck he won it.

  121. Andy says:

    I think that part of Mclaren’s reasoning to pit Hamilton when they did was because they were looking at what was happening behind Lewis; both Webber and Rosberg had gone in for fresh rubber and as a result were going faster. Believing that Lewis may not last the distance on his 1st set it was better to pit him then rather than wait and have him lose track position to Webber and Rosberg after his stop.

  122. Red5 says:

    Lewis matured considerably throughout last season and undoubtedly will continue to do so.

    Although he won’t like the comparisons I think Lewis will mould himself in the image of Alonso who now has the experience to fall back on but has lost none of his aggressive competiveness.

    As James has already pointed out there is nothing to predict who will come out top this year. Which in effect means they all have an equal chance? Perhaps, unlike last year when Button was forced to play a percentage game, this year could end up giving fans [another] thrilling finale.

    With fond memories of Hamilton’s first title I also see this season going down to the wire. Red Bull will bounce back. Alonso is right at the top of his game. And there are plenty of other drivers/teams snapping at their heels.

  123. Jonny M says:

    All the talk of it being a Hamilton team and Button having a struggle in that environment is all probably true, but if Jenson puts in drives like that and Lewis keeps blaming the team/engineers then that will change. I imagine that the attitude and morale of engineers who work for Lewis / Jenson will have gone down / up over the course of this race weekend. Winning and losing as a team is a fundamental aspect of teamwork, but Lewis will have caused some damage with his comments after the race. Who says the team won’t rally around Jenson from now on.
    It is obvious that in a straight fight Lewis would beat Jenson everytime, but racing is a craft that Lewis has not yet learnt.

  124. Steven Selasky says:

    James, excellant article. The combination of the Button/Hamilton brings back memories of Prost/Senna. The good memories of two different types of drivers going at it……….

    Who would you put your money on this year?

    Oh, I think we will see Shumi win one this year.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      Schumi winning this year?? No way! First he has to outperform his teammate. And then he has guys like Vettel, Hamilton, and Alonso to deal with! It’s not even a possibility! The guy couldn’t even overtake Alguersuari! (and don’t tell me the media crap about aerodynamics…the race had so many overtakes and the Toro Rosso is an easy car to pass…). So far, dissapointing Schumi. He will get better, but not winning!

      1. kowalsky says:

        and don’t forget the pass, di grassi put on him. Classic.

      2. Jonathan De Andrade says:

        Yes kowalsky, amazing overtake by Di Grassi. I think Schummi is providing so much fun for the youngers! Imagine how do Alguersuari, Di Grassi, Chandhok, Hulkenberg, Tonio, Koba, Petrov were feeling by having the chance to drive side by side with the legendary Dick Dastardly!
        Speccially Alguersuari and Di Grassi might be over the moon!!! I don’t share the same feeling in regards to Rosberg and Alonso by obivious reasons …

      3. Paul says:

        Whats the fuss about di grassi passing micheal nobody gloating over when webber slipped pass alonso who made a great save after a less than rubbish start which no rookie made

      4. Steve Selasky says:

        Hey, you stop working for 3 years and see how easy it is to come back. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I stand by mine….

  125. Adrian Harris says:

    Well – now who’s team is it?

    All the body language that I saw told me that Jenson is a very strong member of that team and Lewis is a million miles from having things his way.

    I also have to congratulate Jenson not only because of a well deserved tactical win but also on his instinct to come to McLaren.

    What would we all be saying now had he stayed at Mercedes? Not looking great there is it?


  126. Kieran Martin says:

    Nice article, but I think that Hamilton deserves more credit than you’ve given him here.

    True, Button made a fantastically brave decision to opt for the dry tyres when he did, but otherwise he was pretty much handed the win by default, as it was plain sailing for him from there on in.

    Hamilton however had to work much harder for his position, and I think both McLaren drivers showed glimpses of why they are both champions.

  127. Ross says:

    Great article as always James.

    One thing I couldn’t work out when Lewis was caught up behind Alonso is that he complained his tyres had gone off. Martin Brundle correctly pointed out in his commentary that his tyres were probably fine, but being in the turbulance of Alonso’s car made it feel that way.

    But regardless, in Hamilton’s mind his tyres were shot…but then he questioned the team over the radio as to why he had pitted twice?

    1. VicWeir says:

      Yes it seems very confusing still.
      Ted Kravitz said a little later that the McLaren garage maintained that Hamilton’s tyres were indeed a source of concern but Button’s were fine.
      If Hamilton’s tyres, after two stops, were a problem what sort of mess would he have been in had they not brought him in for that second change? I don’t understand why someone in the garage is taking the rap for Hamilton’s inability to pass Alonso/not winning/ falling off the track!
      It is , as you have indicated, James, yet another occasion when someone else must be at fault for Lewis Hamilton’s problems, never him.
      Alonso’s “Thank you, I don’t want to know that” response to the helpful message that LH was catching him illustrates a really cool head and makes you laugh too! Not a lot of people can do that.

    2. Stevie P says:

      Good spot Ross… although bear in mind that the radio transmissions we hear are delayed, so we don’t know exactly when certain things were said.

      I thought Lewis had a cracking race, with stunning over-takes – he was on a mission – and a mission to win. Perhaps, his issues (off-track) in Australia, this year and last, spurred him on.

      I think McLaren covered themselves (strategically) a little (with JB out front) by bringing him for the 2nd stop… but hindsight has shown it was a bad call; yet we also don’t know just had bad Lewis’s tyre degredation might have been, with all the chasing he was doing.

      JB was cool AND got lucky; Alonso was cool AND got lucky; Webber and Hamilton were on fire, but ultimately unlucky… we move on to Malaysia! :-)

  128. Chris says:

    I disagree, Button was lucky today. He could not manage his inters like everyone could thus wasforced into the pits. Could have been very bad. Hamilton will beat him at the end of the season.

    1. Jake says:

      Button was not having trouble on the inters. He just elected to change to slicks early on. It is feasible that he requested the change and the team agreed with him.

      As for Hamilton, he made a call to the pits towards the end of the race and complained that his second set of soft tyres had “gone off”, so there is no way he would have lasted on the first set alone. But he is much more agressive than Button.

      Button had a good win, but luck was on his side too.

  129. Flintster says:

    James – I’ve read elsewhere today that Button just got ‘lucky’ The thinking behind this is with regards to the time when he pitted for slicks!. Apparently his intermediates were finished. Therefore had to pit anyway?

    Can you shed any light on this or is this inconclusive.

    Personally I dont see why it matters concidering he won the race but I disagree that anything should be taken away from a great drive like that….

  130. Flintster says:

    Theres alot of drivers on the grid or as test drivers that would trade anyday of the week for the race that Hamilton had yesterday! McLaren have stuck by him for many years, gave him an unbelievable chance in 2007. All credit the boy has delivered… but he need to curb his tounge… look how Bruno Senna has arrived in F1…claimed to be off simular talent….!

  131. Japanese Sage says:

    Hamilton lacks humility, no metion of Jenson winning in his post race interview just as when he won the world championship in Brazil he failed to mention how Massa must have been feeling.

    The more I see of Lewis ( poor loser) the less I like!

    Also,I remember reading not so long ago (on this site) a lot of critics of Jenson saying that “it was a mistake going to McLaren”, “he would never beat Lewis”, “Jenson was mad to leave Brawn”
    Well I hope you remember the Japanese Sage predicting that maybe Jenson knew that the Brawn (now Mercedes) was not gong to be so competitive in 2010.

    Prediction for 2010, Lewis to quit Mclaren and race for Red Bull next year!

    1. Alexx says:

      Is this Jessica? lol.

    2. Alanis Morisette says:

      I think it’s more dependent on how Schumacher’s year goes. If it doesn’t go to plan, then Lewis may end up at Mercedes. Haug wouldn’t let him slip through his fingers if he left McLaren.

      Massively speculative (I think MS will come good, and Lewis will trounce Jenson still), but if he did quit…..

  132. CH1UNDA says:

    Just to point out that you seem to forget that in the past, McLaren have discouraged Lewis from making suggestions about strategy. I remember a call last year at which the team flatly told him to concentrate on driving and leave strategy making to the them. That radio call did not sound friendly. The kind of leadership you propose cannot be encouraged by those kind of discouraging calls. McLaren need to allow Lewis to lead and they therefore have to allow him to give them suggestions on strategy calls. They need to be ready to take that risk. As it is now, all I have witnessed is a) McLaren not allowing that role from the man who brought a WDC to them after a long draught and b) the team playing a PR game that makes Lewis look bad just telling the truth … which was that they f****d up.

    That is not a pretty position for Lewis to find himself in – basically he cannot be in charge of his own destiny: he can’t talk before or after. He has to apologise just breathing the same air with the other drivers! This brings me to my next point. In this scenario, it is becoming obvious that McLaren has never been and will never be a Lewis team. For close Lewis/McLaren watchers, this has been apparent for quite some time. This is the time for Lewis to look at Schumacher’s seat in 2011 very seriously. He may race as a Brit, but compared to Button he is the outsider (Grenada is not exactly the same thing as England) – he cannot win the inevitable British PR war against a crafty old hand like Button so he should consider leaving for Mercedes soonest. Coming races may well play in his favour but I think that McLaren is not the place to be in the long run. Inevitably, his love affair with the team has come to an end. I would even argue that it was over as soon as Whitmarsh took over last year.

    Though it is easy to opine from how Button won the race that nursing tires was a differentiating factor between the two, I see that Hamilton’s fabled weakness with nursing tires is a myth. Whitmarsh concedes that in retrospect, they made the wrong call. Put it another way, that is an admission that the team has not been keeping tabs on the much improved way of how Lewis is able to treat his tires well even when he pushes the socks off them. Here is a unique driving style that a discerning team should pick and utilise to its advantage. For a CEO that has been with the team for two decades in senior positions, Martin should have put a system in place that senses these favourable directional changes in its drivers and exploits them rather than consistently whipping up rivalries and controversies. The coming 2010-gate doesn’t have to happen.

    Whilst looking for a new team is the best long term option for the youthful former WDC, there is still a season to be managed in 2010 within a team that may be looking for his exit. If Lewis is to avoid ending this season with a media-crafted image of a misguided out of control nervous wreck no different from say Michael Tyson, he needs to take a deep breath and change the disastrous direction that his PR has taken. If he is friends with Barichello, now is a good time to draw from that old fox how to handle the an anti-team outburst in the immediate aftermath. Rubens managed to end the season with some very positive stories from the same journos that we baying for his blood when he took up Brawn GP. Following this tactic by a Kimi-like self imposed exile in media-siberia may be reasonable in the short run as he works out a more comprehensive communication strategy to walk him through the coming media mine field. No doubt in addition to picking a respected manager he should consider a much loved PR resource with good connections in the paddock and the British media. Two names that fit these profiles quite nicely jump to mind: James Allen and Martin Brundle:=))

  133. Segedunum says:

    McLaren were definitely convinced that Hamilton could not have made those tyres last for a race distance:

    “With the information we had at the time, given where Lewis was, we felt that it was the right call. I think in retrospect and hindsight, if we look at how the race played out – if Lewis could have made those tyres last then he could have finished at least second today and we would have a 1-2.”

    Notice the stinging comment and caveat “If Lewis could have made those tyres last……”
    That means that they are pretty certain that he couldn’t, and given his speed before his second pit stop I think McLaren were right.

    This is Lewis’s greatest challenge I think, and I’ve never seen him under so much pressure. He needs to go slower to avoid making unnecessary stops and give himself position. Can he do that or is it just plain against his nature? It’s something he has never done before and tyres have always been his achilles heel.

    1. Segedunum says:

      Re-reading MW’s comments, you can also read it as him blaming Lewis for not managing to get a 1-2 with his tyre management.

      1. john cale says:

        Actually Macca have admitted that they made a mistake and in retropsect should not have made the second stop.

      2. Segedunum says:

        They haven’t admitted any mistake at all. They agree that staying out was in the end the right thing to do, but only if Lewis could have preserved his tyres. Given that they felt that he couldn’t they still believe they made the right judgement.

        Martin Whitmarsh’s comments are pretty clear and don’t leave much room for discussion.

  134. Lionel says:

    James, What will happen if next week say, the Engineers call Hamilton to the Pits for Tyres or something else and he says “NO” over the radio (with the whole world listening in) …..and say goes on to win the race?

    1. KNF says:

      Well, what if he does a Shanghai 2007 again?

    2. Tommy K. says:

      Won’t happen! Fate must give something back to Vettel. He should have won both races so far. He will win Malaysia! Also, Hamilton will beat Button easily in Malaysia, in my opinion. No need for team calls…

      1. kowalsky says:

        what about alonso-massa y sepang?

      2. Tommy K. says:

        I just said that Hamilton will win the team battle, not the race. And Vettel i think will win the race. Alonso and Massa could make it to the podium!

  135. ReviLO for Manchester says:

    “Button instinctively knew that lap 6 was the right moment to gamble on a switch to dry tyres” are you kidding me? Button, himself later implied, that he was not at all sure that it was in any way the right decision, coupled with admission that he had balance issues and that the intermediate tyres had gone off, the instinctive moment to gamble as you put it, seemed to be more of an imperative than any kind of inspired instinctive gamble.
    With regard to the “It’s the “for some reason” part of that sentence which rings hollow in comparison with Button’s decisiveness” comment, is it possible or probable that Lewis believed that he could have passed or kept the position behind Kubica, and nursed his tyres to the finish?, resulting in a 1-2 or 1-3 if so, it could explain his “for some reason” comment and his puzzlement at the call into the pits, a call from the team, a team with strategist and the resources of McLaren, a call which Lewis instinctively follows, because he believes that they usually get them right.

  136. MacGraw says:

    The team could have left Lewis on the tyres and if they had fallen to pieces, Lewis would have blamed the team. Damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t.

    I expect that Lewis is Ron’s man, and Jenson is Martin’s man.

    Christian Horner said that Lewis was probably angling for a seat at Red Bull when he went on about Webber retiring. Maybe there are things going on at Macca that aren’t yet seeing the full glare of light and openness.

    Credit to Lewis for some parts of his driving: but there’s something of the PlayStation driver about him . . . driving without fully understanding the consequences and possibilities of the whole race.

    What was really important was that when Webber and Lewis got to the back of Alonso they couldn’t get past him – despite being up to 2 seconds a lap quicker.

    We got some excitement yesterday because of conditions and incidents, but the fundamentals are still wrong.

    A dry race without incidents would have been a procession.

    Just create areas of the track where there is more than one racing line and which all drivers have to use at least XX times in a complete race.

    It is SO EASY to do and will greatly improve the spectacle.

  137. Mr Spindles says:

    I previously had thought Button to be a bit of a “light weight” and then lucking into being in the right place at the right time with Brawn last year but yesterday’s race has put him in a whole new light — somewhat risky move to a new team where there already is an established number one and he handles it calmly and comes thru with a wonderful victory.

    Thanx James for your wonderful blog!

  138. Calum says:

    I can’t say I like seeing LH laying into the team but in the age of corporate polish and spin it’s nice to see an opinion and honesty come through.

    Put it this way – was Lewis wrong to criticise the strategy that realistically dropped him from 3rd to 5th?

