McLaren German Grand Prix 2011

July 24, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER GERMAN GRAND PRIX

“It was a gripping race, real edge-of-the-seat stuff, and the victory was mighty satisfying”

Nurburgring, Sunday July 24

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            2nd

Finished:          1st

Fastest lap:      1m34.302ss (1st)

Pitstops:          Three: laps 16, 31 and 50 (Op-Op-Op-Pri)

2011 points:     134 (3rd)

“Every win is special – but with all the emotion, effort and energy the team put into today’s victory, this one feels even more special than usual.

“Coming into this weekend, I said I’d take things one race at a time. So to win today is massively positive for us, but there’s a long way to go and it’ll be about consistency as well as speed from here on in.

“Driving lap after lap within tenths of each other was about trying to do everything as perfectly as possible – yet, being aggressive yet controlled, I felt the moves I made today were some of the most precise I’ve ever pulled off.

“Being able to drive with your head as well as your heart, and getting it just right, is massively satisfying.

“The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We’re back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going.”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

Started:            7th

Finished:          Ret – 35 laps, hydraulic issue

Fastest lap:      1m36.258s (+1.956 s, 9th)

Pitstops:          One: lap 24 (Op-Op)

2011 points:     109 (5th)

“First, I’d like to congratulate Lewis on a fantastic victory this afternoon. He’s done a great job all weekend and this result gives everyone in the team a massive boost ahead of next weekend’s race in Hungary.

“As for my race, I had a terrible opening lap. I got too much wheelspin away from the line and had to fight my way back from 10th place. I got stuck behind Vitaly [Petrov], who was very difficult to pass because he moved a lot in the braking areas. But once I’d passed him, I enjoyed fighting back through the field.

“I’d just overtaken Nico [Rosberg] for sixth when my power steering started to get heavy. Soon after, we retired the car on safety grounds because we had a hydraulic issue. It was a very disappointing end, but these things sometimes happen in motor racing and you just have to put it behind you and move on.

“Already I’ve turned my attention to next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, where I hope to have better luck. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes goes there on the back of a win and it’s my intention to be back on the podium for my 200th grand prix.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“What can I say? Lewis was perfect in qualifying, and perfect in the race, and the result was perfect too.

“He made a brilliant start from the front row, storming past Mark [Webber] into the lead, and then nailed the first few laps.

“After that, the team made all the right strategy calls, and the pitcrew executed the pitstops faultlessly, under extreme pressure.

“It was a gripping race, real edge-of-the-seat stuff, with all three teams involved operating at the top of their form. When that happens, the victory is particularly hard-won – and mighty satisfying too.

Believe me, this success will be celebrated loud and long in Nürburgring and Woking tonight – and in Brixworth and Stuttgart too, homes of Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, whose home Grand Prix this is. As always, their engine was superb today.

“Jenson had a difficult weekend, however, and his race ended prematurely today as a result of a hydraulic failure. He’ll be disappointed, inevitably, but he’s a magnificent team player, and a fabulous driver, and I’m sure he’ll bounce back in Budapest next weekend.

“As for Lewis, well, I reckon his 16th Grand Prix victory was one of his very best: a scintillatingly authoritative performance that all too clearly underlines what a fearsomely competitive individual he is.”

McLaren Qualifying German Grand Prix 2011

July 24, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER GERMAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

 

“I’M ON A HIGH: THAT LAP WAS A REAL BOOST”

 

Nürburgring, Saturday July 23

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

 

P3

4th 1m31.578s (+0.662s) 13 laps

Qualifying

Q1 8th                           1m32.934s (on Primes)

Q2 1st                               1m30.998s (on Options)

Q3 2nd overall                1m30.134s (on Options)

“First of all I want to say a huge congratulations to the whole team, who did a great job today. Everyone back at the factory and here at the circuit has been working massively hard, and that’s the reason why the car was so quick today. I think we all underestimated how good the car would be, in fact.

“To split the Red Bulls and be ahead of the Ferraris is a fantastic effort by the team. We’ve got a big job ahead of us tomorrow, of course, but today I’m on a high: that lap was a real boost.

