Hamilton in the thick of things again
Hamilton in the thick of things again
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Apr 2010   |  11:14 am GMT  |  323 comments

Lewis Hamilton put in another fighting drive from 20th on the grid to finish 6th in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

But he said afterwards that the McLaren team need to stop making life difficult for themselves and drew some criticism from Renault for the way he resisted the challenge of Vitaly Petrov.

Hamilton: Pushing the limits (Darren Heath)

Hamilton changed direction four times in front of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and was warned by the stewards for his driving, but not penalised.

The incident happened at the start of lap eight. Hamilton had passed Petrov into the final corner at the end of lap five, but the Russian had caught him out by staying in his slipstream down the pit straight and getting a tow and he then re-passed Hamilton into turn one on lap six.

McLaren’s F duct rear wing helped Hamilton on the straight to reach 300km/h, whereas Petrov’s fastest through the speed trap had been 291km/h. Earlier in the weekend’s practice sessions the Renault had been the second fastest car through the trap, so they may have added a little more wing for qualifying and the race, perhaps with the prospect of rain.

Renault team principal Eric Boullier was unhappy that Hamilton was not punished for what he saw as a clear case of weaving,
“It is very clear in the regulations that you can have one change of direction, so when you do three in a row something is wrong, ” said Boullier.

“He got a warning for dangerous driving, but I am not sure it is enough. It is definitely clearly written in the regulations that you can not do any more than one direction change, and it is something you should not be doing.”

At first sight it appeared that Hamilton was weaving, but what made the incident unusual was that Petrov was not diving around trying to pass the McLaren on the straight, he was trying to stay in his slipstream to get a tow. However he was pretty close to the back of the McLaren and after Hamilton moved to the inside for Turn 1, Petrov went around the outside and tried to pass him, so you could argue that he was trying to pass him all along and was being blocked. Does this make what Hamilton did weaving or just shaking off a tow?

It is interesting that the stewards, one of whom was Johnny Herbert, thought he was weaving and warned him at the time, but let him off without penalty. This sends out the signal that they felt what he did was dangerous, but not dangerous enough to require sanction. Perhaps Herbert’s influence encouraged tolerance.

With F1 walking a fine line with the potential lack of excitement due to the rule changes, it seems that the message from the stewards at the moment is that they want to encourage overtaking. It would have been interesting to see how this story might have taken off differently had it been a front running Ferrari or Mercedes driver Hamilton was trying to shake off.

No doubt the incident will be on the agenda for the drivers’ briefing in Shanghai as drivers seek clarification of what is and is not acceptable.

Hamilton was coming through the field after a disastrous qualifying session in which the McLaren and Ferrari teams relied too heavily on radar information and not enough on human intuition and left their cars in the garage rather than get a banker lap in at the start of qualifying. It presented an open goal to rivals Red Bull and Mercedes, who took full advantage by filling the podium places.

“We can’t afford to have races like that,” Hamilton said afterwards. “I don’t know how many more of those kinds of races I can do. It’s not easy at all. The weekend has shown we have the pace. I think if it had been dry in qualifying we could have made the first two rows. I think the two last races I have pulled out something good. They are probably the two strongest races I have had for a long, long time. Perhaps ever.”

Meanwhile the stewards also let race winner Sebastian Vettel off without penalty for passing Jarno Trulli under yellow flags at Turn 4 late in the race,
“Having viewed video and telemetry evidence and heard evidence from the Driver (Vettel) and Team Representative, find that the Driver did breach Article b) of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code, ” the Stewards said in a statement.

“However, the Stewards, having noted that the Driver made a very large reduction in speed through the yellow flag area and that he understood that Car 18 was slowing with an obvious problem, DECIDE in accordance with Article 16.2 a) of the Formula One Sporting Regulations to impose no penalty. ”


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Andras Fazekas

Since 25 years watching GPs I don’t remember that intensive moves like Lewis did. Can anyone help me to recall if I am wrong?

Were all other drivers who were passed from a tow in the past stupid not to do that?

If this will be allowed than we will see more usage of the track width in the future.

I think Lewis simply couldn’t stand that Petrov passed him back in the previous lap.


A quarter century ago you of course recall how it was much easier to slip away from another car into a world of your own.Then you could just enjoy the drive without even looking in the mirrors.For twenty years now it has been getting harder to find solace in an F1 race,and in the last few years the engine rules have continued to make the grid relatively more even.

That is why you haven’t seen such abrupt movements before.This man was on a mission,he wanted through with that battle in order to focus on the next.Not as much he “couldn’t stand” the repass-he wants to focus ahead,and cannot do that until he had some space.Any top driver coming from behind has to get to the front immediately,and blinders are employed.


