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Hamilton pole in Canada breaks Red Bull stranglehold
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Hamilton pole in Canada breaks Red Bull stranglehold
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jun 2010   |  9:42 pm GMT  |  139 comments

Lewis Hamilton took McLaren’s first pole position of the season in Montreal, beating the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel into second and third places.

Hamilton: 18th career pole (Darren Heath)


It was a sensational lap by Hamilton, who had messed up his original hot lap on his final run, but squeezed another one in. However he was forced to stop the car out on the track or he would not have had enough left in the tank for the fuel sample test. There was some discussions about the legality of this, as in theory he gained an advantage by not carrying the fuel needed for an in lap.

Rather than delete his fastest time, which would have dropped him to fourth place, he was fined $10,000 by the stewards, one of whom is Emerson Fittipaldi. This sets an unfortunate precedent, which some teams might seek to exploit in Spa and even Suzuka later this year. There a lap of fuel is worth a tenth and a half; some teams might well feel is worth spending ten grand to avoid carrying that.

In any case, the Canadian race is set up to be fascinating as the McLaren and the Red Bulls are on completely different tyre strategies, so it will be a question of the two teams doing the race differently and at the end we will find out which one of them has got it right.

Kamui Kobayashi had a disappointing qualifying session in the Sauber and was eliminated along with the new teams’ cars. He had plenty of chances to improve but couldn’t take them. Lotus had a strong session, with Heikki Kovalainen setting a time just two tenths of a second slower than Kobayashi. Meanwhile at Virgin, Timo Glock increased his run to eight races out of eight that he has outqualified his team mate this season.

Button was half a second slower than Hamilton in Q1, while Vettel had three tenths of a second in hand over Webber.

In Q2 Michael Schumacher dropped out, in 13th place, behind the two Williams cars. He was half a second slower than Nico Rosberg, making it a heavy defeat and the first time that Schumacher has been outqualified by his team mate in Montreal. It was Schumacher’s worst qualifying of the season and made worse by the fact that Rosberg missed most of the Saturday morning practice with a clutch problem. But Rosberg only managed 10th. Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, with Liuzzi ahead Sutil and even ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

Hamilton had used hard tyres to be the fastest car in both Q1 and Q2, but he went out on soft tyres for the first time at the start of Q3 and put in a spectacular lap, 1m 15.5.

Red Bull took another strategy, using the soft tyre early on and using the hard tyre only in the final Q3 session. Webber came out ahead of Vettel again, albeit by just 5/100ths of a second. Vettel made several mistakes, including cutting the chicane, but the advantage of the tyre choice was that he had plenty of chances. He got a clean lap in the end.


Red Bull’s tactic – and Renault’s Robert Kubica also adopted it – was based on thinking about the race. They want to start on the hard tyre, while Hamilton will be starting on the soft. On the face of it this is a good plan and one chosen because the car wasn’t significantly faster on the soft than the hard. But the problem with it is that it obliges you to make two stops in the race, as it’s pretty marginal to think you can do 50 laps on the hard on full tanks and then 20 on the soft at the end.

The degradation rate on the soft tyre for Red Bull is 0.54 seconds per lap, which is huge by normal standards but is better than the opposition. So by the time the track has rubbered in they should be able to do a reasonable length final stint.

Red Bull might try to do one stop and may pull it off if there is a lengthy safety car, but my hunch is that they will stop twice.

A word for Tonio Liuzzi, from Force India who did a sensational job to qualify in 6th place, the best of the season so far. Both Force India cars were competitive all weekend and Adrian Sutil is 9th ahead of Rosberg. There were rumours of Liuzzi fighting to keep his seat, but this will have put any such thoughts off for some time to come, I would imagine.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX – Qualifying
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.889 1:15.528 1:15.105
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:16.423 1:15.692 1:15.373
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:16.129 1:15.556 1:15.420
4. Alonso Ferrari 1:16.171 1:15.597 1:15.435
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.371 1:15.742 1:15.520
6. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:17.086 1:16.171 1:15.648
7. Massa Ferrari 1:16.673 1:16.314 1:15.688
8. Kubica Renault 1:16.370 1:15.682 1:15.715
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:16.495 1:16.295 1:15.881
10. Rosberg Mercedes 1:16.350 1:16.001 1:16.071
11. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:16.880 1:16.434
12. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:16.770 1:16.438
13. Schumacher Mercedes 1:16.598 1:16.492
14. Petrov Renault 1:16.569 1:16.844
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.356 1:16.928
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.027 1:17.029
17. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:17.611 1:17.384
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:18.019
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:18.237
20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:18.698
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.941
22. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:19.484
23. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:19.675
24. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:27.757

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139 Comments
  1. Lopek says:

    A great lap by Hamilton for pole, but it should not stand.

    The FIA have set another ridiculous precedent with this decision, following the racing down the pitlane reprimands.

    While I don’t want to see a return to the regular seemingly arbitrary penalties of recent years, I do question whether it has now gone the other direction to be too lenient.

    1. F1 Fan says:

      I agree, the FIA have been too lenient this year with a few incidents in my opinion. A $10000 dollar fine is pocket money especially for the big teams. I think we’ll be seeing more cars stopping on the track after qualifying now.

      1. Rafael L says:

        Yup, agreed completely.

        It’s unfair to Red Bull who will for sure not bother putting enough fuel to get to the pits in the future. What’s the point?

