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cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Coming off the back of todays race we could see one of the most fascinating inter-team battles to be played out this season. A lot of people (myself included) didn't give Button much of a chance against Lewis at Mclaren but today and over this weekend things very definitly went Buttons way.

Now the question is, what effect will this have on the drivers and the team dynamic. Somehow I think it won't be buisness as usual.

It's clear that Button likes the "perfect car" to get the best performance out of the entire package. When everything is in place then Button can really put in his very best. Hamilton on the other hand is able to overcome some of the issues with the car and still get the maximum. In either situation one or the other is unbeatable.

We know that Hamilton has had "team mate issues" in the past and wasn't lily white in his battles with Alonso. How will being beaten by Button effect his attitude?

Button is going to have a lot more confidence now so can he press on and continue to outpace his team mate?

All in all it's going to be fascinating to watch.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I personally don't think today changes much.

Lewis easily had the measure of Jenson on the track and it's my belief that pitting for slicks when he did was a last gasp attempt by Jenson.
If he had stayed out for another lap then he would have had to come in after Lewis and the other front runners and would have ended up in the middle of the pack.

Yes Jenson drove well once he inherited the lead but if Lewis had been able to get away from his first pit stop without having to wait for the traffic to clear which meant he came back out behind Rosberg, then I have a feeling the result would have been quite different.
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Hamilton just has the edge on button on raw pace. but Button is more of a thinker, he will make more use of strategies be better at managing the car when needed to.

I think it works out pretty even like another certain McLaren partnership of the past. but i think raw pace will always come though when you look at points tallys at the end of the season...i can't see more then a 15 points gap between the two come the end of the season.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I agree with AMR that raw pace should win out at the end of the day because there will be more times when the car isn't perfect and Hamilton has that ability to drive through the problems.

What I do feel though is that Button had a point to prove to a lot of people. Now I still can't stand the bloke but I recognise that he drove well yesterday to take a deserved win. The fact is that, as Bro points out and as Button said in the Five live Checkered Flag Podcast, the team was telling him he should have 3 laps left on the inters but Button told them they were completely shot and he needed to come in now, was a lucky bit of timing but it shouldn't detract too much from his win.

Where Hamilton is obviously smarting is being asked to take the "covering option" roll. Mclaren obviously decieded that Jenson was running fine on his tyres but just in case they would bring Hamilton in case the tyres went off then at least one Mclaren would have good rubber for the run in. Now Hamilton said in his post race interview that his tyres were fine before he was asked to come in and I remember a radio call to Alonso from Ferrari saying that some teams had pitted for new tyres but in their opinion it wasn't worth it. Now had Webber not punted Hamilton off we would have seen the effect of both calls. The thing is, it was in Hamiltons opinion a strategy balls up to which he'll be thinking "why didn't they listen to me"

So going into Malaysia, Button will feel he's got a monkey off his back and Hamilton will be agreaved with the team over what he considers to be their mistake. I'm not saying that the Alonso / Hamilton situation is going to happen all over again but remember it was Hamilton who made the initial complaints that the team had prevented him from over taking Alonso in Monaco when he clearly believed himself to be faster.

This isn't meant to wind people up or cause 606 style rants I just feel that there has been a little change in the dynamic of the team this weekend and that Hamilton now has to focus again in Malaysia. It's often said that the first person you have to beat is your team mate but not to the extent that it becomes an all consuming passion like that which we saw in 07.
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Cider...

I'd agree with your analysis there (Even though my preferences are the exact opposite of your own).

I suppose there are a few questions that need to be asked.

1. If Hamilton believed that his tyres didn't need changing, then why didn't he make this clear to the team when they asked him to come in to change tyres? (Or did he make it clear that he thought that the tyres would last? If he had made this clear, then he would have reason to be smarting now, but if he didn't, then he himself is complicit.

2. Can Hamilton's tyre judgement be entirely trusted? To me, he doesn't seem to always recognise where the loss of grip is coming from - for instance when he came up behind the Ferraris, he was on the radio claiming the tyres were shot. This is not the first time that Hamilton has complained that the tyres have gone - regularly last season he'd be on the radio sounding like he was asking for new tyres!

I have to admit that I believed that changing tyres was absolutely the way to go (As did almost all the drivers at the time, excluding Button, the two Ferraris and Kubica), and at one point was calling on McLaren to call Button in. If McLaren hadn't called Hamilton in, and subsequently both of them had eaten their tyres, then they would have looked fairly silly.

To me, this sounds very much like the response Team Hamilton had to the press after Monaco in 2007 where the British media (And allegedly the McLaren team) was turned against Alonso, and went on to win the next 2 GPs. Is this an attempt to turn the tables after having been the second driver at McLaren all weekend? Or am I reading too much into it?
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
I'm surprised, given all his talent, speed and maturity how quickly Lewis seems to get rattled. I'm not a fan of his by any means, but I appreciate that he is the one of the outright fastest, and best overtakers out there, and always a threat.

