Martin Whitmarsh: “These days everything is a surprise…”

Martin Whitmarsh admits that McLaren was surprised by how early Lewis Hamilton found himself in tyre problems in Valencia.

Hamilton was the first of the leaders to pit after the start, and also hit more severe trouble in the closing laps than anyone else who had changed to primes at the same time as he had, under the safety car.

“I think these days everything is a surprise in motor racing, isn’t it?,” Whitmarsh told this writer. “I think it was tough on the option tyre, which was probably overheating, so we decided to stop early. It was a little bit stronger on the prime tyre, frankly, but it would was obviously going to be a tough old race.”

Hamilton dropped behind Fernando Alonso after his disastrous pit stop under the safety car.

“We had an equipment failure at the stop which made it even tougher. It was the front jack that failed and dropped the car, and unfortunately with a pit lane like that he had to come in at a steep angle, so it wasn’t great anyway. As it turned out it did not materially have an effect on the outcome of the race, which was very disappointing.

“At the end he was clearly and obviously struggling on the tyres. Twenty nine laps on either tyre was going to be a challenge, and it proved very difficult to do. If you stopped early you were taking a big risk, so it was difficult to come through that one.

“The Maldonado incident finished his day off pleasantly! Obviously Maldonado was off the track and back on again – I’m sure both drivers have different views. It was pretty frustrating.”

Whitmarsh was pleased that Jenson Button at least managed to recover some points after losing ground at the start.

“Jenson lost some positions during the first lap, which was deeply frustrating on a circuit where it’s difficult to overtake, and in traffic of course you’re damaging your tyres. Ultimately he was had over by the safety car. Thereafter it was going to be pretty difficult. He snuck in and got some points at the end by just a controlled, disciplined drive.”

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Martin Whitmarsh: “These days everything is a surprise…”

  1. Martin Whitmarsh must be stupid if he thinks that the jack problem didn’t affect Hamiltons race materially. It dropped him back behind Alonso for a start so he wouldn’t even have been in that position if the jack hadn’t failed. But what really baffles me, is that, if what Ted Kravitz has said is true, that the jack had given them some problems before in practice, then what on earth were Mclaren doing using it with an F1 World Title at stake. It maybe ok to use ‘inferior’ equipment if you are doing a Formula Ford race at Castle Combe but not F1 in Valencia

  2. CTP

    bullshit it didn’t have an effect on the outcome of the race!

  3. Tigg

    Whitmarsh – you are a man under pressure. And once again, have a pop at Hamilton but praise Button! SC or not, Button was significantly slower than Hamilton all race AGAIN. In such a tight WC a driver like Button aint gonna win. Consistency is great – but it doesnt work when you are consistently slow…

  4. Satish

    For the pitstop bungle, Martin is quick to apportion blame to Lewis’ “steep angle” into the pit, but notice the gushing for Button’s “disciplined drive”. Please!

  5. whatever

    “it didn’t have an effect on the outcome of the race”

    Yeah right Martin lets forget that the guy who won the race passed your guy in the pit-stops.
    Lewis wouldn’t have had Maldonado in his tail at that point if you got it right and more importantly he would have run in clean air managing to get that important two laps more life out of his tyres.

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