“I reckon today’s qualifying session was one of my best ever, definitely my best this season. The car felt great, we had really good balance and I think it’s one of the best laps I’ve done in the car. You’re already on the limit in your first lap of Q3, and usually if you improve in the second run it’s by a tenth; but today it was by four-tenths. I don’t really know where I found the time, and to be honest I’m going to get a recording of the onboard footage and watch it back because I’d love to see it!”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

 

P3

5th 1m31.623s (+0.707s) 14 laps

Qualifying

Q1 13th                          1m33.224s (on Primes)

Q2 6th                               1m31.532s (on Options)

Q3 7th overall                 1m31.288s (on Options)

“My car felt pretty good this morning, but this afternoon during quali I couldn’t find enough grip out there on either the Prime or the Option tyre. We’ll look into it this evening to better understand what happened.

“However, Lewis drove a brilliant lap to be second on the grid – so congratulations to him. Actually, his pace is encouraging for me too, because it shows there’s more speed in the car if only we can find it. Also, yesterday showed that our long-run pace is pretty good, so that’s encouraging too.

“So, when you consider that I’ve had a rather troubled couple of days, I suppose P7 is a reasonable platform from which to try to score as many world championship points as possible during the race tomorrow.

“As always, here at the Nürburgring, there’s a possibility of rain – and I’ve had success in changeable weather conditions this year. But, come rain or shine, I’ll be approaching the race really positively.”


MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

 

“Lewis drove an absolutely stunning lap at the Nürburgring today, and will start tomorrow’s race from the front row as a result.

“Moreover, our long-run pace was strong in yesterday’s practice sessions, so I’d say we’re now in a good position from which to mount a challenge for victory on Sunday.

“Jenson had some reliability niggles yesterday, but was much happier this morning in P3. In qualifying this afternoon, however, he struggled for grip, but still qualified seventh. This evening we’ll analyse what happened to him, the better to optimise his race strategy for tomorrow.

“Undoubtedly, he’d prefer to have qualified farther up the grid, but we know how combative and canny a racer he can be, and he’s therefore well capable of scoring a lot of world championship points tomorrow too.

“We’ve worked extremely hard on the car in the two weeks since the British Grand Prix, and the new aero parts we brought here appear to have delivered what we’d hoped they’d deliver. So I want to say a big ‘well done’ to all concerned.

“As ever, also, Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines have done and are doing a fantastic job for us, and we’d dearly love to be able to reward their sterling efforts with victory in their home Grand Prix.”

Well Contolled Drive by Lewis

July 17, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s Team Principal, was impressed with Lewis Hamilton’s drive at the British Grand Prix last weekend. “In difficult conditions Lewis drove a great race. He has to be congratulated for discipline and control to race a car in which he had to back off, to save fuel, to coast.

“It sounds easy, but your tyres and brakes cool off, the balance changes and it is much more difficult to drive a car when it’s not on the sweet spot, but he did a great job.

“I think it was a drive in response to the critics, just avoiding the podium in a car that wasn’t the quickest. In difficult conditions Lewis drove a great race. He has to be congratulated for discipline and control to race a car in which he had to back off, to save fuel, to coast.

“It would have been very easy, under the conditions, to have become frustrated, to have not saved the required fuel, to have lost focus and balance when in effect you are having to let drivers past. It’s not a comfortable place to be, but he drove without mistake, with the right levels of passion and aggression, and above all with the right level of discipline and control throughout.

“It is accepted and acknowledged there is more pressure on a team like McLaren than the majority of the teams in this paddock. I don’t have a problem with that because actually the pressure is from within us. We expect to win. If we ever sat back and said ‘Well, that was okay, it was fourth place, nearly a podium’, and started to congratulate ourselves, then it would be the beginning of the end.

“We have to be disappointed all the time we are not winning any of the races. Sometimes that is a positive motivating force, other times it can bubble over into a destructive frustration. It can be amplified in some things you say, but you have to accept that is part of the game.”

Formula 1 Needs More Manufacturers

July 16, 2011

Martin Whitmarsh

Martin Whitmarsh would be happy to see more car manufacturers entering Formula 1 in the near future. “The sport has to be sustainable, as Ferrari and ourselves can’t just race each other – we need all these other teams so sustainability is an important issue.

“We had the tobacco era, then the automotive era, who were natural investors, and now we don’t have enough of them. We have Renault half in, we’ve got Mercedes and Ferrari, but actually we need to create an environment of governance, of regulations, of stability and entertainment which convinces the Hondas, Toyotas and BMWs that it was wrong to pull out and I believe that in time we will get them back and probably can add the Volkswagen/Audis, the Hyundais, whatever.

“We need to create an environment that pulls them in. We need to make sure that we maintain the show. In previous years the complaint was always that the show was no good, but I believe that in the last two years we’ve responded responsibly, and actually we have had some incredible races.

