Will There Be a New Lewis Hamilton in 2012?

November 3, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty at the Indian Grand Prix for speeding past a yellow flag during free practice and he had yet another coming together with Felipe Massa during the race. His season has been plagued with collisions, mainly with Massa but also Kamui Kobayashi and even his team mate, Jenson Button.

Bernie Ecclestone commented: “In life you go through ups and downs, and I think he is just going through a bit of a rough period generally in his life. When life is easy you get lucky and everything goes well. When things start going wrong they start piling up and going more wrong. He will get out of it. I spoke to him here in India. He is great. He will be okay.” Regarding his collisions with Felipe Massa he said: “It is not intentional, is it? These things happen. It is just really strange that it always happens between those two.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s Team Principal, believes that Lewis Hamilton has brought much of the pressure on himself. “If you’re honest, the first driver you want to beat is your team-mate. We don’t hide from that and nor does Lewis or Jenson. They are there to beat each other and Jenson’s been on a run.

“Lewis is the great exciting driver he is but he’ll not like being beaten by anyone, least of all by Jenson. Even though outside the car they have a fantastic relationship but Lewis will not like being beaten by his team-mate. I don’t want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate. I want him to try and beat Jenson just as I want Jenson to beat Lewis.”

Lewis’s father, his ex-manager, supported his son commenting: “He’s turned a corner in everything he’s done, his lifestyle and his love of motorsport. You’ve not seen Lewis Hamilton yet, you’ve seen a young Lewis Hamilton. Now a new Lewis Hamilton is coming.

“There’s only so much that one person can take. Lewis is an extremely talented individual and I tell you what, most of us would not have been able to come back from what he has had to face this year. I think in Korea, he showed just how much of a champion he is, not just as a racing driver but as an individual.

“Let’s face it, he’s had a tough year, he’s faced a lot of criticism and yet still he comes back fighting and can produce results that he did last week. He’s an incredible man and an inspiration to so many people.”

McLaren Race Report Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 30, 2011

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2011 INDIAN GRAND PRIX

 

“A very good result – and second place secured in the Constructors’ World Championship”

 

Buddh International Circuit, Sunday October 30

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

Started:            4th

Finished:          2nd

Fastest lap:      1m27.967s (+0.718s, 4th)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 18 and 46 (Op-Op-Pr)

2011 points:     240 (2nd)

“In terms of team effort, we did everything right today – our car just wasn’t quite quick enough to actually win.

“I got a good start, made up places on the first lap and then settled down to keep Mark [Webber] behind me for five or six laps. Eventually, I think we ‘broke’ his rear tyres, which enabled me to establish a gap. Then I could set about Seb [Vettel] – but it was very difficult to close him down.

“At the final stop, it was a risk going to the harder tyre earlier than Seb, but we had to give it a go and it worked pretty well as I was able to close him down by a further three seconds. My car felt really good: before Seb could find his rhythm on the Prime, I was able to get the gap down to 2.8 seconds, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“Still, this was a very good result for us – and I think we delivered the maximum possible. I loved the whole experience this weekend. And I think every driver will be excited about coming back here because it’s such a phenomenal circuit; fast and flowing with a bit of everything. It gets a big tick from me.

“The Indian people have really welcomed us to their country; I’ve never seen so many people smiling before. And the crowd has been wonderful. I hope that Formula 1 grows in India in the future and that we get an even bigger crowd here next year.”

 

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            5th

Finished:          7th

Fastest lap:      1m28.721s (+1.472s, 9th)

Pitstops:          Three: laps 16, 24 and 45 (Op-Op-Op & front wing- Pr)

2011 points:     202 (5th)

 

“The contact with Felipe [Massa] was just one of those things. I really didn’t feel like I was at fault – it was a racing incident.

“On the grid, just before the one minute’s silence, he and I were standing next to each other and I put my arm around him and told him: ‘Have a great race today.’ I’ve still got great respect for him.

“During the race, it felt like there was a vibration in the car through the right-handers: it felt like the floor was scraping on the ground, in fact. I was pushing as hard as I could, but couldn’t find the performance, so we’ll have to look into that.

