• Italian Grand Prix

Whitmarsh defends Hamilton's mistake

ESPNF1 Staff
September 13, 2010 « Ferrari ready to focus on title charge - Domenicali | »
Lewis Hamilton did not complete a lap at Monza © Sutton Images

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has defended Lewis Hamilton's move on Felipe Massa that resulted in his driver's retirement at the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton made a good start from fifth on the grid and was challenging the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso on the run in to Monza's second chicane. However, he locked up slightly under braking and, with heavy fuel and low downforce, clattered into Massa's rear-left wheel. Hamilton broke his steering as a result and as he entered the first Lesmo, ran wide and into retirement.

"Viewed in slow-motion and from the armchair, yes [he was overaggressive]," ITV reported Whitmarsh as saying. "But viewed from the driving seat, Lewis Hamilton would not be the great racing driver that he is if he didn't go for it - and that's what he did.

"In hindsight, I'm sure he wishes that he hadn't gone for it quite as much, and so do we, but I think you've got to go out there and race. He could have had a go later in the race - he had a fast racing car. But that is Lewis Hamilton, I don't want to change Lewis Hamilton, I think he's a pretty good product, a great human being and a great racing driver."

He said that an impact like Hamilton's could have gone either way but unfortunately the damage proved terminal.

"It was a light tap, it was just unfortunate because it could have been a tap and he'd got away with it, it could've been a tap and he'd go through," Whitmarsh added. "It's millimetres and centimetres of track position at very high speeds and high adrenaline, that make the difference between hero and zero, and that's the nature of the sport."

The McLaren boss added that he expects Hamilton to bounce back in Singapore.

"The important thing is that tomorrow morning Lewis jumps out of bed, gets into training, and focuses on Singapore because he wants to do the job there - and he will, because I know Lewis."