“I think now we have a great show – and that’s good so we can tick the box there. We have to make sure that we are relevant and maybe the new V6 engines do that. I am sure that in the next five years we’ll have one or two more come back in. If these automotive companies go for complete team ownership, then inherently that’s unstable because when they go that leaves a mess.

“We had that with Honda, Toyota and BMW, who came in for ownership and it has been difficult for the sport to manage that. If they come in as technical partners and then decide to quit that’s an easier situation to manage. So I think the ideal model is that we create a situation where we are attractive, we’re relevant and we are powerful and appropriate for automotive manufacturers to be involved in, because the natural affinity is automotive.

“We have to work together as there is a real threat to our business model, which is this whole new world of how people use entertainment and we have to be responsive to that and not to wait until our ‘mark’ is dying. We have to go out there and make it ours.

“I don’t know personally how you are going to do that, but that’s the challenge.”

McLaren Preview German Grand Prix 2011

July 15, 2011

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SANTANDER GERMAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

 

Lewis Hamilton

“Both my previous races at this circuit have been eventful ones. The last time we were here, in 2009, it was such a mixed weekend. We’d been struggling with the car in the early races of the season and the guys back at the factory had been working around the clock to find a solution.

“From my very first lap, I could feel the difference in the car – it had been transformed. I qualified well, got a really good start thanks to the KERS Hybrid, and I was just about in front at the first corner when I was hit from behind and picked up a puncture, which damaged the car.

“In 2007 we had that crazy race with a huge downpour after just a few laps. I’d pitted for rain tyres after getting a puncture, but even with those it was too slippery. I just hit some standing water and went straight off, along with several other drivers in the same place.

“Race control made the right call to stop the race, and the Nürburgring marshals did an amazing job, in hazardous conditions, to lift me out of the gravel with the crane. Since I’d kept the engine running I was able to get back and take the restart. I was a lap down but I really enjoyed myself in the race, even though I finished just out of the points.

“The lesson to draw from all this experience is never to make predictions when you come to the Nürburgring. The current circuit may be less epic than the original 14-mile layout, and certainly a lot safer, but it can still bite you. And the weather can turn in a matter of moments – you can have all the seasons in one afternoon.

“When that happens, I know I can rely on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to react quickly and decisively.

“Another thing you can be sure of is that there will be a fantastic atmosphere. The local fans know how to party and they always enjoy themselves, whatever the weather!”

Jenson Button
“This is a truly historic and equally tricky circuit and not to be underestimated. You’ve got the rest of the 14-mile original layout just next door and there have been some memorable moments in the sport, both good and bad, often in the same weekend. Think of 1976, where James Hunt won in a McLaren but Niki Lauda had an appalling accident, or 1968, where Sir Jackie Stewart was almost blinded by mist and spray but won by four minutes just driving from memory.
“This is a race I’d really like to win. In my championship year I finished fifth and my best position before then was third, back in 2004. To be able to say you’ve won at the Nürburgring is a major achievement because it’s such a historic and challenging location. People don’t drive around with Nordschliefe stickers on their bootlids for nothing!
“There are a lot of heavy braking areas and if conditions are tricky, which they often are, you really have to get it right at every corner. The weather can change from moment to moment so you’re always on your toes.
“Perhaps we’ve lost a bit of the momentum we’d built up in previous races, but not much. Although Silverstone was disappointing, our pace has been good this year. Sometimes we’ve been quickest, sometimes we haven’t.
“The arrival of DRS and KERS Hybrid has made the racing very unpredictable, and while that’s challenging for us, it’s great for the fans, and I think we’re going to put on a really exciting show this weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team Principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“The Nürburgring is a circuit whose name carries tremendous resonance in our sport. The list of previous winners reads like a veritable Who’s Who of Formula 1 greats, and many of them have driven for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“The possibility of adverse weather, and constantly changing track conditions, makes teamwork vitally important. Our most recent victory, at Montreal, demonstrated how superb reactive driving, inspired and clear-minded strategic calls, and efficient pit work can unite to deliver the perfect result.

“This is the home race for our partners at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, who have been and continue to be at the forefront of technical excellence in F1. At Vodafone McLaren Mercedes we take considerable pride in the longevity of our partnerships, and we sincerely hope to put on a good show here this weekend.