I've no complaints with McLaren calling him in - The strategy turned out to be a wrong choice, but they took a gamble (or of course, gained valuable info for Button's engineers to assess...) Some you win, some you lose, take it and move on to the next.

Overall, I think Hamilton will beat Button for not only outright speed but also because he will be stronger in more races than Button, but it'll be closer than I thought before the season started.
 

genji

Banned
The race yesterday showed up a couple of short term (easily resolved) situations regarding relationships with the team. McLaren wanted to keep Button out for a few more laps and he said no - the team trusted his judgement and he showed the strength of character to tell them what to do. With Hamilton, once he got stuck behind Kubica, the team brought him in for fresh tyres and he did as he was told, even though his tyres felt fine to him.

After the race the word went out that Button's tyre decision was his call but both Whitmarsh ("we give the driver the choice") and Button ("my rear inters were shot anyway so it was a no-brainer") played that down to a degree. Button's already a company man and embedded in the team.

Contrast that to Hamilton, who complained bitterly both during and after the race and again this morning, about the team letting him down. On one hand I think, good for Hamilton - it's about time he started speaking his mind instead of all the "we win together and we lose together", this or that mistake "makes me stronger" corporate speak that he's renowned for. On the other, I think that spark, that display of attitude will be filed now in the memories of individuals within the team, and perhaps there's a chink in the Hamilton/McLaren chain that needs to mended.

If you want compare it to 2007, it's difficult to tell at this stage (not to mention way too early to even acknowledge) whether Hamilton's playing the Hamilton role or the Alonso role. That depends, I suppose, on the reaction of Whitmarsh and the way he manages the situation (if one develops). Button is Whitmarsh's first signing for McLaren so he has a personal interest in Button's success, even though he has a bigger corporate interest in McLaren's success. Any similarities will be made or dismissed by the managerial differences between Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis (who did have his favourites).

If Hamilton's trying to play the Hamilton role, stamping his feet in public the way he allegedly did in private in 2007, and continues by not following the team's game plan at some point, then that will demand firm management from Whitmarsh and we'll see what kind of reaction he receives.

Hamilton hasn't done himself any favours this weekend and it'll be one he wants to forget, but if you consider that the press wanted to dig up the liegate saga with him at the start of the weekend, something he'd much rather forget and which may have led to him burning off some excess tension in his 'hooning' exercise, which led to a run-in with the police, which affected his qualifying, all of which contributed to a general sense of frustration that was exacerbated on race day, then you can well understand Hamilton's need to vent. And as I said, good on him.

There is also a much longer term battle between Button and Hamilton. Button signed for three years and I think that like most people he doesn't really believe he can win the WDC in his first year against Hamilton. He has to develop in a number of areas to challenge and beat Hamilton, and that's his stated task. Button's as quick as anyone when the conditions are right, as you say, C_a_T. He has to improve his ability to get something out of nothing. He did a lot of that in the latter half of last season, but he didn't manage two victories. There's no short term fix to this. For all his long years of experience driving crap cars, I think Hamilton's experience in McLaren (e.g. understanding how and why the team reacts when under pressure) will pay dividends towards the end of the first year. The battle between Hamilton and Button hasn't begun yet.

Anyone who calls yesterday's victory "lucky" needs to give themselves a good shake. Button capitalised on difficult circumstances and took the win by doing what Button does best. It may be the only victory he achieves this season, but its real value is not in 25 points towards the championship. It was a big step in his continued assimilation into the team and its timing was hugely important. For all that Hamilton's 2009 victories were astonishing in that car (which had improved drastically by the time he won them, although he should also have won Monaco), they were only consolation prizes for a beaten team. Button has given the team a foundation on which to build.

Finally, in the last two years Hamilton was the de facto best bet at McLaren, which left Kovalainen with the job of covering the options (a job I think he made the best of). Button's victory yesterday has demolished that perception, and there may be other races this year in which Hamilton will be expected to run the Kovalainen strategy. If that happens then he needs to accept it with grace and equanimity.
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
I think Button was being honest with the tyre choice - he had no choice at all as his inters were shot. If he'd put new inters on then his race would have been badly compromised as he'd effectively lose one pit stop to everyone else. Though at the time it seemed a brave choice, it didn't surprise me.

Hamilton - well I think the computers said 'change the tyres' and he trusted them. I also happen to think it was thr right decision as it appeared (to me anyway) that he was already starting to have a few tyre problems. I doubt he could've lasted the race, so pitting early as possible was the right move.