“It’s been an eventful year, but there are more races ahead and I’ll try to score as many world championship points as possible in both of them. Jenson did a great job today, so clearly we were quick enough. I just need to try to pick up on that for the next race.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Jenson made a great start and then drove a brilliant first few corners, working his way from fourth on the grid to second by the end of the first lap.

“He followed that with a truly excellent race-long performance, managing tyre wear where necessary yet still managing to keep up impressive race pace throughout. He didn’t ever have quite enough race pace to mount a concerted attack on Seb, but he got the maximum out of his car and beat everyone else fair and square.

“Lewis had a frustrating afternoon, but recovered well from his coming-together with Felipe to score a very useful half-dozen world championship points. We don’t yet know whether contact with the Ferrari caused damage to Lewis’s car – other than to the nosecone, obviously, which we changed in the pits – but, as I say, as a result of the 24 world championship points that he and Jenson notched up today, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has now secured second place in the 2011 Constructors’ World Championship. It’s always our aim to go one better than that – to win – and second isn’t good enough – but we’re pleased to have consolidated that position nonetheless.

“Last but far from least, I want to say that I thought the 2011 Indian Grand Prix was a fantastic success: a glittering spectacle and a marvellous addition to the international sporting calendar. Next, we go to Abu Dhabi, and then to Brazil, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be doing our utmost to win both those grands prix.”

Red Bull Qualifying Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 29, 2011

Microsoft Word - Indian GP - Qualifying.doc

McLaren Qualifying Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 29, 2011

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2011 INDIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

 

“We’ve got good pace, but it’s going to be a long race”

 

Buddh International Circuit, Saturday October 29

 

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

P3

2nd 1m25.191s (0.367s) 15 laps

Qualifying

Q1 3rd                           1m26.225s (on Options)

Q2 5th                           1m25.299s (on Options)

Q3 5th overall*              1m24.950s (on Options)

* will start fourth

“The car felt great this morning but I couldn’t find any grip this afternoon, particularly on the Prime tyre. So we need to work out why we can’t find that balance because I want to try to improve things for tomorrow.

“I struggled with traffic all afternoon – it was difficult to find a clear lap, and, when I did, I’d taken too much out of my tyres already. On my final run, I saw Felipe [Massa] heading into the gravel as I came up to him. I definitely would have been quicker on that run, but I got into the yellow flag zone, saw his car, spotted the smoke and backed out of it a little bit. I definitely lost time in the sector – the data showed that I was 14km/h down in fact.

“I hope I can take the car I had yesterday, as opposed to the car I had this afternoon, into the race. It felt stronger on high-fuel during Friday running, so hopefully we can find that again tomorrow.”

 

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

P3

2nd 1m25.288s (+0.464s) 16 laps

Qualifying

Q1 8th                           1m26.563s (on Primes)

Q2 2nd                           1m25.019s (on Options)

Q3 2nd overall*              1m24.474s (on Options)

* will start fifth following three-place grid penalty

 

“To be able to split the Red Bulls on qualifying pace is something that everybody in the team should feel proud about. In fact, I’ve been really happy with my qualifying performance throughout the whole year – it’s been getting more and more consistent. On my last run, I was only a tenth down going into the penultimate corner, but I chose to abort the lap and save the tyres for tomorrow as it’s going to be a long race.

“It’s a little bit unfortunate to have a grid penalty, but that’s life. I think we’ve got good pace, but it’s going to be a long race. Still, with the long, wide straights and two DRS zones, overtaking should be easier here than it is at some of the other circuits, so I’m optimistic about what we can do around here tomorrow.

“I also think it’s cool that you throw up a bit of dust when you go off-line – that’s how racing should be: there should be grass and dirt when you go off the track.

“Finally, I want to say a big thank-you to the organisers. This circuit is smooth, fast and flowing. It’s beautiful, in fact; the facilities are fantastic and the people have been extremely welcoming. This is one of the best circuits in the world and it’s definitely a race people should come to visit.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Lewis drove very well in qualifying this afternoon, his best lap-time eclipsed by only that of Seb [Vettel], but he won’t start tomorrow’s race from the front row owing to the three-grid-position penalty he incurred yesterday morning.

