McLaren Going for Victory in Bahrain After Achieving Two Top-Four Grid Slots


Lewis Hamilton - Photo Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton - Photo Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

 

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said that both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will start tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix intending to challenge for the race victory.

Hamilton will start the race alongside pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel, whilst Button starts fourth, just behind Mark Webber.

“I'm very happy with how qualifying went and the job the team has done so far this weekend,” said Hamilton. “I've put the car on the front row at every race this year, and I feel this was one of my best qualifying performances so far. Both my laps in Q3 were very good and I feel I got everything out of the car.

“Fingers crossed for tomorrow: both Red Bull drivers will be very hard to beat in the race, but we're less than a tenth behind on race pace. The start could be key – we've had good launches all season so I expect us to be able to challenge Seb down to Turn One.

“This season is shaping up to be very interesting: it's anyone's for the taking, at the moment”

Button explained that balance issues on his Q3 flying lap prevented him from qualifying further up the grid, but the Brit is still looking forward to the race tomorrow.

“Fourth position wasn't quite what I'd been hoping for, but it's not too bad,” he said. “It's always a horrible feeling on your final Q3 lap when the balance isn't quite where you want it. I couldn't get the best from the car so I pitted early to save the tyres. Besides, fourth isn't too bad anyway.

“The car is definitely a lot better than it was yesterday – we made some improvements overnight. We'd expected the Red Bulls to be very quick in qualifying, so to be close to them is a positive. A nice surprise is that we're ahead of Nico [Rosberg] who was on pole just a week ago.

“A good launch tomorrow will be very important – both Lewis and I will be starting on the dirty side of the grid, which makes things more difficult, so we'll need to get it right. Tyre management will be crucial too.

“I'm looking forward to the challenge.”

Whitmarsh reiterated McLaren‘s aims for this weekend, and praised both of his drivers for their performances in qualifying today.

“As we've already got used to seeing this season, it was very tight at the top today,” said the McLaren team principal.

“Even the early stages of qualifying – Q1 and Q2 – are nowadays extremely hard to get through. Michael [Schumacher] and Kimi [Raikkonen] can confirm that.

“As for our boys, well, Lewis drove an excellent lap, and missed out on pole position by just a tenth of a second. Jenson, too, was his usual rapid and reliable self, ending up in fourth place, directly behind Lewis on tomorrow's grid.

“The race will inevitably be a physically challenging one for all the drivers, as is always the case in hot climates such as Bahrain's, but we've got two tough racers in Lewis and Jenson and our intention is to go for the win.”

“Fourth position wasn't quite what I'd been hoping for, but it's not too bad. It's always a horrible feeling on your final Q3 lap when the balance isn't quite where you want it. I couldn't get the best from the car so I pitted early to save the tyres. Besides, fourth isn't too bad anyway.

“The car is definitely a lot better than it was yesterday – we made some improvements overnight. We'd expected the Red Bulls to be very quick in qualifying, so to be close to them is a positive. A nice surprise is that we're ahead of Nico [Rosberg] who was on pole just a week ago.

“A good launch tomorrow will be very important – both Lewis and I will be starting on the dirty side of the grid, which makes things more difficult, so we'll need to get it right. Tyre management will be crucial too.

“I'm looking forward to the challenge.”