    2. michael grievson says:

      Yeah. I actually agree with eddie Jordan for once and cars should be forced to carry a minimum amount of fuel during qualifyig and the race

    3. CH1UNDA says:

      IMO McLaren took the risk and it worked for qualifying albeit at the cost of USD10000 extra than planned. I am not so sure it will work for the race though.

    4. Galapago555 says:

      I fully agree. Another new rule for Lewis, another ridiculous decission made by the Stewards, once again Hamilton gaining an unfair advantage and getting no real penalty.

      James, what in your opinion should have been the decission? Is it possible to penalise with grid positions after a certain number of reprimands?

      1. TM says:

        There was no rule broken (hence no racing penalty would be possible), just a memo about maximum time taken to reach the pits (hence a fine).

        See
        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84411

        They can’t hand out penalties just because a few people don’t like it, there is that little detail of it having to be in rules first.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        So, the USD 10,000 fine and the reprimad are not penalties? What about changig direction three times in the same straight not allowing Petrov to pass him? Ok, stewards have told HAM not to do it again… and they have said this very seriously.

      3. TM says:

        Galapago,
        Please read my post again properly – I quite clearly say there was no ‘racing’ penalty.
        A fine is a financial penalty, not a racing penalty.
        Secondly, a reprimand is a reprimand; it’s not a penalty at all.

        On your allegation of his movements against Petrov, I don’t see what this has to do with my post.

    5. ChrisS says:

      Agree with that. However a team would have to be quite brave to rely on this decision and underfuel a car for qualifying in the hope they’d get off with a $10,000 fine – after all the FIA stewards are not exactly known for their consistency. ;)

  2. Martin says:

    The press conference look different this weekend. Is this the layout for the rest of the season and was it awkward for the drivers? It look more awkward.

    1. Nick F says:

      Yeah it was different. The 2 Red Bull drivers looked uncomfortable. A desk or podium in front of you always makes you feel more secure. Especially so when your all sweaty and a bit emotional.

      James,

      I have had an idea. If you guys want to break the format then why not go the tennis route. Actually grab the drivers as they are getting out of their cars in parc ferme. The emotion will be more raw and it will make great TV. I think they are much more likely to reveal what they really think. Also they can lean on their car and maybe point out things. The mechanics in the background would really add to the atmosphere too.

      What do you think…good idea?

      1. Francisco says:

        a second this

  3. True Blue says:

    Does anyone think that Button is demeaning F1 by keeping on referring to racing or incidents as * fun*
    Is it a new f1 speak ?
    Or is it a insight to Buttons cavalier and playboy attitude to F1

    1. Ian Blackwell says:

      That is stretching it just a little bit mate. Most of us Brits prefer to deliberately underplay things. For example, I was at the dentists last week and if anybody was to ask me how it went I could choose to say it was painful, tortuous and bloody or I could choose to say it was lot of fun. I would pick the latter every time. It adds an element of humor to what would otherwise be a painful memory. One has to be British or to have some experience dealing with the British to understand.

  4. Kakashi says:

    Unfair pole… why Lewis gets away so many times by breaking the rules… this is the 3rd time this season
    from now on other teams should short fuel the cars for quali as well to get the vital few tenths!!! i m disappointed by FIA once again siding by Mclaren

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      You mean like they did during the Ferrari years?

    2. Jean-Christophe says:

      Unfair pole??? Getting away so many times by braking the rules???
      Well this is an unfair world isn’t it? Now that Max’s gone Todt would like to mend matters with McLaren by offering them the title. They probably got a software that allows FIA officials to drive the car from their office and get pole for McLaren.

    3. TM says:

      You people are hilarious.
      If you don’t like a decision it always comes down to the FIA favouring somebody, the FIA favouring that team, or this team, or that driver.

      People need to realise that just because the FIA does not use any one single fan as ‘the law’, it doesn’t mean they favour anyone.

      Vettel didn’t get a penalty for driving into somebody; it wasn’t even investigated. Barrichello didn’t get a penalty for throwing his steering wheel out at Monaco. Alonso gained and MSC lost out from the confusion about the safety car in Monaco, etc. etc. etc.

      Tell me how these all favour McLaren!

      Getting back to the pits after qualifying is not a rule. Having 1 litre after qualifying to test is a rule, and McLaren stuck by this. Getting back in a certain amount of time was in a memo by the FIA; not a rule, hence he got a fine and not a racing penalty.

  5. Malcom says:

    One of the most exciting and brilliant qualifying drives that I have ever seen.

  6. Jason C says:

    I’m so gald to see that the tyres aren’t lasting well at this race. It’s forcing drivers to do at least 2 pit stops (or so it seems on Saturday night). That, the danger of rain and the nature of Montreal’s close walls and fast circuit should make this race a thriller. At least, I hope so.

  7. Jon says:

    It’s certainly very interesting.. different strategies are good and also open up the opportunity for overtaking, because of the differences in pace at different phases. Kubica could do some overtaking tommorow for example.

    It’s one of the things that’s been missing from F1 this season. It’s not as good as refuelling but it’s still looking very interesting and very unpredicatable.

    Just like F1 SHOULD BE!

  8. jonrob says:

    You would think that by now these guys would know the rules. Well I think they do and they decided to under-fuel Lewis deliberately, then bluff their way out afterwards.

    It was reported that McLaren were to tell the stewards that there was a “mis-communication” with Lewis about fuel. This sounds rather like the “opinion” of the engineer that Jenson would not pass Lewis. It seems that McLaren are having increasing difficulty in talking to their drivers.

