Lewis Hamilton has openly criticised his McLaren team over the decision to bring him in during the Australian Grand Prix for an extra pitstop to take on fresh tyres. The pitstop meant Hamilton lost out on a potential podium, even the possibility of adding to team mate Jenson Button’s victory with a second place. Hamilton went from eleventh at the start to third by half-distance, but the extra visit to his box resulted in sixth as the sister MP4-25 crossed the line to win.
It was a bold move by the leading cars to stay out on the soft compound for around fifty laps, but without one driver blinking, the others weren’t going to either. This meant that Hamilton, having taken an extra stop, was left frustratingly behind Robert Kubica, the Ferraris, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber.
To sum up the race I think I probably had one of the drives of my life and unfortunately, due to the strategy, I was put further back and then I got taken out by Mark Webber.
I’m happy with the job that I did. I think I honestly drove my heart out today and I think I deserved better than what I ended up with, but I’ll keep fighting to the next race. Lewis Hamilton Hamilton.
On the radio to his team during the race, Hamilton voiced his annoyance at having stopped, asking the team to tell him who made the call. Speaking to the BBC after the race, McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh said the decision was made by the team after a brief discussion, but as the man in charge, said he held ultimate responsibility, having to power to overrule if he wished. However, Whitmarsh also said that not knowing what the cars ahead were going to do, and with Hamilton’s tyres looking worn, the call to bring him was at the time correct, although in hindsight perhaps not.
Conversely, team mate Jenson Button was given the call on his switch to dry tyres and McLaren have been very open about praising their driver for making the difficult decision. Initially it seemed as though Button had been a little too bold, the Briton falling off the track almost as soon as he rejoined. However, the reigning champion soon found a rhythm and was lighting up the timing screen in purple. Button’s smooth style also helped his management of the tyres and Jenson completed 52 laps on the soft compound.
For me I never thought of putting on another set. It was to run the race on one set of tyres if we could. My pace was not great. Once I settled into the car I felt I was starting to damage the tyres. I settled into pace that would not destroy the rears.
We could not have done a better strategy. My decision at the beginning was my call but with a lot of feedback from the circuit. I need to thank McLaren for all our hard work. It’s good to see us get a result for the hard work. Jenson Button.
Jenson Button has improved his position in the driver’s championship to third, while the team rest on 54 constructor points in second and Lewis Hamilton slips down to fourth, losing out to his team mate.