    1. Tommy K. says:

      Yes he was wrong. He should think that the team made a very cool decision after looking all the facts. He should blame himself for not making the Q3 in qualifying. After that, it was always going to be tough for him. He had to push the whole race. Next time he must deliver in qualifying.

    2. kowalsky says:

      i hope this radio comunications keep coming, because in the heat of the battle, they are not politically correct, like when they are taped in front of a camera.

  139. PAD says:

    James, I agree that the race showed Jenson as being a great driver in the same way that Schumacher and Alonso can think and process information in the cockpit.

    However, I also think that the McLaren decision for Hamilton should have been the correct one. With new tyre Lewis was blistering fast compared to those in front on the older tyres – about 1-2 seconds a lap quicker than the Ferraris. Then came this year’s major problem that even having this much advantage, he could not get near enough to overtake them before the turbulence of the car in front unbalanced his car. Once at that point his race was effectively over showing again that this problem must be resolved.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      I think this is not correct. Turbulence didn’t make any difference when passing other cars, did it? Alonso is difficult to pass even in road cars or go-carts!! However, Lewis actually passed him, when local mr.mistake took him out! If a driver is not looking for excuses he makes it happen. And Lewis proved it in Melbourne! It was just a mix of causes for finishing 6th…

  140. Rick J says:

    Without having read them all, I find myself in some disagreement with most of the comments others have expressed. A phrase comes to mind from Roger Penske: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”.

    If Vettel had not had has brake problem, he would have won from Button probably pulling away. There would have been none of the accolades for Jenson, perhaps on the contrary more tending to be critical of a lack of fighting spirit. Lewis on the other hand would have been applauded for his brilliant and audacious driving and the McLaren strategy seen as a very savvy move to cover off all the bases.

    Lewis drove brilliantly yet his performance went totally unrecognised because of Jenson’s lucky win. No wonder he felt hard done to. Would Button have pitted for slicks when he did if Hamilton had not just passed him? No way.

    These days as soon as a driver steps out of the cockpit there is a microphone and a camera shoved in his face. In the cockpit his every utterance is a feast to be salivated over and hogged down by a global audience. I well remember some of Jensen’s dispairing comments from the car as he struggled behind his team mate and watched the errosion of his championship lead in the latter half of last season. Give these guys a break.

    I enjoyed the Australian Grand Prix and came a way from it a bigger Hamilton fan. Everyone at McLaren did a brilliant job.

  141. Richard Mee says:

    After the ritriole I left on this site at the end of the Bahrain GP – I need to do a bit of humble pie scoffing – fair enough.
    That was much more like it as a way to spend 3 hours. Although in an ideal world this discussion would be rendered academic because Lewis would’ve been able to pass both Ferraris, Kubica and then do his best to close in on Jenson… as suggested by his initial pace after his second stop. The lack of overtaking even by a significantly faster car made a potentially unforgettable race merely a very good one.
    Lewis has the talent to win out this season. I don’t want to take anythign away from Jenson, that was a stunning race throughout, but the majority of the time when he has a clear head I just think Lewis is faster and wants it more.

  142. smc says:

    that was a great read.

  143. Patrick says:


    Great article.
    It ll be interesting to see how this teammate battle plays out.

    Hamilton’s talents as a racer are undeniable, his move on Rosberg was spectacular to say the least. He was driver of the day (I m an Alonso fan saying this !)

    However, he still has some growing up to do. I m sure this will come with time but his spoiled brat routine is becoming annoying. When things go wrong everyone else is too blame.This just alienates people.

    Fernando has been guilty of this in the past but seems to have matured after his experience at McLaren.

    People have been very unfair to Jenson Button. I feel he is very underrated as a driver. The guy clearly possesses great feel for track conditions. I think his poor qualifying performances towards the end of last season were down to nerves setting in. He has come out the other side and is now an extremely calm cool and collected guy in the cockpit. His decision making yesterday was reminiscent of those Schumacher performances in changing conditions. Right tyre, at right time.

    I never thought Jenson would be hammered by Lewis this season. I thought it would be close throughout. Different qualities will be required at different circuits.

    I m just interested to see how Lewis reacts to all this. 2007 vs Alonso was easier because he was in a win win situation. I think this season we ll see what Lewis is made of.

    Ps Alonso for the WDC! He has a “man on a mission” look about him this season.

  144. Michael C says:

    ‘He has exceptional skill behind the wheel, of the kind which could make him one of the greats, but until he can add that extra dimension of leadership and racing intelligence from the cockpit he will not be the complete package.’

    Got it in one James. The other comments on this site about learning to think when in the cockpit – like Senna Alonso Schumacher or Prost – will mark out whether he becomes the (possibly – but Vettel is going to make that hard) dominating force (provided the car is under him) – in the coming years.

    Brilliant race though wasn’t it!

  145. Very good article, it looks like you managed to sum up a lot of peoples thought about LH.

    One other thing I noticed was Martin Whitmarsh’s reaction to the Button win. It looks like he was taking Button’s performance as a personal issue maybe he had to justify hiring him??

    Do you think that his will effect how Lewis sees himself in the team?

  146. Haran says:


    I am glad Jenson won the race, I think he deserves more credit than he gets.

    However what annoys me and I would have expected James to have picked up on is that Jenson had no choice but to pit for new tyres. The Live Timings clearly showed his laptimes were dropping off quite markedly prior to his stop.

    So I do not think it fair to accuse Lewis of following the team and Jenson providing leadership from the cockpit. He had no choice, luckily there was just enough of a dry line for him to come out hero, rather than zero.

    1. guy says:

      i agree – it’s a bit like lewis crashing at monaco in ’08, pitting, and then going on to win the race – he wasn’t inspired but a ‘victor’ of circumstance.

  147. Fausto Cunha says:

    I think it’s to early to be talking about a Lewis vs Button.

    Jenson is savvy and subtlety, Lewis is a warrior and they both have on a championship.

    I think Lewis drove a brilliant race, with great passing moves and he should end up second.

    Jenson took the gamble and it worked for him , but watching BBC broadcast everybody was saying that it was to early.

  148. Shingai Mtezo says:

    Excellent editorial as usual James, but I think you are contradicting yourself a bit. While you lauded JB with praise for his gamble on tyres, you overlook the fact that it should have been Lewis’s call go into the pits or not. If he felt he could go on then he should been given the green light.

    The fighter spirit Lewis has is what is lacking in F1 and why fans are complaining of the lack of excitement in the sport. Jenson’s victory was nothing to write home about, in my books. If it wasn’t for poor Seb Vettel misfortune, I doubt he would won the GP, How ever had Lewis finished second as it most likely would have played out…..I’m sure the headlines and your editorial would have made more interesting reading.

    Calling a botched strategy by its rightful name IS leadership….

  149. M__E says:

    Isnt it well known that Hamilton is FAR harder (less smooth) on his tyres than most, china 2007 was the best example as James mentioned and there have been more than a couple of occasions where he drives the tyres off it during races.

    In all probablity he would have destroyed his tyres and would have needed to pit anyway, and fact he was complaining about his tyres going off after catching Alonso and sitting in his dirty air (with his ‘new’ tyres) makes me wonder about the guys intelligence.


    Who are the Drivers with a trademark smooth style of diving in F1??

    List |


    1. SabrinaDeets says:

      That is a good point, did Hamilton really need to push flat out to catch Alonso who was struggling on shot tyres? There wasn’t much tyre management going on there was there? He didn’t need to be 2 seconds a lap faster he would have still caught him, even if he had just been 1 second a lap faster, he would have preserved the tyres and had plenty of tyre left to attack and overtake. It was staggering stupidity from Hamilton really, thrashing the car to catch Alonso on those soft tyres and then when he caught him, he goes on the radio and says my tyres have gone off, course they’ve bloody gone off. We know how hard he was pushing, remember that mistake he made at turn 13 while pushing to catch Alonso and Webber nearly got him into turn 14.

      1. Lexus says:

        Hamilton was not trying to catch Alonso, he was trying to win the race. So yes he was pushing to beat Button who he had overtaken once before, not to catch Alonso. So yes he was pushing as hard as he can.

        I knew from the time he qualified 11th and Button 4th that Hamilton believed he could have won the race.

        No one else believed it and that is why they gave him the wrong strategy when he gave them the right drive.

      2. SabrinaDeets says:

        Hamilton’s the one driving the car, if he didn’t want to change tyres he didn’t have to go in the pits, simple as that really.

  150. Pat says:

    Me thinks we may have a new “Professor” on the Grid in Jenson Button ?

    1. Nicola says:

      Sorry but what UTTER rubbish, Button was LUCKY today in EVERY respect, and again if it had not have been for Red Bull’s reliability problems, he would not have won. Button is not a “professor” He is a lucky driver.

      1. Alistair Blevins says:

        It’s not all about blind luck. By his own admission he was suffering on the the intermediate tyres so made the call to go on to slicks.

        He then managed his tyres for the remainder of the race and was able to turn in extremely competitive lap times when needed. That was 10 years of F1 experience coming to the fore.

        True, he would probably have finished second to Vettel if reliability had not been an issue, but it was, and Jenson was there to capitalise. The old addage has never been truer – to finish first, first you must finish.

        And it was Prost-like in its execution. Not only does his style look after the tyres, he did the absolute minimum needed to win.

        He proved last year he’s more than capable of street-fighting, but in Oz he kept his head when all around him were losing theirs.

      2. Andy C says:

        Nicola, I dont agree. I think putting all of his successes of last year and the race yesterday down to luck is unfair.

        He was composed yesterday,drove consistently and was a worthy winner.

        What the guy has to do for people to get some credit is beyond me.

        How many drivers have won world champs not driving one of the best cars.

      3. Pat says:

        @ Nicola re: “What UTTER rubbish” – you make your own luck in life and Button certainly took control of his own destiny in Melbourne with sharp “on the hoof” decision making whilst in a high pressure situation, then sublime execution of the strategy he chose, to win by a pretty comfy margin. The FACT is he took the decision, the Red Bull didn’t finish, Button crossed the line first :) – there’s no room in F1 for “if’s and buts” – oh and Alistair thanks for backing me up ;)

  151. AlexBookoo says:

    I think that’s a little unfair on Hamilton. Button’s decision was one that a driver is in the best position to make – when there is enough grip to change to dry tyres. Plus he said he made it because his inters had gone off. The decision to bring Lewis in was based on how the race might unfold, having seen a few drivers pit and assuming the Ferraris and Kubica would too. Lewis wasn’t in a position to know all of the circumstances or to do the calculations, so it was fair enough for him to assume the team knew best.

    On Hamilton’s reaction, I’m sure it hasn’t done him much good within the team but from the spectators’ point of view that’s exactly what I want to see – drivers having honest reactions and showing passion. I much prefer the more honest 2010 approach of Hamilton to his previous meaningless corporate-speak.

    1. jeroen says:

      Although not a fan of Hamilton I agree with you. We want drivers to get a little emotional, upset and the occassional fight in the garage! Inceidently I also though Alonso’s reply on the radio when told Hamilton and Webber were now only 3.5 seconds behind: “I don’t want to hear it!” pretty good.

      Also Button did admit that he went in because he was getting overtaken left right an center (by Hamilton as well!) so he had no choice and decided to gamble. As a result he is been made a little bit too much into the hero and as a consequence Hamilton the zero.

  152. JF says:

    You are right about JB developing a swagger. On TV it looked like he shooed Kubica off the post race weigh scale with a little push!

    Great drive, he has earned a little (more) cockiness!

  153. RB says:

    He’ll be fine. He’s only 25 after all.

    Button has a few years more experience. Plus, everyone seems to have forgotten about him being told off for constant partying a few years back.

    F1 drivers grow up in the same messy manner as the rest of us!

  154. C Ferguson says:

    Not to extrapolate too much from the performance of multi-millionaire sports stars, but the Hamilton / Button disparity from this weekend underlines a niggling problem with human nature. Why is it that really caring and wanting something can actually make us all perform worse? Whether you’re trying to bag a job, that girl you like, or a world championship, really wanting it can make your performances unmeasured.

    Drive is hugely important, and Hamilton has it in spades, but Button’s detachment from that hunger — a confidence that makes him seem a bit aloof these days relative to the circus of the sport — looks to have really helped his performance.

    Look at Schumacher at Ferrari in the late 90s; despite his hunger he just couldn’t make it happen. When he did win in 2000 though, well, he went on to have the best streak of success in the history of F1. After 2000 there were less mistakes and less panic, but Schumacher remained a relentless competitor.

    In life and in sport, swagger, or some sort of moderating confidence, is important. It files down the edges of unadulterated drive and hunger. I really admire that inner peace you sometimes see in people at the top of their game. Button has it.

  155. Jonny R says:

    Whilst this is all generally fair (though it seems to me that most people commenting about Hamilton’s lack of leadership skills forget his age, remember when a younger Jenson Button backed out of contracts) I do think there is a slight flaw in the argument that Button showed tactical brilliance and Hamilton was naive.

    As Martin Brundle has today suggested, Button himself felt his inters were gone (perhaps not helped by being overtaken, in the same conditions, by a team-mate who started EIGHT grid spots behind him). Therefore, in many ways Button felt he had little choice than to change his tyres. It was more necessity than a brilliant tactical gamble. How gutsy a call is it when you feel it’s your only choice, or by FAR the best choice?

    Also, would it have been so brilliant if Hamilton hadn’t been held up for five seconds in the pits when he went to dry tyres, and of course, if Vettel hadn’t dropped out?

    On Hamilton, he was going with his teams call. It was the wrong call, but as a driver are you not supposed to trust your team decisions? Hamilton should be criticised for complaining about the call (a team wins and looses together), but he’d have looked FAR worse if he’d have not pitted as they told him and then seen his tyres go off badly.

    The point I’m trying to make is that Button, in effect, said “I have no choice, I want to pit” and Hamilton was told he needed to pit. What we don’t know is whether McLaren gave Hamilton any choice. What if he said his tyres feel fine, but they still said, in effect, tough?

    Hamilton’s immaturity is in criticising the team, but I don’t think the simple story of tactical genius Button, versus naive Hamilton tells the full story.

  156. Gary says:

    Im a Mclaren fan and a fan of Hamilton and I have nothing against Button at all….but I have to admit to being mystified at this seemingly amazing call Button made on his tyres because of some wonderful driving instinct he has.

    He more than deserved his win yesterday, and he is a great driver and Champion but all this credit is over the top. Button said himself that he totally shredded his inters after the first 2 or 3 laps, and he was always going to go backwards position wise because his tyres were completly gone.

    He didnt look at the track and go this is perfect for slicks now. He had no choice BUT to change tyres because he had destroyed his tyres. The choice was more or less forced on him, so calling it an “inspired decision” and “world class reading of the track” is just going way over the top IMO.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      and you’re absolutely right!

    2. KP says:

      Actually, i guess, James probably knows that and being a wily chap he just set the article up to see have some fun with the pro and anti LH readers. Plus page hits !!

      1. James Allen says:

        Well we have certainly learned that a lot of people see the race through their own pro- Button or anti-Button goggles. I’m not suggesting that Button is a better driver, but rather indicating what’s still missing from Hamilton. Button said that his inters were gone, but he always talks like that. Why would his inters be any worse than anyone else’s after just five laps? His slicks were “gone” later in the race but he still managed to keep a big lead and set his fastest lap six laps from home.

