Ron Dennis has said that Lewis Hamilton has only himself to blame for a qualifying cock-up which left him seconds short of completing a final flying lap. According to Dennis, McLaren s Team Principle, Hamilton failed to follow instructions earlier in the session, leading to a pit stop fiasco where he had to queue behind Alonso losing time and an opportunity to challenge his team-mate for pole.
Rightly or wrongly, viewers were left with the impression that Alonso had purposely delayed his team-mate, leaving his pit box some ten seconds after the mechanic had lifted the pit lollipop . However, Ron has said that Alonso and his engineer did nothing wrong and waited for a countdown which would give the Spaniard track position.
“Fernando was being counted down by his engineer. He s under the control of his engineer. He determined when he goes. That s the sequence. And if you think that was a deliberate thing, then you can think what you want. I have given you exactly what happened.â€
“We have various procedures within the team and prior to practice we determine how it is going to be run, what our strategy is, and how that s going to be enacted on the circuit. They were out of sequence because Lewis should have slowed and let Fernando past, and he didn t. He charged off. That s how we got out of sequence,â€ said the sixty year old.
The Brit then went on to explain that the original plan was for Alonso to complete an extra fuel-burning lap, something which Hamilton stopped the Spaniard from doing.
“In this instance, it was Fernando s time to get the advantage of the longer fuel burn. The arrangement was that we reverse positions in the first lap. That didn t occur as arranged. That was somewhat disappointing and caused some tensions on the pit wall.â€
“We were, from that moment on, out of sequence because the cars were in the wrong place on the circuit and that unfolded into the pit stops. It complicated the situation and the end result was Lewis not getting his final timed lap.â€
Ron then went on discuss the relationship between the two drivers within the team.
“Let me make it a very honest answer, it is extremely difficult to deal with two such competitive drivers. There are definite pressures within the team. We make no secret of it. They are both very competitive, and they both want to win, and we are trying our very hardest to balance those pressures.â€
“Today we were part of a process where it didn t work, and the end result is more pressure on the team. But what you hear is the exact truth of what happened, and we will manage it inside the team through the balance of the season.â€
“Obviously Lewis feels more uncomfortable with the situation than Fernando. That s life, that s the way it is, and if he feels too hot to talk about it then that s the way it is. But what I ve done is give you an exact understanding of what took place today.â€
Now whether you believe the words coming out of Ron Dennis’s mouth, McLaren made a mistake. Had Alonso left the pits when the lollipop was raised, both drivers would have been able to complete a final flying lap. The stewards are now investigating, with Ron Dennis summoned to their office following qualifying. It will be interesting to see whether the team are penalised once radio transmissions between the team and two drivers have been analysed.