“Jenson’s efforts were frustrated in the last moments of this afternoon’s qualifying session by yellow flags deployed as a result of Felipe’s accident, causing him to lift during what would otherwise have been a pretty quick lap.

“But this circuit is a great racetrack, our drivers are brilliant racers, and I’m sure that both of them will be aiming to score very heavily tomorrow. As a result, I expect the first ever Indian Grand Prix to be a fabulous race.”

Felipe Massa Previews Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 27, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

“ Felipe Massa was one of the drivers called to the first ever FIA press conference at the Buddh circuit today, which hosts the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday. Asked for an impression of the track, the Ferrari driver was complimentary:

“It looks very nice, very interesting with some good opportunities for overtaking.” At this point, Felipe’s fellow countryman, Rubens Barrichello interrupted to explain the two of them had tackled the circuit on a computer game, racing one another sometimes playing for hours at a time over the internet. “It’s him my wife is angry with, not me” joked Rubens pointing at Felipe. “He is the one who introduced me to the game!”
“Then it was time for more serious matters, specifically the performance of the 150º Italia. “Recently, it has been okay,” said Felipe. “However, for the past four races, we have not had so many updates, as we approach the end of the season, which means our performance very much depends on the characteristics of the tracks we are at and Japan and Korea seemed to suit the car quite well.

“It is hard to tell, because sometimes this season we have done well at tracks where we did not expect to and not performed well at circuits where we expected to be competitive.”

“Asked what were the Scuderia’s goals for the final three races, the Brazilian explained they were twofold. “We will tackle these last races trying to get a podium finish and who knows, if possible maybe fight for the victory, which is always our target, always the direction we are working in. At the same time, we are also already working very hard for next year.

“Development of the car is ongoing as we put together all our ideas, trying to keep all the good points from this year’s car and changing those areas that did not work so well.”

McLaren Race Report Korean Grand Prix 2011

October 16, 2011

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2011 KOREAN GRAND PRIX

 

“Two brilliant racing drivers – who never give up”

 

Korea International Circuit, Sunday October 16

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            1st

Finished:          2nd

Fastest lap:      1m40.459s (+0.689s, 3rd)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 15 and 33 (Op-Op- Pr)

2011 points:     196 (5th)

 

“This was one of my strongest races of the season. There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race.

“Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race. By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum! The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do.

“I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn’t turning – so I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners, and that’s how Mark was able to catch me. It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that’s probably what caused the understeer.

“This was a good, strong result for the team. The guys didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today’s result – but, man, it was hard!

“I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back.”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

Started:            3rd

Finished:          4th

Fastest lap:      1m40.709s (+1.104s, 7th)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 13 and 34 (Op-Op-Pr)

2011 points:     222 (2nd)

“I don’t think I could have done much more than fourth today. I struggled to get rid of my understeer throughout the whole race, so fourth was a fair reflection of what the car was capable of today.

“On the first lap, I braked into Turn Three, but Felipe [Massa] went inside me and I got stuck on the outside and ended up losing quite a few places. At the end of the first lap, I was sixth, but I don’t think that poor first lap would have changed my result.

“Throughout the race, I didn’t have any front-end grip. I couldn’t get into the DRS zone either, so it was always tricky to try and close down the car in front when I lacked that straight-line advantage.

“I was passed by Nico [Rosberg] after my first pitstop when he ended up out-braking himself at the pit exit. The exit here is a bit unusual: if you leave the pits behind another car, then you’re probably going to be able to get ahead, because you get the benefit of the DRS into Turn Three. But Nico locked up out of the pits and ran wide, so I passed him, meaning he crossed the DRS line behind me and was able to use it to get past on the straight.

“I was able to nip back past pretty quickly and was able to close down on the battle for second between Lewis and Mark. But, towards the end of each stint, the front-end would drop away: I just couldn’t get close enough in the last sector. I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn’t get close enough to Mark [Webber] to use DRS. I think I only used DRS once in the entire race.

“Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn’t so bad!”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“I think Lewis’ drive today was utterly inspirational. He may be downplaying it, because he’s a perfectionist and he wanted to win, but to withstand such enormous pressure, for lap after lap, from a faster car, was a drive absolutely worthy of the great champions.

