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Hamilton loses qualifying time and criticises team tactics
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Hamilton loses qualifying time and criticises team tactics
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 May 2011   |  6:11 pm GMT  |  157 comments

Hamilton: A long way from pole (McLaren)

Lewis Hamilton has had his time from Q3 deleted by the stewards in Monaco as he missed the chicane. And speaking to TV reporters after the session he appeared to criticise his engineers for putting him in a vulnerable position, only doing one run at the end.

Other teams have expressed surprise at McLaren’s tactics, as Monaco is famous for throwing up incidents. For that reason most teams planned two Q3 runs of two laps each in case a run or a first lap was compromised.

The Englishman had been in the hunt for pole position, having set the fastest time in both the Q1 and Q2 sessions ahead of eventual pole sitter Sebastian Vettel.

But McLaren took the gamble on only sending him out only once on what was to be a three lap run. The first lap he came across Felipe Massa and the second was ongoing when Sergio Perez crashed.

With two and half minutes on the clock at the end, he went out to try to set a time but having sat at the end of the pit lane for a while his brakes and tyres had lost temperature and then like all drivers he found that the track had lost grip. He made a mistake at the braking point for the chicane, where Perez had crashed, and missed the chicane out.

A stewards’ statement this evening reads, “Deletion of the lap time 1:15.280 set at 15.37:44 in Q3, for “cutting a chicane.”

Hamilton looked very down when he came to speak to us in the TV pen after qualifying. His voice was quiet as he said, “The engineers advised we should do one stint at the end of Q3.

“I didn’t contest it, I think you always have to have a balanced view with the engineers, but I didn’t take into account – and I know the engineers didn’t – that in Monaco you can’t take risks and leave it right to the end, you have to get out and get a banker [lap] in, like everyone else did. With racing experience, you would assume most people would have that, but other things were going on and we didn’t have that.

“After the restart in Q3, I had no temperature in my tyres or my brakes, so I didn’t manage to pull a great lap together, “he added. “With hindsight, we probably should have put a banker in.

“I felt I’d been driving well all weekend and I had the pace to be on pole – I’m certain of that, in fact.”

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157 Comments
  1. nando says:

    I’m sure most will read the title and just jump all over Lewis. Fairly balance appraisal their blaming himself as well as the team.

    1. Dale says:

      agreed

    2. Damian J says:

      Fully agree. This is going to prove far too tempting to make false inferences from Hamilton’s responses to those tricky media questions.

  2. nash says:

    “criticizing” is not what it was.

    he just explained the decision making process and who decided what.

    1. Peter says:

      note that he didnt have the experience himself to insist on donig a banker lap. How long will he get away with playing the inocent fool and blaming everyting on the team?

      1. Martin P says:

        Spot on. Can you imagine Alonso sitting there quietly wondering if they were right or not?

  3. Alan says:

    Every error by the team pushes lewis closer and closer to the exit door. He cuts a very frustrated and angry young man these days

    1. Tim. says:

      He has already signed with Ferrari

      1. Dale says:

        No, it’s RedBull :-)

    2. Cliff says:

      If he can’t control his mouth in public it’s hard to see how he would galvanise a new team around him. As a fan of Mclaren it’s becoming tiresome.

      James, have you noticed any change in Lewis Hamilton since signed his new Manager?

  4. Darren says:

    what a shame!

    Hamilton had looked like he had the pace to take the fight to the Red Bulls at Monaco..now he’s stuck way down in 9th on a track thats impossible to overtake on.

    Sometimes McLaren can make things so difficult for themselves. I remember a similarly screwed up qualifying tactic for Monza 08..Hamilton got knocked out in Q2 while a Torro Rosso took pole!

  5. Pete says:

    He’s quick but he loses his head on occasion and this was one of them. Blaming the team is not an excuse.

    1. Peter G says:

      Pete.

      Agree with your comment. Hamilton needs to engage brain before mouth. He is making too many stupid statements this year.

  6. Nick4 says:

    Lewis seems to have missed the point that F1 is a team sport. Whilst he always praises the team when things go well, he is also quick to criticise them when things go wrong. One has to reflect that this is not good leadership on his part. Lewis should have demanded a different strategy rather then criticise his team afterwards when 20/20 hindsight is perfect. This a patent demonstration of one of Lewis’ weaknesses. Just get on and do the job Lewis. When you win you all win; when you lose you all lose.

    1. dzolve says:

      Considering how badly he was let down by his ‘team’s’ poor decision making today, he had every right to be livid but in truth showed remarkable self constraint.

    2. Love integrity says:

      Agree with Nick4 , wanna add a few things.
      He is most talented + favoured driver by his team,who has been given better car & staff , comparing to his teammate (many ppl agree with me).
      This must be the reason why he behaves like a spoilt kid who thinks everthing should be
      in his way as a nursling.
      Look at Webber, he is very sober enough to understand the reality that he has given less competent car and/or staff but do his job with tenacity.

      1. blakey says:

        quite possibly many people do agree with you, but that hardly makes the point valid.
        I know the mclaren team very well, and i most certainly would not agree that lewis has more talented people on his side of garage. If people want to give such throw away remarks, you should be able to name names so we can evaluate what you are claiming.

  7. aj says:

    Bad day at the office (my post qualifying, pre and post race sulk)
    by Lewis hamilton

    Or dig deep and anything can happen.

    I mean Button could still win this saving us from a possible vettel whitewash.

    1. hutch says:

      What would you call that?: A Vettelwash?, a Vetwash?, A Sebwash?… ;)

    2. Uncle Buck says:

      Excuse me? Button??

      1. eamonn says:

        Well said. Hope i dont have to eat my hat.

  8. hiohaa says:

    If you as a driver agreed beforehand that you’re going to do 1 run of 3 laps, with the engineers, how can you then turn around and criticise the engineers?
    i dont understand?

    1. nsx says:

      It seems Lewis like Mark Webber is not good at thinking for himself.

