2012 Malaysian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton
Starting Position: P1
Lewis Hamilton enters the pits on lap 14 from the lead, followed by Fernando Alonso who was 4 seconds behind. Hamilton rejoins the race in 3rd position, behind Perez in 2nd and Alonso in 1st. Hamilton stays 3rd for the rest of the race while Alonso clinches the victory.
What happened? Lewis’ stop time: 27.961, Fernando’s stop time: 22.864.
A massive 5 seconds lost in the pits.
2012 Chinese Grand Prix – Jenson Button
Starting Position: P5
The McLaren duo were fast throughout the race; Jenson Button looked like a genuine race win contender until disaster struck: Jenson makes a very slow pit stop on lap 39, 6 seconds slower than that of race leader Nico Rosberg who was on older tyres. Jenson rejoins the race behind heavy traffic which meant that chasing Nico for the race win was no longer on the menu. Both Jenson and Lewis, the latter who qualified in P2 and started the race from 6th after a gearbox penalty, finished on the podium in 2nd and 3rd respectively; another possible win thrown in the garbage bin.
Lewis Hamilton qualifies a strong 2nd. He maintains his position behind 1st placed Sebastian Vettel at the start of the race. On lap 9, Lewis pits from 3rd (after being overtaken by Romain Grosjean in the Lotus); he rejoins in 8th. During his 2nd stop on lap 23, Lewis loses a further 3 positions to end up in 11th; he then fights his way up to cross the finish line in 8th.
What went wrong there? Two, not one, but TWO painfully slow pit stops by his McLaren team pushed Lewis down the grid order.
2012 Spanish Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton
Starting Position: P24
The Briton goes 5-tenths quicker than anybody else in Qualifying; but shortly after taking the chequered flag he was ordered to stop by the team because of an unidentified problem. The ‘unidentified problem’ later turned out to be lack of fuel onboard his car. The FIA’s strict rules regarding on-track stoppage after Qualifying meant that Lewis Hamilton was sent to the back of the grid for the race, thus killing his chances of a race victory. Lewis drove a brilliant race to 8th.
McLaren, no doubt, have one of the fastest cars on the grid which is being underlined by Lewis Hamilton’s presence on the front row in all of the races so far; but the team’s strategic errors and lack of consistency have cost them dearly. They aren’t very far away from the lead though, as they lie 2nd place in the WCC, while their higher-ranked driver Lewis Hamilton is 3rd, 8 points behind leaders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso who are tied on 61 points. The Woking-based team still has the time to improve its performance, but lots of valuable points have been lost already, and those points could prove crucial at the end of the season.