“There has been a degree of uncertainty in recent weeks, with new restrictions placed on off-throttle exhaust blowing, and our entire team has demonstrated enormous passion and commitment as they come to terms with those challenges. We missed an opportunity for a podium finish at Silverstone, and that race was a reminder that while we are always pushing to make our car even more competitive, are rivals are doing likewise with their own machinery.

“I’m optimistic that we can move forwards this weekend and be challenging at the front once again. This will be a Santander German Grand Prix to remember!”

McLaren Report British Grand Prix 2011

July 10, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX

 

“I could feel the home fans spurring me on”

 

Silverstone, Sunday July 10

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            10th

Finished:          4th

Fastest lap:      1m36.180s (+1.272s, 5th)

Pitstops:          Three: laps 12, 24 and 37 (Int-Op-Op-Op)

2011 points:     109 (4th)

 

“Before the end, I had to start saving fuel: you have to lift and coast, which means the brake temperatures drop. So I had no brakes, and that’s why I kept locking up. That allowed Mark [Webber] to slip ahead of me and meant I was defending from Felipe [Massa] in the closing laps.

“On the final lap, the team gave me the order to push as hard as I could, but Felipe had already closed the gap by that point, so it was difficult to defend. That last lap was as close as it’s ever going to get! In the final corner I stayed on the inside and braked as hard as I could. Fortunately, we both got around the corner in one piece and I just pipped him at the finish.

“The support I had when I crossed the line was as if I’d won the race – so I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone. In fact, the fans have been amazing all weekend: I’ve never seen so many people at Silverstone, and I could feel them all spurring me on.

“I think this was one of the best British Grands Prix of all time, and I’m already looking forward to coming back again next year!”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

Started:            5th

Finished:          Ret – 39 laps, unsecured right-front wheel

Fastest lap:      1m36.982s (+2.074 s, 10th)

Pitstops:          Three: laps 11, 26 and 39 (Int-Op-Op-Op)

2011 points:     109 (5th)

“So much could have happened in my race today.

“Before my final stop I’d had great pace, and I’d caught Lewis, Sebastian [Vettel] and Mark. When they peeled off into the pits, I stayed out for one more lap and I think I would have come out alongside, or even ahead of, Mark after the stop.

“But, as I turned out of the pitlane, my right-front wheel came off and I was forced to stop immediately. The guy on the front-right lost the wheel nut and turned to take another; as he turned, I think his hand moved and the guy on the front jack felt that that was the trigger to lower the car. Then the lollipop lifted. Hopefully, we won’t have that sort of issue again.

“It’s disappointing – especially in front of the home crowd – because I was really enjoying the race. I’d had good pace all afternoon and really enjoyed a couple of good battles – particularly passing Felipe on the inside into Vale.

“I think we gave the fans something to cheer, although it was a shame we couldn’t have scored more world championship points: anyone who had pace at the end of the race had a good chance, and I think there was definitely a podium to be had here today.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Our race pace was good today – but, even so, it was a difficult afternoon for us and ultimately therefore a disappointing result for the team and for all British race fans.

“Jenson drove an excellent race – combative yet disciplined – and I think he could well have bagged a podium finish had it not been for the pitstop mix-up that prematurely ended his race.

“Our pitcrew has done a fantastic job all year – but on this occasion they released Jenson before his right-front wheel had been properly attached. It was a case of human error in the heat of the moment – but, as I say, and as I want to stress the point, our pitcrew has completed dozens of faultless pitstops under extreme pressure this season and today’s error was therefore totally atypical.

“Lewis, too, delivered a very strong performance. We’d expected him to encounter more traffic in the first part of the race than he actually did – and, as a result, he used more fuel early on than we’d anticipated he would. That being the case, we had to ask him to drive with fuel conservation in mind in the final laps – which meant that he was forced to slow his pace and thereby allow Mark to pass and let Felipe catch up.

“The last lap of the race must have made for wonderful viewing for trackside spectators and TV audiences alike – and the fact that Lewis was able to cling on to fourth place ahead of Felipe, and score 12 valuable world championship points as a result, is I think a testament to his indefatigable competitiveness.

“The Santander British Grand Prix was a superb event – the grandstands were jam-packed and I’m glad to say that a large proportion of the fans who filled them were wearing rocket-red Vodafone McLaren Mercedes caps – but now we must turn our attention to another historic motorsport venue, the Nürburgring, which will this year host the German Grand Prix, the home race of our engine partner Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines.

“As ever, Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines has done a fantastic job this year – and, together, we intend to be fully competitive in Germany in two weeks’ time.”