    It was very clear from halfway through the lap, that Lewis could not complete the in-lap in the necessary time and would therefore break the rules. The question then would be what would incur the greater penalty, failing to return to park ferme in time or failing to provide a fuel sample?

    1. Jean-Christophe says:

      Under fuel deliberately? Do you really think before posting? Why is it that some people see conspiracy everywhere?
      After Lewis got it wrong into T4 the previous lap, they decided to do another run.

      1. jonrob says:

        ” Do you really think before posting?” Well yes I do actually!

        Do you seriously imagine that they didn’t know to the ml how much fuel they had?

      2. Jean-Christophe says:

        Oh right. They did it only for LH while JB couldn’t do the same. And even if fuel corrected Hamilton was still fastest you still need to say that they did it deliberatly. He had been fastest from Q1. Besides, there were no rules broken here. Providing 1 litre of fuel to the stewards IS the rule.
        During the race, both McLaren were still the fastest cars. But who knows? They probably had less fuel than everybody else.

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84411 should help you answer your question i.e. does a FIA memo overrule a FIA regulation? In any case i think their strategy to start on softs may not be as ideal as Red Bull’s so they may as well be punished twice for their qualifying dramatics – as James points out, the Red Bulls will be on softs when the track has rubbered in alot more not to mention that if there isnt a safety car early on, the McLarens might come out after the first pit into heavy traffic and have their race compromised.

  9. Carl Craven says:

    A financial penalty for this is a joke, especially IF other teams seek to exploit it. It’s quite likely that the lightness of his car put him on pole.

    A shameful decision. The penalty does not take into consideration the implications for racing.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I would be happy to see Hamilton on pole under less contraversial circumstances.

    1. Michael says:

      Even fuel-corrected, his pole would still stand, thus making your [and most of the naysayers'] point moot.

      1. BeenDun says:

        Even if he still was on pole with the fuel correction, the issue is that McLaren cheated again. So the points being made to that end are highly relevant.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        So did Brawn cheat in 2009 yet their winning of both championships is acceptable to the likes of you with little complaint – how sarcastic that it was Ross Brawn whining about unfairness considering his dramatics at Monaco ala Michael Schumacher’s overtake on Alonso – so much hypocrisy in Formula 1.

      3. Jean-Christophe says:

        They cheated by braking what rule? The rules don’t say that you must come back to the garage after qualifying. Read them before talking about cheating. McLaren were fined for coming too late which is not a rule but a directive.

    2. closer says:

      With a pole time of over a quarter of a second clear, its far from ‘quite likely’ that this difference in fuel levels gained Lewis his position.

      1. Kakashi says:

        1- we dont know how much was the gain
        2- what about all the other cars who are much closer to each other? if some of them chose to cheat and short fuel, they would be in higher grid positions as well.. each point is worth a lot!!!
        all i want is same rules for every one and there should be a limit to the number of reprimands.. its becoming a joke now!!!
        apart from Lewis can u name any one else handed out a reprimand??

      2. Babi says:

        Vettel has been handed a reprimand for the pit incident involving Lewis too.

      3. Jean-Christophe says:

        To cheat you need to break rules. tell me what rule was broken here.

      4. Phil says:

        I’m sure it didn’t. But, it gives people one more thing to bitch about with Hamilton. Oh, hurrah!

      5. Prof Bolshaviks says:

        Lewis seems to get told off far more than he is punished. This is like when Ferrari were getting favours, people were in uproar apart from the Ferrari fans. Now people are in uproar apart from Mclaren fans.
        He would have still gotten pole with enough fuel, but he didn’t, he got it without enough fuel. It is like saying, “I would have won in a legal car anyway, so let me keep my win.”

      6. Francisco says:

        By the same token if Vetter, Webber and Alonso have another go and the stop in the middle of the track might beat LH time. We will never know. LH did not make and have to try another run unlike the others.

  10. Kakashi says:

    whats the deal with the reprimands?? how many reprimands can you get? i think other teams should also start looking at taking reprimands for cheating and gaining positions… or blocking an overtake…

  11. jonrob says:

    Re tyres, I remember before the season started that it had been worked out that the one to change tyres first, had the advantage over those staying out, there was even talk of tyre changes after one or two laps. In this case can I put my quid down on Lewis pitting by lap six.

    Re brakes can we expect “wheels on fire, rolling down the road” (with apologies to Brian Auger)

  12. JanK says:

    James, can you clarify rules about tires for me please? Right now it is pretty straightforward, drivers set their best times during their last outing, then they come in, car goes to parc ferme and they don’t change the tires before the race. But what if some driver set his best lap time, change tires to go out again, but not improve? For example – what if Lewis didn’t improve on that 1:15.5 time he had set early on? Would he still have to start on the set of tires he used for that 1:15.5 run (do FIA delegates keep track of every single set?) or would he be able to use the tires he had on when the time run out?

    1. Sammy says:

      They have to use the tires on which they did their fastest lap.

    2. Nick F says:

      They have to use the set they set their best time on. So if they do 2 runs and set the best time on the 1st run then they have to use the first set of tyres for the race.

  13. Calixto says:

    Emmo is a racer, not a whiner. I’m sure the decision isn’t his own, but this is a precedent I don’t mind. Not to mention FIA have about 477 different opportunities to sample and test the gas used by the teams during the weekend.
    -
    Great lap by Hamilton. That’s the man at work. Red Bull will need every milisecond of their speed advantage and more during the season if they want to contain him.

    1. Nick F says:

      I would imagine the teams would be more worried about him getting an advantage by having a lighter car.

