2009 proved to be a trying year for the 2008 reigning World Champion as the McLaren MP4-24 was not up to par. Aerodynamic problems with the car’s design made the car slow and very uncompetitive. Thus at the beginning of the season Hamilton was relegated to the back of the field barely unable to challenge for points, but certainly not podiums and wins.
At the 2009 Australian GP the Brit was disqualified from the opening race after he gave ‘misleading information’ to the race stewards regarding an incident involving himself & the Toyota driver of Jarno Trulli. Under Safety Car conditions Trulli passed the McLaren of Hamilton which is not allowed. McLaren told the stewards as did Hamilton that they did not intentionally let the Toyota driver by, however after reviewing McLaren’s team radio to Hamilton the contrary seemed to have happened and the steward’s disqualified the Brit from the race.
Hamilton later apologised to race director Charlie Whiting for lying, but this set the tone for the beginning of the season. Hamilton only managed to score a couple of points at Malaysia, China & Bahrain, but after this McLaren were forced to admit, as did Hamilton that they had no chance of defending his World Title. However McLaren did develop the car magnificently well and a chance of a podium looked on for Hamilton at the 2009 German GP, until a puncher relegated the Brit to the back of the field.
The warning shot that McLaren and particularly Hamilton were coming back to the front of F1 had well and truly been fired. At the following race in Hungary Hamilton qualified 4th and went onto win the race, his first victory of the season and his first podium. Hamilton’s trademark confidence seemed to have returned and now with a competitive car Hamilton took Pole at the European GP, the Belgium GP and the Singapore GP. He went onto win his second race of 2009 in Singapore as well as collect podiums in Europe, Japan & Brazil.
A close fight ensued between Hamilton & Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as to how would finish the season in 5th place, Hamilton heading into the last race of the season 1 point clear over Kimi who looked set to be the Brits new team mate at McLaren going into 2010.