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Lewis Hamilton blames McLaren for Australia GP strategy

Jenson Button celebrates Australian Grand Prix win

Highlights - Australian Grand Prix

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton accused his team of getting race strategy wrong at the Australian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old was pulled in for a second pit stop on lap 34 while his rivals stayed out on the track.

He closed the gap on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso but could not pass and was then was shunted off the track by Red Bull's Mark Webber with two laps to go.

"The strategy was not right," he said after finishing sixth. "I drove my heart out and I deserved better."

Hamilton was clearly unhappy after the race, which was won by McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.


And it compounded a disappointing weekend for the Englishman, who had his car impounded by Melbourne police after practice on Friday for alleged improper use of a vehicle, while he only managed to finish 11th in qualifying.

Despite his poor grid position, Hamilton made a good start and he overtook Button on lap six to move to sixth place.

He came into the pits for the first time at the end of lap eight and after taking third from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with a stunning overtaking move at Turn 11 on lap 26, Hamilton came in for new tyres on lap 34 when he was putting the pressure on second-placed Robert Kubica.

Hamilton rejoined the race in fifth and although on new tyres he was faster than those in front of him, he could not move up the field while a late shunt from Webber as he was chasing down Alonso forced him to settle for sixth.

"I probably had one of the drives of my life," added Hamilton. "But unfortunately due to the strategy I was put further back and then I got taken out by Mark Webber. I am happy with the job that I did.

"Everyone else in front of me did one stop and for some reason I did two.

"I'd already stopped once and my tyres were fine. I went for the second stop and worked my backside off to catch the 20-second gap. I didn't question it because I always trust the team.

"I had the pace to overtake Kubica and we could have had our first one-two, which would have been great for the team. But unfortunately that wasn't the case."

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton frustrated by 'wrong' strategy

After the race, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh took responsibility for the decision and admitted that it was the wrong call.

"It was an exciting and disappointing day for Lewis," he said. "He had a great day but we made a decision as a team, we decided that we needed to change tyres and ultimately it disadvantaged him.

"We could have had a one-two and inevitably there's a tinge of disappointment when you don't get it.

"I've already spoken to Lewis, he's someone who wants to win. The time at which we took the decision I personally believed it was the right call, but in hindsight you can now see how the race played out - the Ferraris didn't stop.

"If he'd stayed out and his tyres had been intact he could have been second. At the time, he was losing time behind Kubica and you could see graining on his rear left tyre.

"Those drivers who had pitted were going over a second a lap quicker so we believed it was the right call. To all intents and purposes I made the call as I could stop it or overrule."

And Hamilton accused Webber of "not thinking clearly" during the incident which knocked both men off the track with two laps to go.

"The worst part at the end was getting taken out," said Hamilton. "I think my move wasn't particularly the problem, I would have cut across and got past him, but unfortunately Mark wasn't thinking clearly and he took us out."

Webber, who has been reprimanded for the incident, said he apologised to Hamilton after the race.

"I wanted to go down fighting," said Webber after finishing ninth. "Lewis and I both caught Fernando and I was looking forward to the last part of the race. I thought it would be a good fight.

"We both got a run on Fernando but when I got that close the front wing did not work. I could not get the car stopped. I lifted up and I just locked up. It's car racing."

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Australian Grand Prix

RaceLast updated: 15 Nov 2012 12:34 UK
Position Country Driver Race Time
1 great britain J Button 1:33:36.531
2 poland R Kubica 1:33:48.565
3 brazil F Massa 1:33:51.019
4 spain F Alonso 1:33:52.835
5 germany N Rosberg 1:33:53.214
6 great britain L Hamilton 1:34:06.520
7 italy V Liuzzi 1:34:36.378
8 brazil R Barrichello 1:34:37.067
9 australia M Webber 1:34:43.850
10 germany M Schumacher 1:34:45.922

see also
Button wins dramatic Australia GP
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Button revels in Aussie victory
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel admits reliability worries
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix race result
24 Feb 10 |  Results
Australian GP as it happened
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix photos
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Police run-in 'affected Hamilton'
27 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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