      2. Nigel Smith says:

        James, excellent article and I think
        a very fair assesment.

        The only tyres that would have been ‘gone’
        would (probably) have been Hamiltons, if he
        had tried to stay on the same ones, but of
        course he cannot see that.

        Hamilton critism of McLaren reminds me
        of the times Alonso critised Renault when
        they ‘allowed’ Fisi to win the occasional
        race a few years ago. Alonso thought Renault
        were not ‘supporting’ him.

        Alonso is more sensible now, and let’s hope
        Hamilton can grow up abit.

        And then there was Montoya falling
        out with Williams, when they ‘allowed’
        Ralf to win the French GP.

        So is this the beginging of a big falling out
        between Button & Hamilton, like when
        Senna & Prost were at McLaren?

        The second race in, and the honeymoon period
        did not last very long..

        By the way, anyone in favour of getting
        rid of pit to car radio, so the drivers
        need to think for themselves, like in the
        good old days..?

      3. Paul says:

        Well balanced answer James people keep saying button lucked into all his wins am yet to see a driver who has not as I dont see a difference to Alonso’s win in bahrain when vettel’s car let him down and I believe any driver out there with a good car is capable of winning the title and winning races,as no one has won the championship in the last 6 yrs with a mediocre car.

      4. freddie says:

        he got overtaken by his teammate James.

        You are seeing the race from a pro-Jenson anti-Hamilton perspective.

        Jenson is no Prost. He will NEVER beat Hamilton over a season…just watch.

        Hamilton is too much a overall better driver than him. One weekend with extreme contrasting outside factors for both drivers wont change that.

        Hamilton has shown to be able to extract more pace from his tires with same or better wear rate in the first two races.

        The myth that because Hamilton is faster, his tires are getting more used up will fully be debunked by the end of this season.

      5. Gary says:

        They were worse because he said they were? Theres a difference in saying “my tyres are gone” compared to what Button actually said which was “I was going to go backwards in position”.

        Seems to me that by saying that hes admitted that his tyres really were shot…so the judgement call wasnt really a case of “yeah this track is ready for slicks.” Either he stuck out for another 3 laps where he could have lost another 2-3 positions, or just gamble the slicks and hope it payed off.

        Im not saying hes a bad driver etc etc, but the call for slicks was more based on the fact he had messed his tyres up rather than judging the track ready for slicks.

        And this impression of Hamilton being terrible on his tyres….honestly the amount people go on about it you would honestly think Hamilton comes into the pits with tyres with no rubber and just metal rims. I think everyones impression on Hamilton cant make tyres last comes from one race in China in his ROOKIE season. Other than that has there been any occassion Hamilton has lost out/crashed out because of poor tyre management?

    3. Andy Thomlinson says:

      Button still had the experience to make the call for slicks even though the pitwall was telling him that they were looking to get at least another 2/3 laps from them, he could have looked like a fool if going onto slicks had ended up with him sticking it in the wall so therefor it was a inspired call and as later in the race showed Lewis wasnt able to make that call from the cockpit he just just did what he was told by the team.

  157. Thompson says:

    I think this article is being unfair to Hamilton, who drove a superb and entertaining race. Its not even 12months since Button himself was making damning comments over the radio about his Brawn.
    Kubica drove a superb race but he also leaned pretty hard on his tires too defending his position. To suggest Lewis’s tyres would have gone off when Kubicas did not. Making the tyre argument redundant regards Lewis.
    It was a bad call by Mclaren, but this is the 2nd race in a 19 race season.
    On track Hamilton is the real deal a complete racer, this race could be the straw that draws the best out of him for the next 17 races.

    1. AP says:


      thank you for your very insightful analysis!

      It seems that the difference between Senna (and other great drivers) and Hamilton (the little Liar) is that Senna would have won the race :)

      Hammy just entertained the crowds… but Arlequins also entertain crowds…


      1. Jhonnie Siggie says:

        And we are to judge Hamilton’s maturity based on your very mature comment? Several years from now when Hamilton is in the History books for doing great things, you will reflect back on these words and think….Oh man, my blindness prevented me from being bright :)

  158. Luke Robbins says:

    On the Five live review Hamilton told reporters that his tyres were ‘fine’ and he didn’t know why he had to come in.

    If they really were ‘fine’ why did he not convey this to the team? Assumming the other guys would follow him into the pit shows tactical naivety on his behalf.

    1. Nick says:

      The point is that he didn’t make that call, the team did. now it’s fair to criticise him for not leading the team and asking them the situation in the race.

      I think what we are seeing is the difference in rules. In the past the team knew the fuel levels of everyone and the gaps behind. This was crucial in deciding the strategy, and therefore the driver would listen to the teams guidance. Now the state of the tyres is the critical factor, and the drivers are in the box seat to make the call over their state. Lewis will learn from this that he needs to be more proactive in the tyre choices now we have these rules.

    2. Chris says:

      Tactical naivety on his part and not the 30 or so tacticians with computers telling him it was the best option?

      1. Luke Robbins says:

        You miss my point. My point is that LH appeared to presume everybody else would be taken in as well. I’m not saying its his fault for coming in, i’m saying he is tactically naive if he presumes that everyone else would just because he was.

      2. Chris says:

        Fair enough.. I thought that he only assumed this because he thought the team wouldn’t have taken him in if this wasn’t the case..

      3. Mary says:

        And don’t you think for a second the team had anything to do with this presumption i.e. they told him other will be pitting

      4. Luke Robbins says:

        I guess it shows that hamilton:
        1 has total trust in his team for strategy
        2 cannot think about stuff like that for himself

        it shows the difference between him and Alonso where Alonso commented that ‘no simulation advises losing track position’. Tactical awareness as the race unfolds is something for LH to improve, but we do forget he hasn’t been around for long!

  159. Guti says:

    I don´t understand your post James. Race of Button was absolutely different than the Lewis.Ham is a Super class, Button is a midfield driver for sure. Yesterday Lewis made me feel once more this sport.

    Regards mates

    1. Andy C says:

      Apart from last year when unless you noticed he was wiled champion.

  160. Tony says:

    Well said James. I couldn’t agree more.

    Here’s a great picture that I thought I’d share. (courtesy-PF1)


    1. kowalsky says:

      thanks. Keep them comming.

  161. Ross says:

    Thanks James, this the most inciteful analysis I have read to date. I never subscribed to the view that Jenson would been ‘blown away’ by Lewis for exactly the reason you described. The rest of the season is going to be very interesting.

    Love the website, keep up the great work!

    1. Tommy K. says:

      very interesting?? yes it will be! Lewis will do all the overtaking and Button will have to be the super 3rd, 4th or 5th….and u know why? becoz he has an erotic relationship with his tyres and doesn’t want to be hard on them! Lewis made everybody love this sport again guys! Not Jenson…

  162. Frankie Allen says:

    “Jenson Button won the race with a performance of measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance, while Lewis Hamilton lit up Albert Park with his audacious passing.”

    I am not so sure you can read that much into this race. In Buttons own words he was in such a bad place, that any risk was acceptable.


    When you look at everything else between Button and Hamilton, there still exists a noticeable difference in Hamiltons favour. As great a talent I believe Hamilton is, he definitely requires strong guidance around him or it is likely he will continue to suffer as he has this weekend. The obvious choice would be his father, but that would only happen if Lewis were to ask, something I cannot see at this point.

    Button is supremely relaxed and this win can only add to his confidence and tyre conservation could well elevate him beyond expectations. I can’t see Button out performing Hamilton over the season, but I can see Hamilton letting events influence matter on the track, such that is not the case.

    1. Pat says:

      I can see Button outperforming Hamilton – Hamilton has a few chinks in his armour which i think Button can exploit.

  163. Camelio says:

    James Allen, this is a ridiculous article, the first biased and unbalanced article I have read on this site.
    For all your presence in the F1 paddocks in Melbourne it seems you deliberately intended to ignore the fact that in post-race interviews, Button himself confirmed he had to pit anyway because his rear tyres were going after what, 6 laps???. He said he was being overtaken left and right and had no more grip in his tyres so had to pit anyway.
    What I find funny is this “Button easy on his tyres myth” didn’t seem to exist when he was in the thick of the action fighting for places(more like losing places), but when he made the lucky call, which he had to anyway, he was in clear air and oh so smooth on his tyres. Of course he will be smooth on tyres “CLEAR AIR” hello? Also in the interviews he also confirmed he did not need to push 100%, which wouldn’t have been the case had he not had that lucky calls on tyres and fighting his place up the grid.

    Now I am not attacking you, but is not standard practise to do some proper research and especially listen to the post race driver interviews to have a balanced view on your articles like all your other articles I have enjoyed reading before this one.

    And on a personal view, the fact that we are praising no-balls drivers who are slow and can manage tyres over raw speed and dare devil overtaking manoeuvres shows a lot of people are missing the point. Its called “RACING” for a reason for crying out loud. Argh the fury! I need a coke, cold one!

    PF1s website posts a much more, although biased and a bit OTT, a much truthful picture of what went on. It was “LUCK NOT BRAINS” that won it for Button, he had to pit anyway?

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      ‘It was “LUCK NOT BRAINS” that won it for Button, he had to pit anyway?’

      He didnt ‘have’ to pit, however he was going backwards due to his inters not working.

      I think there is some truth in your statement though, he certainly got lucky with Vettel heading out. However, you cannot take away that he made the call to come in first, before anyone else, and shows that he had summed up the track the better than other drivers.

      Also, Button showed how much of an intelligent driver he is by preserving his tyres in the middle of the race, setting his fastest laps in succession towards the end, making a big gap to p2 – albeit on reduced fuel.

    2. Freespeech says:

      I agree.

  164. Daffid says:

    Can’t agree with
    “He was never going to beat Button because he didn’t take the early tyre gamble”

    That’s simply unknowable, he lost time in traffic while pitting a lap later for slicks, but after that, had he stayed out and passed Kubica (as Robert himself believes he would have) he would likely have gained on Button. From that point on, due to the pressure he’d be exerting on Button, the rest becomes very hard to predict. One of the reasons Jensen was able to nurse his tyres was that he wasn’t under any pressure, but with a faster team-mate breathing down his neck this would not be the case. I’m not saying Lewis would have been able to pass, and indeed a Mclaren battle may have caused both their tyres to go off with unknown consequences, but Jensen’s gamble (and subsequent off) did not gain him enough time to ensure victory, it required misjudgements by others as well.

    1. Nick says:

      Good points. I reckon that if Hamilton had passed Kubica, the worry over the tyres would have lead the team to ask them not to race each other. It would have been too much of a gamble. If they had asked Lewis not to push Button I’m not sure that he would actually have followed the teams orders though.

    2. Luke Robbins says:

      Yeah i agree, as Ham came up to Kubica he was flying, if he had got passed he may well have caught and passed button.

      What you can say about Button though is that he clearly looked after his tyres in the middle of the race, simply maintaining the 5s gap to Kub. If Ham had caught him he would have had to pass with considerably less grip.

      There’s nothing to suggest he wouldn’t have been able to do this however, he was passing everyone with some fantastic moves.

      1. Pat says:

        Hmmmmm but do you not think if Hamilton did get up to Button, Button would have been able to use the additional life he had preserved in his tyres to increase his lap time sufficiently to keep Hamilton behind or mug Hamilton into putting in the wall with his inch perfect un-rattled driving like he did at Monza last year. Hamilton seems to get a bit too wild at times when he’s in a chase – and his attitude at times seems to be “win it or bin it”.

  165. Raoul says:

    Jenson was lucky his early pitstop paid off. To say he “instintively knew” when to pit is nonsense. He was going backwards in the race and had to do something drastic out of desperation. He then ran off the track and was lucky to make it out of the gravel. Then he was then lucky to be handed first place by Vettel. Had he got stuck in the gravel everyone would be slating him for the wrong decision, but because he got lucky suddenly he’s this incredible driver, way more intelligent than Hamilton who rightly lets his team decide the tactics. The team are in a far better position to judge with all their expertise, data from other cars, computer models etc. Ok, so this time with hindsight the team may have got it wrong, but they’ll get it right a lot more often than the driver.

    1. Camelio says:

      Thank you. Someone on here with common sense. Button would have not had to pit had his rear tyres not had gone off anyway after being overtaken by his team mate and going backward in the race

  166. Tm Goodfellow says:

    Lavishing praise on Button’s technical and leadership prowess is misguiding. What really happened? He got over taken by Hamilton, was struggling like mad on the inters, and just took a gamble, I’s pretty simple. He got lucky exactly like Hamilton did in Monaco in 2008.

    The two decisions were both very different as Hamilton’s depended on external data which he did not have access too.

    1. Stevie P says:

      Correct. Macca weren’t expecting Button in on Lap 6 – Kravitz said they were sitting about and had to rush; hence the 7.7 stationary stop for Button against 4.7 to 5.3′s for everyone else. McLaren would have kept him out there, as would every other pundit (“it’s waaaay too early”) at the race.

      The point is, Jenson made the call! Sure, it may have been slightly forced, but he still took the decision to do it. He also admitted he wasn’t sure about it, when he entered the pit-lane and had an off at turn 3. So what!?!

      Lewis could also have made “the call” – “sorry guys, I’m staying out on these tyres” but he didn’t.

      McLaren thought that the way that Lewis was racing – hard, off-line at times, pushing – would take the life out of the tyres (they won’t repeat their mistake of China ’07), so called him in – perhaps thinking that both the Ferrari’s and Kubica would pit too – they didn’t (aaaah the beauty of hindsight). Jenson out front in clear air, just measured his tyre wear, sat back and watched the track-side TV screens ;-)

      I’m sure this has been explained to Lewis.

      Also, perhaps the FIA should explain why they actually choose to let that “snippet” out… there must be other “hot-tempered” radio chatter that never comes to light (I’m sure Webber was irate too)… yet, they choose to “release” that one?

      The worse scenario would have been for Lewis to get past Kubica, use more tyre up chasing Button down and then to be forced into a pit-stop with, say, 10 laps to go… or to hang on, on shredded tyres – but this is supposition on my part.

      Back to Button… sure Vettel had issues, but hey, he had issues in Bahrain and Alonso took the victory… and last year he had plenty of mechanical issues too. You’ve got to get to the finish to get points!!!

      And finally, Red Bull Racing messed up (AGAIN!) on the strategy – big time!!!!

  167. Alexx says:

    Excellent and accurate article Jimbo!

  168. Brian M says:

    Let’s face it. The battle between team mates this year is panning out like expected except for MS. Hamilton, Alonso, and Vettel are spanking their team mates in terms of raw speed. You can say Jenson’s fortune was due to maturity, but that decision to go on dry’s was almost a forced one since he was very slow on inters compared to Lewis. I think people are making too much out of this one race. I’d like to see Jenson beat Lewis this year, but currently he doesn’t have the speed to do it.

    1. k9major says:

      Sorry to point this out to you, but Lewis didn’t make it in to Q3 because, in his own words he “wasn’t fast enough”.

    2. Col says:

      Did you watch qualifying….

      1. Brian M says:

        Point taken about qualifying.

  169. Steve Mc says:

    First off; can I just say that one swallow does not a summer make, and I think that Lewis will not have too many weekends like that. Secondly; although I am a big fan of Jens I am, first and foremost, an F1 fan.

