Category Archives: Constructors

Lewis Hamilton in Italy in Pictures (2010)

So, this is the first dedicated Lewis Hamilton post after yesterday’s epiphany – enjoy the photos!

During Free Practice on Friday 10th September
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During Free Practice on Friday 10th September
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During Free Practice on Friday 10th September – inside a cloud?
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During Qualifying on Saturday 11th September
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After Qualifying on Saturday 11th September
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Just moments before he retired from the race on Sunday 12th September
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Hamilton clashes with Massa – race over

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Filed under Felipe Massa, In Pictures, Italian, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

I think I’m a Hamilton fan, not a McLaren fan!

That’s probably not the post subject you’d expect to see on a blog called McLaren Fan Blog, but I think watching the race in Monza earlier has made me come to that realisation. The epiphany came when Lewis went out on the first lap and my heart sunk seeing Jenson Button in 1st, knowing full well that if it stayed like that then he’d only be a handful of points behind Lewis. There was then a chance that Jenson could end the season with more points than Lewis and possibly as champion, though not that likely. I didn’t like that – I wanted Lewis to be the highest placed McLaren driver, and when Alonso took the lead I was actually relieved that Jenson wouldn’t be as close to Lewis in the Driver’s Championship than I’d previously thought.

As I McLaren fan I should want either driver to win, I don’t.

To the people reading this post, I can imagine this will be a very unpopular opinion but all I can be is honest. It was Lewis Hamilton that first got me really interested in Formula 1 back at Fuji 2007, and it has now become clear that it’s him that I’m still firmly behind, and not the team he’s driving for. I want Lewis to be the number one driver in the team and I want Lewis to be a 2 time champion and not Jenson Button.

I guess this never became an issue before because in 2007 Hamilton was beating team mate Alonso and in 2008 and 2009 he was a long way ahead of Kovalainen. Earlier this season I had similar feelings but it was so early on that it didn’t seem like it could be a reality, not through the eyes of a staunch Lewis supporter. Now however, with just 5 races left, Jenson is a lot closer to Lewis and all it takes is a bit of bad luck and Lewis could be only the 2nd best McLaren driver – that’s something I’m not happy to accept..

I guess the ultimate question is if Lewis Hamilton drove for another team next year would I still support McLaren, and the answer is no. In fact if Lewis left Formula 1 I think my support would probably shift to Robert Kubica – he’s a great talent and my grandparents on my Mother’s side were Polish. Maybe it’s time I started thinking about renaming this Blog Hamilton fan Blog instead?

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Filed under Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Italian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Robert Kubica

Was Hungary the turning point for McLaren, again?

Last year Lewis Hamilton achieved McLaren’s first race win of the season at the Hungaroring. This year Hamilton retired on lap 23 with a gearbox failure while Jenson Button came in 8th, behind Pedro de la Rosa, Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov, as well as the 2 Ferraris and the 2 Red Bulls. In 2009 the Hungarian Grand Prix marked the return to form of the McLaren as Lewis Hamilton went in to gain more points in the 2nd hlaf of the season than any any other driver. This year I fear it could be a turning point of a different kind.

At the rick of being labelled pessimistic, I do fear that Hungary showcased just how far McLaren are falling behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Before Hamilton’s retirement he’d performed far better than the car by getting past Felipe Massa in the pits and moving from 5th place to 4th place, while Jenson Button had been languishing in 10th place, at least a slight improvement on his 14th place starting position. In qualifying Hamilton drove out of his skin just to get 5th place on the grid while Button failed to make Q3 and started in 11th. Bad qualifying had been a constant during Button’s season and it’s a testament to his race performance, and some luck, that he currently sits in 4th place in the Driver’s Championship.

While a 5th place start for Hamilton might not sound catastrophic, he was nowhere near the pace of the Ferraris and Red Bulls and the gap seems to be increasing with each race. Like McLaren last year, Ferrari have made a remarkable comeback and with some questionable tactics have catapulted Fernando Alonso right up into Championship contention. Hamilton meanwhile has relinquished the Championship lead to Mark Weber, who leads by 10 points, and is being chased down by Vettel who is just 6 points behind him, and 4 points ahead of Button, who himself is 6 points ahead of Alonso.

After the Hungarian Grand Prix McLaren also lost the lead in the Constructor’s Championship with Red Bull now ahead of them by 8 points. In fear that’s a lead that McLaren won’t be reclaiming, as performance issues aside Jenson Button seems to be falling more out of love with his car with every race. It’s a little similar to last year where Button suffered a drop in performance, such that he was almost caught by both Vettel and Barichello. of course last year he had a cushion of 6 wins, not something he can rely on this year.

Lewis Hamilton on the other hand, while not driving the best car, can always be relied on to get at least 100% out of the car and often more, retirements aside. But is that enough to make an impact in the last 7 races and give Hamilton a chance at becoming a 2-time World Champion? If I had to bet on a McLaren driver winning the 2010 Driver’s Championship I have to confess that’s not a bet I’d be putting much money on, though the combination of McLaren development and Hamilton driving is one that always has the potential to surprise and perform.