      I think here lies the difference between Lewis and Jenson. Jenson likes to have more input into the strategy and what he feels he wants to do and what he feels he can achieve on a given strategy.

      Really hoping Lewis can have a good race, perhaps with some luck from the safety car, because if the midget Vettel wins this race – god help us.

      1. Nick D says:

        Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

  9. Jeb Hoge says:

    I question whether this was Lewis really criticizing the engineers. As I read it, he seems to be taking plenty of the blame himself for not questioning the plan and not thinking about Monaco’s record for incidents during qualys. There’s a whole lot of “I” and “we” in those statements. I hate to see him get penalized so (although it’s a fair call), but I don’t see him pointing fingers. Maybe that’s just me, though.

    1. Peter Freeman says:

      I agree.[mod] the headline does not fit the content of the interview. Clearly he is not leaving the blame on the team, he FIRST blames himself and then moves to the team and from their he refers to “we”

      “but I didn’t take into account – and I know the engineers didn’t – that in Monaco you can’t take risks and leave it right to the end, you have to get out and get a banker [lap] in, like everyone else did. With racing experience, you would assume most people would have that, but other things were going on and we didn’t have that.”

      1. James Allen says:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/13585309.stm

        Read their take on the story. BBC reporter was in same interview as me, you going to accuse them of getting it wrong too?

      2. Peter C says:

        The BBC get many things wrong, that is why they are so often accused of bias & lazy reporting. Their motor racing coverage is good,though.

      3. Jeb Hoge says:

        It’s interesting, James, that your choice of quotes is much more supportive of my interpretation of Lewis than what the BBC reporter chose to run. I still think it reads as if Lewis is taking a lot of responsibility in this call, going by his words.

  10. James Draper says:

    Can’t really blame the team when you keep your mouth shut with respects to the decision!

    I have always thought that in qualifying that if there is a flag situation there should be time added say 5 mins to the session, ever since the Michael Schumacher parking incident.

    Still though rules are rules and mclaren got caught in a vulnerable position when they really can’t afford to make mistakes that any average fan can point out.

    1. Bevan says:

      I agree,the clock should pause instantly in qualifying when a track stopping incident occurs as 1 drivers mishap should in no way affect 23 other drivers & teams fortunes.
      But still the FIA like introducing false dramas into the equation it seems.
      Although I’d love to see the finger boy get his comeuppance it seems the only true contenders current can’t even get the basics right,I feel for Lewis & Button but my once great love,team McLaren are currently operated by a team of muppets who seem hell bent on losing the title & regularly shooting themselves in the foot at every available opportunity.
      “BRING BACK RON”

  11. Peter says:

    I am not sure he could have been on pole as Button got almost half a second from Vettel. Q1, Q2 don’t count much as Vettel always saves some extra for Q3. It seems with Hamilton it is always someone else to blame nowadays, Schumacher, Toros Rossos, Massa, strategy, car etc..he is getting more and more frustrated.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      Forgive me if I take Alonso’s word over yours. He’s out of position he would have been on pole but for ridiculous strategy error. He deserves criticism though, he often talks about hoe he pushes the team forward but in view of what happened today I think he nags rather than leads: he says his engineers decided on a strategy that he thought too risky yet he doesn’t challenge said strategy. I think Lewis needs to grow a pair and start taking charge of his own destiny.

      1. Martin P says:

        Alonso doesn’t waste his time or breath on meaningless comments. The only reason to say Lewis should have had pole is to play mind games with Vettel and Red Bull.

  12. ACB says:

    That’s a tough place for Lewis to be, but I would not count him out just yet; he is utterly fearless at Monaco. Frighteninly good and enjoys it. I suspect we’ll get a good showing from him despite the setbacks.

    1. Born 1950 says:

      Exactly.

      Lewis is frustrated. Wouldn’t you be if you knew you had been fastest in Q1 and Q2 and were all set for pole?

      He’s now got nothing to lose, so expect fireworks from him today. Mind you, his chances are very slim. If he does it it could be the most exciting Monaco of all time.

  13. Another nail in his McLaren Tenure coffin?

  14. Merlinghnd says:

    I am sure one of Hamiltons mantras in the past is “that you win together and lose together” which he seems to have forgotten these days.

    Vettel seems to be publicly behind all in the team and saves his critisism for behind the doors. Seems to be very effective.

    I am sure if I was one of Hamiltons engineers I would be a bit fed up with him, this is not the way to “motivate, lead and push” a team.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      The strategists at Mclaren deserve every bit of public criticism they get it’s not the first time they’ve dropped Hamilton in it because of incompetence only to see him get them out of jail. Hamilton’s fault lies in that he doesn’t lead from the front, just nags. He’s the driver he needs to take charge and start demanding instead of being a big girls blouse.

    2. Matthew says:

      I wouldn’t be too quick to praise Seb’s PR, as it happens he hadn’t had much to complain about recently. I remember a certain public gesture in Turkey 2010 that would’ve been best saved for the motorhome.

      Nonetheless, I was really impressed with Vettel today – you can’t luck your way into poles at Monaco, whatever you’re driving.

    3. Vedran says:

      Don’t worry about that, they KNOW they were wrong.

  15. D. says:

    There must have been a ton of money on Lewis to do well in quali. Only this can explain the “blunder” McLaren made today. Why did they not try the same one-off, 3-lap run w/ Button ? In the end, F1 is very much like all other professional sports.

  16. Sossoliso says:

    Muppet.. Track position is everything in Monaco, Everyone knows that. You do not need new tyres.. just Track position and avoid mistakes in the race you are OK. I must say McLaren appear to be making this strange decisions time after time.. it apears no one is in overall incharge at McLaren .. just a bunch of “Mates” having fun on Saturdays and sundays. No one appears to be in the position to make the hard calls at mcLaren. Well.. There you have.. Unless a Meteor hits monaco tomorrow, its over for Hamilton.

    Bring on 2012.

