Hamilton and Button: One of those days…
22 April 2012 – McLaren were very much the big losers in Bahrain, jettisoning the lead in both championships as two costly pit-stop problems were made. Following errors in both Melbourne and Sepang, Lewis Hamilton suffered a cross-threaded wheel nut on his left-rear wheel in, not one, but two pit-stops this afternoon.
As Hamilton lost almost 20 seconds and Jenson Button retired with a differential problem, which followed a left-rear puncture, it was a day to forget all-round.
“There are good times and bad times in motor racing,” Hamilton began after finishing in a lowly eighth place. “I guess this was just one of those days.
“By rights we should have been fighting to finish in the top four today, but it didn’t work out like that in the end. The delays in the pits were a big part of that, of course. For the driver sitting in the car, that’s always frustrating because you’re just waiting and there’s nothing you can do to help. We lost a bit of World Championship momentum today…it’s clear that we’ve got to do two things: work on the pace of our car and improve our pit-stops.”
As Hamilton falls from the lead of the standings to second, four points behind Sebastian Vettel, Button plummets to fourth from second.
“I didn’t have a very good balance today,” he explained. “I was struggling all afternoon with oversteer. We were taking front wing out of the car all the way through the race, in fact. However, my final stint was a long one and, if I hadn’t struck trouble, I reckon things would have got quite interesting in the final laps.
“I started pushing pretty hard and caught up with Paul (di Resta) and Nico (Rosberg). But, just as I braked for the final corner, the right-front corner lifted up in the air and I realised I had a puncture. In the last few laps, the car sounded really noisy. I think the initial problem was an exhaust failure, then my puncture and then a differential failure, so I had to retire. It’s been a pretty difficult weekend for the whole team.”
The F1 teams will roll out a selection of updates for the next race in Barcelona.