Am I being too negative? Maybe, but the speed of the 2 teams in front of McLaren is frightening, at least to a McLaren fan. Am I also being a bit harsh on Jenson Button? Again, maybe, but he does seem to under perform unless he’s 100% happy with his car and frankly in this race for the title we need more. With Red Bull’s apparent driver friction and Ferrari’s alleged team orders, I sometimes wonder if the harmonious atmosphere in the McLaren garage couldn’t benefit from a bit more fight between the two drivers. It’s great for PR to have 2 drivers getting along so well but is it really conducive to the best results on track?

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Filed under Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hungarian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel

McLaren Excel as I Wilt!

I can’t give you answer to the question ‘why have you not been updating this blog?’, I can only apologise. I’ve been watching the races every week and I’ve been thrilled at the success of both Lewis and Jenson for McLaren – you’d think it would be the perfect time for someone running a McLaren blog to post lots of updates. I’ve been taking lots of photos and have just launched a photo gallery website: Fable Photos and have been regularly updating my other blog: Fabled Thoughts Expanded, but why I’ve not been posting here is a mystery as I constantly think about doing so, but then life gets in the way.

Anyway, moving forward and going into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend, we see Lewis leading the Driver’s Championship ahead of Jenson, with McLaren sitting atop the Constructor’s Championship. Will it continue like this? I can only hope it will, but one has to be wary that if the Red Bulls don’t have any reliability problems and don’t crash into each other, then they could take both Championships back at any time.

In my completely unbiased opinion (!), I’d say that Lewis has been the best driver so far this season, by quite some margin. He’s been the one to watch in almost every race and has achieved success through sheer racing aggression and ability. If the McLaren has the out and out speed of the Red Bull then I truly believe that Lewis would have a sizeable lead in the Championship, far more than he currently has. It was watching Lewis Hamilton racing in Japan 2007 that got me into Formula 1 and he’s showed more than ever this season why I was right to place my faith with him.

Not taking anything away from Jenson Button, who has had almost as much success as Lewis so far, but his success has not been as exciting to watch and some may say that a sizeable amount of luck and fortune has helped him to get to where he is. Still, I’m glad for that fortune as his points are almost half of those obtained my McLaren this season, the current leader of the Constructor’s Championship.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than myself can confirm or deny this, but I’m sure McLaren are an upgrade behind the likes of Red Bull at the moment and we could be seeing those upgrades this weekend at some point. I’m hoping these upgrades will see McLaren close the gap on the Red Bulls even more, and maybe even surpass them – though that could be unrealistic wishful thinking.

On a different topic altogether and if I can be very childish for a moment – ha ha ha ha ha, to Fernando Alonso and Ferrari for their failure to spoil things for Lewis and McLaren in the last race. Get a grip guys – concentrate on getting your race up to speed rather than throwing your toys out of the pram and attempting, and failing, to rely on penalties for success.

This time tomorrow qualifying will have happened and we’ll have some idea of how the teams are relative to one another and whether a McLaren is sitting on pole position. Who knows, with in-laws up tomorrow I may have more time to myself and you may be treated to another blog post. I will try very hard, but don’t hold your breath!

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Filed under British, Constructors, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Red Bull

Neglected Blog, Turkish Delight & Communications Breakdown

Apologies for the lack of blog updates (busy times which should be easing off soon, hopefully) and also for the very corny pun in the title of this update – I couldn’t resist!

Am I happy that Lewis Hamilton won in Turkey? yes, I’m over the moon. Would I prefer it the victory had have come from actually beating the Red Bulls rather than capitalising on the collision between Weber and Vettel? of course, but the improvements of the McLarens are very encouraging and Hamilton and Button were within pouncing distance of Weber and Vettel for the whole pre-collision race. This victory out Hamilton right back into the title race, something which comes as a huge relief to me, and lots of other people too, I’m sure.

Now, onto more serious matters, and the information that has come out of the radio communications that can be heard on formula1.com, which went something like this:

Team to Hamilton “Save fuel”
Lewis Hamilton- “If I save fuel will Jenson pass me yes or no?”
Team- “No Lewis He won’t”

Of course we all know what happened next. So, was this a case of the team not communicating to Jenson what they had just told Lewis or was this Jenson deciding to race for the win ignoring what the team had said/ No doubt we’ll get an explanation from Martin Whitmarsh at the next race, as I am sure the BBC team will ask him what went on. With no team order there can be no real blame for Jenson wanting to race, but he was given the passing opportunity due to Lewis slowing down, so the fault lies with the lack of communication.

