• Australian Grand Prix

McLaren admits it let one-two finish slip

ESPNF1 Staff
March 29, 2010 « Button not predicting regular wins | »
Lewis Hamilton's race (and car) fell apart as he tried to fight back through the field © Sutton Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that Lewis Hamilton could have finished second at the Australian Grand Prix had the team not called him in for a second pit stop.

Hamilton was in third place, on the tail of Robert Kubica in second, when McLaren told him to pit for a new set of slick tyres. As a result he lost track position to the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, and despite catching up with them again, his charge was ended when he was taken out by Mark Webber.

Looking back at the strategy, Whitmarsh admitted the team had made the wrong call but said at the time it had seemed like the right thing to do.

"With the information we had at the time, given where Lewis was, we felt that it was the right call. I think in retrospect and hindsight, if we look at how the race played out - if Lewis could have made those tyres last then he could have finished at least second today and we would have a one-two. Inimitably in McLaren style, you look at a win and say - 'damn, it could have been a one-two'. It was disappointing because it was a fantastic drive by Lewis. We as a team made that decision, I have to be accountable for that and I am disappointed with the outcome, but I am not disappointed by the process because I thought it was the right decision at the time."

He added that the decision had been based on the fastest lap times recorded by Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber after they stopped for new tyres.

"Lewis was losing time behind Kubica, you could see he had graining of his rear left tyre and you could see that Michael had stopped and was going purple, Webber had stopped and was going purple and more than one second per lap quicker."