Hamilton says he understands team’s tire strategy

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Lewis Hamilton is backing off his criticism of his team, saying he now understands what McLaren was attempting by bringing him in for a new set of tires while most other drivers were carrying on with a single set of slicks.

From Lewis’ official site:

The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do in trying to cover both Mark [Webber] and Nico [Rosberg] for later in the race.

“We are still learning about this year’s tyres and the degradation, and perhaps we over-estimated the wear that the frontrunners were expecting to suffer. It’s something you learn from, and we’ll use that knowledge to help us improve throughout this season.

There’s no doubt the McLaren driver had the most eventful weekend of anyone in F1. From Hoongate, to being called a d!(#head to calling out his own team over the very public radio, Hamilton has plenty of memories from his time in Australia.

It did seem like his churlishness over the radio might be the most substantial incident, however. On the SPEED broadcast in America, our announce team was very critical of Hamilton’s comments, first that his tires were chewed up (the comment being, “Why tell everyone that?”) and then his complaint about the pit strategy.

Was this the first public moment of team dissent? Was Lewis suddenly getting the worse of his teammate, Jenson Button, and not liking it?

It appears that might not be happening — yet. But there’s no way to ignore the signs that things might not be all hunky dory at McLaren.

Beyond talking about the tire incident, Lewis does go on to pat himself on the back for his drive, and I can’t say I blame him. He had some amazing moments and some intuitive, fearless passes and attempts at overtaking.

“But yeah, my race was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I drove one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. I think it was a very clean race – I had some fantastic battles, made some passes and showed good pace. It’s the sort of race I love.

“Hopefully, too, it will have looked good on the television. While you’re never racing purely for the crowds, we really wanted to be able to put on a show for the spectators and the people watching at home on TV. I hope they enjoyed it!”

For those concerned about the internal workings at McLaren, here’s a bit more from Lewis on Jenson:

Despite the own frustrations, you must have been very pleased for Jenson and the team.

“I was. As soon as Jenson finished in the press conference, I went down to see him and I gave him a big hug. You can’t take anything away from his drive in Australia – it was faultless, and he thoroughly deserved the victory. And every win is special: you always love to win, but if it can’t be for me, then I want it to be my team mate. It’s good to see the team celebrating Jenson’s win – victories are very important for our team because they not only bring everyone closer together, but they also help validate the work we’re doing and the approach we’re taking. After a difficult 2009 season and our regrouping over the winter, I think the win in Australia will make the whole team a lot stronger.”

Still… I think this is something we need to watch.


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