Date:Monday March 19 2012
Lewis Hamilton's Saturday evening mood and Sunday evening mood couldn't have been more different.
After finishing second quickest in Free Practice 1 in a rain affected session, behind team-mate Jenson Button, the McLaren's then concentrated on set-up and analysis of the car during Free Practice 2 and both Hamilton and Button were well off the pace, 4 seconds slower than the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher.
McLaren didn't complete a whole lot of running while the track was slippery because the team didn't have many spare parts with them in Australia, but the team remained confident and that was confirmed on Saturday morning when Lewis Hamilton topped the timing charts in Free Practice 3.
That low fuel pace was then confirmed in qualifying when Hamilton stuck his McLaren on pole ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.
The McLaren's at this stage looked to possibly be in a class of their own, Romain Grosjean for Lotus was third quickest, the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher was fourth, with the two Red Bull's of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel fifth and sixth quickest over 0.7 seconds behind Hamilton.
“I’m massively proud of my team. We’ve been working incredibly hard throughout the winter: we’ve never given up, and everyone has just kept pushing and pushing. We’ve had some tough years, but everyone in this team wants to succeed: to be the best. I’m proud that I was able to do the job for them today.' Hamilton told formula1.com on Saturday evening.
'Today we showed that we not only have the most beautiful car in Formula One, but also the fastest! Of course, there’s still a long way to go tomorrow – looking after the tyres will be key - but we’re in the best possible position to have a strong race.”
So everything was looking positive for the 2008 Formula One World Champion, who was keen to put the 2011 season behind him in the best way possible, winning the opening race of 2012.
But that wasn't to be, poor traction away from the line gifted the advantage to Jenson Button and by the first turn, Hamilton was second.
That proved crucial because at the first round of pit-stops Hamilton had to play second fiddle to Button who had the choice of when to pit, that left Hamilton pitting one or two laps later than he would have liked, further extending the gap between himself and Button and pushing him closer into the sights of Vettel behind him.
When McLaren pitted for a second time, slick work enabled the team to change tyres of Button and Hamilton with no time delay at all, with Hamilton pulling in for his pitstop just as Button was pulling away.
But when lady luck isn't on your side then no matter how slick your tyre stops are you are going to miss out and when the safety car was called out for the stricken Caterham of Petrov, all the advantage was handed to Vettel who pitted the very next lap and was able to get in front of Hamilton where he then stayed until the chequered flag fell.
“Congratulations to Jenson and the whole team for such a great result today. While it’s a bit disappointing not to have been able to convert pole position into victory, I’m not downhearted - there are still plenty of races ahead and lots more opportunities to score points. I struggled out there a little - it wasn’t my day. But what’s most important is that we showed today that we have a very quick racing car - that’s a massive positive for the team.' Hamilton said after the race.
But while Hamilton might have claimed he wasn't downhearted his body language screamed otherwise.
He barely bothered to acknowledge the crowd when lifting his trophy, he barely joined in with the champagne celebrations on the podium and he barely joined in with the McLaren's post race celebrations.
But Hamilton is a winner and he is kicking himself for not being able to take a race winning car to the top step like his team-mate did [who also made it look easy], this is a different sort of frustration from Hamilton to what we saw last season, this is just the competitive side to a racer, disappointed not to have won and not many in the McLaren garage will be too disappointed to have a driver who is only happy when winning.
Date:Monday March 19 2012
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F1 teams to exploit engine rule loophole (Wednesday January 7 2015)
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Vergne joins Ferrari (Tuesday December 23 2014)
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Ecclestone to propose v8 return (Thursday December 18 2014)
20 stolen Red Bull trophies recovered (Wednesday December 17 2014)
Gutierrez joins Ferrari (Tuesday December 16 2014)
Hamilton wins SPOTY (Monday December 15 2014)
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Dennis does not anticipate any issues with Alonso (Friday December 12 2014)
McLaren confirm Alonso return (Thursday December 11 2014)
McLaren confirm Button on multi-year deal (Thursday December 11 2014)
Button stays at McLaren (Thursday December 11 2014)
Ricciardo surprised himself (Wednesday December 10 2014)
Red Bull factory ram-raided (Monday December 8 2014)
McLaren board meeting fails to decide (Friday December 5 2014)
Force India to use Toyata's wind tunnel (Friday December 5 2014)
2015 - Formula One's biggest season yet (Thursday December 4 2014)
FIA file report on Bianchi crash (Thursday December 4 2014)
Virtual Safety Car to get debut in 2015 (Wednesday December 3 2014)
Vettel completes first day at Ferrari (Tuesday December 2 2014)
Caterham could run old cars in 2015 (Tuesday December 2 2014)
Toro Rosso announce Sainz Jr for 2015 (Monday December 1 2014)
Williams announce Wolff as test driver (Monday December 1 2014)
Teams fail to agree on engine regulations (Friday November 28 2014)
Formula One scrap double points round (Friday November 28 2014)
Vergne announces Toro Rosso departure (again) (Thursday November 27 2014)
Problems for McLaren Honda continue (Thursday November 27 2014)
Successful season for Williams (Wednesday November 26 2014)
McLaren Honda manage 3 laps (Wednesday November 26 2014)
Caterham takeover complete 'in weeks' (Wednesday November 26 2014)
Ferrari announce third team principal of 2014 (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Audio: Abu Dhabi Recap (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Mercedes and Hamilton to re-open contract talks (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Alonso's new project will challenge Mercedes (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Force India confirm Perez place (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Wolff praises Mercedes team-mates (Monday November 24 2014)
Greatest day for Hamilton (Monday November 24 2014)
Rosberg wins friends in defeat (Monday November 24 2014)
Blog: Abu Dhabi GP Report (Sunday November 23 2014)
Lewis Hamilton - 2014 Formula One World Champion (Sunday November 23 2014)
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Blog: Abu Dhabi Qualifying (Saturday November 22 2014)
Red Bull DQ'd from Abu Dhabi Qualifying (Saturday November 22 2014)
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2014 - Abu Dhabi - FP3 (Saturday November 22 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - FP2 (Friday November 21 2014)
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Audio: Hamilton v Rosberg - The Decider (Friday November 21 2014)
Caterham receive helping hand from Bernie (Thursday November 20 2014)
Grosjean to remain with Lotus (Thursday November 20 2014)
Bianchi 'out of coma' (Wednesday November 19 2014)
McLaren delay line-up announcement (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Ecclestone to hold talks with teams (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Force India hands Palmer chance to impress (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Chilton to join Caterham? (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Carlos Sainz Jr to test for Red Bull (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Kobayashi retains seat for Abu Dhabi (Monday November 17 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 19 (Monday November 17 2014)
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Caterham will return in Abu Dhabi (Friday November 14 2014)
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Honda to debut new engine (Friday November 14 2014)
Ericsson terminates Caterham deal (Thursday November 13 2014)
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Horner threatens engine war (Wednesday November 12 2014)
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Record setting day for Mercedes (Monday November 10 2014)
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