Hamilton’s retirement – where should the blame lie?

Ron Dennis has said no-one is to blame for the retirement of Lewis Hamilton from the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend. Hamilton was on-course for a race win however with doubts over the weather, he stayed out on his original wet tyres which started to wear very badly. After an extended period of time, Hamilton came into the pit-lane however his tyres were so worn that he went straight off into a gravel trap and was unable to get back on the tarmac, even with the help of marshals.

“It is too extreme to say anyone made a mistake in this,” Ron Dennis explained. “It has been a competitive season between our drivers and it will go on for another Grand Prix. We were very keen to maintain the lead it was comfortable for him to pull out the gap to Kimi that ht gave the tyres a little bit more of a hard time. But Fernando and the two Ferraris stopped after him.

“I don t think we did anything dramatically wrong and neither did Lewis. But the circuit was considerably drier than the pit-lane entrance. That s what made the difference.”

Hamilton himself doesn t believe that blame should be apportioned for the incident either. In a post-race interview, he was asked about his tyres and he said although he could feel them going off due to the way his car was handling, he was unable to see the condition of the tyres as spray and dirt had been thrown up onto his wing mirrors and therefore was unable to see his rear tyres clearly.

Martin Whitmarsh from McLaren has a slightly different view and believes his team should take the blame for the incident. He explained that McLaren were unsure as to whether rain was on the way again or not and that they had not wanted to pit Hamilton until they were clearer on the forthcoming weather conditions.

“It was our decision we were getting the weather information,” he explained. “It [the rain] was coming and going and we didn t want to come in and get the wrong tyre. We took it one lap too long and we regret that now but I think Lewis was doing a great job.

“With hindsight, we left him out at least a lap too long. The weather was very changeable at the time and we were trying to make sure that we weren t taking any risks and we were going to cover Kimi but in the end we decided we had to come in at that stage and we were a lap too late.”

The result of the Chinese Grand Prix means it is a three way showdown for the drivers title a the last race of the season in Brazil between Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen.

Despite being ‘gutted by the result, Hamilton has vowed to put the disappointment of the retirement behind him and concentrate on what needs to be done for the final race of the season in a fortnight s time.

The odds are still in Hamilton s favour to win the championship and this has given Hamilton much encouragement.

“We ve still got one more race to go, and don t worry we can still do it,” he explained. “Obviously when I got out of the car I was just gutted, because I haven t made a mistake all year and to do it on the way into the pits is not something I usually do. But you can t go through life without making mistakes, and I m over it.

“Now I m looking on to Brazil and I know the team will be working hard to make sure the car s quick enough there. We ve still got the points in the bag.”