McLaren Qualifying British Grand Prix 2011

July 9, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

 

“Rain tomorrow should increase our chances”

 

Silverstone, Saturday July 9

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

P3

6th 1m32.956s (+1.555s) 18 laps

Qualifying

Q1 11th                         1m34.230s (on Primes)

Q2 4th                              1m32.273s (on Options)

Q3 5th overall                1m31.898s (on Options)

“Today was a bit of a topsy-turvy day. The balance of our car wasn’t great, and it’s always difficult when you find out at the last minute what you’re running: it isn’t a matter of a mere flick of a switch to change things.

“For some teams, the tightening of the regulations helped; but it hurt others. So I guess fifth place feels just about okay after what we’ve been through in the past few days.

“Hopefully, we can still take the fight to the guys in front at our home grand prix, and give the famous Silverstone crowd something to shout about.”

 

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

P3

13th 1m33.842s (+2.441s) 16 laps

Qualifying

Q1 7th                           1m33.581s (on Primes)

Q2 8th                           1m32.505s (on Options)

Q3 10th overall              1m32.376s (on Options)

 

“I enjoyed the changeable weather conditions today, but it’s disappointing to have ended up so far behind. For Q3, we fitted a used set of Options for our first run when the others ran new tyres, and that hurt our performance. Then, when we fitted new tyres for the final run, it started raining so I couldn’t improve my time.

“I think there are a couple of guys in front of me who ought to be slower than me, so I’ll do my best to make progress in the early laps even though overtaking here is difficult. I hope we can still have an exciting race, but it’ll be tricky. I guess I’ll be hoping for rain tomorrow to increase my chances of getting a good result.

“Nevertheless, the fans here are the best in the world – they’re sensational in fact – and they’ll spur me on in the race. I really hope I can do something special for them tomorrow.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Clearly, we’d intended to qualify better than fifth and 10th for our home grand prix, so inevitably today’s qualifying session was a disappointing one.

“It’s been a difficult day, blighted by a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in relation to the regulations, and compromised by equally changeable weather conditions.

“That combination made things difficult for everyone, and the shape of tomorrow’s grid was always likely to be tricky to predict as a result.

“But tomorrow is what really matters, and in Jenson and Lewis we’ve got two of the most skilful and most combative racers in the sport today. I know how dearly they’d love to be able to put on a good show in front of the most knowledgeable and most supportive spectators in Formula 1, and you can be absolutely certain that they’ll be giving it 100 per cent as soon as the five red lights go out on the startline gantry at 1.00pm tomorrow – and so will everyone else at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

McLaren Practice 1 & 2 British Grand Prix 2011

July 8, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE


An encouraging day – despite the wet”

Silverstone, Friday July 8

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

P1 programme             21 laps                         1m48.161s (+1.558s)     8th

P2 programme                                     6 laps                           1m51.438s (+1.471s)     4th

“It’s a shame today was so wet, because I really wanted to put on a good show for all the fans – they had to brave some pretty cold and damp conditions all day, so I’m pleased that it looks like the weather will improve for the rest of the weekend. Fingers crossed.

“Despite the lack of running, today was actually quite encouraging; we tested a couple of things and I managed to pick up quite a decent feeling for the car.

“It’s going to be interesting tomorrow if it’s dry, because I think our car is looking quite good. The new rear wing also felt quite positive, but we’ve still got to decide whether we carry it over into tomorrow and the race itself.”

“The reason I went to the stewards was to discuss the correct usage of DRS in wet conditions: the rules don’t clearly state whether you can use DRS on slicks in wet conditions, which is what we did this morning. The stewards just wanted to understand so that they could tighten the wording of the regulations for the next race. I also suggested a couple of tweaks to make the regulations clearer and safer, so it was quite a useful visit.”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

P1 programme                                     23 laps                         1m48.841s (+2.238s)     15th

P2 programme                                     6 laps                           1m51.518s (+1.551s)     5th

“Today was a bit of a frustrating day for me; we thought we’d get some good running under our belts this afternoon, but the rain meant that didn’t happen, and we didn’t really get a chance to evaluate everything.

“The balance was okay in P1. Hopefully, it’s not going to rain for the rest of the weekend, so we should be able to get a better read on how the new interpretations of the regulations will affect us from tomorrow. We don’t really know if our new rear wing is an improvement over the older version. It has a different downforce level, but I’m still not sure what we’re going to run for the rest of the weekend.