    I can’t be the only saddo that has the F1.com live timings running whilst watching the race – was anyone else really impressed with how JB started pumping in the 1min30s laps as soon as Lewis got behind Kubica? That, I believe, was a big indicator to suggest that it really wouldn’t have been plain sailing once/if LH got past the Renault.

    I’m not sure if the following point has been raised at all (I haven’t checked every single one of the 295(!) comments on JA’s race report), but Lewis was stuck behind RB for five laps without being able to get past – If I was in his position, and the team were telling me to come in for fresh boots, I would be very happy to try something different. If nothing else, working on the basis that my tyres will have had 30-odd fewer laps wear by the time I got back up to his gearbox, I would figure it was worth a punt. the only fly in the ointment was, of course, the ferraris staying out as well.

    I also have a bit of an issue with the posters who seem to think that a guy who out-qualifies his super-fast team mate on merit, then sets about making the call of his life, controls the race, keeps a set of super soft tyres alive for 88% of the race distance yet still pumps in a fastest lap only 7 tenths slower than Lewis (on the newer tyres, of course) is just a flukey so-and-so with no more driving talent than my gran. Why can’t some people have a favourite driver but also appreciate when another driver does a great job. Drivers of the day for me, were Fernando, Jenson Robert and Lewis, and all for very different reasons.

  170. Steve says:

    I was also reminded of a race last year (can remember which) where Barrichello made a brave and inspired switch to drys before everyone else. Jenson followed along with the team direction and waited. Seems Jenson learned something about leading from the cockpit from being on the wrong end of a similar situation that day.

    1. Nick says:

      Swings and roundabouts. Sometimes you look like a genius, sometimes you look like a fool. When you look like a fool everyone will slate you, and when you look like a genius everyone will laud you. That’s the nature of F1. :-)

  171. English Dave says:

    I had Lewis down to wipe the floor with Jenson this season – but Jenson seems to be landing big psychological blows to Hamilton. Button’s self confidence and likeability infront of the media and also the Mclaren team is something which doesn’t come naturally to Hamilton, yet he desperately craves. This insecurity could level the playing field and make for a great battle this season. I still expect Hamilton to bounce back and gain the upper hand, but should he suffer any bad luck in the next few races through mechanical or strategic problems and fall further behind Button the pressure could become unmanageable for Lewis.

  172. Michael SW20 says:

    I applaud the insightfulness of this article and wish to probe further into the ‘Tiger Woods’ psyche that Lewis seems to have adopted.

    Lewis is a young man with the world at his feet – young, dumb and full of… To think that he can’t do a burnout without being able to laugh it off demonstrates the seriousness with which he takes the corporate aspect of F1 racing. In fact, the world wants to see a good looking young racer with a touch of recklessness and a cavalier streak – see Rossi, Hunt, Sheene. Lewis seems to have forsaken his own maverick nature in order to present the polished image that McLaren desire and as such only acts as a spoilt child via the only outlet which he is offered – Mother McLaren.

    This hypothesis is highlighted perfectly in one key instance in recent years. When presented with a Triathalon challenge by Jenson, fitness fanatic Lewis accepted, only to be cuckolded by Ron and Anthony – looking out for his best interests of course, but at the same time setting a precedent for future years and inadvertently offering Jenson a psychological upper hand that comes to the fore in 2010.

    To underline James’ observation in this blog, Jenson has not only demonstrated natural leadership qualities but also the ability and willingness to master has own time and his own life – unlike Lewis who has been led by a succession of knowledgeable advisors (see Lewis’ initial justification of his move to Switzerland as not being for the purposes of tax effiency) without being allowed to make his own mistakes. Even his mistakes i.e. Melbourne 2009, were not of his own doing. Thus, Lewis has looked naive on many an occasion.

    James is correct in that Lewis needs to look fear in the face (outside of his racing car) – the problem is like any caged animal, no one knows how they’ll fare in the wild when left to fend for themselves…

  173. Christian Hewgill says:

    Couldn’t agree more James. Article summs up Jenson and Lewis’s weekend perfectly. Lewis may well have a slight (and very slight I must add) edge in terms of raw pace, but as we all know Formula 1 is about far far more than that.

  174. lexus says:

    I think this article is incorrect in some aspects.

    What I gathered from the race is that Button had nothing to lose and only one decision to make. He is on ther intermediate and they are not working. He has just been passed by his team mate as if he was in reverse, other drivers are catching him, so what do you do.

    Do you stay on the same set of tyres until you are the last driver on the field, No. Do you change for the same set of intermediates that are not working, No. Button only had one choice to make and he made it. Actually circumstances forced him to make it. He did not choose between soft, hard or very soft. He was on wet which were not working and chose dry as there was a chance it would work and it paid off. Now everyone is acting as if he is a genius. I am not taking away the victory from Button. i am an LH fan but I am glad that McLaren has someone else who can win races.

    The team said they gave Button the decision, the option and he chose it. Did they give that to LH or did they tell him to come in. What part did LH engineer play or did not play. It is not the firts time that McLaren have screwed up LH’s strategy.

    McLaren should have known by now that LH can work his way through traffic and is much better at looking after tyres than they gave him credit for.

    He gave the most entertain drive and worked really hard to restore a weekend that had gone bad from the outset and in the end McLaren screwed it by their incompetence.

    I am glad Button won but in the end McLaren lost the best finish they could have had so far. I think LH is alot more mature than people give him credit for and I am sure he can make the same decision Button did. Is it the case that McLaren is treating him like the 12 year old they signed rather than the 25 year old he is.

    Alot of F1 followers have underestimated him from day one.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Here here. For some reason James is seeing it differently!
      Comparing Button’s race to Hamilton’s – I know which I’d rather watch every time.
      McLaren got it wrong and not Hamilton and for me his outspoken words show us just how much winning means to him ad also shows he has real personality which is good for F1.

  175. Phil C says:

    This is what I find interesting – Hamilton caught the Ferrari at 2 seconds a lap, then couldn’t get close enough to pass it – despite having made some stunning moves earlier. Kinda shows how dry line overtaking is a problem still.

    McLaren got it wrong, Lewis didn’t make the call, but he is passionate. I’d worry if he got out the car and said, I tried hard but hey, 6th is good. He wants to win – that was evident in Monza last year. Crashing out of 3rd because he wasn’t prepared to settle.

    Other drivers allow their teams to make the call. After Jenson changed to slicks, how many drivers do you think said – if Button can do it so can I? none. If they hadn’t been told on the radio that he had pitted and was setting purple sectors, they’d probably have carried on for another few laps.

    And let’s not forget that Rob Smedley had to tell Massa how to drive through the last corner!

  176. Nick says:

    Interesting. I feel that a lot of hindsight has gone it to this analysis James. Yes, Button’s win was great and he did a great job.

    My understanding is that no journalist / commentator / team player at the time he pitted thought it was a good move. My belief at the time it happened was that he had been psychologically affected by being overtaken by Hamilton and was now taking a risky punt.

    In hindsight it looks more like a brilliant reading of the track condition than anything else…but that’s only in hindsight. We don’t know what was in his head when he did it. How calm was he?

    There were plenty of panicky sounding radio transmissions from Button in the closing half of 2009, so we know that he is not immune to pressure.

    Hamilton was frustrated, but I have seen that from a lot of drivers (even the great ones) through the time I have watched F1. F1 is very frustrating.

    It could be that this is a start of a pattern in the fortunes of the 2 drivers with Button gaining a psychological edge and Hamilton going off the rails. Certainly from a journalists point of view that is the attractive reading of the events. …OR it could be that the team made a mistake of strategy, Hamilton was frustrated by it as any driver would be if they lost 1-6 places, and the next race will be totally different.

    We won’t know what the story of the relationship between the 2 of them is for a bit of time. The first race in was crap and everyone assumed F1 would now be rubbish. Lets not make the mistake of thinking that Button is now going to beat Hamilton every race. What I saw was a great race caused by unexpected and changing conditions. Not normal in F1 but brilliant when it happens.

    1. James Allen says:

      Were you tuned in to all the journos’ thoughts at that time?

      1. Nick says:


        No. Good point. I feel rightly admonished.

        Mostly hyperbole. I admit it.

        Great race. I loved it.

      2. parafone says:

        It probably had something to do with Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson both saying that they thought it was the wrong idea at the time, James. No need to be so retaliative!

      3. James Allen says:

        So MB and AD are most commentators and journalists are they? And you accuse us of generalising!

      4. Marcello says:

        Last year Lewis asked his pit crew he wanted to come in to save his engine for the next race since he couldn’t extract any thing from the car, and what did the pit crew answer to Lewis? ‘Lewis drive the car, and let us worry about the strategy’ now what makes you think he wouldn’t have had the same answer on Sunday? All the talk about Jenson showing some leadership skills is born out of you try to make him look good, any true F1 fan will admit Lewis was the driver of the day on Sunday, by the way Jenson didn’t make the call on his own, he was asked If he wanted to take the gamble? And he chose to gamble, and the gamble paid some dividend fair play, but to put Lewis down like that just goes to show how short, and one sided you really are. And Lewis has every right to be upset; didn’t we hear Jenson crying to his pit crew how could it be possible for his car to be that bad? Where was the outcry? Yesterday Vettel was on record saying he will find it very hard to say no to Ferrari, I didn’t hear you saying any about that either. It seems to me Lewis will never do any thing right for you lot, when he makes decisions on his own, you all call him arrogant, when decides to trust his pit crew he lacks leadership skills, what is your problem with this kid?

      5. parafone says:

        No but James, they are the ‘most’ that is available to the public.

        Since, you know, we can’t hear every journalist’s thoughts.

        But of course since when did facts matter?

    2. Pat says:

      I think a lack of respect was shown by both MB / DC & AD – what right do they have to question a World Champion’s decision on when he should switch tyres seeing as none of them have achieved that high accolade themselves – perhaps they didn’t achieve it because they didn’t make decisions as descisive to arace vistory as that – I guarantee you if it was Schumacher or Senna in their hey-days none of them would have dared question the decision to switch to slicks – However I was glad too hear them all back track and give Button the praise he deserved once they were proven wrong. ( I think they are all great pundits though apart from this minor misdemeanour :) )

      1. Paul says:

        LOL what a wonderful take on that it upsets me the way some commentators just come to conclusion on stuff during the race.

  177. Mr G says:

    Great win by JB but what if…..
    If he did shunt instead if getting out of the spin,
    If another safety car was called in the last third of the GP,
    If it started raining again,
    JB would have been murdered by the media becaus of his gamble.

    Racing in conditions like Melbourne was a race to be won by something or someone special.

    JB gambled it and got the prize.

    Lewis was going to win if something had happened, he was the fatest in the last tird of the race.
    Ferrari kept him at bay just because they had more or less the same speed in the 2 straights otherwise both Prancing Horse drivers were at least 1 second slower than LH.

    Track posotion once again has paid off but don’t forget Alonso drive, he came back to the front with a methodical drive, nothing spectacular but a solid race after spinning, probably thanks to the traffic jam in the pits !!!!

    For a Ferrari fan like me, Melbourne just confirmed what I thought at the beginning of the season, McLaren will be the team to beat this year.

    Red Bulls are faster in qualy, maybe due to adjustable springs or pure raw pace but McLaren has the capability to manufacture parts and develop the car faster than anybody else so far, proved last year.

  178. Pally says:

    Thank you for your article.

    Not sure I agree with all the points though.

    Button is good, but the reality is Hamilton is a league above him. Ask any past champion and they all say the same. Off track doesn’t really matter. It’s only the performance on track that matters at the end of the day.

    What part of “measured perfection” was Jenson demonstrating when Hamilton overtook him?

    Why did Button destroy his tyres after 5 laps? Being ‘smooth’ is just a fictional myth.

    Isn’t the reality that after being overtaken by Hamilton on track Button got desperate and took a gamble? After all how silly would Button have looked at the end of the race being overtaken by the sister car fair and square? Had that happened Hamilton would have cemented the #1 status in the team. For now its not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

    Button took a gamble and it worked, but thats all it was. He was forced into it by being overtaken by his team mate – the worst crime in F1.

    As for Hamilton, he overtook a MP4-25, a RBR6, a Ferrari F10, and a Mercedes GP.
    Thats not a typo. Hamilton overtook every single top contructor car in 1 race.

    How often do you see that? The only that let him down was when he needed to rely on the team. The Strategy.

    Which brings me onto my final point. Button made the call and I think I read McLaren rejected it, but Button forced his opinion and said he’s coming in now. This is NOT the normal way that McLaren go racing.

    Hamilton in the past has tried to do the same. I’m sure someone can recall what race it was where Hamilton got told effectively to shut up and drive and they will look after the strategy.

    So I think you are wrong to make this as a negative point on Hamilton. This is further emphasised by Alonso – who also audibly wanted to pit but the team knocked him back, a 2x champions opinion.

    1. Pat says:

      @ Pally – “As for Hamilton, he overtook a MP4-25, a RBR6, a Ferrari F10, and a Mercedes GP.
      Thats not a typo. Hamilton overtook every single top contructor car in 1 race”….. so did Button ! he just did it by using his nozzle & in a cleverer way ! there’s more than one way to skin a cat :)

  179. Michael says:

    Could not agree more with this article

  180. Nicola says:

    Personally I disagree, Button was lucky, he was lucky with Brawn as well, Hamilton is the far superior driver and I would be extremely surprise if Button ever wins another championship. Hamilton has many more years in F1 and many more Championships to win. The future of F1 is Rosberg, Vettel and Hamilton


  181. Paige says:

    In terms of driving skill, there is no question who the better of the two is, and yesterday’s race put this on display for all the world to see: Hamilton. His speed in the wet was something at which to marvel, not to mention the way he made the slicks work on the semi-dry track. He was miles quicker than Button when he got past Massa and Rosberg, and the rate at which he caught Kubica was staggering.

    But Button is clearly the more mature of the two, and this worked in his favor yesterday. Hamilton can learn a lot from Button’s performance yesterday.

  182. jeroen says:

    I think the McLaren situation with Hamilton and Button will have a few more twists and turns this season.

    James, it would be great that you do a piece on Mercedes and how they are going to manage the situation of the most polular man in F1 getting the floor wiped with by a bunch of sub 25 year olds! (perhaps after Malysia if it still holds true)

    I mean the German icon in a Merc failing!! I can see the board of Mercedes having a little crisis meeting over that one some point next week.


  183. Pawel says:

    When Hamilton was called to change tyres while he got stucked behind Kubica, it was good decision to me. Especially if we remember that after he caught Ferraris his new tyres where destroyed again. But on the other hand it meant he could not look after the tyres like other guy did in front of him. Only in that case (if it’s true) we could call Hamilton inmature driver…altough he was the World Champion.

  184. Vinola says:

    JA- your assessment is a touch too concrete- you exaggerate the importance of JB’s tire decision (one that he admits he made out of a certain degree of desperation after being passed by his team mate) and denigrate LH’s acceptance of team orders on race tactics- a standard operating procedure AND you make sweeping statements on JB’s intelligence and maturity, ALL on the evidence of ONE race. I suspect you are on this account a JB fan and couldn’t wait to trumpet his skills on the flimsiest of evidence. Let’s see how the season turns out, I’d wager we’d see things for what they are- JB is a competent driver, and LH is in a different league entirely. I thought JB made a good decision that turned out great for him and he drove a competent race. LH on the other hand drove brilliantly and made more passes in that race than I’ve witnessed of ANY of the top drivers in recent memory.

