22 April 2012
Hamilton fumes at pit stop failures
A furious Lewis Hamilton has called for an inquest into his two disastrous pit stops during the Bahrain Grand Prix that lost his crucial time and track position.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was not happy to lose almost 20 seconds in total during two disastrous pit stops during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton initially kept his second place off the grid, only to be undone by a general lack of pace in the car at the Bahrain International Circuit - and, critically, the two very slow pit stops with problems over the left-rear wheel nut.
"We need to look into this very seriously. There has to be an investigation because we gave away a lot of points again today, that's how championships are lost" he said. "We have to try and make sure we pick up on the next race because we can't afford to lose points like we did today," he added.
"For the driver sitting in the car, that's always frustrating, because you're just waiting and there's nothing you can do to help," he said.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh explained that two different problems hit Hamilton's pit stops, the first being down to the drive pegs and the drive holes not precisely aligning, while the second incident was a cross-threading issue.
However, he ruled out a switch to the more sophisticated approaches to wheels nuts used by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, pointing to the disastrous situation with Michael Schumacher in China that saw the former world champion's wheel detach after a pit stop.
"I would say at the moment the right thing to do is get to a fool-proof system that doesn't cause failure before you get more adventurous," he insisted, before going on to defend the performance of the pit stop crew.
"There is an enormous amount of stress on them," pointed out Whitmarsh, revealing to BBC Sport that the team had even decided to change the left rear wheel man during the race. "We changed him for the last stop because he was stressed but it's our job to protect them. Things go wrong and that's life. We need to make sure we pull together.
"Clearly, our performance was disappointing this afternoon," he admitted. "Having said that, both Lewis and Jenson drove very well in extremely challenging conditions.
"Lewis and Jenson are as resilient as they are competitive, so you can be well sure that in Spain they'll both do their utmost to score as many points as possible," added Whitmarsh.
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