F1: Ecclestone says ‘silly strategy’ cost Hamilton the title

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarSaturday, October 27th, 2007

 
 

Bernie Ecclestone, never one to mince his words, has made his pronouncement about Lewis Hamilton’s botched race at Interlagos – he thinks it was McLaren’s “silly” pitstop strategy that did the damage.

(However anyone who saw that garbled interview he gave Martin Brundle on the grid immediately prior to the Brazillian Grand Prix may be a bit bemused by the clarity of his opinions now.)

Bernie has aimed both barrels straight at Ron Dennis and fired, telling the Daily Telegraph: “If he hadn’t called Hamilton in for that silly low-fuel and soft-tyres stint he could have won the championship.

“He made no time on the road and lost 25 seconds making the stop. If he had only lost 15 seconds he would have been fourth.

“I feel sorry for Lewis after his performances this year as a rookie.”

Dennis had previously defended his team’s actions with cold Vulcan logic, saying: “People are very quick to talk about strategy.

“But the simple headline is that Fernando, who executed a perfect two stop-strategy in our opinion, was 33 seconds ahead of Lewis when we chose to switch to a three-stop strategy and at the end of the race was 20 seconds ahead of him.

“So we think the strategy made up between 10 and 15 seconds. I stress, the only reason we didn’t win the championship was the gearbox problem.”

But Bernie didn’t seem to be very impressed with this argument.

McLaren’s behaviour at the Chinese Grand Prix is also still under scrutiny, with pundits enquiring why on earth Hamilton was left out on those bald tyres that contributed to wrecking his race.

If you’re wondering about the ins and outs of it all, take a look at Autosport consultant editor Mark Hughes’ cool-headed analysis for the ITV F1 website, to be found here.

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