“His finishing position may only go down in the history books as another second place, but, make no mistake, this was a fantastic drive; beautifully assured and perfectly judged.

“To cap it all, the data showed that he was losing a significant amount of downforce from his front wing. After the race, we inspected Lewis’s front-wing and discovered that the left-hand slot-gap had become filled with congealed tyre rubber, doubtless a result of the marbles on the track.

“As a result, he was suffering with masses of understeer, which further hurts the tyres. In the circumstances, his was an absolutely fantastic drive because it would have been all too easy to have gone backwards when faced with such massive, and constant, pressure.

“Equally, Jenson posted another brilliant, measured drive. On Jenson’s car, too, we discovered after the race that he was also hurting from damage to his car – caused by a rock hitting the front wing. The resulting understeer doubtless also impaired Jenson’s ability to close down Mark in the track’s final sector, and therefore meant he was unable to mount a sustained attack in the DRS zone and secure third.

“Nevertheless, today showed that we have a very good racing car. But, more importantly, it showed that we have two brilliant racing drivers, who will fight from the start of the race to the end and who will never give up.

“Their spirited drives today are a just reward for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, who have spent the last fortnight away from their homes, families and friends. While we must all acknowledge the great achievement of Red Bull Racing in securing the constructors’ championship today, I also want to pay tribute to the efforts and sacrifices made by our whole team over these past two weeks. They enabled us to score 65 world championship points in the last two races – a total that now consolidates our position in the constructors’ championship. So, after two fantastic races in Japan and Korea, I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to the whole team. There are three races remaining in 2011 – and I know I speak for everyone when I say we want to win all three.”

Ferrari Drivers’ Report Japanese Grand Prix 2011

October 11, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

Fernando Alonso: “Congratulations to Sebastian! Winning two world titles at his age, in a season in which he has done it all – in qualifying, the races and every other way, so perfectly, is amazing and it is well deserved.

“For our part, we can do no more than try and do our utmost to try and beat him next year. Today, we did our best and we came close to winning the race. We know that in qualifying we are behind the Red Bulls and McLarens, but in the race, when there are variables like tyre degradation, then we can exploit some opportunities. Here, the others were very strong for the first five or six laps and then we closed up to them a lot.

“This podium is a great motivation for the final four races of the season. It was a fun race, in which the strategy was very important. Unlike recent races, today we had a pace that was good enough to fight for the win. We will try again in Korea, where we can go with our heads held high: we will try and win, or at least get on the podium again.”

Felipe Massa: “Once again I finish a race with a very bitter taste in my mouth. Today, our pace was good enough to finish on the podium, as Fernando demonstrated, but instead I am here commenting on a seventh place. It’s a real shame.

“The contact with Hamilton? My car was definitely damaged by it: when I looked at it after the race, I saw there was a bit of the front wing endplate missing and the floor was not on properly on the left hand side and I could feel it in the way my car was behaving. I think the footage speaks for itself: he was struggling with his tyres and I had almost come alongside him and for no reason, he moved over and hit me. I let you be the judge… It’s pointless for me to say any more about it.

“However, I do want to congratulate Sebastian Vettel: he is a great guy and deserves this title and I am very happy for him.”

Ferrari Managements’ Report Japanese Grand Prix 2011

October 11, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all on behalf of the Scuderia, I wish to congratulate Sebastian Vettel on clinching his second Drivers’ title: he has had an incredible season and this fantastic result is well deserved!

“As for us, I don’t think it’s out of place if, for the second time running, I use the adjective amazing, this time to describe Fernando Alonso’s race today. Our driver was always on the attack and came very close to a win which would have been incredible, given our performance two weeks ago in Singapore. All these changes of fortune in terms of who is competitive, confirm once again how hard it is to understand as well as possible the real performance of the car-tyre packages at each track.

“Felipe was also having a very good race, at least until the contact with Hamilton: the damage his car suffered in this incident probably penalised him excessively in the second part of the race.

“There are still four races to go this season, in which we will do our utmost to achieve the objectives that are still within our reach: winning again, taking Fernando to second in the Drivers’ classification and learning as much as possible from this car with a view to 2012.”