  14. Freespeech says:

    The boy did good, should be an excellent race, all depends on tyre wear and safety cars.
    Hamilton proved yet again how he can ring the neck out of a car unlike Button.
    Schumacher’s spent – he’s had his day and should just go away :)
    I’d love to see the two Redbulls take each other out as it’d spice up the rest of the season in a a way that only that would, anyone who questions whether Vettel is the chosen one at Redbull who watched the BBC today would have seen how the special advisor speaks to him with his body language shouting from the rooftops, my support at Rebdull is 100% behind Webber :!:

    1. jobseeker says:

      i thionk they’ll take each other off fist corner. or should i say vettel will stick in the side of webber AGAIN. lets hope

  15. Sammy says:

    Well done Hamilton, however he had to be set back 10 places on the grid. Indeed James, bad precedent this one.
    Ferrari looks better than in Turkey, there’s a chance for a podium finish tomorrow I hope (Alonso).
    Thanks for the great blog!

    1. Phil says:

      If they want to avoid setting a precedent, all they have to do is write new rules, or issue a clarification.

      At the end of the day, from what I heard this situation was only covered by a ‘memo’ with no official rule covering it.

      Sick and tired of all the whining.

      1. Sammy says:

        @Phil,

        I don’t want to open up a discussion but if everyone would do this we will see 10 drivers pushing their car back (I don’t mind that but it sounds not logical) and 10 safety cars picking them up in the end…

      2. Phil says:

        Fair enough. My point though is that if they don’t have a rule to cover it then they shouldn’t penalize. The option is always open to the FIA to clarify or introduce new rules.

        In other words if the rules aren’t clear enough, and they can be taken advantage of then it’s only one entities fault/responsibility – that is the FIA.

        Same goes for rules on bodywork (double diffuser controversy, f-duct controversy etc. etc.) – if the rule does not explicitly exclude something then it should not be banned. And, I personally am glad to see that generally the FIA now seem to be more and more taking this commonsense approach.

    2. Babi says:

      Stop whining! Clearly, from your post, you would have preferred a red car on pole. since that didnt happen, stop the whining about Lewis.

      1. Sammy says:

        I’m not whining and Lewis did a great job, I was even applauding him when he set that fastest time in the end but you simply can’t ignore the fact this is a precedent and that we will see more of that in the future.
        If FIA gave him a penalty then no one will do the same thing next time. Know they would…

      2. Sammy says:

        *know they would = NOW they would

  16. Nick F says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that if Lewis had parked it on the side of the track and just got out he would have been demoted to 4th. It’s bad for the show to have a driver be so happy and celebrate so jubilantly whilst entertaining the crowd and then take away a pole that everyone enjoyed. I can imagine the stewards sitting in there little room thinking about the crowd noise outside and the excitement over the pushing of the car and being reluctant to penalise him. …Not good for the North American market to do the typical F1 thing of deciding the result off track.

    I really enjoyed what he did at the end of the qualifying, although to be honest I thought he was going to have his pole taken away whilst it happened. …Anyway I’m glad it wasn’t taken away because it makes for a better race.

    1. Carl Craven says:

      My sentiments exactly. I don’t have a problem with a Hamilton pole, but I suspect the decision not to penalise him and see another RedBull front row would have taken away from the forthcoming spectacle and of course that is far more important than the spirit of racing.

      I missed the session and only saw the results so cannot comment anymore than that. Lewis knows how to wring the neck of a car it’s true, but I am expecting Red Bull to push him to the limit and watch him chew up his tyres and complain later in the race when he has to save them. Like he does every race!

  17. Andras F. says:

    Smart and lucky Hamilton to go with very low fuel level and survive a grid penalty.

    James,
    Can you please ask engineers how much the cars can ‘dry out’ the fuel from the tank? Asking other way how much fuel needed for the post qualifying check?

    1. Simon Woods says:

      The FIA requires that at least 1 litre of fuel remains in the tank for the sample.

  18. Jon says:

    The “drag reducing rear wing for McLaren”..

    Said to bring what was it? 10km/h on the straights? I never believed that figure. I thought 5 if you are lucky. Today was a small confirmation towards that.

    Today showed that wing levels and the aero package as a whole decides the top speeds, more so then which engine you use or if you stall your rear wing or not.

    You can say they added more downforce, which of course they did. But they weren’t clearly quicker in S3 with top speed, and they weren’t clearly quicker in the other sectors due to running huge amounts of wing.

    It helps the top speeds and helps effeciency, I believe that, I just don’t believe that 10 km/h figure or that it is anything close to that.

    It all goes back the characteristics of each car.

    The ideal circuit for the McLaren is one that is very flat with very few bumps.. as they prefer to run the car very stiff, and one that doesn’t have alot of traction zones, and one that has fast corners and long straights, so that it can stretch its legs due to it’s long wheelbase, combined with it’s great top speed.

    Why didn’t McLaren dominate sector 3 today?

    Because the track conditions were low grip, putting more emphasis on downforce. The circuit is a bit bumpy also putting emphasis on downforce and stability. They could have dominated in S3, but would have been complaining about Redbull’s downforce in the other sectors. So instead they comprimised, not the fastest in top speed but better for the overall laptime.

    1. Jon says:

      Hamilton’s top speed was 318. If you took away the drag reducing rear wing, I don’t believe it would be 308, which would put him at the bottom level with the Lotus’s and Hispania.

      1. Ben Miller says:

        You didn’t see Mclaren’s full speed advantage of the F-duct because this device allowed them to run with more wing than other teams, giving them an advantage in corners also.