    1. Peter C says:

      McLaren making mistakes ‘time after time’?

      Slight exaggeration, I think.

      1. O.S says:

        I disagree. They did well with Button, got the banker lap in early just in case. After Nico’s crash in FP3 it was obvious there was a risk of an incident in Q3.

        Why is ‘strategy’ only blamed when it goea wrong?

        Vettel has been on the right strategy for 4/5 races this year, and won 4/5. The time he was on the wrong strategy he lost.

        As for your comments re: McLaren management – i presume you are a Hamilton fan who thinks that a lack of ‘hard calls’ cost him pole position. He has been in F1 long enough to know saving tyres in Monaco has little gain. Perhaps they will stick him on an alternative strategy to junp the people in front at the pit stops – those Mercedes are very wide to follow..

  17. WiLL says:

    Does this mean Hamilton can start with what ever tyres he wants?

    1. Galapago555 says:

      I understand that he will have to start on the tyres he used to set the time that allowed him to take part on Q3, i.e., the ones with which he “set his grid time”.

      From the FIA 2011 Sporting Regulations:

      “25) SUPPLY OF TYRES IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND TYRE LIMITATION DURING THE EVENT
      (…)
      d) At the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time. This will only be necessary if dry-weather tyres were used to set the grid time and if dry-weather are used at the start of the race.”

      [Btw, he set his fastest lap time on Q2 with the option tyres, didn't he?]

      1. Rebecca says:

        But Hamilton hasn’t set a grid-time, as his only time was deleted. Q2 times only count as grid-times for 11th-17th on the grid. However, it won’t make any difference at all, because by having to go out again following Perez’s accident Hamilton probably stuck another new set of options on. I don’t know for definite, but I doubt he’s got a brand new set for the race.

  18. Mark L says:

    I just wish he’d take a bit more responsibility for his actions. Did the engineers force him to miss the chicane?

    1. J S says:

      You’re not thinking like somebody that blames things on other people. To this mindset the answer to your question is an exclaimed “of course the team are to blame!”

      They put him on the spot, hence left him no room for an incident (his own or others, in this case we saw both). He would of been on pole if it wasn’t for the bumbling team!

      Lewis is one of my favourite drivers. Yet, I’ve felt that McLaren and Lewis tend to out-think themselves from time to time. And usually Lewis claims he was badly advised. It is beginning to leave a bad taste.

  19. Baz Barrow says:

    Very poor decision by the team but Lewis should have over ruled them. Monaco is too much of a gamble not to put a banker lap in and even DC commented how strange it was that Lewis was out of the car as q3 began.

    Lewis was in a great position to challenge for pole today and if he had of done I would have made £860 so to say I was frustrated with this poor decision is an understatement.

    Like no other circuit this will also ruin his chances in the race and is therefore the most important circuit to put a banker in. Very poor decision.

  20. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    Any insight on why they didnt do the same for Button?
    Lewis seems like a very frustrated man at Mclaren at the moment, like he can see Vettel and this era slipping away

    1. Nick says:

      I suspect because button didn’t want to take that approach. while undoubtedly one of the very fastest drivers, lewis doesn’t seem to lead his team particularly well and seems too ready to let the team make decisions for him. Can you imagine schumacher or senna making this blunder, even if their team advised them not to go out?

      1. Nick Hipkin says:

        They probably did at some point in their career but only blamed the team behind closed doors, Lewis needs to think for himself more if he wants to be considered the most complete driver on the grid

  21. colingc says:

    yeah i thought i saw him miss the chicane and immediately shouted “oh no” but nobody was around to hear me, and the commentators didn’t say anything about it so i thought maybe i had seen wrong…

  22. RichardB says:

    As much as I like Lewis he does annoy me at times. Everytime a strategy doesn’t work he blames the team, he should be more decisive and think for himself. That’s why some say Alonso is the better driver as a package.

    1. Ricardo Consulini says:

      Agreed.

      1. nsx says:

        Like Abu Dhabi 2010?

        Come on guys, Fernando doesn’t always think for himself either. More so than Lewis, but less so than Jenson Button.

    2. Nick Hipkin says:

      Definitely, its a weakness that Lewis has never really addressed. He is a bit more like Kimi in that he just likes to turn up, get in and drive

    3. Andy says:

      Funny, I think that when it comes to blame-the-team game, Alonso is still the clear number one (*cough* my team sabotaged my race because they don’t want me to take #1 to another team *cough*…).

      I haven’t really seen Lewis blame the team that much; of the McLaren drivers, I think Jenson has been the more vocal one in blaming the team. I do agree that it is very annoying when drivers do that, no matter who it is. They should have enough self-respect and trust in their own talent to be able to own up to their mistakes.

      1. Peter C says:

        @ Andy

        I agree entirely. I think Jenson is better this season, but then the 2011 car suits him much better. It became very tiresome to hear him constantly saying ‘No grip’ in 2010, but his strong point is his ability to think for himself.

        One of the problems, in the age of 24hr rolling news, is that drivers are constantly having microphones thrust in their faces. One word (or several) out of place & the press will jump on it, misinterpret it, hype it up out of proportion – and we the public soak it up!

        I’m sure they would rather drive cars fast than learn to be diplomats!

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Yeah, we all could see him blaming the team for last years catastrophe…

        Btw, I though this article was about Lewis blaming McLaren, wasn’t it?

    4. While McLaren split their 2 world champions, having one with speed and one with sense, Ferrari decided to have a double world champion that had both! ;)

    5. F1Fan4Life says:

      I really can’t believe why Hamilton is complaining all the time of late it seems. He is in the best team there is other than Red Bull, and they clearly treat him in my opinion like a #1. He should be thankful. Whats his alternative…? Go to Red Bull? Lewis isn’t as consistent as Vettel has been this year..he’d have a tougher time if he were in a Red Bull which is a team geared for Vettel..

  23. Bayan says:

    First of all, glad to hear Perez is fine. That looked like a hard hit.

