Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team are putting a philosophical face on the tyre failure that cost him a podium in the Turkish Grand Prix – despite revealing that he was carrying a fuel advantage that could have won him the race.
Hamilton’s tyre mishap came in lap 43 – while the leading teams were involved in a crucial second pit stop shoot-out. The puncture caused Hamilton to limp into the McLaren garage from third place just as team-mate Alonso was leaving.
It later transpired that he was carrying enough fuel for up to five more laps, allowing him to potentially gain a significant advantage over the other three title contenders – and maybe even grab the lead.
Speaking after the race, Hamilton said: “A little bit unfortunate but still we did a good job, and the team was fantastic all weekend.
“We had the pace of the Ferraris, but when you are behind you lose a little bit of downforce; we were just matching them for most of the race.
“I saw some bits fly off the tyre and then it just blew on braking into turn nine. It was lucky that I didn’t put the car in the gravel and managed to control it back to the pits, as this meant that in the end I only lost two places.
“We still got some good points and I remain in the lead of the championship by five points, so it is not all bad.”
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis added, with typical understatement: “This was always a race we expected to be challenging, so all in all we are not too upset with the result. Our pace was good and Fernando and Lewis both put in strong performances.
“Lewis’ tyre failure came at an unfortunate time as he had enough fuel to go a few laps longer than the Ferraris, so we may have challenged them at the end.
“Anyway we now look forward to the next race at Monza where we expect to be stronger than we have been this weekend.” He described the points situation as “very interesting”.
The team is upbeat for Monza and is now pinning its hopes on improvements to the car for a much-needed performance boost that would keep it ahead of Ferrari.