      2. Christian Hepworth says:

        You have to remember at when running less drag, you have less drag to reduce, so it’s not unexpected that you’d get less of a difference in top speeds between those using the drag-reducing wing, and those not using it.

        It seems fairly obvious that you’d get more benefit from the ‘f-duct’ on a circuit where you had to run lots of downforce compared to somewhere like Canada where you don’t run a great deal.

      3. Mikko Ahlapski says:

        So why is everyone saying McLaren has a advantage with the F-Duct on this circuit…

      4. Christian Hepworth says:

        They still have an advantage: It’s just a bit more subtle, but just as effective.

        They will be able to run a little more rear wing, to help with their tyre wear, and then utilize their f-duct to negate this extra drag on the straights. This means they can run more downforce than other teams, but not suffer from this speed wise.

  19. The Ram says:

    Hamilton is the God King of Formula 1!!

    Wicked qualifying Lewis! You are unstoppable, even if you had two laps more fuel you would still pole.

    1. JR says:

      OK good, then next time please do your pole competing in the same conditions as the rest…

  20. Ash says:

    You guys forget that the dragreducing rear wing is naturally less effective at low-downforce circuits. When the wings run at low downforce, there is less drag to shef. Therefore, the gain in velocity max is also less.

    1. James Allen says:

      Exactly. Check out the LG Tech report for explanation

  21. Penfold says:

    What a surprise. Hamilton haters complaining about his Pole lap. A. He was quarter of a second faster so don’t even try with the fuel corrected garbage. And B He was half way down the final straight when he was told to stop the car. I’m pretty sure this was just a case of an engineer covering their backside and making sure they met the more serious – fuel sample – obligation.

    1. Kakashi says:

      why then he needed to cheat to get pole?
      what about all other cars lower down the grid who could have gained positions by short fueling?

  22. Barry says:

    Lewis should take a grid penalty for running out of fuel on purpose. Imagine everyone decided to not take enough fuel to complete the in lap, you’d have cars on track barely moving whilst others would be at full speed trying to set a quick time. Safety implications have not been thought through while making this decision.

    1. alex says:

      I totally agree with you. Well put. It’s not just an ethical matter, it’s a safety matter as well.

    2. Francisco says:

      Yes, safety is another aspect. What a chaos, some car running out of fuel where other go for the quick laps.

  23. Jake says:

    James, are these rules about a lap time back to the pits just for qualifying or do they apply to the race as well?

    If they do then it would be very unfair to punish Lewis any more seeing as we have seen cars run out of fuel on their parade lap and not be penalised.

    As for setting a dangerous precedent, I honestly don’t think this is the case. There have been a couple of other incidents involving Hamilton where reprimands have been giving and this, along with a warning to other teams seems to be able to stop the issue. We haven’t seen any more pit lane dramas or weaving around on the straights so I don’t see why this should be anything different.

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      At all times, but quali is the key one.

      1. Jake says:

        Well for me that shows that no other penalty could be given

  24. Irish conor says:

    Typical mclaren action and all those mclaren nuthuggers out there who believe the fia are against them need to get real and realise they have got away with murder this year.

  25. Anthony says:

    James, there is a question that I’ve been asking myself this year… why is that the times lower so much from Q1 to Q2, and them from Q2 to Q3?

    arent the cars low on fuel for the 3 sessions this year? I think the times should be pretty similar, but there are over 1second differences sometimes…

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s the track improvement as the rubber goes down

      1. Anthony says:

        thank you, didn’t think of that.

  26. Brandon says:

    Seemed to me that Lewis channelled Ayrton Senna today. What a phenomenal lap!

    1. Prof Bolshaviks says:

      And mansell, pushing his car

  27. BMG says:

    A very lucy pol and lewis knows that. Webber looked like the cat that got the cream after Q3, while Vettel looks like someone stole his lollipop.

  28. Rich C says:

    Not very nice of Lewis to confound the Pundits like that.

  29. raffamuffin says:

    Once again the naysayers are out in force!!!

    Well done Lewis, fantastic lap … if you think his pole was down to him running out of fuel I think you are in complete denial over Lewis’s speed today. He did well in both Q1 and Q2, and his lap in Q3 was flawless.

    I hope he wins tomorrow with good strategy and brave driving!!!

    And I don’t think it sets a dangerous precedent. The FIA punished Lewis for being too slow coming into the pits not for running out of fuel. They need to introduce a new rule to meet this circumstance so that the teams cannot use it to their advantage in qualifying in future.

    1. JR says:

      So it’s not a dangerous precedent but a new rule has to be introduced “so that the teams cannot use it to their advantage in future”?
      I like your logic mate!

      1. raffamuffin says:

        It’s not a dangerous precedent because Lewis did not break a rule regarding fuel. Additionally the premise of your argument is wrong as we dont know if Lewis definately did not have enough fuel to get back to the pits and take a fuel sample as Eddie Jordan alluded to.

        If Lewis had run out of fuel and there was a rule against it, then the stewards would have punished hamilton for that and what ever punishment the fia had stipulated for it i.e. not running of fuel = 1 lap of fuel added to time.

        However, there is no such rule. The memoranda that was sent out to the teams on which Lewis was punished was NOT based on fuel. It was based on faster cars slowing down on their lap back to the pits and ruining other people’s hot laps. This is what the memo refers to and the reason why it was introduced. Lewis’s penalty was regardng this situation and nothing to do with fuel. Nothing wrong with this logic.