    1. KBDAVIES says:

      I totally agree. James’s assesment here seems quite harsh to Hamilton, and uneccessarily flagellating about Button.
      he seems to ignore certain facts –

      1. There was no “leadership” from Button. His call was a total gamble.

      2. It was such a stab in the dark, that he(Button) thought he had made the wrong choice.

      3. The team making the tyre call is standard Operating Procedure. James knows this.

      4. To say Hamilton is still “dependent” on his engineers is disingenuous. He just cant say “NO” and choose to stay out when he has been told to come in.

      5. Yes, he did loose his composure. He is human for God’s sake. Show me a driver, or any human being for that matter would not be pissed off in the same circumstance. Ruebens did it last year, so did Button. Montoya has been heard to say much worse. What really is the big deal?
      The only difference is that we heard his “loss of composure” because the radio frequency was open. That does not make it bad.

      I am quite surprised at this obviously biased assessment from James. It is quite uncharacteristic.

      1. Vinola says:

        Well put. Let’s hope JA returns to his insightful, reasoned and balanced self as I’m a huge fan of his:)…BTW, this thread is rather cumbersome to follow, when will we get a forum type format JA?

  185. sumedh says:

    You are making a mountain out of a molehill James.

    It was one call which Jenson was _forced_ to take, as he had no temperature on his inters (ironically, his smooth style is to be blamed).

    I give full credit to Jenson for surviving those 3-4 laps in atrocious conditions on slicks, it was genius of him.

    But in no way does that inspired tyre call indicate ‘leading from the cockpit’.

    And with regards to Hamilton’s outburst on the radio, it was uncalled for, no doubt. But you are going too far when you say he lacks certain “life skills” and is coming out of his “father’s cucoon”.

    He needs to work on controlling his temper, but that is all there is to it. Don’t blow it up. There are no extra “lifeskills” and “facing the world as his own man” which is lacking in him.

  186. rpaco says:

    The team strategy for Lewis was correct, there is no way he can make his tyres last like Jensen.
    He would have been all over the place before the end of the race if he had stayed on the same set. If he changes his driving style to be more “Prost like” then he will benefit under the current rules.
    I hope someone has shown him the sim of his tyre wear from the race and he has apologised.

    1. monktonnik says:

      Agreed. I don’t believe that Lewis could have kept 1 set of dry tyres in a decent condition for the whole race.

      Jenson drove a beautiful race and rode his luck when it came along. It was a top class drive.

      I have said this before, but it is hard to find a race where Jenson should have won and didn’t. He has won several races he shouldn’t have on paper. That is the mark of a great driver.

      Also, I wonder how many other F1 drivers have won races with 3 teams? I think Alonso is the only guy on the grid at the moment.

  187. K. Chandra Shekhar says:

    Simply put: Buttons win purely luck, Lewis position hard earned.

    1. kowalsky says:

      we’ll see if he can do it again. Remember: the more i practice, the more lucky i become.

  188. James Steer says:

    Had Vettel carried on, I wonder if he would have pitted at the same time as Hamilton / Webber?

    More interestingly, I wonder if McLaren would have played some games – send out Button’s pit crew with fresh tyres to try and unsettle Red Bull into unneccessarily pitting Vettel, a tactic which could never have worked with refueling? I reckon we’ll see at least one attempt at a ‘phantom’ pit stop this season, given the perceived disadvantage of pitting later….

  189. Socratis says:

    I have not seen a race like that in a long time.
    I believe this race was showcase of how CHAMPIONS really do business.

    Alonso and Button truly shined through this race. For Alonso to fight through from 22 and also hang on to the onslaught of Hamilton really goes to show how masterful he must be to keep those tire’s still going. Reminds me of Senna and Mansel in Monaco.

    I am wondering if the Ferrari guys were secretly wishing Alonso stay in 4th. It does not seem to me that Massa would be able to fend of Hamilton or Webber. That would mean Massa could have finished 6th. Just a thought.

    James thank you for your unique ability of finding and explaining those extra details that make F1 such a special sport. Masterful.

    1. Pally says:

      If Webber didn’t smash Hamilton off the track, you do realise that Hamilton was guaranteed to pass Alonso after that corner?

      We could hear Alonso soiling his pants, his was voice trembling with fear. He was pressurised by Hamilton and locked up into the corner.

      Rosberg was so far back that he nearly overtook him.

      It’s a pity Webber ruined it because it have been an embarrassing moment for Alonso in the duel against his nemesis.

      See the bottom video on this page how Alonso was millimeters away from losing his position to Rosberg. For Hamilton it was a guaranteed pass.

      1. Gary says:

        Pally excellent observation.

        Hamiltons attempt to go round the outside and hold the best line for the next corner had forced Alonso into being defensive. He totally made a mess of that corner, running wide almost going off the track and loosing a lot of speed and momentum.

        Hamilton had started to turn in earlier, had the speed and drive and would have went flying past Alonso IMO.

  190. SeanG says:

    Forget all the psychological speculating about maturity and leadership. Let’s consider the drive.

    1. Button (and someone in the garage?) made a very good call on going in for tires.
    2. Hamilton’s crew (and possibly Hamilton) thought 2 stops would be okay.
    3. Hamilton drove a race that would make Senna, Schumacher and Alonso proud.
    4. Button won the race.

    1. Socratis says:

      To make Senna and Alonso proud, Hamilton should have passed Alonso.
      But alas, Hamilton couldnt, even on fresh tires.

      1. SeanG says:

        The only way that would have happened is if Hamilton pulled a Webber and took out Alonso.

        Let’s be real here. F1 still stinks in the sense that without rain, there is no action. (Alonso could not pass Massa. Hamilton could not pass Alonso.)

        Don’t believe me, look at the next dry race, provided one doesn’t fall asleep.

      2. KBDAVIES says:

        He would have gone past Alonso, he confirmed that after the race.
        Alonso braked late into the corner, running deep to deny Lewis the outside line. Lewis was coming back into the inside line and would have had better traction to take Alonso on the exit of the corner had Webber not shunted him off.

      3. Peter King says:

        If LH has overtaken a boatload of drivers before then, why wouldnt he overtake Alonso but for Mr Clumsy Webber

      4. Calum says:

        Well, he was in the process of doing exactly that when Webber intervened…..

      5. SeanG says:

        Yes he was “in process” but it wasn’t clear to me that it would have stuck. I may be entirely wrong though.

  191. Dave Roberts says:


    I was one of the many who voiced concerns that Jenson would be overwhelmed by Lewis and I am certainly glad that he has made this break through so early. By doing so I think we will see a close fight between the two of them.

    In the past I have not been able to understand why Hamilton is not particularly liked by his peers. But I must say that his reaction after the race perhaps shows his true colours as a petulant kid who sulks when things do not go his way. The way he conducts himself over the next few weeks will be very important for him because he could lose a lot of good will with the team and give Jenson a psychological advantage with another outburst like this weekend.

    1. Mary says:

      He says what everyone is thinking that the second stop was the wrong call and that makes him petulant? Right You seem to forget Jenson’s out burt to the brawn team last year when things weren’t going too right for him.

      Never mind as always with Lewis its one rule for him and a different rule for others.

      1. Dave Roberts says:

        As it happens it was the wrong decision but his outburst on the radio knowing it was likely to be transmitted to the world was childish.

        Don’t get me wrong I think Lewis is great and this is the first time I have ever uttered a word against him but I felt he was wrong and showed himself up.

        My concern is that for whatever reason he has parted with his dad as manager and he is in danger of losing focus. I can’t help but think buying a place in America to be nearer his girlfriend and her high profile lifestyle is a distraction.

        I will cheer as loud as anyone if Lewis wins next week. But another silly outburst will see me losing a bit of interest in him. I hope he remains as gracious in defeat as he does in victory.

  192. marsh says:

    Last year when a bad strategy robbed Barrichello of victory, didn’t he vent his fury on the team publicly? The same for Jenson Button’s “how can this car be so bad” outburst, which we all heard on the radio.

    Nothing was wrong with them. Isn’t it? Hamilton complains of bad team strategy and he is tagged immature, petulant and all that crap.

    Love him or hate him – without him the excitement in formula 1 now will be gone. He alone accounted for more than half of the thrill we all had yesterday. In formula 1 any victory is well deserved, and JB must be congratulated for that. He took a gamble – not inspired as you want us to believe, and it paid off for him. We all saw and he himself confirmed his inters had gone when he decided to come in for fresh set of tyres.

    Don’t worry about Lewis Hamilton. He will be fine, as he’s always done in the past. We still have a long way to go, so you guys shouldn’t draw conclusions now. Wait and see.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Well said mate! We need more Hamilton’s not less and as good as Button is he simply cannot take overtaking opportunities like Hamilton can and does.
      I fear James has a promote Button agenda here as he’s missing the fact that 1) Hamilton overtook him with ease and 2) his decision to change tyres was more likely as a result of knowing he couldn’t beat his team-mate so did he have to loose?
      Had it not worked he’d just have blamed his tyres, skating over the fact the his team-mate overtook him with ease (as well as many many others during the race).

  193. Pablo Rossi says:

    Sorry but I’m not with most of you it seems. For me the call of Mclaren to bring him in was a joke and to berate Lewis for
    a) believing in his teams ability to interpret the data in their possession, as well as
    b) his annoyance made public via radio communication
    just doesn’t hold water with me.

    On point b) I could readily agree that in hindsight he will regret it and that he probably should have just kept schtum, but I would argue that he was a highly focused, adrenaline fueled athlete, just as in any sport when a decision goes against you, that reacted at what he perceived was a wrong against him. But fair enough, not the most endearing quality of a sportsman.

    But to use point b) almost as a diversion away from point a) as to highlight his immaturity is wrong.

    He is a driver for Mclaren who have millions of pounds worth of technology, both in the paddock, and in their control center HQ strictly so that their drivers don’t have to think too much about strategy during the race. That’s almost Mclaren’s philosophy that they treat they’re drivers more like employee’s than stars. Employee’s that have to follow orders.

    Me personally, I prefer drivers making more of they’re own calls such as Button’s, but Lewis has been driving under the Mclaren philosophy he entire career whereas other driver’s such as Button have been ‘burned’ by other teams and strategies in the past and have learned to prefer to lose through your own mistakes rather than someone else’s. I would say strategy is a big reason why Alonso didn’t fit in with the Mclaren philosophy but that neither will Lewis from here on out.

    What’s interesting to me is that if Lewis hadn’t have listened to Mclaren, people would be writing about his inability to follow orders and his ego etc. rather than what we have now which is that he doesn’t possess such a great driver’s brain or instincts, and that he is reliant on others.

    What I will predict now is that Mclaren have lost Lewis’ trust in their strategic ability and people WILL now see him make more of his own decisions.

    PS. I never really went into the absolute joke of a decision because my theory is a ‘conspiracy’ one that Mclaren (M.Whitmarsh in particular) didn’t want the risk of Lewis refusing the one-two formation and fighting (Overtaking- just as he did earlier in the race) Button for the win. It would have understandably been hard to tell Lewis to accept second but…..anyway, that’s my ‘conspiracy’ with absolutely no evidence to support it.

    WHATTTT a race though!

  194. jim smith says:

    spot on james .. seems lewis made a school boy error. all he was thinking was get to the front, and didnt even consider the fact that other teams were maybe going to run one set of slicks , surely he knows by now how important tyre where is , he has even spoke about it ! his racecraft took a dive this wkd and i hope its a well earned lesson.

  195. Munzer says:

    Hamilton showed on two occasions over the weekend that he was unable to think and drive at the same time.

    1. KBDAVIES says:

      Well….can you do better than he did? – drive at over 200mph for 58laps whilst making strategic decisions at the same time? If not, then you need to cut him some slack.

      Im sure losing the WDC in your rookie year by 1pt, the winning it in your 2nd yr does take some thinking and driving at the same time.

      The teams usually decides when to pit drivers, because they have much more info than the drivers himself. Yesterday, Buttons had been given the option to make the call BEFORE the race. Do know the facts.

      1. Munzer says:

        Would Hamilton have not been given the same choice or can’t he……….

    2. Tom Johnson says:

      Arrant nonsense! This is the guy who disengaged and then reset a malfunctioning KERS whilst skimming the walls at Singapore last year and you have the audacity to suggest he lacks mental capacity to think and drive? Laughable!!!

      1. Munzer says:

        Didn’t the team tell him to do that?

  196. Marlon Doogan says:

    I like JB actually spoke to him at length last year at the istanbul grand prix and can honestly sat he was a gentlemen and so humble.

    However that race yesterday was an outstanding drive from LH. The pass on Massa and Webber (until webber tapped him the first time) has not been seen in F1 since the great Senna, it actually made me get up from my sofa and applaud (that is what F1 is about).

    If he was not forced (and I can tell you he was told by his team to pit and did as there said as there have all the figures, and you must trust your team) he would have finished at least 2nd. I doubt he would have passed JB but he would have got mighty close. He was one of the quickest cars on track and going at almost a second quicker that JB while still being stuck behind Kubica (and being in his dirty air) who was also catching JB.

    Whitmarsh made another mistake and robbed a 1-2 finish. Mclaren could lose one of there best drivers very soon if they do not sharpen up (I can see ferrari sniffing around already). The best drives yesterday were from Kubica, Alonso and Hamilton, Button won the race but those drivers performances will live on in my memory of the Australian GP not the winners.

  197. AlexD says:

    People are changing mind so quickly. I am not so convinced by Button being so fabulous and mastering the situation perfectly. It was a pure luck – Jenson had no choice but to pit and he performed the same way exactly as when he was driving superior Brawn car. He simply drove smoothly, no mistakes.

    I am far from being Hamilton’s fan, but I know for sure that he is going to destroy Button. In simple words….Button was lucky and Hamilton wasn’t.

    Title is going to be won by one of the 3 drivers: Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel.

    I am a Ferrari fan and I want Alonso to win…, but Vettel looks really dangerous…he just needs to get a reliable car.

    1. Paul says:

      When preparation meets opportunity people call it luck.

      1. AlexD says:

        Fair enough, but I am going to be really surprised if Button is going to find a way to beat Hamilton this season.

  198. Andy C says:


    great article. I think it just goes to show what a strong pairing mclaren have.

    The combo of LH and JB should be a strong one for the constructors championship.

    Lewis has been absolutely hammered in the press but I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

    Just glad to see two brits in a top team. Lets hope Di Resta joins them soon on the grid. He’s obviously rated highly by force india.

    The real question mark is not the temperament of the two drivers, as much as whether McLarens development pace can match that of last year. I hope so as if that is the case, this will turn out to be a great three way battle with Ferrari, Redbull and McLaren.

  199. Steve W says:

    It’s interesting that some people think Button was just lucky yesterday. I think that’s a little unfair, as there have been a few wet/dry races over the years where drivers who take a bit of gamble on the tyres and end up winning. Yes, there’s a bit of luck involved, there has to be when you are trying to predict weather conditions, and his early off after pitting probably fooled other teams into thinking it was still too wet, and therefore crucially didn’t pull their drivers in until two laps after Button, rather than one. However Button was quick enough to realise his intermediate tyres were starting to drop off in performance, and was brave enough to throw the dice and come in for slicks. It’s a great point that you make, James, about Lewis having the fear of failure, whilst Jenson doesn’t.