Pat Fry: “A great result today at Suzuka, especially in terms of how competitive we were on track. Fernando came very close to winning, getting the very most out of the equipment at his disposal, trying to attack at every conceivable opportunity.

“Felipe also drove a good race, but first he might have paid the price for a pit stop that was delayed by a few laps and then there was the contact with Hamilton: in the end he found himself in traffic and we have often seen this year how hard it is to pass a Mercedes, even if we have a better pace.

“We had a three stop strategy, aware that it would not be an easy one to manage given the rather high level of tyre degradation. The Safety Car period gave everyone a hand and, for once, even the traffic helped us a bit, at least with Fernando. We were not able to make the most of our pace in the final part of each stint with the Soft tyres, because in any case it always costs you a bit pitting early, at least until the point at which you don’t lengthen the final stint of the race too much.

“Here too, the performance on the Mediums was not that bad, also because we suffered a lot less from our traditional problem of getting the harder compound up to temperature. Now we will try to do the same again next weekend in Korea: it would be nice to get another win before the end of the season, but we know it will be difficult!”

Alonso 2nd 1:30.54.587 +1.160

Massa 7th 1:31.21.667 +28.240

Weather: air 26 °C, track 38/35 °C. Chassis: Alonso 291, Massa 290

Another Hamilton and Massa Incident

October 10, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa made contact yet again as they were approaching the chicane just after half distance resulting in Massa losing part of his front wing. The stewards investigated the coming together but concluded that it was a racing incident. After the race Hamilton commented “The only thing I have to say is that I can’t see anything out of my mirrors and they vibrate down the straight so much that I had no idea he was there. Maybe it’s something we can fix, but anyway I have no problems with him.”

In response Massa stated “I don’t care, to be honest, about what he said. The only thing I care about is what he did. He was so slow in 130R and he stayed on the right-hand side. I was much quicker, so I went to the left-hand side and I braked there. I stayed on my line. He moved his car and touched my car. There’s nothing more to say. For what he says, I don’t care. I care about what the federation says and what the FIA does.

“They have penalised people for much less this year and this time they didn’t do it. It’s the second time in a row after the problem in qualifying as well in the last race, and after what happened yesterday and after many times this year. The FIA needs to take care of that. They are the only ones who can take care of that.”

Massa feels that nothing would be gained by speaking to Hamilton about this latest collision. “He doesn’t learn. As I said before, I don’t care. I race against him, against whatever driver in the same way. I don’t really care. He has already passed the time to speak, which I tried and he didn’t.” He did, however, suggest that he might discuss the matter with Charlie Whiting, the FIA Race Director. “Maybe if I see Charlie, I will speak to him but there’s nothing really to say now.”

Massa Told to “Destroy” Hamilton’s Race

October 4, 2011

Felipe Massa

A radio broadcast to Felipe Massa from Rob Smedley, his race engineer, during the Singapore Grand Prix, has just been released where Rob Smedley tells his driver “Hold Hamilton as much as we can. Destroy his race as much as we can. Come on, boy…,”.

Ferrari have since said that the comments were “not politically correct” but had nothing to do with the subsequent collision which resulted in Hamilton pitting for a new nose and Massa pitting to change a punctured tyre.

“Words, words, words…Reading some of the English daily papers, it seems the Horse Whisperer is not alone in having his thoughts turn to William Shakespeare when he stumbled across the polemical mountain made out of the molehill that was the phrase delivered by Rob Smedley during the Singapore Grand Prix,”.

“It’s true that Felipe Massa’s race engineer was caught up in the heat of the moment and chose to use the verb “destroy” at some point.

“It might not have been the most politically correct choice of word, but it definitely carried no malicious intent, especially when you take into account that Rob is a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred!

“It is also true that this exhortation to Felipe came at the exit to Turn 5 on lap 11 of the race, at the end of which both the Ferrari man and Hamilton were due to come in to the pits together. In other words, it had nothing to do with the collision between Felipe and Lewis that happened on the following lap.

“It would not have taken much to avoid this misunderstanding, but that’s what happens in the frenetic world of Formula 1. When all is said done, as the Bard of Avon himself might have put it, it was all much ado about nothing.”

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