McLaren Happy As Mercedes Top The Times


The McLaren team were understandably happy following qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton took pole position and Heikki Kovalainen finished fourth.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said it was a team effort that paid off: “It may be a Formula 1 cliché, but it's true nonetheless: our whole team did a fantastic job today – Vodafone, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, everyone. Both our drivers drove excellent laps, aggressive yet controlled, and both of them have good strategies for tomorrow. But, however pleased we are with our overall qualifying performance, the reality is that anything can happen on race day and we never under-estimate our opposition. Nevertheless, we look forward to a great Italian Grand Prix at this majestic circuit, and we confidently expect to be able to play a highly competitive part in it.”

Hamilton was suprised with the pace of the MP4-24-04 saying that the team hadn’t anticipated being so quick before the weekend, but the young Briton was happy “The car felt very good, and I was able to really put the lap together. I had a single shot at pole – and that's the most exhilarating and exciting feeling you can have as a racing driver.

Mercedes boss Norbert Haug was a happy man as the six Mercedes powered cars occupied places in the top seven positions, only seperated by Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in third place.

“What a final lap from Lewis and a great position for Heikki on the second row. This is Lewis's second pole in the last three races and shows that the team is working in the right direction to get back to the top. Thanks to everybody in the team, particularly the engineers – it is very easy to get it wrong in terms of qualifying strategy here at Monza, but our guys got it absolutely right.”

“Congratulations also to Adrian Sutil and Force India for their second place on the grid – it is amazing what these guys are doing and proof that a technical partnership and a talented, hard-working staff in an independent low-budget team can achieve everything in Formula 1.”