    It reminded me of Michael Schumacher’s first win at Spa 1992 when he gambled on changing to slicks during the race after noticing that his teammate’s wet tyres were wearing out whilst following him. Was he just plain lucky that day? He was lucky that he spun and dropped by his teammate in the first place, but he still was smart enough to notice the wear on his teammates tyres, and brave enough to make the early stop.

    I thought the Button vs Hamilton rivalry was built up too much pre-season, but seeing how Hamiton seemingly lost his cool yesterday, I am beginning to wonder whether tension will start to build within the team as the season progresses, especially if Button gets the upper hand in some of the races. The point about Button being the savvy and subtle one, with Hamilton having the warrior spirit, draws some similarities to the Prost vs Senna rivalry. Having said that, Senna wouldn’t have allowed his team to tell him when to stop, he would have at least questioned it, something that Hamilton didn’t yesterday, which is surprising given he said afterwards that his tyres had been in good shape prior to the 2nd stop. It certainly proved costly.

  200. Nick says:

    2 weeks ago people were asking Button whether or not his confidence was still intact having been beaten by Lewis in Bahrain.

    If the roles are reversed in the next couple of races, it will be a different story again.

    Sensationalism anyone?

  201. Tom (London) says:

    Statistically no driver in the last three years has scored more points or overtaken as many drivers as Lewis Hamilton.

    I think a lot of the criticism of Lewis Hamilton in these comments is just thinly veiled racism.

    1. C Pitter says:

      Hear hear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Al says:

      You might think that, but you have no evidence to do so. James gave a thoughful analysis of his position and where his criticism (and praise) of Hamilton comes from, maybe you would like to write and publish one about your racism theory?

      1. Andy Thomlinson says:

        Please get real! Posters are entitled to critise Lewis without being slurred with the racist tag.

        For me Lewis drove a hell of a race some of the overtakes were out of this world – his overtake on Rosberg and his double overtake on Massa and Webber to name but two.
        He still thought left himself open to slight critism with some aspects of the weekend.

        To call all those who have critized aspects of his race weekend is just ugly on your part!

  202. Mike says:

    Why is it that whatever Lewis says and does is scrutinised to the nth degree?

    Ok, he criticised his team, who in hindsight made a poor judgement call. He had every right to question that. I’m sure other drivers have questioned their team’s strategy on the radio.

    Likewise his antics in an AMG Mercedes on Friday night, all over the worlds press, being criticised. He is a 25 year old F1 world champion, I’m sure he is more than qualified to drive a Merc a little sideways. It’s the kind of ‘playboy’ behaviour that everyone reminisces about from the James Hunt days in the 1970′s. If was in the vicinity I would have no doubt cheered him on!

    In the period of corporate drones, that are today’s F1 drivers, including Lewis, and indeed many other major sport stars. It’s good to see some speak their mind every now and then, remember how entertaining Eddie Irvine was.

    Lewis has no doubt been molly coddled by Ron Dennis and his Dad, let him find his own way and be himself.

  203. Steve Rogers says:

    One thing that many people seem to forget is that Jenson has definitely stated that he wants to work harmoniously with Lewis, and I’m sure the team are wholeheartedly in agreement with that idea. I think they will continue to have a friendly relationship and it’s unlikely that they will become enemies.
    Yes, Alonso’s drive was a fine one and he fully deserves his current position as leader of the championship. I guess he was passed over by the Press to some extent because of the more dramatic events happening elsewhere.

  204. Pat says:

    I’m a fan of both JB and Lewis (maybe tending towards JB just from the “support the underdog perspective… odd thing to say about the reigning world champion, but still true). Just to put my underlying biases out front.

    My wonder is this: how would LH have made it all the way on one stop, given the fact that he was heard complaining on the radio that his SECOND set of slicks were worn out. This was pointed out by commentators on the US TV coverage and occurred before the rather infamous other radio call.

    I’d grant that his second set wore out fast given all of the fighting he had to do in the wake of those in front of him, but before his second pit he wasn’t getting past Kubica (and no one else did, obviously, for the remainder of the race).

    So I wonder if LH had eventually passed Kubica on that first set, where would he have been tire-wise? Obviously the question of the day, but I’ve not heard anyone mention the fact that he had radio’d in that his second set were “gone”.

    Similarly, I wonder if Vettel would have finished the race on his tires w/ a 1 stop strategy. Horner said so after the race, but I’m not sure we’ve seen enough racing this year to know how the RBs are on tires.

    1. Ayrton says:

      To your question, and as you pointed out too, difficult to determine if he could have made it with one set of tires as his race (and therefore tire use) would have been very different. Still, even if he had not been able to pass Kubica, he could have probably drop the pace, stay there and watch his tires, just as Massa and Alonso, which would have left him at least in third place. In the end McLaren made a decision that seemed to make sense, but I wonder if they should have just explained him his alternatives (change and hope everybody else would do the same vs. maintain track position and watch his tires) and let him have a say on it.

    2. Jake says:

      I agree Pat, Hamilton complaining about his 2nd set of tyres going off has been almost completely ignored.
      I really couldn’t have imagined him being competitive on the first set for the entire race.

      1. Pat says:

        Yes and what Hamilton couldn’t work out for himself was that it was the Aero or lack of it as he got behind Alonso that was screwing him not the tyres.

  205. theviewingfoot says:

    Hi James

    Best article written about the McLaren race, nice insights. I for one think both Hamiton and Webber lost their cool.
    Lewis is a young man fresh away from his father, he’ll make mistakes just like the rest of us have and do, for folks to be critical of that is silly. Maybe its the modern day but when someone is growing up like that in the full glare of a scurrilous newspaper industry things will be blown out of proportion. Glass houses and all that, patients, Lewis will get better the older and more experienced he becomes.
    Remember what folks were saying about Jenson some seasons ago, things change people.
    One race doesn’t set the tone for a whole season, it sets it for one race.



  206. Lexus says:

    I think McLaren cannot concentrate on 2 good drivers at the same time. Isn’t history repeating itself?

    It was easier with Heikki because he was losing and so they could focus on Lewis.

    Now when they have Jenson out front and Lewis surprising them with the drive of his life, they panic and make the wrong call.

    Maybe they were remembering China and not focusing on what was happening in this race.

    I would also like to find out who made the call as I can tell then what Lewis would like to tell them.

    Martin Whitmarsh needs to focus on his main job and not try to be Lewis Dad. He was saying before the race that Lewis is fragile. If that is a fragile Lewis then his competitors better make sure that he always, jet in late from LA, get pulled up by the cops and publicly humiliated, then qualify badly and then have the team give him a bad strategy and then get shunted by another driver, because if non of that happened what drive would he had given us. Jenson is mature and intelligent enough to know to enjoy this win because he aint going to come often. that is why it meant so much. even he was not expecting it.

  207. Matt says:

    To put it simply:

    Button had a bad start, inherited a few places, took a punt, and got lucky.

    Lewis had a good start, took loads of places, the team took a punt, and was unlucky.

    Mclaren hedged their bets by having two drivers on very different strategies.

    On a different note, it’s saddening to see such a bias in the media with Button. I have been to races on behalf of a large news orginisation, and have seen first hand, journos fawning over Button.
    It is now what’s known in the industry as “Alex Ferguson” syndrome.

  208. Malcom says:

    At the restart of the race, that diminished Hamilton didn’t seem to have a problem with passing his temmate Jenson Button.

    Criticizing the team by saying, ” whose call to bring me in was a terrible idea, ” wasn’t adviseable on a radio transmission. Hamilton’s mild rebuke, doesn’t come close to the verbal assault and abuse launched by Fernando Alonso at his team during the cool down lap, of the 2006 USGP at Indy, which never became an issue, but Lewis…… well that’s different.

    James would you have been behind Lewis at China in 2007, if he decided to pit before being instructed? I could just hear the bellowing from the rooftops if that had happened.

    Flipping a coin during variable weather conditions at a race, doesn’t necesarily mean leadership or racing intelligence, but just plain luck. This doesn’t takeaway the great drive by Jenson.

    1. Brace says:

      While you’re defending Hamilton, don’t forget his “polite greeting” to Ron at the end of Hungarian GP qualifications.
      When Ron, out of sheer happiness threw away his headphones. :)

  209. Pkinng007 says:

    I cant beleive that i’m having to say this for the second time in as many weeks but I disagree with a good chunk of James analysis. Button comming in on lap 6 was out of neceesity. There was nothing inspirational about it. Button said so himself after the race that it was a gamble and he thought it could all have ended in tears when he was sliding off. So where or what evidence supports thats it was button’s inteligence and Lewis naivette that won Button the race?

  210. KBDAVIES says:

    I have to say James, with the utmost respect, what you are saying is absolute tosh!
    Button took a gamble, he said that much himself. It wasnt a case of “knowing” he should pit on lap 6. His tyres were shot, and he felt he had nothing to lose by taking a risk; which incidentally paid off. It was so much of a gamble that he still was not sure it would pay off, even after taking it. He said this also!
    Moreover, the option of Button making the call when to pit was discussed with him and his race engineers before the race. It was not spontaneous, and did not come out of the blue, as is being alluded to here and on numerous forums.
    Racing drivers dont “usually” make tyre calls. The option is there, but the team makes it – And drivers dont usually disagree with a team call, as they trust the team to make the best decision.
    Much has been said about the fact that Lewis could have refused to come it, which is obviously pure nonsense.

    1. Paul says:

      With respect it would appear you are talking tosh.

      JB was getting no grip from the inters and the team suggested he stay out another three laps then go to slicks – but he was told it was his call. He said Im coming in now, hence why the pit crew were rushing to sort out for his immediate pit stop. In JB’s words ‘it was a no-brainer’ the track already had a dry line appearing. NO WHERE have I seen a comment confirming what you claim, whereas JB and his engineering discussing changing to slicks at lap x.

      Also every move of every race is a gamble

      LH, just as any other champion would if they thought necessary, could have told his team he was staying out the tyres were working, he didnt because his tyres were not working he had shot them through hard driving and this was quite evident from the radio communications that followed.

  211. KBDAVIES says:

    Also, there was nothing wrong with his radio conversation. The only difference is that the frequencies were open, which made it possible for the whole world to hear.

    Since they are not open all the time, there was no way of him knowing that they would be on that particular occasion – and I’m sure that was the last thing on his mind at that moment.
    As conversations go between drivers and the team when they feel they have been shafted by a bad strategy call, there was nothing unique about the conversation, and I’m sure the pit wall in general have heard much worse. Rubens outburst last year was much worse, but it should not be a big deal. These are passionate, driven sportsmen!

    Imagine if we had heard Flavio’s outbursts when Piquet crashed, and Patrick Head’s rant at Montoya also comes to mind. Just shows you not only the drivers get angry. They are all human beings.

  212. The Ram says:

    James I have to disagree with you on so many points.

    1. Lewis Hamilton’s tyres were far from finished. Just ask Kubica. In many intances He has shown to be just as good at maintaining his tyres.

    2. Jenson was Lucky on so many levels. Nobody knew the tyres would last so long. Nobody knew Vettel’s brakes would fail.

    3. Shhitmarsh (pardon the language) made the wrong decision. It’s obvious in a situation where you are sandwiched by 3 drivers, in three fast cars fighting for the podium, you stay out until the last moment. Especially when Jenson was just 6 seconds ahead.

    4. Track position is king in a world of difficult passes and when pitsop is half a minute.

  213. Munzer says:

    Hamilton is a great driver and drove a great race, but he does make things difficult for himself IMO.

    Chances are that Malaysia will be another wet/dry or dry/wet race (although the start has been brought forward an hour this season, so maybe it won’t get stopped this time around) and maybe it will be necessary for drivers to ‘think’ again.

    Also, in a race where the outright fastest cars and drivers are likely to win i.e. no rain, then unfortunately neither Button nor Hamilton will get a look in, since both Rosberg and Webber both put in faster race laps than either McLaren driver. It was interesting to note that when Hamilton was chasing the Ferrari’s and Rosbergs Mercedes, that Webber was right there on his gearbox the whole time.

  214. John says:

    To all you Lewis fanboys crowing that LH overtook JB, Jenson actually passed Lewis aswell. Lewis got past Jenson when he got tangled with Alonso, yet by the time they got to Turn 3 Jenson had got back past (missed by the cameras).

    IMO Jenson had a lot more left in the tank, demonstrated by the fact that when Lewis was closing on Kubica he starting stretching the cars legs a little bit, opening the gap. He had all bases covered for me. And if Lewis had got past Kubica, Jenson would of responded.

    Jenson may of had a little luck on his side, but you make your own luck. When he went off at Turn 3 on slicks it would of been understandable if he was a little cautious for the rest of the lap – he wasn’t, which led to him leap frogging cars.

    His pace at the end – consistent low 1:29′s on 45 lap old tyres was fantastic. And people who say he wouldn’t have won if Vettel didn’t have a problem, Ted Kravitz said during the race that Vettel had complained of a vibration at the rear. The RB mechanics had just went into the pit lane with fresh tyres, Vettel was going to stop anyway, then he had the brake problem and that was that.

    A lot of people still don’t believe Jenson is a threat in the title race, i for one hope they keep that frame of mind, it will make it a whole lot sweeter in a few months.

    And one final thing, i like Lewis but some of his fans are the most obnoxious in the sport bar none (see numerous posts above). They do nothing but put other drivers down and try to belittle their talents and achievments. Lewis is like marmite, you either love him or hate him. I like him but like i said, some of his fans are classless morons.

    Great blog James, keep it up.

    Predics for Sepang:

    Quali: 1. Lewis 2. Vettel 3. Button

    Race: 1. Lewis 2. Jenson 3. Alonso

    1. Ahlapski says:

      JB did a much better job than LH in this race, no doubt about it. But one race does not make a championship. As usual LH got distract and did not perform. He is always getting himself into trouble like this. Still a lot of growing to do. He has to be more professional.

      If on the other hand, if JB is behind LH, could JB get pass LH ?? I very much doubt that with the aerodynamics of the car this season. And also, did you know that when you are in front with all those clean air, it is easier to manage the tyres.

      One more point, why is a 7 times world Champion stuck behind a very much novice of F1 (Jaime Alguersuari) for much of the time. Does that suggests that Alguersuari is better than Schumacher. I doubt not.

      Enough said.

      1. Penfold says:


        You are, to put it bluntly, incorrect. The Button/Alonso incident pushed Lewis on to the grass and as a result he was slowed down considerably and unable to get past Button. If you watch the race again you will see it clear as day.



  215. Andrew C. says:


    two weekends in a row, where I get to say “do you people even watch the race?”

    What is it with this Hamilton obsession?

    and i quote randomly;

    “Flipping a coin during variable weather conditions at a race, doesn’t necessarily mean leadership or racing intelligence, but just plain luck.”

    - nah… they call it instinct and experience

    meanwhile, Webber and Hamilton were playing catch up.

    Did you all see the start Massa got off the line. That is why there was no subsequent passing by the Ferrari’s. First to the corner.