I'd be rather annoyed if Hamilton falls out with the team. Effectively the team should be trying everything to hang on to him. It's understandable one person being upset, but a whole team being vindictive back is rather unprofessional. Maybe it's gone a lot further than we realise?
 

snowy

Champion Elect
The Artist..... said:
Cider...

I'd agree with your analysis there (Even though my preferences are the exact opposite of your own).

I suppose there are a few questions that need to be asked.

1. If Hamilton believed that his tyres didn't need changing, then why didn't he make this clear to the team when they asked him to come in to change tyres? (Or did he make it clear that he thought that the tyres would last? If he had made this clear, then he would have reason to be smarting now, but if he didn't, then he himself is complicit.
None of the teams are particularly familiar or confident about the current Bridgestone tyres characteristics. Virtually every driver and team were taking a punt on the tyres during this race, how they would behave and if they would last or not. Lewis has shown in the past that he puts a lot of trust and defers to the team on strategic calls.


2. Can Hamilton's tyre judgement be entirely trusted? To me, he doesn't seem to always recognise where the loss of grip is coming from - for instance when he came up behind the Ferraris, he was on the radio claiming the tyres were shot. This is not the first time that Hamilton has complained that the tyres have gone - regularly last season he'd be on the radio sounding like he was asking for new tyres!
It is possible that Lewis used the second set of tyres far more aggressively from the start, used them more aggressively through the stint and that coupled with the dry track took more of a toll on the tyre. Did he not have to retake a number of cars on that set before he could latch onto Fernando and push really hard to make up the time lost for that stop.

My feeling is that Lewis will learn a lot from this race, and that he will perhaps start to take matters into his own hands more. Too often the team has made doubtful strategy calls, neglecting Lewis's input. China 07 was a prime example of the team overriding their driver, wkth Lewis pleading for new tyres and being rebuffed, told to stay out a little longer his tyres torn to shreds. We've seen the same sorts of calls and senario played out by the team and Lewis trusting their judgement. Perhaps Jenson showing that a McLaren driver can make a judgement call will stir something in Lewis.

I have to admit that I believed that changing tyres was absolutely the way to go (As did almost all the drivers at the time, excluding Button, the two Ferraris and Kubica), and at one point was calling on McLaren to call Button in. If McLaren hadn't called Hamilton in, and subsequently both of them had eaten their tyres, then they would have looked fairly silly.
There is many a slip between cup and lip. McLaren were definately responding to the times set by Schumacher and covering the stops made by Nico and Mark. Lewis wanting to know who made the decision to pit may show that he is actually far more aware and cunning than even I give him credit for. McLaren pride themselves on having a blameless culture, "we win as a team, we lose as a team". However there are several key members of McLaren who have been unceremoniously shown the door recently, Mike Coughlan, Dave Ryan, Fernando Alonso, Ron Dennis and Lewis's dad! They have all been sacraficial lambs, exploding McLaren's "win as a team, lose as a team" culture. If I were Martin Whitmarsh I would be very afraid, having now said publically that he was ultimately responsible for that call being made!

To me, this sounds very much like the response Team Hamilton had to the press after Monaco in 2007 where the British media (And allegedly the McLaren team) was turned against Alonso, and went on to win the next 2 GPs. Is this an attempt to turn the tables after having been the second driver at McLaren all weekend? Or am I reading too much into it?
Power struggles within McLaren are complex and layered and fallout from very trivial actions usually escalates into very dramatic shifts in the balance of power...
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Some comments from Martin Whitmarsh:

After the race, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh took responsibility for the decision and admitted that it was the wrong call.

"It was an exciting and disappointing day for Lewis," he said. "He had a great day but we made a decision as a team, we decided that we needed to change tyres and ultimately it disadvantaged him.

"We could have had a one-two and inevitably there's a tinge of disappointment when you don't get it.

"I've already spoken to Lewis, he's someone who wants to win. The time at which we took the decision I personally believed it was the right call, but in hindsight you can now see how the race played out - the Ferraris didn't stop.

"If he'd stayed out and his tyres had been intact he could have been second. At the time, he was losing time behind Kubica and you could see graining on his rear left tyre.

"Those drivers who had pitted were going over a second a lap quicker so we believed it was the right call. To all intents and purposes I made the call as I could stop it or overrule."
 

genji

Banned
Brogan said:
Or maybe, as usual, everyone is reading too much into it?
LOL True, and even if not we'll probably never get to learn what goes on behind closed doors. But then, what's a forum for if not to hypothesise and extrapolate to the breaking point of evidence?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
genji said:
LOL True, and even if not we'll probably never get to learn what goes on behind closed doors. But then, what's a forum for if not to hypothesise and extrapolate to the breaking point of evidence?
Indeed.
This is the male equivalent of the garden fence :D

Edit: There is a poll to accompany this artcle on the Home Page
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Brogan said:
This is the male equivalent of the garden fence :D
And I intend to sit on it on this issue...