        This situation has highlighted a failure in the FIA’s own regulations of which the FIA must take full responsibility for. This doesn’t “create” a precedent that running out of fuel = $10,000 fine, it just means like, just as before, if you fail to make it back to the pits for any reason whatsoever, you will get a fine as per the FIAs regulations. This had not changed, this has always been the case thus no new precedent has been set. If the FIA does not want this situation to be the case, they need to change the rules.

  30. Alan says:

    Slightly less relevant point but that press conference you took post-qualifying was weird, James.

    Did someone pinch the drivers’ table? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes it’s the new look. What do you think?

      1. DC says:

        bring the desk back please.

      2. monktonnik says:

        Don’t like it.

        We fear change.

      3. Alan says:

        It looked rather odd. Will take some getting used to!

        Is it to do with showing more sponsors on the race overalls?

      4. ChrisS says:

        Thought they looked daft, perched up like that, but I expect we’ll get used to it. Good to hear you asking the questions, James.

      5. Richard M says:

        I thought the drivers looked uncomfortable with it. It also seemed a little unprofessional without a table IMO.

        It was interesting to see how Mclaren’s drivers wear a different (clean/bright) top overall, while the one used to drive in was wrapped around Lewis / Jensons waist.

  31. Ryan Eckford says:

    For some of the penalties given to other drivers this year, if Lewis did some of those things he would have got a harsher penalty. For example if Lewis did what Vettel did on Webber, he would have got a 10 spot grid penalty, while in this case Vettel and even Webber get off scots free. So probably a $10000 fine is what McLaren deserved, but if it was any other team nothing would have been said. That is just what I think on this issue.

    It was great lap by Lewis to get pole position, but we will have to see if it is enough in the race.

  32. cheers says:

    Barrichelo has the track record in 04, wasnt that in qualifying vs Schumacher? Or was it a race lap time?

    If there was a yellow card system Lewis would be on 3 already. Whitmarsh says he doesn’t think people will follow what they did because it would be “systemic”. Well I think we all can see that marginal rule exploitation in general is also systemic by McLaren / Hamilton side of the garage and it is now gameable with McLaren sitting on 3 yellows and no red and a big dose of courtroom challengeable hypcrisy if others get pulled on anything marginal. Did you see the look on Button’s face as he saw Lewis pulling up?

    I think Webber when looking back on last year vs Vettel was seeing Vettel driving during qualifying off the back of Mark’s data and then using that more aggressive turn and kerb to pip him. Now I think Mark is holding back on the points he think he can make speed to the last and that he has done Vettel’s single process minded head in.

    1. Mr Squiggle says:

      Interesting comments on Vettel vs Webber. Has anyone seen any info on which RB driver was scheduled to have the advantage of being last out in quali, and then of course, whether it turned out as scheduled? For me, this is one of the red flag indicators of whether vettel has been favoured at RB or not.

  33. Paul Kirk says:

    Ha Ha Ha, I reckon McLaren just wanted some free extra advertising/TV time, if so they were very successfull.
    PK.
    BTW, go Mark and Jenson!

  34. Ross says:

    How about a word for Luizzi’s excellent performence today. Force India’s best qualifying performance this season.

    Any bad performances from him are usaully met with the usaul ‘Not long to DiResta will be getting his seat’ despite overall not doing a bad job.

    Credit where credit is due.

    1. James says:

      I completely agree. And people seem to forget what a terrific job Force India have done in the last 2 seasons.

      1. Mikko Ahlapski says:

        James,

        I remember asking you before the season starts that Force India is aiming for Fifth in the championship and you said they have a good chance.

        They are not looking too bad are they ?? Bar the improving Renault.

  35. MilesB says:

    James

    Senna has outqualified di Grassi twice now. Are HRT and Virgin getting closer in car speed, or is di Grassi struggling?

    1. James Allen says:

      Bit of both. But Glock is where the car is. Again, not the fastest qualifier, but good in races

  36. Legend2 says:

    Very disappointing for Mark Webber. LH only got the additional lap in due to ignoring the requirement for a car to have enough fuel to return to the pits. Denies Mark Webber pole and now makes him more vulnerable to another shunt or pass from Seb “I am always right otherwise I will cry” Vettel.

    True LH would have got pole on fuel adjusted time based on the last lap. But that is not the point. McLaren knew he did not have enough fuel for the additional run. Therefore the final run should not have happened.

    On the surface a penalty fine seems okay, but, as you have correctly pointed out James, that creates a precedent. Really feel for Mark Webber, if his team doesn’t screw him, the stewards do. The problem with this strategy that Red Bull are using, is that it brings into play Mark Webber’s biggest weakness this season – his team’s strategy calls. Let’s see how it pans out tomorrow guys.

    1. kbdavies says:

      “McLaren knew he did not have enough fuel for the additional run. Therefore the final run should not have happened.”

      Err, he did HAVE enough fuel for another lap, otherwise, how did he get pole position? What he did not have, was enough fuel to get back into the pits AFTER his pole position lap. Quite different to what you assert here.

      I really dont know what the fuss is about, except that people are willing for a driver to take a penalty just so they can see their preferred driver on the podium or in pole.
      What part of “HE DID NOT BREAK ANY RULE” is so difficult to understand?

  37. RON says:

    The only driver to offer top class racing performances, and people want him to receive a penality… pathetic.

    I wouldn’t even bother to watch the borefest of F1, if it weren’t for Hamilton.