    Please Lewis, don’t hold back, speak your mind. Engineers got it wrong, you are the only one who can beat Vettel this year in a slower car (I wonder if he can do that in the Lotus or the HRT), you are the only one with testicular fortitude etc…

    I still think Vettel would have gotten the pole if Perez hadn’t crashed. The lap was, for the lack of a better work, awesome! You could just see him taking that car to the absolute limit.

  24. Keith says:

    Hamilton is a very good driver who I like, but the constant complaints about team strategy (pit stops, tyres, etc.) are getting annoying. Top drivers may take advice, but ultimately they make the decision.

    We’ve heard in the past Button say “I decided” on several occasions when he chose to overrule McLaren advice. It’s time Lewis did the same.

    (Also don’t think public criticism of his team is advisable)

    1. Serrated_Edge says:

      Agree, Button intimated after Turkey it was his call to go for a three stop strategy and admitted i was probaly the wrong choice but didnt blame the team.

    2. nsx says:

      Perhaps like Mark Webber, Lewis is not smart enough to make these decisions for himself.

      1. nsx says:

        Jenson Button on the otherhand is smart enough.

  25. rodger says:

    Hamilton is a supremely talented driver, but he has said a few things recently that make him look silly.
    Whenever something goes wrong it’s someone else’s fault. He needs to take ownership.
    His teammate is a percect example of how he should be behaving.
    I suggest Hamilton let’s hid driving do the talking from now on.

  26. Kowalski says:

    Hamilton really doesn’t make himself easy to like does he? He seems to be the worst case of ‘Win alone, lose as a team’ that i have seen in a driver…

    Compare him to how Alonso reacted to the last race of last season.

    The kid needs to grow up some…

    1. Anthony says:

      you mean by pointing fingers and throwing the car to petrov in abu dhabi?

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Pointing fingers? Throwing the car? I think we saw different races…

        I think that Kowalski means not blaming the Team for all the problems you have, and accepting that the wrong call was made by the same people that took you to the point you currently are.

        But probably Kowalski could shed some light on what he or she was trying to express.

      2. Anthony says:

        Yeah he didnt blame anyone, ask that to Chris Dryer

    2. Brad says:

      A point well made.

  27. Steve JR says:

    As Alonso said after qually, it’s not a true grid but that’s motor racing and Lewis should have been out there earlier. Seems strange the McLaren strategists don’t take into account this kind of scenario playing out in the walled corridors of Monte Carlo

    1. fiona says:

      Though I agree with you, IF McLaren’s strategy for Hamilton had worked, we’d be hailing them as genii!

  28. Ged says:

    So James can you clarify, as his lap was deleted is he allowed now to choose what set of tyres he will start with? Or is it a case of he set a time, has to start with those same tyres & then subsequently receives a penalty. I’d assume the latter but it could be either I suppose.

  29. Damian J says:

    Poor strategy from McLaren. On the most important race of the whole season where track position counts for everything, they adopt a casual approach to Q3. How many times does one have to say “Put in a banker lap!”.

    It’s very frustrating for the armchair critic to see this as it happens to McLaren at least once every season!

    1. Galapago555 says:

      It could be worse, could you imagine a bad strategy call that costs WDC on the very last race of the season?

      1. Damian J says:

        As an armchair critic I can sympathise with the frustration at the ‘lunacy’ of some team/driver decisions.

        Probably not much comfort for you but I would be tempted to give Ferrari some leeway from criticism for their strategy decisions during that final race of the season as they were not so clear cut until afterwards, albeit costly.

        Failing to put in a banker lap on the most difficult overtaking circuit in the whole season is more difficult to forgive.

  30. Zack says:

    Will Lewis be able to start on the harder of the two tyres tomorrow?

    He has to do something different strategy wise to the guys in front who will be starting on the super softs otherwise he will pretty much finish where he starts.

    1. Chris G says:

      I don’t think he will be allowed to, he set his fastest time on those tyres … counted, otherwise it will probably be an advantge to him

      1. Matt says:

        This is the question. If he is he may well win the race.

      2. Chris G says:

        That was my answer, as far as I am aware, he can’t use fresh tyres as he set his fastest time (unlike MS last week who didn’t set a time) on a set of tyres and must use for the start

  31. Stu says:

    Seems like there is a lot of dissent in the ranks from Hamilton this season!

  32. Steve says:

    I thought it was a tactical error by McLaren, but I’m getting a bit fed up with Hamilton lately. If he does well it is because he is brilliant and when he doesn’t it is someone else’s fault.

    Reading between the lines (not requiring any great perception) he is basically saying ‘I am the best out there”. He may be, but personally I don’t think there is much at all between Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso. IMHO none of these guys has the capacity to beat the other if their car/strategy is not as good.

    1. dzolve says:

      You’re not ‘reading between the lines’ you’re making things up! Hamilton never insinuated he was the ‘best out there’ at all, just that he didn’t agree, in hindsight, with his engineer’s advice, no?

    2. Peter says:

      100% agree.

  33. Chris G says:

    I think LH is a great attacking driver, of the sort we probably haven’t seen since Senna …. but all these a)It’s the teams fault b)Its another teams fault c) I’m the only driver who could d) I was blocked …. just make me want JB to beat him

    1. Peter says:

      Alonso, Raikkonen, Schumacher all have been quite attacking at the peak of their careers. Kobayashi..

      1. Chris G says:

        I did say probably ;-)

  34. Bloke says:

    Methinks Hamilton needs to lose a bit of the arrogance (“Im the only driver that can beat Vettel in a slower car”) and the propensity to blame the team when things dont go perfectly.

  35. Deuce says:

    I wonder why he even bothered to finish the qualifying lap. Guess he thought he could get away with it. He certainly never made any mention of it during any of the post-qualifying interviews. At least he didn’t outright lie to stewards again.