I think we all have a tendency to forget that this lot are humans. Lets cut them some slack. Most team-mates end up with few problems, and frankly I'm not going to write Hamilton or Button off at this point.

This McLaren/Hamilton overanalysis is getting me down. Can we analyise the Alonso "Don't tell me how far [Hamilton] is behind me" radio call, and what that means for Alonso at Ferrari, especially since Massa beat him this week?

No, because there is no need to. When its Hamilton though, the jury is never far away.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
teabagyokel said:
This McLaren/Hamilton overanalysis is getting me down. Can we analyise the Alonso "Don't tell me how far [Hamilton] is behind me" radio call, and what that means for Alonso at Ferrari, especially since Massa beat him this week?

No, because there is no need to. When its Hamilton though, the jury is never far away.
I think that quote from Alonso had people chuckling up and down the land.

If we were on a Spanish Forum right now I'm sure there would be similar discussions about Alonso and Ferrari.

As far as Hamilton goes, I think it's because, much like Senna, he's a very complex individual that can be petulant one minute and spell binding the next. It's that sort of driver that provokes the most debate in F1 and of course with the bulk of the site membership being UK based it's only natural that he tends to be the centre of most topics. That also of course applys to the wider British media in general.

Like many indivdual sports a lot of people find the mindset of the players fascinating and it's made more complex in motorsport because (and I've been wracking my brain) I can't think of any other sport where you team mate is also trying to beat the pants off you. Could you imagine in doubles tennis for example if your fellow player sudenly ran round the other side of the net and made it 3 on 1 (ok bad example).
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
cider_and_toast said:
Could you imagine in doubles tennis for example if your fellow player sudenly ran round the other side of the net and made it 3 on 1 (ok bad example).
Mansour Bahrami has probably done it!
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
cider_and_toast said:
Like many individual sports a lot of people find the mindset of the players fascinating and it's made more complex in motorsport because (and I've been wracking my brain) I can't think of any other sport where you team mate is also trying to beat the pants off you. Could you imagine in doubles tennis for example if your fellow player sudenly ran round the other side of the net and made it 3 on 1 (ok bad example).
I can only think of athletics or Olympic sports when two athletes from the same country (Usain Bolt/Asafa Powell?) who probably train together have that problem. Only sport(s) I can think of.

I think we are reading too much into this. I feel Hamilton probably relishes the challenge of having Button at Mclaren after having two years of Heikki as team mate. Lewis is probably more frustrated at the fact he lost a nailed on podium rather than having any qualms about Jenson beating him.

The thing is - and Lewis no doubt knows this - is that he will have to play rear gunner when Jenson is well ahead whereas Button will have to play second fiddle in other races. In any case, I feel Lewis just has the edge over Jenson due to the Mclaren being more suited to his style.

Anyway, let's just hope we have a great battle between Mclaren, Ferrari and Red Bull!
 

genji

Banned
cider_and_toast said:
Like many indivdual sports a lot of people find the mindset of the players fascinating and it's made more complex in motorsport...
Outside of watching a race it is one of the most intriguing aspects of F1 to me. There's a rare situation at McLaren this year with the two most recent champions, both British, in a British team, with no adverse history between them but plenty of recent and ancient history surrounding them and the team.

It's a great thread, IMO.

Boyle99 said:
I feel Lewis just has the edge over Jenson due to the Mclaren being more suited to his style.
How is the long wheelbase McLaren more suited to Hamilton's style? I don't disagree that Hamilton has the edge but I think that's more down to his adaptability - he'll be able to wring the car's neck more easily than Button on circuits that don't suit the car.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
teabagyokel said:
cider_and_toast said:
Could you imagine in doubles tennis for example if your fellow player sudenly ran round the other side of the net and made it 3 on 1 (ok bad example).
Mansour Bahrami has probably done it!
Mansour knows what the crowd want! It's every man for himself on court with the magician and nothing stands in the way of entertainment.
F1 needs a Bahrami figure! :thumbsup:
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
genji said:
How is the long wheelbase McLaren more suited to Hamilton's style? I don't disagree that Hamilton has the edge but I think that's more down to his adaptability - he'll be able to wring the car's neck more easily than Button on circuits that don't suit the car.
The Mclaren's back end snaps out more than most other cars on the grid and Hamilton loves a car that does that.

The Mclarens of the past 2 or 3 years have been designed to suit Hamilton with more mechanical grip than other cars and he has been used to driving this type of chassis since he has come into F1 and before in GP2.

This is probably not be the case this year but they started developing the car long before Jenson was signed up.

Anyway, I'm not saying the car doesn't suit Button, he needs time to bed in and get the perfect car setup for his style.
 
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