Martin Whitmarsh has excused Lewis Hamilton for his criticisms of McLaren’s race strategists in the Australian grand prix.
While his teammate Jenson Button made an inspired decision to pit early for slicks at slippery Albert Park and won, a global TV audience heard 25-year-old Hamilton slam on the radio the “freaking terrible idea” of his two-stop strategy.
“Whose call was it to bring me in?” he also frustratingly asked his pit crew.
A writer in the Independent newspaper said that to “complain while the race was running was a shocking lapse of professionalism”, but Hamilton then continued to pan the strategy in conversation with reporters afterwards.
“I think I deserved better,” he said. “I’m happy with the job that I did. Everyone else in front of me did one stop and I did two.”
Team boss Whitmarsh said the episode was simply a demonstration of the passion of Hamilton, who on Friday night was charged by Melbourne police after doing a burnout in his Mercedes road car.
“That is how Lewis is. He is passionate, he likes to win, he likes to do everything well, he is hard on himself, he is hard on the team. And that is how Lewis functions,” he said.
“If Lewis didn’t feel disappointed and frustrated, I’d be worried,” added Whitmarsh.
It should be noted that the vastly experienced Williams/Rubens Barrichello combination also stopped twice and regretted the decision, while double world champion and 2010 title leader Fernando Alonso discussed the option over the radio.
“We talked about it but the simulation said it would be faster if we went with one set of tyres to the end,” said the Spaniard.