  36. Ricardo Consulini says:

    That’s where it hurts not to have a driver of Alonso’s calibre. Last year Ferrari had a problem with the mapping of the engine in qualifying at Singapore and told Alonso to return to the garage. His immediate response was: Not without putting a lap in first.

    1. Damian J says:

      Good point!

  37. Malcolm says:

    I have a question that someone may be able to help me with. Who has the final say on race strategy, the race stategist’s at Woking, or the race engineers at the track?

  38. Andy says:

    Hamilton only really has himself to blame. He’s a seasoned driver and knows the risks around Monaco, particularly as the need to keep fresh tyres for the race is not as important as grid position.
    With his experience he should have known better, but maybe his criticism of the team is a result of the fact that he was out driven by Button.

  39. Rich C says:

    Perhaps next time he’ll insist on getting in the banker lap in spite of what the boffins say?

  40. FrankF1 says:

    Hamilton confirmed as naive and inexperienced hot-shoe. Older heads knew better – Lewis, if you couldn’t call it yourself to go out earlier, stop whining.

  41. Kedar says:

    James will you do us a favor and tell mclaren that though the fan designed overalls is a good way to connect with fans but it’s becoming too much of an eyesore and the designs are downright disgusting.

  42. Richard says:

    A week ago doing one run and saving a set of tyres set Hamilton up with an advantage going into the race. It’s obvious that they decided to try the same again but it didn’t work this time with a slower car on lap 1 and then the Perez incident. Totally wrong to blame the team as he must have been part of the strategy.

    1. James Allen says:

      But you don’t really want super soft tyres for the race..

  43. devilsadvocate says:

    Vettel said, after he and Webber both dismounted after their q3 laps in turkey, that a risky strategy looks great when you pull it off and people immediately criticize you when you get it wrong. Case and point, if Perez hadn’t chucked it and Hamilton had gotten his fast lap and claimed pole every discussion board on the Internet would be talking about how brave and masterful Lewis is and how everyone will be playing catchup without extra tires, heck even if he didn’t get pole but was close, everyone would be slating him to win because he had new tires. He didn’t so now he is gonna take it out on his team, no surprise there either.

  44. Stewart says:

    NOOOOOO, what a disaster!

    Hamilton is clearly our best hope of not seeing Vettel run away with the championship this year.

    Maybe Button and Hamilton can switch cars?

    Still I’m looking forward to Hamilton proving that you can overtake in Monaco ;-)

  45. Mark V says:

    I’m no psychoanalyst (I just play one on the internet), but my guess a major reason why Lewis is so dejected is because his dream of becoming “the next Senna” may be appearing to be a lot slimmer, Senna having won 6 prestigious Monaco GPs. Unlike his hero Senna, Lewis was unable to magically will himself to pole and so he may be feeling a lot more average than in the past. Lewis probably won’t win this year, and the next time he tries to get only the second of his precious Monaco trophies the competition next year will be no less tough (especially if he finds himself looking for a new seat).

    Then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  46. F1Fan says:

    I think some of you are being a bit harsh on Hamilton. Look at the totality of the circumstances. After winning the WDC in 2008, Mclaren failed to provide him a competitive car in 2009 with which he could suitably defend that WDC. And last year the car wasn’t on par with the Red Bull. Much of what we saw last year was Hamilton overdriving the car to extract every last ounce of performance in it. That was reflected in the gap between him and Button.

    This year it’s more of the same. Consider what McLaren’s points tally would have been like these past 3 years if Hamilton approached matters like some other drivers on the grid, taking what the car had and leaving it at that. And then to add to the frustration, undeniably McLaren has made some questionable strategy calls in that time.

    And of course let’s not forget that last year After Hamilton collided with Webber, Whitmarsh publicly stated that Hamilton should not change his driving style, that he was a racer at heart and he should keep that same approach. So what did Whitmarsh say after Turkey? That Hamilton should not always be so aggressive. And he said that publicly when arguably it could have been said in private.

    The truth is that the past 3 years Hamilton has salvaged some respectability for Whitmarsh and McLaren. Just look at the turmoil over at Ferrari. Hamilton is certainly entitled to be frustrated. And if the team is willing to call him out, why can’t the return the favor?

    Yes, Hamilton probably should have questioned the strategy for Q3. But it’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t kind of thing. He objects too much and then he isn’t a team player. So now tomorrow Hamilton is put in the position of trying to salvage as many points as he can, even as his boss would prefer he took a more genteel approach to his racing.

    Sometimes I think that Whitmarsh goes so far out of his way to dispel any beliefs that Hamilton is favored in the team, that it almost appears as if he doesn’t really enjoy Hamilton’s presence on the team. Unrealistic I know but the appearance is sometimes there.

  47. irish con says:

    hamilton says he would of been on pole and says now that vettel win rung away with it despite button being on front row. is that not a very bad comment for the team more than anything else he has said.

    1. Damian J says:

      Hamilton’s times showed that he was the only one who was going to beat Vettel for pole position.

      So Vettel is on pole on the most diffcult overtaking circuit. Would you bet against Vettel not winning?

      I think Hamilton is just saying how it is…nothing more than that.

  48. Serrated_Edge says:

    Poor from Hamilton IMO, he could have asked the team to go out earlier, surley its a joint decision between thr driver and team?

  49. Komieko says:

    LEWIS,

    Keep your head in the game. One set back does not make the race. Did you not burst your tire in 2008 when you won the race. Engineers definitely made a wrong decision. Do not compound it by getting done and out. Chin up, gloves tight and go get them!

  50. Mark says:

    I am a huge fan of Lewis over here in the USA, but I must say that it seems like every other race or so he makes it harder to stay a fan. Speaking out against the team in public like this (ONCE AGAIN) is just NOT professional. He behaves a bit like a spoiled child, and it is getting old, even for someone who is a huge fan of his.

    By the way, Vettel can behave like a spoiled child as well when things don’t go his way (remember last year?), but this year he has been all smiles of course, based on the year-to-date results.