  38. LoudHoward says:

    Would’ve been somewhat interesting if Hamilton got a grid penalty because he breached a rule that he helped bring in with his actions at Malaysia ’08…

  39. krampa says:

    If I were Red Bull a strategist, I’d be worried about both Red Bulls being jumped at the start by Alonso and Jensen on the softer tyres. (Remember Vettel complained about getting heat into the harder tyres). That would allow Lewis to build a margin before his first pitstop.

    I’d also be extremely worried about Web on the dirty side trying his hardest to avoid being overtaken by a wounded Seb at the first corner.

    This should be a fascinating race!

    1. monktonnik says:

      Good point about the tyres, but I think Jenson is struggling so much with his softs that he is intending to do his overtaking by conserving the tyres.

      Still, you never know. Neither of those guys are scared of overtaking.

  40. CD says:

    I got up at 3am to watch that, and it was worth it.
    Had a feeling Lewis would pull out a golden lap in the dying seconds, but I thought it would be because they used the option tyre, now we know he was a touch lighter.
    So maybe he gained a 10th…pole by over 2/10ths. Tyres or F-Duct?

    Surely, if McLaren have contravened the rules, they should be punished “on track” and not a pathetic ten grand fine,that’s just insulting everybody’s intelligence.

    The weather reports I’ve seen over the past few days predict rain, but so far nothing.

    James,
    Any insight on the weather at the start or during the race?

  41. Jeff says:

    Great to see Mark get Vettel and this time Vettel has no excuses. His new car, no broken roll bar, yes it was close, but Mark has found a 10th Vettel appears to have lost one.

  42. hesus says:

    Strange comments “hamilton did..”, “hamilton should….” why Hamilton? Do you think he is the one who puts fuel in the tank?.
    As someone mentioned above – the rule is only a memo not an actual paragraph is this correct?
    An finally he did not run out of fuel – he was stopped by the mechanics for safety reasons (1 litre must be there) I bet when they opened the tank they found around 3l or more so he would managed to the pits and that is why the Mclaren only get a pocket money fine for stopping on the track.
    I don’t remember exactly but in 2007 or 2008 there was a rule about the time of your out and in lap why not this year?
    I don’t like Hamilton but this time I think he didn’t do anything wrong.

  43. Suzie says:

    Am I missing something here? If the top 10 cars are fuelled for the race during Q3, why would anyone ‘run out’ during the session?

    1. Christian Hepworth says:

      Suzie,

      That was last year. This years cars run on whatever fuel they want during Quali, so enough fuel for the number of laps you need to do, and then fuel up for the whole race before they start.

    2. monktonnik says:

      They aren’t fuelled for the race any more.

      That regulation changed for this season. The top ten qualify on their race tyres and low fuel.

    3. jobseeker says:

      they’re not fueled for the race in quali this year. all 3 quali sessions are low fuel

  44. Khan says:

    The stewarding is getting ridiculous as the year goes on. Letting Hamilton go is a dangerous precedent set by FIA. Why cant we have fixed penalties for various breaches?

    1. AlexD says:

      Can you please be more specific? Which rule did he break? If you think that he should be penalized, can you refer to the specific rule in the regulation?

  45. Spark says:

    Well, I am guessing we will see a rule change before the next GP that forbids the teams to park their car on the side of the road in the in lap after qualifying because of running out of fuel. Otherwise it will create a precedent for all teams and we will see some strange things indeed during the longer circuits like Spa and Suzuka.

    I do think you have to make the distinction between race and qualifying regarding the penalty. Last year when Massa was running out of fuel in Spain (which actually wasn’t the case), nobody complained that he had parked the car in the in lap. But the situation with qualifying is something different as it is all about minimal differences in lap time.

    Normal behaviour would be to strip the driver from that lap and the 2nd fastest lap would apply for the grid position.

    In all fairness I have to say that it was a stunning lap from Hamilton who did deserve pole. But just to create clarity a rule change is needed.

  46. Christian Hepworth says:

    James,

    Is it possible to find out exactly how much fuel Lewis did have in his car when the FIA came to take their sample.

    Did they have to wring the fuel take out just to get enough, or was their actually enough to get him back and get a sample out, and the team were just being cautious.

    It would be interesting to know. I wonder how many other times drivers have been very marginal this year, but still had enough to get a sample, but without any fuss being made of it because as they made it back to the pits there wasn’t any uproar.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think he had a problem with having enough fuel for the sample. It was the time limit for getting back to the pits he didn’t make

      1. Francisco says:

        James, you are spot on.
        I do not have enough fuel, then I stop. This is the EXCUSE for not making the time. Therefore he should be penalised.

      2. kbdavies says:

        But the team were penalised, for breaking a “memo”, not a rule. They did not make it into the pits on time, so the USD10K penalty applies.

        Hamilton cannot be penalised because he did not short fuel the car, the team told him to shut down the engine which he did, and subsequently the TEAM failed to get the car back into the pits in time. A penalty was applied to the team for this.

        The memo has nothing to do with the amount of fuel in the car, and there is NO rule governing the amount of fuel in the car at the end of a lap – as long as you can give a 1 Ltr sample afterwards.

        Why are people so quick to want to see penalties? Especially, when NO rule was broken? Is it that they are ignorant of the rules? Or they are just being vindictive?

        Even when rules have being broken, penalties were lenient or non- existent; and rightly so.
        Most people who talk loudly about penalties have obviously never engaged in any competitive sport fuelled by adrenalin, otherwise, they would know how easy it is to make the wrong decisions in the heat of the moment.
        Thank God the Stewards this year, being ex-drivers, rather than faceless bureaucrats are aware of this.