    Frankly, two races in and it really does seem that the professionals are showing up at the race’s end. Cars intact, points collected, next race please…

    alonso – pointed backwards at corner 1
    massa – 5 to 2 in first 300metres
    button – understood the opportunity
    kubica – panther like speed
    barichello – williams have a car for the season

    in a race where the fastest laps set mattered ZERO.


    I really liked the balanced approach by which both Button and Alonso managed their race craft in a very challenging, ‘climatic’ weekend.

    Where did Renault get their car from? It will be 3rd in constructors at this rate.

    Andrew C.

    1. Thalasa says:

      Andrew, what did you take before writing that? Or is my poor English…
      I couln’t understand anything you said!

  216. F1Fan says:

    Allen makes a valid point as to Hamilton’s leadership and acknowledges the simple fact that Button has more years in the sport which contributes to his added experience over Hamilton in decision making.

    However, I think Allen’s analysis also misses a critical difference between Button’s race and Hamilton’s race that contributed to the end results. Button made a gutsy call to go to slicks when everyone else was still on inters. As such he was able to lap the track significantly faster than everyone else. Eventually he made his way to the front when the others pitted for slicks. But he did not have to drive the car on the ragged edge to gain that position.

    Hamilton on the other hand, being further back in the field, had to drive like a bat out of hell to make his way to the front. To compare how Button and Hamilton each handled their tires is meaningless because each was driving under vastly different circumstances. Button neither had to chase anyone down nor did he have anyone chasing after him, factors that would have changed his driving style considerably and also the wear on his tires.

    Given Hamilton’s reputation for being hard on tires (perhaps not quite deserved) I think it actually speaks well for him that he was able to drive as he did yesterday and still have a decent set of tires on the car.

  217. Liam says:

    In The FIA TECHNICAL DELEGATE’S REPORT, Jason Button’s RHS front tyre was replaced before the race. Considering that they need to run the same tires as qualifying, shouldn’t this been a penalty?

    1. Paul says:

      Well I dont about Jason Button but all the cars started on Inters for the race due to weather so academic as turned out

    2. Munzer says:

      May have been punctured or damaged by debris. In any event the FIA must look at the safety aspect of a driver known to be using an already damaged tyre at the start of a race.

  218. ronik says:

    Hamilton is an amazing talent but I think his early success may be getting to him. His clashes with Alonso, the lie-gate scandal, recent break-up with Nicole, his dad splitting ways, his almost over-aggressive driving style, his outburst on the radio tell are all signs that he is gradually losing it. Something tells me he is going to be less popular with his mechanics and hence less successful.

  219. Ibrahim M says:

    Nice piece James,
    Although I don’t agree with every point in it, but It surely makes you reflect more over what happened when you read other peoples point of view.
    The only comment I would add is that the only thing I thought was immature from Hamilton’s point of view was hitting back on the team. Had his tyres lasted enough for him to go past the Ferraris and the Renault, he would have not reacted like that after the race. Same thing with Button. Had the track stayed more wet for a couple more races, the media and fans would have come down on him as a ton of bricks.
    All I am saying is that Hamilton should not blame the team for the call because, like Martin Whitmarsh said, at the time it looked like the smart idea. When I was watching, even I thought that since Shumacher and Mark were going so quick after going on new rubber.


  220. guy says:

    James given the comments here – do you still stand by your reading of the situation? [Ps - I'm not bothered either way!]

      1. Pkinng007 says:

        James, I beg to differ with your analysis. because the critical question is whether or not it was experience that drove Button’s pit call or necessity.

        Once you can answer that question bearing in mind the (1) evidences and (2) what Button said to the media after the race, then you would see the rational behind so many people thinking you are wrong.

  221. Richard Craig says:

    Does anyone foresee the scenario where (if Lewis continues to draw bad publicity; liegate, hoon driving, etc.) and questions/criticises the team in public) McLaren will get shot of him, like Ferguson did with Beckham when he started to become bigger than the club?

    Jenson is more mature, and to me seems a better representative for the sponsors. I am not saying Lewis is not a fantastic driver and a coup for major blue chip sponsors, but Macca may get tired of all the baggage and decide it is not worth it?

    1. Henri says:

      uhm….are you watching formula 1 for the sponsors or for the racing?

      In that case Luca Badoer should be a sponsor’s favourite, because he’s so slow, everybody would be able to read the sponsor’s name better!!

      1. Richard Craig says:

        Bloomin hell, calm down! I was asking a legitimate question, for goodness’ sake! Did not appreciate the patronising tone in your response Henri, don’t be so personal! Of course I watch for the racing, but the recent Tiger Woods scenario highlighted that sponsors get nervous when their representatives become unpredictable or erratic. All I was genuinely asking if “diva” behaviour, plus cumulative bad publicity away from the track (if he was not careful) could result in Macca pushing Jenson as their no.1? For one, I don’t see Lewis being at McLaren beyond his existing contract, perhaps even before then if he doesn’t win the title this year. I honestly could see him at Red Bull (in place of Webber, since Kimi seems genuine about his F1 career being over).

  222. Owen Hayes says:

    What’s this James, you being critical of Hamilton?! back in the ITV days you seemed like his biggest cheerleader!

    I totally agree with your post though, it is spot on. Button not only proved today that he is a great driver, but also hopefully dispelled some of the bad things people have been saying about him winning that title of his, which he truly deserved in my opinion.

    1. Alex says:

      Button’s only wins so far have been down to a grossly superior car; Brawn 2009, or strategy and other people falling off; Hungary 2006, Melbourne 2010. The above is indisputable as it is fact.
      He’s a decent driver but does he really bring as much to the sport as his team mate? Absolutely not. Let’s hope Mclaren box this ride height adjuster and we can have Lewis jousting it out with Ferraris down the stretch, just like 07 and 08.

  223. Crom says:

    I think you have to take your hat off to Button, he made a call that only the driver can (being on the track in the thick of it) and it was the call of a world champion. It was no fluke. I’ve never been a fan and I thought he would find it tough against Hamilton, but it seems to have turned out the exact opposite.

    Gotta respect that, I was seriously impressed with his composure and ability to think clearly while driving (the qualities of Schumacher and Alonso).

  224. Richard Hoyland says:

    I disagree with a lot of that and especially some of the unneccessary stick Lewis is getting.

    For starters, Button’s tyres weren’t working after only a few laps and he was going backwards at one point. Now to me, that’s not so much of ‘instinctive tactical brilliance’ but more of a gamble in a nothing to lose situation. Compared to Hamilton, who had already made up several positions including overtaking Button, staying on his inters which were working just fine.

    I also can’t understand why Lewis is getting so much stick for his radio transmission. I agree, it may have been unnecessary at the time but can anyone try to imagine how frustrated he might have been having driven the way he had? Have we all not overeacted from time to time in the heat of the moment? He is a passionate racing driver who gives 110% and wants to win at all costs (remember in Monza last year when he crashed on the last lap!). I just wish there were more drivers in F1 like him rather than Button who overtakes no-one and still wins but hey, he’s sooo smooth.

    Oh and James, have you forgot about when Jenson blasted his team on the radio last year when all of a sudden he found himself in a less competitive car than he’d been used to?

    1. Dave P says:

      Richard – well said. This is excatly how I read the situation as well.

      1. PKing says:

        i think you’ve said it brilliantly. the team gave button two options bc of his driving backwards. stay out and continue driving backwards or come in for new rubber and take a gamble. how a gamble now suddenly constitute button’s technical brilliance is beyond me and alot of f1 watchers.

  225. PaulL says:

    James, might be too late for a response on this thread, but did McLaren seem to struggle with tyre wear on inters in Australia?

    Did you have any other thoughts on relative car performances?

  226. Paul Mc says:

    Its interesting that people seem to be lauding Button for his maturity in comparison to Lewis. Lets not forget that Jenson was openly critical of Brawn at various stages during last season and also whined about how poor the car was, leading the F1 media questioning his bottle and his mentality to get the job done. Obviously he clinched the title but i do not believe that Jenson is a polar opposite to Lewis.

    Its easy to say it was a mature drive when your winning. Lewis had to scrap from the back to get where he finished and he was obviously disappointed with the strategy. In the same circumstances Jenson would have reacted the same, i believe.

    Ive never been Lewis’ biggest fan but i think the treatment of him in the media is ridiculous. The laud him when he wins and ridicule him when he falls short. He drove the race of a champion on Sunday and in my view is way ahead of Button. He needs to get out of McLaren and into a team like Ferrari.

  227. Munzer says:

    I think that it’s great that so many truly believed that Button would get, in the words of someone who should know better, “Murdered” by Hamilton.

    Hamilton is fast, but you always get the impression that’s all that he is. He doesn’t seem to be able to look ahead like a chess or pool player might do. He wore his second set of tyres out by charging up to the back of Alonso’s Ferrari with loads of laps left in the race when he got there. Maybe if he’d taken a while to think about his tyres he would have got passed the Ferrari’s with ease.

    In his previous years with McLaren, all he had to do was do what he was told on the radio. He didn’t have to decide anything for himself, which on at least one occasion probably lost him a championship.

    As Button said in his interviews, only the driver can really tell if his tyres are good or bad and that will be the major factor in this seasons races.

  228. Tim says:

    Are we perhaps reading a little too much into everything here?

    With regards to strategy, its clear this was a split strategy: once Jenson made the call to come in early, and then inherited the lead, the team had to cover all the bases, and that meant putting Lewis in position to manage a late-race safety car, and cover the apparent tyre wear he was experiencing.

    Lewis does need to grow up a bit – public comments aren’t helpful, and should be made behind closed doors. He was quite clearly naffed off at being beaten fair and square by his teammate.

    Its going to be very interesting to watch this little battle…

  229. Andy W says:

    Hi James
    Good piece, but i think mclaren deserve a lot more praise than lewis was giving them, they certainly covered all angles bringing lewis in. Think about it, if jenson’s and ferraris tyres wouldn’t have lasted the full race lewis wins, if the tyres lasted, jenson wins, win for mclaren either way. Pity lewis didnt see the team role he was playing, and could (and will on other days)so easily have profitted from. Pity ferrari didn’t try it out with alonso so he could chase down massa.

  230. Ben says:

    Hello James,

    I know this article is regarding the two Mclaren drivers but have you heard anything about the rumours concerning the two Ferrari drivers? There has been talk around that they’re refusing to share set-up information with one another. Heard anything at your end?


  231. Brian says:

    There are times when Lewis and his Father decided to quit Formula 1 but non bad people in F1 and the support around him is what Lewis thought of continuing. The media treats Lewis as an outsider, there is more to it than him being in F1, he has been mocked by the fans and the media. There are things that will never change in F1 or people in it.

    In my view Lewis has never felt at home in F1m his father has left and If I were Lewis i would certainly quit F1 and let some of anti Lewis fans take over his seat at McLaren and run their hardline invasive media.

    He has been called all sorts of things, even privately by those who dislike him.

    From what Lewis did, he drove his heart out and is not afraid to attack, more like Senna, once he arrives he doesnt waste time but pass you.

    F1 has done little to control the invasive behavior of people in F1 and the media.

    In the end you have to wonder if people like Tiger Woods deserved to be destroyed by a pack of media wolves when they hide all the dirt about people they are protecting in the media, from my experience with the media, i know the media can be a really dark place and stuff you are told to write and worse of all lies.

  232. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    I think that the article is a unfair on Hamilton and he somewhat being kicked while he is down.

    If someone else on the grid had made those team radio comments then they would have been hailed as a “racer” or being “demanding of his team”.

    McLaren misread the actions of others and bet on Ferrari making another stop…pure and simple. The rest of this seems like over analysis.

  233. Andy C says:

    is this the highest number of comments ever on one article ?

    I am thoroughly enjoying the debate, although trying to scroll down all of the my dad could beat up your dad type comments about lewis and jenson is going to give me RSI ;-)

    I can’t wait to see this team battle develop over the coming races.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well we had 1500 once but there was a competition attached. I reckon it’s a record for a debate! Bit out of control really..

      1. Andy C says:

        I think you may well see that exceeded by morning :-)
        .My particular favourite comment was that you James, should do more research before writing such an article.

        You know such as being at the race, speaking to engineers and drivers etc. Rather than watching on the television.

        on this basis we should have the BBC red button with an overtake now button or pit now button. As clearly the greatest strategic minds are on your forum ;-)

      2. Pawel says:

        Huge number of commentaries proves there is plenty of love and hate.

  234. jim smith says:

    I know it seems as if people are pulling lewis down , but he needs to learn some more racecraft this season , as its going to be a championship thats going to be won by a thinker , no so much as a flyer. its going to be all about rubber and making it last . going flat out lap after lap as lewis does aint going to do him any favours. its time he started thinking outside the box , rather than being told by the team all the time .he is a fantastic driver with raw pace , if he can think ahead and also push this season , then it will make him a better driver for the future, and he will win many championships .these guys do a fantastic job , and its all to easy for the fans and press to pull them down . iam a big fan of lewis just want whats best for the guy, and him to bring the best out of himself and the team.

  235. Matt says:

    @225. Couldn’t agree more.

  236. Charlie says:

    Love the fact that Kimi’s left the sport and James Allen’s message boards are still full of his name.


  237. Ebi Bozimo says:

    It’s simple:

    Jenson: Lucky Call and Skill leading to a win;
    Lewis: Phenomenal driving spoiled by Bad TEAM Strategy. There’s nothing wrong with calling spoiled milk spoiled. The next thing to do is throw it out and replace the container.

    There’s nothing wrong with gushing over Jenson; bloggers and commentators just shouldn’t dream up needless contrasts and critiques for effect.

    Mr. Allen, up till now, you’ve maintained a great reputation in the F1 commentary world. Please don’t lose your touch.

    NONE of us reading and writing here know what it’s like to be in the heat of a racing battle, upwards of 300km/h at times, wheel to wheel with other sublime drivers…. but we all know WHY we bother to tune in: Drives from drivers like Lewis.

    May the season be spectacular!

  238. Malcom says:

    If Button is supposed to be such a superior manager of his tires….How did he get into trouble with his intermediates after only 6 laps?

    1. Ash says:

      And how many of those laps were behind a safety car, too…..

      One desperate call after being overtaken by his team-mate, knowing that the leading driver pits first, knowing that pitting first in the new F1 is the preferred tactic to get you ahead of another car. All Button did was short circuit the decision making process at McLaren, catching the pit crew unprepared, then rode the breaks until the end because he then had the track position that Lewis had taken from him within a lap or so of the safety car disappearing.

      Not taking anything from jenson here, he drove a great race, but lauding his tactical brilliance is going too far. He read the track, knew it was a lap too soon given the wetness of sector one, but gambled anyway and ended up in a gravel trap. There was a large dose of luck in jenson’s victory on Sunday.

      There is some truth in James’ assertion that Hamilton needs to make his own choices. McLaren screwed him over in both China and Brazil 2007 with their knowledge in FP2 of gearbox issues and their insane three stop strategy. They screwed him again in Germany by making him win the race twice, and again in Brazil by putting a low downforce setup with rain predicted for Sunday, they shouted at him down the radio at Silverstone 2009 to let them make the strategy calls when had they pitted when Hamilton wanted he’d have cleared all the cars stuck behind the Heidfeld train, they screwed his win up at Valencia in 2009 with their pit lane dithering and still he trusts them to make the right call.