“The new facilities here at Silverstone are great – the only problem is that, at our end of the pitlane, we can’t see the fans and they can’t see us! Still, it’s a fantastic effort from everybody involved.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“From an engineering perspective, today was quite frustrating because the constantly changing weather and track conditions made it difficult to gather any meaningful comparative data on the new components and new engine modes we’d brought to this race.

“Nonetheless, we were able to conduct some useful running, and the onus is now on the engineers to devise a good direction for the rest of the weekend, which looks set to be more predictable than today’s wet weather.

“It’s always exciting to arrive at Silverstone for the Santander British Grand Prix, and I want to commend everybody involved in the construction of these fantastic new facilities. Silverstone has always been one of the greatest grand prix tracks in the world, and the new pit and paddock complex confirms it as a truly world-class venue that lacks for nothing compared with other leading venues on the Formula 1 calendar.

“I’m really looking forward to a fantastic weekend of close racing.”

McLaren Need to Improve for Silverstone

June 27, 2011

McLaren MP4-26

Martin Whitmarsh hopes that McLaren will have a more competitive car for the British Grand Prix in just under two weeks. “There has never been a car that has had enough power and enough downforce. You are working all the time to do that.

“We were not exploiting the tyres correctly. We were struggling with traction and that was not to do with downforce, that was tyre temperature but I am an optimist. We plan to go to Silverstone with some new things. We will have new parts and possibly a new rear wing – various bits and pieces.

“Silverstone is very different to here. Anyone who stands here and say I am sure we will be back with the quickest race car would be rather foolish, but we will see how we get on. We’ve had a difficult afternoon, but we had three races with the quickest race car and we just did not have the quickest one here. This is not the intention and we will be working hard to develop the car to be quicker at Silverstone.”

Lewis Hamilton feels that Sebastian Vettel will be crowned world champion again this year.”He has pretty much won it. It’s finished really, in the sense of the championship unless he doesn’t finish the next 10 races, which is very unlikely, then he is gone.

“We just can’t beat Red Bull right now. They would need to fall off the track for me to beat them. There was over a second per lap difference today. That is just ridiculous.”

Hamilton Apologises for “Poor Joke”

May 30, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was very frustrated at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix after his qualifying time on Saturday was cancelled because he drove through a chicane and then he received two penalties during the race for running into the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

“Out of six races, I’ve been to the stewards five times. It’s a joke. It’s an absolute frickin’ joke. I went up the inside of Maldonado and you can see on the screen that he turned in a good car length too early to stop me overtaking him and he crashed into me. It’s just ridiculous. These drivers are absolutely frickin’ ridiculous. Just stupid.”

He then, jokingly, suggested that the reason that the stewards had been looking at his driving style was: “Maybe it’s because I’m black. That’s what Ali G says. I don’t know.”

Former three-times  Formula 1 World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart commented: “I think both were questionable – and he was lucky to get off without any front wing damage in the final incident.

“You make your own luck and you create your own situations, but the key is that you should not put yourself in a position where the other driver can retaliate in a fashion that will be negative to you, or will be seen by the stewards as negative.

“You also have to listen to the stewards, because there has been a big improvement in having a driver [on the stewards’ panel]. Allan McNish is a very experienced driver so if that is their opinion you have got to go with it.

“When you are a driver, you don’t see if from the other side. They get all the angles. They get the videos, and they can sit up there and get all the replays so they analyse it even better than the man in the cockpit.

“If there is a degree of unfairness and it is really obvious then you appeal – and you make suggestions to the governing body of what might be better done to ensure that there is no penalty or loss to the person involved but you also have still got to keep in mind that you are very exposed.

“Your own car is likely to be damaged in incidents in a big way, and I actually said I thought there would be a question mark when they happened.”

McLaren’s Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh commented: “Immediately after the race he was very down, and during a post-race TV interview he made a poor joke about his penalties that referenced Ali G.

“However, I’m pleased to say that he chose to return to the track a little while later to speak to the stewards about the joke. They accepted his explanation. Lewis had a frustrating afternoon.

“I guess the reality is that, if you start anywhere other than at the front of the grid here in Monte Carlo, you’re always going to run the risk of getting involved in incidents – especially if, like Lewis, you’re a forceful driver who never, ever, gives up but that’s Lewis.

“That’s why he’s such a fantastic driver – and that’s why watching him race is so thrilling. So, yes, he’s disappointed, because he’s been seriously quick all weekend here, but that’s Monte Carlo; that’s racing; that’s life.”

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