Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Hamilton not concerned by Red Bull’s pace

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Lewis Hamilton played down fears over Red Bull’s pace, which looked strong in the second practice session at Suzuka.

Hamilton said: “Looking at the times, I think Red Bull typically carries less fuel than us during Friday?s long-run practices ?ǣ that?s often been the case throughout the year ?ǣ and we?re often closer in the races. I think our long-run pace, particularly on Jenson?s car, looks good: I think we?ve got a good chance of being very competitive.

“Also, our pace over a single lap also looks very good.

“Actually, I think looking after the tyres during the race will be the biggest challenge, because degradation could be a slight issue for the teams.”

Hamilton added the stewards had checked to ensure he had not gone too quickly through a yellow flag area during practice:

“After P2, the stewards were looking at my data after [Vitantonio] Liuzzi parked his car at the exit of Turn 14 ?ǣ but I did a slower sector time and didn?t use DRS or KERS, so it should be okay.”

Team mate Jenson Button, who was fastest in both of today’s sessions, says the team have some work to do overnight to unlock more performance from the MP4-26:

“We tried a couple of different fuel-loads: on heavier fuel, the car feels okay through the high-speed changes of direction, although there are still some areas to improve ?ǣ particularly in the long runs.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Hamilton not concerned by Red Bull’s pace”

  1. Brave comments. but it could cause another incident due to hastiness…

    1. I hope not,I think we’ve all seen enough of that at Singapore

      1. @Younger Hamii You never know with him,I don’t think he will change his driving style & won’t be surprise if he makes more mistakes.

        1. I think everyone is piling on Lewis now and that is just as out of control and skewing everyone’s perceptions. Why doesn’t everyone freak out about what Nico did in his collision? It was MUCH more aggressive and a much harder contact. He was just lucky it didn’t do damage. Then Michael runs flat over someone (but I think Perez was just as at fault by taking a blocking line and then lifting early rather than lining up for the corner as expected).

          I just watched a replay of the post race interviews and Massa actually walks by and jerks Lewis around by the arm to say some smart a** comment. When you get physical with someone, it can easily start a fight. Why wasn’t Massa penalized for that?

          It just seems there is now a double standard for everyone else and then there is Lewis. Just doesn’t seem consistent. I have seen MUCH worse contact in every race this year with no penalties. Why did Lewis get this drive through?

          No, things are not right here.

          1. Why wasn’t Massa penalized for that?

            Please tell me you’re joking.

          2. please tell me you’re joking

            Not at all. Didn’t they threaten to suspend Lewis for some number of races because of comments he made earlier this year because it would be “detrimental to Formula 1”?

            You don’t think that grabbing another driver and jerking him around during an interview to potentially start a fight wouldn’t be “detrimental to Formula 1”???

          3. @DaveD

            They may have ‘threatened’ it but did they go through with it? No.

            And nor should they with respect to what Massa did.

            “Potentially starting a fight” is comical. You’re blowing the whole thing massively out of proportion.

          4. @Keith,

            No, they didn’t follow through as long as Lewis would apologize in public and act all contrite for them.

            Massa was the person with his team telling him to “destroy Hamilton’s race” and he’s the one who made the aggressive, physical move to grab Lewis during the press conference. This isn’t NASCAR and I don’t want to watch the drivers fighting in the pit lane, press area or on the side of the track. Massa should not put his hands on another person unless he’s trying to start a fight. Either way, that is a bad precedent to start.

            So I ask again, why isn’t Massa put under the same scrutiny by the powers that be?

            I’m not saying Lewis doesn’t need to calm down. He certainly had no reason to try and pass Massa on the out lap (actually, the first corner coming out of the pits) in Singapore during qualifying. That is where he should have been called in.

            But it still doesn’t feel consistent the way they treat Lewis and the other drivers. Last year during the first half of the year, Vettel and/or Webber were wrecking people out (or even each other) during every race. But other than a little whining by the press that Vettel was “immature” nothing was ever done.

  2. I look forward to the excitement that Lewis brings to a race, I just hope he’s a little more patient when trying to pass other drivers!

    1. It’s painful being a LH fan this year.
      Every exciting overtake seems to come with a 50/50 chance of his race ending early; much like anyone SV was attempting to overtake last year.

      I think LH needs some advice from Lance Corporal Jack Jones when he finds himself behind a slower car which is affecting his race strategy… “don’t panic, don’t panic”

      1. @Richard Yea I can relate to that, I felt like that with Vettel last year. I have a little more confidence in him now, however.

  3. Fridays…

    1. The doubts that arise on Fridays aren’t as great as those preceding the first race of the season, but are still very nice to follow as the result of the weekend can be overturned.

  4. Hardbrakingmike
    7th October 2011, 12:30

    regardless of Vettels success this year. Looking forward to F1 weekends make me happy. Especially back to back ones! Japan/Korea!

    I really dont know what to expect from Lewis this weekend. My mind says I’m hoping he has a clean incident free race – thats all.

    My instincts say he can win it. But Jenson has been mighty as of late…..

  5. Hardbrakingmike
    7th October 2011, 12:31

    Having said all that, a smart betting man would say Vettel Pole and a win. this by far, the most probable outcome of this weekend.

  6. I find this comment from Lewis intriguing, as Paddy Lowe said: “Well, we’re sort of hoping they weren’t on the same fuel loads as us”

    1. Yeah, Button declared the opposite too.

    2. I think the difference is that a driver can safely say he thinks they have less, while a person who is part of the tech team would be asking for strong worded replies for such a statement if he cannot prove it (hardly possible to do so).

  7. With Vettels ability to go a half second quicker in qualifying than in practice this sounds like wishful thinking to me. Button is looking very dangerous for this race but why isn’t anybody talking about Fernando who usually does better in the race than his practice pace would suggest. I am expecting the racing to be closer than usual at the front.

    1. Usually it’s been a problem of the harder compound tyres for Ferrari and the fact they will need to run it towards the end of the race. Alonso has been great at starts and can usually get ahead of several rivals but then his pace starts to drop about half way through the first stint.

      1. That’s right but Fernando is not usually faster than the Red Bulls in practice, this time he is.

  8. Lewis Seems quite Buoyed about McLaren’s pace.Lets hope what he says is EXACTLY correct & that McLaren can fight RB hard for Pole & Victory.

  9. …particularly on Jenson’s car…


    looking after the tyres during the race will be the biggest challenge

    make it seem to me that Jenson will be the quickest of the two, since he’s the best at tyre management and Jenson’s set up is in better shape.

    Maybe I’m too optimistic with my prediction…

  10. Jenson looks substantial faster than Hamilton all season it makes you wonder is Hamilton going to win another another world championship, not when Alonso or Button are here.

    1. Jenson hasn’t been faster he has just got better results. Jenson has had a good season but we shoujldn’t equate being ahead in the points table with being faster.

      1. Sounds like a classic school-discussion. ‘I got better grade!’ – ‘Yeah, but I’m still smarter than you, I’m just not giving it my all.’

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