      Lewis needs to draw a line under McLaren and move to Mercedes when MS has a gutsfull of being repeatedly raceraped by Rosberg. A year or two under Brawn’s wing will be the making of the kid.

      1. PKing says:

        Amen to that! how anyone could not read the situation the way youve read it, especially the first part of your post beggards beleive! Technical Brilliance? just bc he took one of the two options put on the table for him? thats going too far i think.

  239. Respect says:

    It’s quite clear that James Allen, and many of his fellow UK F1 insiders have been licking their chops at the opportunity to pen an article that lambasts Hamilton (not for his driving i might add), while placing Button on a pedastol.

    JA even went as far to imply that Button…Jenson Button… is the “Complete Package”, or the driver that Hamilton should emulate…give me a break.

    1. James Allen says:

      Tell me where in the article is says that Button is the complete package.. or that he is the driver Hamilton should emulate???

      People have got a bit hysterical in their responses to this article and I’m a bit disappointed that many readers seem able only to view something via their own bias or by suspecting some bias on my part. This is becoming like politics where you cannot have an intelligent debate without partisanship.

      If you read it carefully, I’m not criticising Hamilton, not suggesting that Button is a better driver – he clearly isn’t. I’m merely pointing out that Button demonstrated one quality (leadership from the cockpit) that Hamilton still lacks. End of.

      1. Miss says:

        Isn’t politics one of the great things about F1? I think most other racing series are boring because they lack it.

      2. Hussein Lokhandwala says:

        I’m assuming that it is the price you pay for the ever growing popularity of your site. I, for one, enjoyed reading the comments a lot more when they came from fans of the sport rather then one particular driver over another. 500+ comments, the majority of which do nothing to further the debate, is a bit of a shame on a board that, more often than not, contains commentary of a high standard. Just my ‘two cents’.

      3. Penfold says:

        A lot of the comments have challenged the article in a very rational and measured way, to dismiss all dissenters as partisan crazies is ridiculous. I’ve read most of the posts on here and a few things have come through consistently; firstly, a lot of people don’t believe Jenson won due to his ‘tactical brilliance’ and they have supported this theory with sound evidence. And secondly a lot of people think the article was unduly harsh on Hamilton given that he drove a brilliant race and simply followed team orders. Many posters seem to think this was understandable given that the team were best informed to make that call. I think it’s been a decent debate, and if you read the article again i think it’s easy to see why it’s sparked such a heated response.

      4. Andy C says:

        Well said Hussein.

      5. Arcturis says:

        Great blog James – as always an interesting slant and great debating points. People are entitled to have their views but please spare us the “omg-fanboi” level of comment that a couple here are bordering on.

        Hopefully we can keep the “one eyed ranters” out and have people who are passionate but fair contribute – which to me is exactly how you and your posts come across. Keep the chin up and keep writing. This is the best F1 site out there imo.

      6. Steve says:

        I’d have to agree – Some of the comments on here border on libel, suggesting conspiracies and all sorts.

        However, I’d say that this is the most balanced article I’ve seen on the subject, not least from your own good self. I’ll admit that I was critical when you were a commentator for ITV, for a seeming obsession with Hamilton (ALthough that might have been due to ITV editorial decisions), but this is balanced and perfectly fair.

  240. DK says:

    Stop making out that Button is a genius. When interviewed he said it was his only choice as the inters were shot and not working so he didnt want to put another set on. He took a gamble and it payed off, it could have easily gone the other way and he would have been slated. The facts are Button drove a good race and im glad he got a win so early with Mclaren, however Lewis was awesome and showed how fast he is. Lewis didnt have to switch like Button so early as his tyres were working just fine. Button only changed tyres cause he felt he had no choice not because he made some amazing judgement. everyone get off the band waggon. Lewis was in another league, the overtake on Nico was epic, Lewis could have won that race had he stayed out and got past Kubica but we will never know. Lets see if Buttons amazing sence of timing works next time, i doubt it. He drove a great race and deserved the win dont get me wrong, im just fed up with all this “button is so more inteligent than Lewis, he isnt.

  241. jim smith says:

    its clear to see that james allen, was only pointing out that lewis ,still has room for improvment as only been in f1 three years, and with more hard work in different areas, can be an even better world champion, than he was before.. Give james a break , if you dont like the comments then dont come on this site.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sums it up nicely, thanks

      1. KBDAVIES says:

        Um..No it doesn’t James.
        I love your site, and i like you; so much so that i wrote a letter to the BBC telling them to offer you the same role when the coverage move to the BBC, and not to that dull artificially excitable chap who now has it.(well, we now how that’s now turned out!)

        But the poster saying we should not come to your site unless we agree with your opinion is ridiculous – and i’m you know that; otherwise why would there be a “comments” section.

        The problem with this particular article is its extreme views regarding the two drivers.
        In this article, you have been particularly gushing about Buttons abilities, and particularly critical about Lewis’s shortcomings. Unfortunately, this race was not a barometer to test either of those.

        Yes, there seems to be a lot of the fanboys about, and most do nothing to enhance the debate. But by far, most posters here have been rational, and have articulated their opinions quite clearly, and why they disagree with yours. Most people seem to agree on the following –

        Jenson -
        1.Jenson drove a great race
        2. His inters were shot, so he made a call with nothing to lose.
        3. He was give the option to make the call. It was not “his” idea
        4. As it turned out, it was the right call.
        5. This was certainly no “leadership”

        Lewis -
        1.Lewis drove an amazing race
        2.He has cemented his reputation now as one of the best overtakers in the business.
        3. He has proven again that he always makes the best out of bad situations
        4.His never say die attitude gives us the F1 racing we fans all want and crave.
        5. He followed a team order, and is being wrongly criticised for it (Remember, he wasn’t given the option to make the call, which meant business as usual = following team orders)
        6. Lewis could have driven Jenson’s race, but it is highly unlikely that Jenson could have driven Lewis’s race.
        7. He may have some “life skills” to learn, but certainly none that would have changed the outcome of the race in Australia

        Jenson drove a great race, made a call, got lucky it was right, capitalised on it, and won – End Of.
        Lewis drove an amazing race, got screwed by his team on strategy, got pi**ed off about it, told them, we heard – End Of.

      2. PKing says:

        bit of a long article but n almost 100% correct reading of the situation. great stuff.

      3. F1 Kitteh says:

        Came back for another read of the article after I saw a tweet that many people got excited over this. I still don’t really understand what the kerfuffle is about. I totally agree with Jim here that it pays to learn from lessons and criticism positively to move ahead. Actions speak louder than words and it seems that one of the Mclaren guys have a better understanding of this fact. I am curious as to what the comments would be like if the roles and results were swapped the other way last weekend….

      4. Jason says:

        A lot of us didn’t agree with you, this time around James, but I also think that most of the people who write on here are very thankful for the existence of this site! It’s by far and away the best F1 site out there and I hope, like others, that you continue to keep up the great work!

      5. Ash says:

        Speak for yourself.

        I’d rather see this site disappear if it meant we get JA back in the box with Brundle instead of Legard.

        Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? Case in point right here.

        love Brundle’s input, but I’d rather miss out on him altogether and listen to the R5 crew than have to put up with Legard’s commentary. Gave him the benfit of the doubt first year, but there’s been no change.

        Time to put a proper professional back in the box!

  242. Schumacher was the master of upping the pace and putting in a handful of stonking laps when asked to in the race when he needed to pass someone during pit stops and won many races and Championships doing just that.

    Button had the ability to do the same upping of the pace mid race last year and banging in some super hot laps that led Barrichello on more than one occasion to wonder how Button had jumped him.

    Hamilton needs to learn these kind of tactics push when necessary, whilst having the foresight to pace himself a little at other times – he didn’t need to be 2 seconds a lap quicker than Alonso when he was chasing – him he could have knocked a second per lap off that pace and still arrived behind Alonso with laps left to pass him but with more life left in his tyres to execute a pass.

  243. RV says:

    This blog is usually very balanced and one of the most insightful commentaries available on the web-sphere… but these opening remarks:

    “Jenson Button won the race with a performance of measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance, while Lewis Hamilton lit up Albert Park with his audacious passing, but ended up looking diminished in comparison with Button, less in control of his destiny, less mature.”

    is somewhat… well… very biased.

    1) it was not “tactical brilliance” but a “got nothing to lose now that I am going backwards” call, and a good one to realize when to make such a call… but not “tactical brilliance”… and “measured perfection?”.. my oh my.. leaves one speechless to describe a good call and an unchallenged drive (because of Kubica) as “perfection”

    2) Hamilton was not diminished by his radio transmission, many top notch drivers express their frustration on the radio… we don’t know what Alonso was saying about Masa do we? And Button last year? Such radio transmissions happen, and for a top notch driver to not be frustrated at a bad strategy call that he had *no* input on, well, that would diminish him as a top driver.

    The Mac engineers who made the call on the assumption that the top cars would as well, was poor judgement, especially if, as it seems, they did not ask Hamilton on the status of his tires.

    Anyway, just wanted to say no one is perfect and even top notch commentators once in a while write some obviously biased articles… but it’s a rare exception on this blog :-)


    1. KBDAVIES says:

      Wery well said!

  244. Matt says:

    James, to describe your valued contributors as “hysterical” is a tad insulting. You knew what the response would be to an article like this. What did you expect?

  245. jim smith says:

    This article is not biased at all . if people cart see the article for what it is , then they are really missing the point. There are very few f1 drivers that have the full package , senna, prost had the gift and the list could go on . its clear to see now buttons world champion, its opened his eyes and mind to new heights , and with ten years of hard work its paying off. all he needed was the right car and team to suit him. lewis also has this gift as senna and prost had , but he is not using it to his full potential yet, if he can release it then wow ,it will be like watching senna all over again.

  246. Steve Mc says:

    I think we’re all done now. Shall we move on?

      1. Kent Paul says:

        I hope these comments don’t put you off writing other articles

  247. C. Rodriguez says:

    I just want to write some few words. James is not biased. He has written the truth! The problem is that there are tons of Button “haters” and, by the way…I think that he is the most underestimated driver in the paddock….(I have never seen so many people speaking so bad about him!). I expected such a reaction from James’ article.

    Yes! it was tactical brilliance! His inters were worn because the track was not wet enough and these tires are not designed for dry racing….he was racing in a dry line with inters…so he took the decision and changed to slicks (proactively)….the result was evident and believe me, it is not so easy to drive at that pace just in that narrow dry line! You should be a master to do that for so many laps without touching the wet surface.

    Hamilton is great…he is a warrior and he knows how to overtake and he did it. Can Button do the same? He demonstrated this last year in Brazil…yes he can do it but a real warrior is also a strategist. There are different warriors, the ones that just use their weapons to kill brutely and the ones that use strategy to out-mind the opponent. These ones are the ones who defeat the raw fighters.

    Time will tell…the truth is that Hammy will NOT destroy Button, and the same goes for Button…This will be a close and an interesting fight!

    Thank you James for your always great articles!

    1. kbdavies says:

      So what exactly are you saying?, as im struggling to understand which side of the fence you are on. Is Hamilton a warrior, but not a strategist? Is Button a “true “warrior (read: Warrior + Strategist)?
      It is telling that the only example you have given of Button being an overtaker is 1 race in his 10yr tenure of F1, and there is no example of his strategic nuance barr Australia 2010 – Again 1 example in 10yrs!

      Hamilton literally overtakes almost every race, and he has shown he can strategise aw well – and this is only the beginning of his 4th yr. He has proven he can win in a dog of a car. If that does not require some sort of tactical thinking, then i dont know what else is.

      The problem is that Hamilton is not as bad as this article suggest, and Button is definitely not as good as the article suggests also, hence the extremely polarised views displayed.

      Putting all aside regarding Button time in F1, Dont you think its a bit unusual, that Ross Brawn, the master strategist of F1 would be willing to let go a man who just won the WDC for his fledgling team? If Button was so good, “leading from the cockpit”, with “measured perfection and instinctive tactical brilliance”, im sure Ross would have spotted that and made more of an effort to retain him.

      If Hamilton is not the finished package, it is clearly evident that he is already more of a package than Button.

  248. grunge says:

    i agree with the “nay james” sayers.
    any driver makes the call when to change from wets to dry, but the team calla dry to dry.
    had the track positions been reversed, it would have been button that was called in for a second dry set. dont try to make it into something it isnt

  249. pkinng008 says:

    wow! Button now is suddenly a briliant race strategist after like 10 years in F1! he’s taken over the mantel from Ross Brawn. lets all watch Button churn out the best strategy from henceforth every race. To those whom he’s now become god after 10 years now excuse!

  250. Jasper says:

    Poor James, I bet you won’t be writing an article mentioning Hamilton again for a while, people are so bias either for or against, it’s unbelievable the venom they spew!

    I’d just like to remind everyone, when you watch F1 you are essentially watching the rare phenomena of multi millionaires… driving themselves! I hate them all with all equal contempt. But I enjoy the racing and admire their talent.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not at all. I’ll write what I want to write.

      1. Jasper says:

        I was only joking. It’s just a shame that some people can’t give a balanced opinion and just ignore the bigger picture all together. I will be looking forward to your informative and balanced articles over the coming weekend.

        Oh and on my previous post on Senna, did you find out how long his Williams contract was actually for?

        Many Thanks & All the best.

  251. G Williams says:

    Many observers who enjoy 20/20 hindsight fail to appreciate that the right strategy and the successful strategy are totally different things.

    If I were to offer, say, Phil Prew a bet on a single coin toss, for which he would have to pay me £10 for heads and I would have to pay him £20 for tails, the right strategy for him would always be to take the bet.
    Nonetheless, there would inevitably be a 50% chance that he would lose the bet.
    His losing the bet would not mean that he had been wrong to take it, nor would my winning mean that I had been right to offer it.

  252. Neil says:

    Great article. Can’t comment on which strategies were better / worse, but the result is a good indication.

    The real story here is Lewis not owning the decision. Clearly, lewis is dependent on the team to give him strategy, but he was shocked that others had opted to go to the finish on one set – he should have understood that his strategy was either a) a gamble (that others would also pit) or b) that he couldn’t finish on those tires.

    A great driver is one who, on a good day, sees that the decision is required.

    Had another driver been in the same boat, even unaware of the strategy call, the post race comment would have been a whinge about not being able to overtake 2x ferraris on old tyres!

  253. agusn says:

    I know it’s late in this discussion, but there is an important FACT comming out regarding tyres condition from Bridgestone’s guy (Hirohide Hamashima) appeared in autosport today.
    He said:
    “Concerning Webber and Hamilton – their first dry tyres were almost worn out,” he said following post-race analysis of their rubber. “They had to do a two-stop.”
    “Jenson’s tread was almost finished. It was a very, very dangerous situation for him.”
    “Fernando Alonso – fantastic! His taking care of tyres was tremendous. Great. Fernando was still looking very good.”

    1. kbdavies says:

      If so, on his first set of tyres, how was he still setting quick laps, and managing to catch cars in front of him? All this proves is that Lewis can still set the pace and even overtake on worn tires!

      1. Peter king says:

        Agree with you 100%. In Malaysia LH did 30 laps and was still faster than most of the others. How’s that for good tyre management?


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