  47. monktonnik says:

    I think that Hamilton did a great job in qualifying, and his later laps were breathtaking, particularly accros the chicanes.

    On the fuel issue: As far as I am aware the car must have a kilo of fuel left for sampling. I don’t think that Mclaren under fuelled deliberately before the run. Perhaps they did one more lap than originally intended. If that is the case then it would be a bit harsh to take away Lewis’s poll, nut probably a better reflection of the regulations.

    They must of known that this would be an issue, and could have avoided it, although they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get pole.

    I think that the problem here is not that they have cheated on fuel loads (although I can see an argument for that) but that Hamilton was pushing his car home. Surely that kind of thing is frowned upon? I am sure it wasn’t unsafe as there were probably no other cars on track at the time, but shouldn’t he have just parked it near a gap or crane.

    I felt at the time that Mclaren were “getting away with it”. My initial thought when they said he was under fuelled and would have to stop on circuit was that he would be penalised.

    I think that the stewards have been a bit soft on this one, where they should have made an example.

    James, if a car “breaks down” on the in lap and needs assistance does the lap time still stand.

    Is a driver allowed to push his car home?

    1. James Allen says:

      There is a time limit for getting back to the pits. That’s how it’s done

      1. monktonnik says:

        So his time counts no matter what and he faces a fine rather than any “on track” sanctions, presumably because it is a procedural mistake after qualifyingh rather than a driver error during the session.

        In that case, a fine seems fair.

    2. Nick172 says:

      The rules allow for a “force majeure” issue if the driver has to stop unexpectedly. So they are not penalised.

      1. monktonnik says:

        But this wasn’t “Force Majeure”.

        Hamilton and Mclaren deliberately stopped the engine after doing an extra lap.

        Something about that seems out of place to me, but I accept that the punishment is correct in terms of the letter of the rules.

        What I feel is slightly cynical is admitting to breaking one rule to avoid a penalty if the car doesn’t have enough fuel for sampling and/or is underweight, which is a far worse infringement of the regulations. Imagine the punishment if that had happened.

      2. Nick172 says:

        I was referring to the question monktonnik asked of what happens with regards the time limit rule if a car breaks down:

        “James, if a car “breaks down” on the in lap and needs assistance does the lap time still stand.”

  48. jbstans says:

    The way I see it, I think Lewis was meant to set his fastest lap on the lap before but ballsed it up. He had enough fuel to get back then but he had to do another one they hadn’t counted on to try to take pole, which is what their strategy was based on, but this unexpected lap left them short on fuel.

    I don’t think it was intended in any way whatsoever. Minimum required fuel amount or something would be good, but then they’d just run several laps and set their fastest at the end, wouldn’t really change anything.

    1. Francisco says:

      This is real issue, he did not make it. He was lucky and just managed to pass with spare 2 or 3 seconds. Then he tried again. Nobody did this but him.

  49. Nick172 says:

    I think McLaren have made a canny decision in going for the Options to start the race.

    It’s highly likely that there will be a saftey car in the first 10 laps whilst the field is still close together and racing each other hard. If that does happen they are laughing all the way to the flag.

    If it doesn’t happen then most teams would still likely be making two stops for tyres anyway, so a short first stint won’t be as much of an issue. Though they will probably lose a couple more places during the stop thanks to the field spread not being as high as later on in the race, but with less chance of coming out right behind a slower car.

    Chances are there will be a SC in the first 10 laps though so I think it is a well calculate risk, with a big reward if it comes off.

  50. Luke A says:

    James, I understand that running a lower downforce wing will be more effective on higher downforce tracks than lower downforce ones. However, while an F-duct can be exploited on high downforce tracks by keeping up top speed on the straights and then running high downforce wings. Surely the F-duct is still useful for this purpose at tracks like Canada, so that for instance Hamilton was able to run a high-downforce wing for the first sector and twisty stuff, while still maintaining high stop speed on the straights via the F-duct.

    So I don’t understand why people will not use the F-duct at Monza?

  51. Steve McGill says:

    Massive Hamilton fan but I’m genuinely worried about their strategy and hammys tyre graining. Being a button hater however, I must admit I think he may have a good chance of ferrying up the grid today… My heart cannot cope with the stress and excitement of this season any longer I don’t think!

  52. Steven says:

    Everyone keeps talking about the fact that Lewis got away with a slap on the wrist, but nobody knows what the peanlty should be for breaking that rule, probably the penalty is the fine. Why does everybody asume the penalty is losing grid places?

  53. Spark says:

    Well, Charlie Whiting has created a statement regarding the Hamilton-running-out-of-fuel issue:

    “Any team whose car stops on the slowing down lap after the race will be asked by the stewards to explain why this happened, ”

    “If they are not satisfied that the reasons were beyond the control of the driver or team, and feel that this has been done deliberately to gain a competitive advantage, appropriate action will be taken.”

    At least it is clear that there isn’t a crystal clear penalty. But the hidden message of course is to do not do this again as it will affect your grid position.

  54. Kakashi says:

    atleast try and have an educated argument
    my point is that the rules should be same for everyone!! if a rule is breached there should be a penalty for that.. or atleast everyone should be allowed to break the rules and get away with a reprimand… its tiring to see FIA letting mclaren off the hook again and again
    I agree with Ross Brawn… to get away like this is a “bit cheap”

  55. Jean-Christophe says:

    I agree. Except that no rules were breached at all.

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