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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 18:36 UK

Hamilton accepts McLaren decision over second pit stop

Jenson Button celebrates Australian Grand Prix win

Highlights - Australian Grand Prix

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has put a stop to any controversy surrounding his criticism of the team over their race strategy at the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who finished sixth, felt the decision to pull him in for a second pit stop cost McLaren a one-two in a race won by team-mate Jenson Button.

But he told on Monday: "The team explained their reasoning behind the second stop.

"I can understand what they were trying to do."

Hamilton qualified in 11th place but made a good start and overtook Button on lap six to move into sixth.

The 25-year-old came into the pits for the first time at the end of lap eight and after taking third from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg at Turn 11 on lap 26, he was called 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 before a late shunt from Mark Webber forced him to settle for sixth.


The 2008 world champion vented his frustration over the team radio in the latter stages of the race and was clearly still unhappy after crossing the finish line.

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

Whitmarsh explained that, at the time, Hamilton was losing time behind Kubica and graining was beginning to appear on his rear left tyre.

He added that other drivers who had recently pitted were going over a second a lap quicker than those who had not.

"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," said Hamilton.

"It's something you learn from, and we'll use that knowledge to help us improve throughout this season.""

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton frustrated by 'wrong' strategy

Hamilton was otherwise delighted with his performance, adding: "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."

Hamilton was also full of praise for reigning world champion Button, who drove a superb race to claim his first grand prix victory since joining McLaren from Brawn GP (now rebranded as Mercedes).

"As soon as Jenson finished in the press conference, I went down to see him and I gave him a big hug," said Hamilton.

"You can't take anything away from his drive - it was faultless, and he thoroughly deserved the victory.

"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."

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see also
Hamilton blames team for strategy
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Button wins dramatic Australia GP
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Police run-in 'affected Hamilton'
27 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

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