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Belgian GP: Hamilton not happy with old-spec rear wing choice


By Berthold Bouman

Lewis Hamilton was not happy after qualifying in eighth place for the Belgian Grand Prix, and on Twitter he vented his frustrations, “Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. We voted to change, didn’t work out. I lose 0.4 seconds just on the straight.”

Lewis Hamilton: not happy with rear wing choice

But apparently this wasn’t the original tweet, other sources revealed his original tweet, which allegedly had been removed by his team: “WTF? Damn, Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. I lose 4 tenths just on the straight. Jenson should win easy with that speed.” Asked why his tweets were removed he said, “No particular reason. Just wanted to rephrase some things I said.”

So why is he unhappy with the qualifying result? Being beaten by a team mate who is far behind him in the Drivers’ Championship, and who had more or less already been written off, was not exactly what Hamilton had in mind when he travelled to Spa after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. Button taking pole was probably the last thing he expected.

Button and Hamilton have opted for different set-ups, Button was more happy with the low-downforce set-up and the new low-drag wing, while Hamilton and his engineers opted for the high-downforce set-up and the old wing. Button’s set-up meant he was faster on the high-speed sections one and three at Spa-Francorchamps, while Hamilton’s set-up meant he was faster on the slower section, section two.

“The set-up wasn’t perfect, but that was simply because we chose the wrong rear wing, preferring to stay with the version we used in Hungary,” Hamilton said in an official McLaren press release after qualifying. “The wing we’d been using in FP3 this morning hadn’t been working very well, so we opted to go back to the older wing which we thought would be the safer option.”

And he added, “It was a collective choice: we thought the older wing would be quicker in qualifying, but in fact Jenson has shown the new wing to be very good indeed.”

It is indeed the choice of the driver with what set-up he feels more comfortable, and both set-ups should on paper result in the same lap time, but obviously it didn’t pan out that way yesterday. Button took pole with a magnificent lap of 1m47.573s, while Hamilton recorded a lap of 1m48.394s, and that is 0,921 seconds slower, a lot more than the 0.4 seconds Hamilton claimed to have lost on the straight.

He must have realised that himself, as he later on Twitter changed his tune and wrote, “Congrats to Jenson Button for his first pole for the team. I will try to help him score a 1-2 for the team. Still all to play for.”

Hamilton will start from seventh place today, as Mark Webber has a five-place grid penalty for changing the gearbox of his Red Bull.

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