Hamilton’s team won’t bungle tyres strategy this weekend

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The McLaren team are unlikely to make the same strategic error with Lewis Hamilton this weekend as they did at the Australian Grand Prix last Sunday.

The British driver was fuming when he was called in to have his tyres changed for a second time on lap 34 – he blames the decision for costing him second place.

Instead he only managed sixth, and McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale admits the team let their driver down.

“I completely understand why Lewis was frustrated,” Neale said ahead of this weekends race in Malaysia. “Every time Lewis comes in he has left nothing on the circuit and it is up to us to step up and follow him.”

Hamilton was called in for a second time for new tyres on lap 34 in Melbourne when he was putting the pressure on second-placed Robert Kubica.

But, after rejoining the race in fifth, the 25-year-old Briton could not move up the field again and a late shunt from Mark Webber forced the 2008 champion to settle for sixth while McLaren team-mate Jenson Button took victory.

“If our driver is frustrated because we have done something, made a mistake or put him in a situation that is difficult in the race, then we have to look at ourselves and say ‘did we do the best to get the job done for him?’

“If the driver is frustrated, it is our job to do something better to support them.

“Do I think with the benefit of hindsight we got that wrong in Melbourne? Yes.

“But that’s just the way it is when you get split-second or 30-second decisions to make.

“We go to Malaysia with Lewis very much a man on a mission.”

Alex Kapadia, Operations Team

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