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Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 14:22 UK

McLaren admit to communication errors in Turkey

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on the podium in Turkey
Button and Hamilton were all smiles on the podium after the race at Istanbul Park in Turkey

McLaren have admitted to making errors in communicating with their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at last month's Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton led a McLaren one-two in Istanbul but was upset to be overtaken by Button on lap 50 after being told via radio this would not happen.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "Chief engineer Phil Prew told Lewis that Jenson would not overtake.

"It was an instinctive response but that opinion was clearly wrong."

The McLaren incident came eight laps after Red Bull team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided.


Championship leader Webber was leading on lap 40 of the 58-lap race, with Red Bull on course for a one-two, when Vettel attempted an overtaking move and the two cars came together.

Vettel span out of the race, while Webber was forced to pit for a new front wing before resuming to finish third.

The crash left Hamilton leading from his English team-mate Button but both McLaren drivers were immediately told to conserve fuel in a race that had seen high consumption.

"Inevitably there is a dilemma as you get to the end of the race about how hard you can race and we had that amply demonstrated to us that a team and its drivers can get it wrong," added Whitmarsh.

"There is no doubt both of our drivers wanted to win, but the race had been quicker than expected in the early part so both drivers had been given the same instruction to save fuel."

Hamilton could see Button closing on him though and, although team orders are banned in Formula 1 if they "interfere with competition", in an official race edit of the Turkish Grand Prix, broadcast on, he can be heard asking his team: "If I back off, is Jenson going to pass me or not?"

McLaren's answer was: "No, Lewis. No."

However, when, with 10 laps remaining, Hamilton slowed down in Turn Eight, Button took advantage through Turns 12 and 13.

Hamilton reclaimed the lead from Button at the start of the next lap, with the two MP4-25s brushing wheels coming into Turn One.

"It wasn't expected that Lewis would lift off as much as he did in Turn Eight and Jenson, when he saw that, thought it was an opportunity and subsequently made the pass," said Whitmarsh.

Predicting the outcome is impossible and that's how the sport should be. It's possible we could win, but I'm not that confident

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh

"But Lewis wasn't about to give up first place easily and made a fairly robust overtake to ensure he remained in the lead.

"Thereafter, the two of them decided there was a reasonably fair and equitable equilibrium as they had to ensure they finished comfortably with fuel and car intact."

McLaren go into this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix with a few modifications to their car and the team are hopeful of a decent chance of building on the win in Istanbul.

They believe their car is suited to the layout of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where straight-line speed is crucial, and Whitmarsh continued: "It would be nice to win, it ought to be where we are quick and it's where Lewis won his first grand prix three years ago.

"Red Bull are strong in high speed corners, but the next two grands prix (Montreal and Valencia) don't feature those so we hope to be strong there.

"But while we're developing our car you never know what Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes will turn up with.

"We've got a new front wing as the one in Istanbul didn't work and a new rear wing lower element so we have a reasonable aerodynamic package.

"But predicting the outcome is impossible and that's how the sport should be. It's possible we could win, but I'm not that confident."

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see also
Hamilton expects Button battles
04 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren will improve - Hamilton
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton pleased to win eventful race
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
I was told to conserve fuel - Button
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull clash hands Hamilton win
30 May 10 |  Formula 1

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