I’m honestly a little tired of reading about this topic on ever site. Yes, he weaved and it was dangerous and against the rules (in my opinion. But in the end he just got a warning, the FIA aren’t going to reverse the decision just to warn him so honestly get over it!!

On another topic, James from a technical side could you tell us how Fernando Alonso drove round his problem. Some down play it as if anyone could do it, but i thought it was nothing short of remarkable. How difficult is it to drive without a clutch, given the semi auto gearbox, etc..


Apparently he had to put the break bias toward the rear cos he didnt have any assistance from the engine when breaking. When approaching a corner he would break, select the gear he wanted then when his speed was slow enough to take the corner he would rev the engine until he heard the gear engage. So for example shifting from 7th to 2nd he would be breaking and just clicking the lever till he saw 2nd gear. (Gear 6,5,4 and 3 wouldnt engage so his breaking wouldnt be as good) All this probably meant he lost a tenth or 2 at every corner that required heavy breaking. Over revving the engine to engage a gear was probably the reason we saw him sliding the rear on occasion. I read this somewhere but cant find it now! Please correct me if im wrong


You are correct on almost everything:I doubt he “saw” second gear,he “felt” it.

I know it’s obvious but let me also say that the fact that Alonso was so competitive shows that a problem downshifting is easier to deal with than an upshift one-he would not have been near as fast and mat not have lasted as long.

I think strategically he knows he has a good enough car that he gambled to get that position and lost.He could have settled for a good finish.It will be fascinating if Alonso comes a close second in the points at the end of the season


Let it go, there was some entertainment.


Anyone else think that F1 is over-regulated when we spend almost 300 comments debating, down to the letter, an interpretation of a rule?

I vote that we scrap both the World Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships and replace them with one championship: Formula 1 World Rule-Interpretation Championship. The WRIC, has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?


Or call it the World Rule Interpretation Test and it would he WRIT for short, which is far more appropriate.


You’ve got the lawyers all excited now, James!


No doubt Hamilton was weaving and needed some reprimand to warn the rest, but the TV view compressed the effects.

As for the F-duct…………….when will F1 wake up?

Yet another expensive aero work-around that F1 simply doesn’t need.

And potentially dangerous as are all moveable aero aids – F1 has been there before.

And futile as others copy and catch up.

Somebody somewhere in F1 has to come up with rule insisting plain wings with short absolutely flat end boards as in Indy cars – it would take millions out of the cost of F1.

And get the sport back to driving.

And get rid of that ridiculous use of the top of the plank – that’s easy: make sure the plank has to be made of 1 inch of balsa wood connected along the whole of its length to the body – with no loss of thickness allowed through the race.


I do believe Hamilton’s moves were the result of a very wide track,the camera long shot and-Renault power.

I think his driving is above board,and I cannot say that about every champion.But the warning,which I’m not saying I agree with,cames from a safety perspective.You can run over an air hose with no injury-you can also have a much different outcome.So that is a serious infraction to most sanctioning bodies.Weaving around in open wheel cars is also frowned upon.


“I do believe Hamilton’s moves were the result of a very wide track,the camera long shot and-Renault power.”

Rather,a lot of the reaction to Hamilton’s moves are based on how it looked on camera.Renault have made gains,Sepang is wide.There is no doubt this lends to the perception of danger.Lewis is not known for being unsafe.

As usual,my comments do not reflect any allegiance.Just trying to explain a sanctioning body’s position.They must promote safety,or no one would underwrite these events.


James, I know that this is not the article to ask a question but didn’t know where to. Why were the Red Bull guys hiding the car before the start of the race in Sepang. Is it anything to do with the ride height?


No it’s more to do with the exhausts, diffuser and rear suspension I believe.


On a different note, anyone notice that Button is always complaining about not being 100% happy with his car, or saying there are still some things he is uncomfortable with? Since when was any driver 100% happy with his car?

He seems to be looking for perfection with the team and with the car. This has already led to McLaren destabilising Lewis in their quest to make everything perfect for Jense – like changing an engineer he has worked with for 3yrs, and using him as a guinea pig to cover strategies.

Also, by allowing Jense to make the first pit stop (twice now), they will always be putting Lewis on the back foot – Otherwise we might see both Macca drivers trying to outfox each other in who makes the first pit stop.

Jensen’s inability to get to grips with a car -unless it is perfect and he’s absolutely happy with it further underlines his shortcomings. The Brawn GP car last yr was an anomaly. Most cars are not perfect, and will never be. It is down to the driver to extract the most from it.

