by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

F1 Istanbul 2011 - SUN - Race - Lewis Hamilton 4th, Jenson Button 6th


Istanbul, Turkey, May 08, 2011

- MP4-26A-03
- Started: 4th
- Finished: 4th
- Fastest lap: 1m30.108s (+0.234s, 4th)
- Pitstops: Four: laps 9, 20, 34 and 46 (Op-Op-Op-Pr-Pr)
- 2011 points: 59 (2nd)

“I got a pretty decent start but made a mistake on the opening lap and lost a lot of ground out of Turn Three when I was trying to go around Webber. That was the defining moment of my afternoon: if I hadn’t dropped behind Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson, I think I could have got up to third and battled for second in the race.

“The battle with Jenson was good and fair, as always, but that, and the fact that I had too much front-wing dialled into my car meant I struggled to look after the rear tyres; so my tyres were finished and that’s what kick-started the four-stop strategy.

“Considering the time I lost at my third stop [when a pair of cross-threading wheelnuts on the right-front caused a delay], I think we recovered reasonably well. I don’t think that made a huge difference to our overall finishing position, and I was quite happy with the way the car behaved once we’d taken out some wing.

“We were definitely able to do better today – but to start fourth and sixth and finish fourth and sixth was a good recovery.”

- MP4-26A-04
- Started: 6th
- Finished: 6th
- Fastest lap: 1m31.167s (+1.464s,13th)
- Pitstops: Three: laps 13, 26 and 39 (Op-Op-Op-Pr)
- 2011 points: 46 (4th)

“It’s a pity to finish so far back after everything in the first stint seemed to go so well. Strategy-wise, I don’t think we got it right today. My battle with Lewis was great fun and I there was a lot of excitement on the track, but I was disappointed to finish where I did: the car felt very good but we just went the wrong way on strategy.

“I think most people probably started the race aiming for a three-stopper, but because many of them damaged their tyres in the first stint, they changed their approach. We didn’t, and I was able to put a couple of laps on everyone and my tyres still felt pretty good – but I felt the next two stops were earlier than the tyres could have done, which is disappointing.

“We didn’t leave the stops late enough – the tyres were still good at the end of every stop, so we should have stayed out longer because it just made the last stint extremely difficult.

“During the final stint, I was trying to get the best out of the car but it’s so hard because the difference in pace between a fresh and used set of tyres is so great.”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Well, we qualified fourth and sixth, and we finished fourth and sixth. And, although clearly we'd hoped to score considerably more than the 20 points we netted as a result, both our drivers drove hard and well all afternoon - and I'm sure their contribution to a race that included lots of action and no fewer than 80 pitstops was a very significant one in terms of providing entertainment for grandstand spectators and TV viewers alike.

“At Vodafone McLaren Mercedes we've traditionally never sought to prevent our drivers from racing each other – and they certainly did that today. It was good to see: they get on extremely well off the track, as I think everyone knows, but on the track they’re as keen to beat each other as they are to beat any other driver, and that’s the way it should be.

“Although we weren’t quite as quick as the Red Bull and the Ferrari this afternoon, Lewis’s four-stop race pace was strong; Jenson was the quickest of the three-stoppers, but with hindsight it probably wasn’t the optimal strategy and consequently he struggled a bit – through no fault of his own.

“So, looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix, we’ll continue to push extremely hard from a car-development point of view, and we intend to be competitive in Barcelona.

“We lie second in the constructors’ world championship, and Lewis lies second in the drivers’ world championship too, but we’ll continue to do all we can to convert both those seconds to firsts during the rest of the season.

“Last but not least, I want to say something about Pete Vale, our chief mechanic, who operates the lollipop during all our pitstops. He acted quickly and level-headedly during Lewis’s problematic second pitstop, when two wheelnuts cross-threaded on the right-front, to prevent a potential collision – so well done Pete!”

* Official photos and report courtesy of VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES *

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