If Lewis needed to save more fuel than Jenson, as the case may have been, would the team have been right to tell Jenson not to pass Lewis? Conserving fuel, just as with tyres, is part of the race and if Jenson has done than better than Lewis then all credit to him, surely, and a shot at the win in his right. Of course this is only mass speculation but I know that if the shoe were on the other foot than I’d want Lewis to be given that chance at victory.

If we assume the team didn’t pass on Lewis’s concerns, why would that be? Could it just be an innocent communication breakdown or could they have realised that if Jenson gets the win then he’d be top of the Driver’s Championship, while their team points would remain the same, seeing them top of the Constructor’s Championship. It’s maybe a cynical look at what occurred but as a fan of McLaren that doesn’t mean we have to be blinkered, we have to consider all angles, especially given the large amounts of money involved in Formula 1.

Until we hear from McLaren themselves, all we can do is guess any number of scenarios. The facts are that McLaren are now competitive with Red Bull, and with that in mind the rest of the season should be very exciting indeed.

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Filed under Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel, Turkish

McLaren Hoody Voting – The Final Round

For a bit of history on this, these previous blog posts may help:

Help design the new McLaren hoody!
Vote for the next McLaren Hoody
McLaren Hoody Voting Round 2 – The Final Five
McLaren hoody voting round 2 – the results are in!

The winning entries have now been adapted by the McLaren merchandise design team and we are down to 3 final designs. I’m sure you are all agree that these final designs are all terrific, and I know I’d be proud to wear any of them. It’s now up to you to decide which design you want to see made into an actual hoody and made available for sale at the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Shop. You can only vote once, so make it count.

In a spirit of sportsmanship please do not campaign your own design but let McLaren get their fans to vote. You click any of the 3 images to see bigger versions.

McLaren Hoody #1

There are 2 variations with this hoody:

Unisex Option 1 without zip: RRP £49.95 incl. VAT (Vote Option 1 without Zip)

Unisex Option 1 with zip: RRP £54.95 (Vote Option 1 with Zip)
 

McLaren Hoody #2

Unisex Option 2 without zip: RRP £64.95 incl. VAT (Vote Option 2 without Zip)
 

McLaren Hoody #3

There are 2 variations with this hoody:

Unisex Option 3 without zip: RRP £49.95 incl. VAT (Vote Option 3 without Zip)

Unisex Option 3 with zip: RRP £54.95 (Vote Option 3 with Zip)
 
Votes will be collected for a week, so you have until 3pm next Wednesday (April 28th) to make your choice.


 

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Filed under McLaren, McLaren Hoody Design Competition, McLaren Merchandise

From Disappointment to Elation in China

The biggest problem with not blogging on race day is that I tend to forget things 24 hours on, but I’ll try my best! First and foremost, what an awesome performance in China from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to come in 1st and 2nd respectively – the first McLaren 1-2 since the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix where Fernando Alonso won the race, with Lewis Hamilton coming in 2nd.

It was a contrast of driving, with a serene drive from the front, after some tyre change fiascos, for Button, compared to the aggressive and attacking race from Hamilton. It was another Button initiated tyre change strategy which eventually saw him win the race, just 1 second ahead of his team mate. Though Hamilton may not have won, he once again provided the entertainment as he out on yet another over taking master class, the highlight of which was the two times he successfully overtook Michael Schumacher.

Lewis Hamilton in China

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

One massive positive to take away from Shanghai is the speed of the McLaren MP4-25 which seemed to be up there with the best, and in the control of Lewis Hamilton went like a rocket at times. In the last few laps of the race he caught up to Jenson Button so much that I thought he may try to take the win away from his team mate, but settled for second in the end. If they can sort out their qualifying we could see many more McLaren 1-2 finishes this season, and as Hamilton fan I’ll be hoping to see him taking the win next time. Still, it was a great performance from Jenson Button as he became the first driver to win 2 races this season as he looks to retain the World Championship he won in 2009.

Jenson Button Wins The Chinese Grand Prix

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

After the subdued season opener in Bahrain we’ve now had 3 exciting races in a row, though with the Spanish Grand Prix next that trend may not continue. It will be more important than ever for McLaren to do well in qualifying, as even the over taking maestro that is Lewis Hamilton may struggle to make up many places in Spain, should he need to. Let’s just hope the volcanic dust clears and we actually have a Spanish Grand Prix, though after the success of this past weekend maybe a 2nd race in China would be a good substitute!

As it stands now Jenson Button is top of the Drivers’ Championship on 60 points with Lewis Hamilton just 11 points behind in 4th place. McLaren sit proudly atop the Constructors’ Championship with 109 points which is 19 points ahead of second place Ferrari who don’t seem to be able to match their season opening success – shame! Updated standings can be found here. 2010 is turning into a great season as a McLaren fan, and as a fan of Lewis Hamilton I’m getting to see him put in some world class performances, to a level that puts him apart from the rest of the field – if the team can only get strategies right then he’ll be unstoppable.

Jenson Celebrates His Victory

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

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Filed under Chinese, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Michael Schumacher