People like Lewis/ Alonso/ Schumi/ Senna dominate a car irrespective of its problems. They simply drive round the problems.

Lewis did it last yr, Alonso showed how its done in Malaysia, Schumi did it with Jordan on his debut, and with Ferrari in the early years, and Senna did it with McLaren in 1992/1993.


I find it especially interesting that Jenson complained about having “no grip at all” at the beginning stints of both the last 2 GPs (Australia and Malaysia), which he cited as the main reason why he decided to change tires. As Martin Brundle noted in his commentary, it seems that Jenson’s smooth “one sweep of the steering wheel into the corner, and one sweep out” style works well when the car is perfectly hooked up, but he struggles when the car is fat with fuel. It would appear that Jenson hasn’t figured out yet how to drive a heavy car with both speed and finesse so as to not destroy his tires prematurely. I think this is going to be a huge factor, as Jenson’s competitors will know when they line up against him on the starting grid that Jenson is vulnerable.


I think at the end of the day F1 is in the entertainment business, simple as.

Lewis just provided the majority of entertainment last weekend, come on we all loved the track battles and weaving right? Everybody loves a bit of controversy.. since when do people like goody goody boring drivers… like since never.. this is why we liked Msc, and Senna.


agreed. F1 needs its heroes and villains. let’s hope the upcoming races will provide a healthy amount of track battles.


So, next season’s NEW RULE:

“Thee Shall Always Drive in a Straight Line, Lest Thee frighten TV viewers.”

Whenever another car is within, oh, lets say 3 or 4 carlengths ( at the descretion of the Stewards ) a driver must always drive straight and not deviate for the Path of Righteousness, lest he be designated Too Competitive.

george cowley ci5

i no were 2 weeks away from china,and im to lazy to check who won last years china gp,whos car is best suited to the china gp


That’s funny mate…hah ha ha


Vettel won in the rain. McLaren should love the long straight

Richard Hoyland

Lewis was well within his rights to make that comment about the team needing to stop making life difficult. They’ve screwed his last two races! It’s interesting though how you seem to be suggesting that he’s “in the thick of it” for making that comment, along with the ‘weaving’ incident, but ignoring the fact that after qualifying he actually defended his team by saying “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. Yet for some reason at the moment, everyone seems to be jumping on the Lewis bashing bandwagon despite him providing some of the few bits of excitement in F1 so far this season.


When you look at any normal over take, it is normal for the car that has just over taken to make more than one blocking manoeuvre, here it was not even a blocking manoeuvre because Petrov just followed Hamilton like a puppy. As per the rules, it was rightly reported to the stewards and they made what looks like a correct decision. All above board and completely in line with the rules.

It’s not in line with the rules? That something similar to this should be addressed by the stewards for them to make the decision!


Lewis unquestionably made the race, he lit up the track and made the early rise worth it.

Clearly on the weaving incident if you watch here:


You can CLEARLY see Lewis move FIRST and that is important, he moves and Petrov follows trying to maintain the tow.

Fantastic drive and OK race but you can’t help wonder without Lewis would it have been so exciting.

For all the people who don’t like him please try and realise what he is brining to F1.

Without him I would have turned off 3 years ago and I am sure quite a few others would have too.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

As long as a driver does not block others or put them in danger the are entitled to take whatever racing line they chose, provided that they do not cut corners.


i am amazed that this is even an issue. 99.99% of f1 viewers complained that there was not excitement in f1 and definitely not enough overtaking. now we have a race filled with overtaking, yet there is one incident which is NOT clear cut as some would like to think on both sides of the fence and the moaning roars back to life. very confusing, no?

overtaking is a dangerous act at the best of times, and hamilton probably made it a little bit more dangerous, but wow was it fun to watch. it was exactly what f1 needed and exactly what f1 fans wanted to see. so forget who was driving and forget your chosen allegiances, just revel in the fact we all got to see some fun racing for a change… the reason we turn on the telly every other sunday.


Human intuition??? Are you serious? There is no fault with the weather. You sound like you’re encouraging the George Bush style of team management. Just as those who sang Button’s praises 2 weeks back. Let’s be serious here.


regardless of the outcome, it looked cool!


“James has to be careful with his comments mate because he is a media figure. He might be sharing his completely open view with his wife in private, he has to be a bit reserved in the web.”

That’s not the James I know.I would expect that James Allen will give his opinion,whether it is about the governing body,team leadership,drivers,or posters here on this site.It’s his job to do so.It’s just my opinion,but people do not put together sites like this to parrot politically correct talking points.

