That Lewis pit-stop, it’s happened before!

There has been a lot of fuss over the pit-stop that cost Lewis Hamilton a certain 2nd place in Australia, and potentially a win. Lewis was critical of the team, the team responded by saying they thought it was the right thing to do, while in hindsight they were wrong.

Many others have come out to attack Lewis and McLaren, asking why, when Button called for slicks, didn’t Lewis tell the team his tyres were ok?

The fact is the two situations are totally different. McLaren were ready for Jenson to come in a couple of laps later than he did. A driver knows when to take a gamble, and Jenson took one. Having dropped down the field, he probably knew it was worth the risk. If you ask why Lewis didn’t make the call, you may as well ask why didn’t Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel?

Schumacher was the first to go in for a second set of soft tyres, and was around two seconds a lap quicker. McLaren must have calculated that Lewis would be fast enough to overtake the cars in front, and had enough of a gap behind to avoid slower contenders. In addition, Jenson was out in front, and could take care of his tyres, while Lewis had been forced to drive through the pack, and would surely benefit from a new set of boots. So the call was simple.

Now let’s rewind back to the 2008 German Grand Prix. Lewis is in front, and comfortable. He needs another fuel stop, but so does most of the field. Then Glock crashes, and the safety car comes out. Everyone pits from behind the safety car, except Lewis and Heidfeld.

Mclaren’s reasoning behind this was that Lewis could go further, and could extend his lead to counter the stop. Wrong, he came out behind his team-mate in 5th. a pit-stop, a let-by and two overtakes later, he was back in the lead. He said that day, that he had no idea why the team called him in then, instead of when behind the safety car. McLaren countered that they expected the debris to be cleared sooner, but they made a mistake.

Of course, back then it was fuel that was needed more than tyres. But Lewis has shown that he is a team player, and works well as part of a team. On that day, the team got it wrong, but he made it right. Last weekend, the team got it wrong, but Lewis was unable to make it right this time.

Things happen, would Jenson have said no if the team called him in? We’ll never know the true answer to that.

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