  51. ram says:

    dont you just hate it when a driver actually gives his opinion!…..er wait a minute,no thats not right.listen to you guys.who would you be hating on if he wasn’t around?

    1. Peter C says:

      So very true. Great post.

  52. Kev says:

    Well, the team took the decision on the qualifying strategy but you accepted their thoughts which makes it error on both the team and you, Mr.Lewis.

    Try using the word ‘WE’ and say that WE made an error in deciding the strategy; it may work out well next time.

    Your success is not attributed fully to your driving, there is a team working their backs out to put you in the best possible position. Respect them.

    S**t happens but you have to move on without putting the team in the spotlight.

  53. Cliff says:

    Lewis’s words don’t come sound like he is critical of the team for sending out late. What does come through is his inability to assess the situation and make his own decisions, or atleast influence the final strategy. Hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps he should have looked to the other side of the garage and ask himsel “what does JB know that I don’t know?” (JB wasn’t caught out) Just like Melbourne in 2010,he is questioning the decision after the event. He may be the quickest driver in the Team, but he is yet to show the qualities of a Team Leader.

  54. Luke Robbins says:

    Don’t know why Button’s engineers made a different decision ?

    Lewis is definitely a brilliantly quick driver, but it seems all the bad calls get made when he’s involved. If he thinks that ‘you always need to get a banker in at Monaco’ then how about expressing your viewpoint and pushing for your idea? I can’t see JB just accepting decisions like this if he isn’t happy with them. Lewis is faster than Jenson, but Lewis is pretty naive and stupid imo, the guy needs to grow up.

    Fingers crossed JB can do the business tomorrow and put some life back in the championship. Credit to Seb, not many had him for pole this weekend. Great car, but wow, what a great driver the lad is.

  55. More a statement of the facts than a criticism.

    Lewis admitted he didn’t challenge the strategy therefore implying that he too hadn’t considered the possibility of an incident ruining his day. That’s not being arrogant either.

    Of course he would say what he said, it’s fact and, in hindsight, both the engineers and he should have ensured he had a banker lap in the bag.

    If this was a criticism it was pretty mild and of both of the team and himself. Nothing Lewis said compares with the way Mark Webber was strongly criticising Red Bull last year, sometime with good reason.

    Lewis has only one goal and is totally focussed on winning. He’s a young man and errors like these are very frustrating. I think it’s a bit harsh to criticise him for what he said.

    As for leaving, Lewis knows that there’s only one place he could go that would give him at least as good a chance of another WDC and that’s Red Bull.

    He also knows that he will never get maximum support there.

    There seem to me an awful lot of so-called fans out there ready to criticise Hamilton
    for the slightest thing. I suspect most of them are Alonso or Ferrari fans.

    Unless Jenson can pull something out of the bag on Sunday, don’t forget that Lewis is the only driver that’s proved capable of keeping Vettel honest this year and he’s done it in a slightly inferior car.

  56. cjf says:

    Will Lewis be man enough to appologise to the team?

    A fascinating insight into his personality that he would sit and blame the team for his failure to qualify better whilst at the same time presumably knowing he had cut the chicane.

    I really wish he would stop blaming various other people when he does not get the outcome he wants (Schmacher, Torra Rosso, Massa, McLaren…).

    It’s interesting to contrast the way Alonso has praised, motivated and built his team around him despite having been given a second rate car, with the way Lewis seems to be almost carelessly risking alienating the team he depends upon to help him win.

    Topically, I remember a story of how when he binned his car last year at Monaco, Alonso hand wrote an apology, had it copied and handed out to the staff at Ferrari HQ apologising for wasting their hard work.

  57. Ketan says:

    Venue: Monaco, Street circuit, Qualifying strategy for Q1 to 3: Do a banker lap. (This is what Mclaren will use for Monaco 2012 GP). And for Lewis Hamilton, take advice from Jenson and do the same and come out early to do a banker lap (common-sense).

  58. Rafael says:

    This is probably a sign of Lewis getting tired/bored with McLaren. As with all partnerships, you get worn out working with the other party after sometime – things are especially magnified when you’re not winning. I never believed Lewis when he said he’ll end his career at McLaren; unless maybe he retires now!

    He probably also needs to get a proper racing manager: I think his new one is putting all sorts of things into his head and giving him visions of grandeur that he doesn’t need as an F1 driver, hence diluting his focus.

  59. Tom in adelaide says:

    I think some people are reading this wrong. Lewis is critising the team, of which he is a large part, not pointing fingers and saying “those guys stuffed up”. That’s the way i read it anyway….

  60. Mario says:

    In the same interview Hamilton hoped to hop one place up due to one of the drivers being dropped. Any idea who was he thinking about?
    In the end anyway, it was him who was dropped.

    Lewis needs to be more assertive and contest his engineers if he thinks he should. No point moaning too. In other words the kid needs to grow up.

    1. Stephen W says:

      I think it was Massa who “apparently” blocked his flying run in Q2. The stewards decided his complaint wasn,t justified.

  61. Matt B says:

    Makes me laugh that Button CONSTANLTY blames his strategy but when the one time Hamilton does it, its worthy of a headline. He admitted he was also wrong. Would we prefer it if they never spoke there mind? It seems there are streotypes for every driver that never disappear. But then that makes sports journalism easier doesn’t it.

    1. Andrew J says:

      What’s wrong with stating your strategy was wrong? Nothing, as long as you don’t distance yourself from it.

      Button generally accepts that he has a part to play in those strategic decisions, whereas Hamilton seems to be distancing himself from involvement.

  62. M Wishart says:

    I have read most of the comments on here and not one person is seeing it from another angle. Yes it turned out wrong for Lewis because he did not get a banker in, but the other view is this, if the crash had not happened and lewis did get pole by only using 1 set of tyres, how good would it have looked for him and the team making the right call, like he did a few races ago, saving a set for the race, but hindsight!!!

