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Whitmarsh warns Hamilton over tyres

ESPNF1 Staff
May 9, 2011 « Ecclestone unfazed by talk of buyouts and breakaways | »
Martin Whitmarsh said that missing upgrades led to the gap to Red Bull © Sutton Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh warned Lewis Hamilton to curb his aggression after he finished fourth in the Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton made an error trying to pass Mark Webber on the first lap and dropped to sixth place behind his team-mate Jenson Button. The pair ran close for much of the first stint, with Hamilton passing Button on lap six but then losing the place again a lap later as his first set of tyres went off. Whitmarsh said that with this season's Pirelli tyres Hamilton would have to choose his battles.

"We want Lewis to attack but sometimes it does not pay off," Whitmarsh said. "If you look at Lewis's race pace it was OK later in the race but the tyres are so delicate and if you scrap with others including your own team-mate you will damage your tyres. In a race that critical you can't do that."

Hamilton himself admitted he had been overeager on the first lap of the race, and that it compromised the rest of his afternoon.

"If I hadn't damaged the tyres at the beginning, we would have been a lot closer," Hamilton said. "The beginning was a disaster so it was damage limitation really. The race is not won at the first two corners. I was impatient and that was my fault but it was a good recovery."

Ultimately it was a disappointed weekend for McLaren as Hamilton finished over half a minute behind third placed man Fernando Alonso, and Button struggled to sixth on a three-stop strategy. Whitmarsh said the lack of competitiveness was down to the team being unable to prepare all of the planned upgrades in time.

"Frankly we didn't bring all the developments we wanted here so we weren't quite as quick as we wanted to be, and when you're not you lose places," he told the BBC. "We didn't quite achieve what we wanted in qualifying, then if you then lose places at the start of the race it's very difficult to recover from that."