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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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1

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.

2

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?

3

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!

4

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?

5

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.

6

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.

7

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.

8

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?

9

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

10

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.

11

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.”

12

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

13

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.

14
Christian Hepworth

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.

15

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

16

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.

17

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.

18

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.

19

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?

20

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?

21

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?

22

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

23

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.

24
Christian Hepworth

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.

25

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.

26

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.

27

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?

28

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!

29

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.

30

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…

31

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.

32

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.

33

“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?

34

James

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

35

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

36

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.

37

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

38
Mikko Ahlapski

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.

39

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!

40

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.

41

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.

42

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.

43

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

Did someone pinch the drivers’ table? 🙂

44

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

45

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.

46

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.

47

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

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

48

Don’t like it.

We fear change.

49

bring the desk back please.

50

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.

51

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!

52

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.

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