    1. I totally agree with your statement, however in hindsight they should have done one or two pole laps and then come in, just like Vettel and Jenson did due to the nature of this track. A lesson will surely be made, there is a big risk in trying to save your tyres at Monaco, which proved during qualifying…… that’s luck. But in hindsight if there was no crash, I am certain Lewis would have been on Pole and most probably had won the Monaco GP…

  63. Klaus Larvik says:

    What a spoiled little kid. Such a shame. He could become one of the greates. However it will never happen. What’s next? Try to force a move to that “drinks company”?

  64. Ryan Basterfield says:

    Sporting regulation 25.4e) states “At the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time.” Hamilton is listed in the Q3 results as setting “No time”.

    I think he should be able to start on a fresh set of tyres.

    1. Ryan Eckford says:

      I was reading the regulations not long ago and he should be able to do this.

  65. Bill Ware says:

    What we are seeing is the real Lewis Hamilton.

    Why is anyone surprised at his whining fits of apportioning blame? A man’s true measure is what he shows when things aren’t going so well, not when he’s winning.

    And I might point out that the whole idea of doing only one run in Q3 is to save a set of options for the race. I seem to recall this very tactic working quite well in China. I dare say that it was Hamilton made the final call today.

  66. zombie says:

    a) He was “cared for” by Mclaren right from his boyhood days and never had to worry about finding sponsors.
    b) Graduated to F1 and walked straight into the chambers of the 2nd most successful team in the history of F1.
    c)With a billion $ facility,best engineers and best car he never had to sweat it out putting the team together and toiling from tail to front.
    d)Won 2008 world championship.
    e)2 newcomer teams (Brawn/RedBull) started winning everything under the sun from 2009 and things started getting a bit tough for Hamilton.
    f)Toys are now flying out of the Hamilton-pram a bit too often. And when he is not busy biting the hands that fed him, you’ll find him self-aggrandizing by saying things like “I’m the only one who can challenge Vettel, and i’m in a slow car!” .

    Goes to show why MS highly respected not just within Ferrari but also by rival team principals. You never wash dirty linen in public, and never ever criticize your team in any sports.

  67. Stevr says:

    They simply made a mistake, a bad call. No need for a royal commission just have a glass of concrete and get on with it

  68. Simon Ng says:

    I think Hamilton needs to grow up. Monaco is famous for incidents. Sometimes things happens, sometimes it does not.

    The Mclaren team took a gamble and was disrupted by Sergio’s crash. So, just suck it up. That is what I call “life”. Everyone goes through that.

    By the way, I have supported Hamilton ever since he joined F1.

  69. Alex of Sydney says:

    Noticed how its me, me, me?
    -i’m the only 1 that can beat vettel in a slower car
    -waves his hands at other drivers
    -conspiracy by all other teams against Hamilton etc etc

    How about taking some responsibility? Great drivers and leaders, overrule and question when they don’t agree with something, and lead the team with great insight. Something Hamilton obviously lacks.

    Top drive by Vettel, and as well as Hamilton was driving in Q1 and Q2, he was never going to touch Vettel’s 1:13.5.

  70. Lewis Jones says:

    ‘I didn’t contest it’ – well I’m sorry Lewis but you’ve been in F1 for five seasons now, so you really should have the confidence to dictate how you handle Q3 at Monaco and not seek to blame your engineers. Bit disappointed with his attitude to be honest.

  71. paddy says:

    Poor Lewis, now all we need is for Vettel to bin it and its been a great weekend. These two should be team mates next year, Helmut would love it. I don’t care how fast they drive they are bad for the sport and are just bad sports in general.

  72. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Hamilton has had an interesting time since he burst onto the scene as RD’s protege, and managed by his father. Neither is currently involved (overtly, at least) in his career, and the further into the past that period recedes, the more one hears Lewis make statements that raise people’s eyebrows. In many respects, these are understandable growing pains: The guy is still very young. Less generously, and much of the criticism LH receives falls into this category, his moves are viewed as those of a spoiled brat.

    That’s a harsh assessment. But…

    Someone help me out here. I can think of no Ron Dennis-era McLaren protege and/or McLaren Young Driver Award Winner that has been supported from the outset of his career, bottom to top, the way Hamilton has been. More often, McLaren has (1) tossed them aside for the next big thing (Heidfeld for Raikonnen); (2) ignored them (Dario Franchitti); or (3) patted them on the head as an “also stand and wait” wingman/No. 2 (DC). In that respect, Lewis is apparently unique in post-Project 4 McLaren history, raised from the cradle to win the F1 title.

    In that respect, I truly feel sorry for him; it feels far too much like he’s the outcome of some coldly clinical lab experiment entitled, “Let’s Grow An F1 Champion.” Now that Prof. A. Hamilton and Dr. R. Dennis aren’t running the experiment, Lewis is out of the incubator. He’s simply being human, finding his way, probably with (McLaren Laboratories) team management now (post-successful experiment) less invested in him as THE guy, showing all his flaws and strengths as he does so. (Insert obvious Tiger Woods analogy here).

    Lewis’ will be an interesting story for some time. Has he gotten frustrated (as another ex-champion – JV- apparently did), with his inability to easily dispense with JB, an “interloper” in the team formed around, and for, him? Will Lewis storm off to a new team, determined to secure undisputed No. 1 status? Will he stick it out at McLaren?

    Will he win tomorrow? I may be wrong, but I doubt it. I don’t doubt that he’ll give it one helluva ride trying.

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      And I’d love to see him take a crack at the Indy 500 at some point. If it was worth it to Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Graham Hill and JYS to miss Monaco, if they were willing to risk their reputations, why not?

    2. Rudy Pyatt says:

      And Lewis panics into error… drive through. Ouch.