I am not happy with drivers who over-harrass from behind,or over-swerve when ahead.A pass should be done in one fell swoop.And a block like this one is usually seen on the last lap at Indy maybe.The rules are for safety,safety for the crowd on the other side of the fence.Not just for being unsportsmanlike.Open wheel cars can launch-one wrong move by those guys and you would have seen one do just that.

I don’t care that they didn’t penalize Lewis.Just trying to warn you what is to come if they allow cars to whip back and forth like that.I do care about safety.


Calm down Robert. F1 is the most political sport in the world. There will always be controversies. What I said about James being reserved with his comment is true. Every media figure has to know how far they can go with their comments. Anyway, come to think that this issue is nothing compare to what we have seen over the years. Now I’ve also realized that doesn’t matter the stewards are ex drivers or not there will always be disagreements about the decisions made.


“Every media figure has to know how far they can go with their comments.”

Yes,even Howard Stern.But James is a Formula One fan,and that comes first in his book.Like most of us he has blinders on when it comes to that subject.

Of course Jenson Button deserves credit for coming through down under,he was not one of the heavy favorites.That doesn’t mean we think he is better overall,he just obviously ran a better race,despite taking out his fiercest opposition right at the start.


You go too far, there has been many a time when he has not said what the rest of us were saying and thinking re Max Mosley and dare I say it Ecclestone.

Watching Hamilton over the past two races clearly shows us all that he’s the man to watch, almost every time he races he produces something the other drivers don’t and he passes other, so called, top drivers with ease (Massa/Button/Webber etc)

All the rubbish sprouted about Button being a master etc after the Australian race was just that rubbish, how anyone (James Allen included) can seriously suggest that Button is a better driver than Hamilton is beyond me.

We in the UK should rejoice that we have a driver like Hamilton.


Freespeach gets the JA smackdown. Hamilton is the guy to watch all the way to 6th place. Must be tough times in the UK if that’s what counts for something worth rejoicing about. 🙂


Not in a million years James is goint to say that Button is a better driver. Similarly he is not going to say Schumacher or Senna better than one another. I’m sure he would’ve posted an article with a lot of praise if Hamilton won the race instead. But he is still 6th in the championship & his moves were very notable because cameras were right on him most of the race. So, as a viewer nobody can let that go unnoticed


I didn’t say Button is a better driver. Read the post again.


James whilst I accept you didn’t write those words your article, in my opinion and I’m sure many others implied it as ‘kbdavies’ post says.

As an aside, I much preferred you & Martin than what the BBC gives us at present. Chemistry cannot be manufactured it’s either there or it’s not & I thought you and Martin had it.


James is correct. He didn’t say Button is a better, but unfortunately, that is what the article implied.

If you laud one driver, whilst criticising the other – in the same article….well, you cannot blame people if they get that impression, however unintentional it may be



You really are a totally biased Hamilton Hater.

You are obviously a huge Schumi fan I would have thought that you would be able to rcognise the similarity between the two.

Hamilton quite clearly has the ability of the young Schumacher.

Controversy followed Schumacher because he was ruthless.

Most of Hamiltons problems arise from being loyal to his team or following their advice.

Schumacher was an out and out cheat half the time.

I don’t like Alonso he’s no angel but I am prepared to admit he’s a very good driver.


Any other pilot would have been sanctioned, Hamilton is “in punishable”. Later LH thinks that outside the circuit the Police will be equal but if punishes that it …..


This is dedicated to all the “hamsters” involved in a “smoochfest” with hamilton.

Read it and weep.

“I wasn’t weaving for him, I was weaving to break the tow”. – Lewis Hamilton

Are there any Racing Fans around here? Oh yeah Roary the Racer.

signed (a guy not on his high-horse but who’s followed F1 for a tad more than 3 to 5 yrs..mmm, say the 60’s?!)


Who cares Hamilton was faster Petrov was ruining his race, he shouldn’t even have tried to overtake him again.


every driver has the right to race. petrov vs hamilton was definitely one of the best parts of the show. hell, they should even scrap the give-way-to-lapping-car rule. would have rub the nerves of leading drivers raw every race, and make it soooo much more exciting:-)


Tony Fernandes is keen to get rid of the blue flags, thinks it would improve the show


Petrov isn’t allowed to overtake Hamilton? Is that what you’re saying?

Christopher Snowdon

James did the top teams qualifying mistakes show blatant disrespect to the new teams?


I haven’t read any comments yet, but my belief re the 2 incidents is—-(1) they handled Hamo’s “weaving” correctly, because he wasn’t blocking, and (2) they handled Veto’s pass correctly also in the circumstances.

Let’s face it, they’ve been too quick to jump to decisions in the past, and now they’re prepared to be a bit flexable and consider the circumstances, and rightly so!


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