  73. clyde says:

    hamilton is a very quick and exiting driver and along with Alonso the only one capable of wringing that extra bit out of a bad car…..[mod] some of his statements border on delusion (Im the Senna of ths era and Alonso is my prost )…..Its time he grew up and remembers that all that is thought need no be spoken….remember Alonso still hasent told his version what happened in 2007 at mclaren….and by the way Hammy will never be Senna :-)

  74. JohnBt says:

    Lewis will be racing hard, that’s what I want to watch. Just watch Hamilton go racing.

  75. D@X says:

    I think Lewis is an ok driver and like his hero he is out spoken and that’s a good thing. The passion and fire is what I pay to watch. These guys are not robots and like any sport, if you get tackled hard you just don’t smile and walk away. We have heard Alonso throw his toys out of his basket and so has Vettle. This is good as it draws a picture as to what’s actually going on in the drivers head and is good for tv. As a driver you have to give feedback and this should ensure they strive to give the driver the best options. For all you know Lewis and the team were out on a jolly last night having a laugh over it.like every media machine you can never get the full story…

  76. Keith Walberg says:

    Granted Lewis take a bit of the blame here but he still owns the lion’s share of the blame. I think both the McLaren drivers are slightly mollycoddled in that they are allowed to talk about team errors when it comes to decisions like this.

    The driver should not just nod a long with this sort of thing I can think of many of the past greats who would have said no this is Monaco we will do two runs, one early.

    What confuses me is that he blames engineers for the call? Engineers are the people who screw the car together not make decisions on the pit wall. So I am not sure if this is some sort of slur against the team from Hamilton trying to say he is the sporting guy and the rest just do the spanner work.

  77. Ryan Eckford says:

    James, could Hamilton start on the soft(prime) tyre since his fastest and only time in Q3 got deleted, or would he have to start on the super soft(option) tyre?

  78. Monkey Nuts says:

    Whitmarsh is the biggest problem. Not a true winner.

  79. Forzaminardi says:

    Hamilton always seems a bit moany when team tactics don’t quite play out. That’s simply how it rolls sometimes, tactics worked for him in China and Spain and didn’t here. The fact he says “he didn’t contest it” suggests he still has a bit to learn – if he thinks something is wrong at the time, he should speak up!

  80. Monkey Nuts says:

    And I think we all know that if it’d been Hamilton on an out lap holding up Alonso, say, not Massa spoiling Ham’s lap, there’d have been a stewards’ enquiry at the very least, and very likely a penalty for Ham…

    PS Can’t help thinking that the headline for this piece is a bit OTT, considering what Hamilton actually said (where he definitely criticised himself as much as anyone else) – James must surely know that a headline like that’s gonna bring out all the bile from the same old Hammy-haters, so I wonder why he decided to go all tabloid for the ‘story’..

    1. Rebecca says:

      Massa got of the way as soon as was possible. The TV cameras followed them the whole way, the track simply isn’t wide enough there for Massa to have moved over safely. Also, he was far enough ahead that I doubt Hamilton was truly impeded by him. As the commentators on the BBC said, he was distracted, not blocked.

  81. Dale says:

    .
    What a shame as Hamilton could and would have given us a great show.
    Let’s be honest, it’s not really a race at Monaco is it? No matter how fast Hamilton will be during the race there is simply no way he could ever win from 9th on the grid unless the 8 in front fall off the track as he just wouldn’t be able to overtake.

    I so remember M
    ansell chasing Senna in a much much faster Williams car but all Senna needed to do was place his car on the racing line, any other track with the two cars having the same relative form Mansell would have won as good as we all know Senna was, the Williams was just too fast for the McLaren on that day.

    Yes Monaco is a great speticle but a real race it ain’t!!!

  82. terryshep says:

    On one hand, people complain that drivers are ‘corporate robots’ who only chant the party line and never have opinions of their own. On the other, last year, everybody said “How refreshing” when Mark Webber spoke his mind about his concerns.

    So I ask you, what do you want from Lewis? Robot or human? Yes, he might get it wrong sometimes, humans do that. Haven’t you?

    Incidentally, I don’t see 9th on the grid as the end of the story, either. You are going to see this ‘no overtaking at Monaco’ myth exploded today.

  83. Mike K says:

    As someone who has always had Hamilton as my favourite driver I must say he does seem to have changed for the worse lately.
    His true character for an F1 driver is borderline sweet and he is essentially a very nice guy.
    I think something has happened to him beyond the car perhaps the stuff with his dad and Jenson joining the team and I think he’s kind of lost his identity.

  84. Sergio says:

    From Monaco GP Press Conference 2007 Lewis is the same. You can name his outbursts like “justice” or “for the team” measures or maybe just say complaints. The sad question here is the effects to be a whiner so many years just because one “Empire” needs desesperately an Sport Icon.

  85. Alan Dove says:

    Tensions will inevitably rise when Lewis continually watches Vettel pole it with considerable ease. He knows mistakes like this are pretty much handing Vettel the championship. Only perfection is needed by Mclaren to stop Seb walking away with the title.

    Monaco was the turning point for the championship and it’s gone massively in Vettel’s favour.

    If it were me that had blown it in quali, that lovely diamond encrusted helmet would have made a very close friend in the shape of the pit floor :)

  86. Pallys says:

    Shocking race by McLaren strategy.

    “Box to overtake Lewis”

    and they are not there….LoL!

    Cost Button the win also.

    And the only reason Lewis makes his comments public is because Whitmarsh does the same and criticises Lewis in public. Things like “Lewis was an experiment that went horrible wrong” etc….

  87. Phillip Mullings says:

    Mr. Allen:
    Since you have interview access to Lewis can you please remind him to put his brain in gear before opening his mouth?? Yes he is a talent and a very exciting driver and as much as I admire his skill and tenacity, he drove yesterday’s race like a wild GP2 rookie! He tried impossible moves at the hairpin with Massa and again with Maldonado [mod] In my opinion a F1 champion should drive like a champion all the time. Just look at the controlled drives by Button, Vettel and Alonso.
    At this stage of Hamilton’s career he should be driving better not worse.

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