Despite not having the fastest car at their home race, McLaren leave Silverstone leading both the drivers and constructors points after Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished the British Grand Prix in second and fourth places respectively.
The Woking-based team had a difficult Friday and Saturday at the Northamptonshire circuit, which culminated in a poor qualifying performance. Hamilton somehow managed to secure fourth on the grid, but Button failed to get out of Q2 and qualified only fourteenth.
Luckily for the two Brits, they were much more competitive come race day, and the British fans had something to cheer about, despite Aussie Red Bull driver Mark Webber taking the race win.
“It's been a phenomenal weekend, and this result is a near perfect way to finish it,” said Hamilton. “I'm so happy: considering how far behind we were in practice, we really didn't expect to be this far up today. I'm very proud of the team and the effort they put in, as always.
“At the start, I was able to jump Fernando [Alonso] and take a step forward. After that I chased Mark [Webber] for the whole race, but the Red Bull was about four or five tenths a lap faster than our car, so it was very difficult to stay close to him. Still, the most important thing is that we scored a lot of world championship points once again, so this is another great race result for us.
“It's been the biggest turnout I've ever seen here. And the support from all the fans has been incredible, I couldn't ask for more. You can't hear them cheering their support in the car, but you can feel it; and I carry every single one of them with me in the car. They give me a huge boost of confidence on every lap.
“We've got two weeks to work on our upgrades before the next Grand Prix. I won the last race at Hockenheim, in 2008, and if we can get the new floor there, we should be looking pretty strong.
“We've just got to keep pushing: this world championship is still all to play for.”
Button had a much better race than he was expecting, but still missed out on his first ever Silverstone podium. “That was a great race, and I'm so happy to have made up 10 places,” said the current world champion. “But it's hard to overtake around here, so I knew I had to make up a lot of places off the start line. In the event I made up six places, but I then had to push really hard on the Option tyre in the first stint. That strategy worked for us and I came out behind Fernando, who had a drive through, so I picked up fourth. It's a pity I couldn't have overtaken Nico [Rosberg], but this is still a fantastic result for me.
“It's a pity I couldn't get onto the podium in front of my home crowd, who have been absolutely amazing all weekend. You can never forget the fans around here, I genuinely think they helped Lewis and me to a good result today. And they got to see and cheer Lewis on the podium too, so it's not been a bad weekend for them overall, I hope.
“After Friday, to pick up second and fourth today is great. I'm still second in the drivers' championship, and the only pain is that Lewis has pulled away a bit. But we'll try and get that back at the next race.
“I reckon we'll turn up at Hockenheim with a stronger car, and that therefore we won't be fighting from the start of the weekend. I hope we'll have a good race there and can really take the fight to the Red Bulls.”
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was full of praise for his two drivers, and highlighted McLaren’s consistent form over the last four races.
“Well, what can I say?!,” exclaimed Whitmarsh. “Both our drivers drove fantastic races under serious pressure, and the result was 30 valuable points to add to our constructors' world championship kitty.”
“Lewis made a superb start and thereafter kept the pace up all afternoon. He drove brilliantly, in fact I don't think you'll see many better second places than that all season.”
“Jenson, too, drove a masterly race to make up 10 places, from 14th at the start to fourth at the finish, and the team got all the strategy calls right for him. In fact, the team's efforts over the whole weekend have been exemplary. I've said it before, but the team is operating more cohesively than ever before, whether we've been working late into the night to prepare the cars, or Gary (Paffett) putting in additional time in the simulator on Friday night to ensure we began Saturday in as competitive a proposition as possible. It's that effort and dedication that has kept us in the lead of both world championships. So, well done, boys.”
“So, yes, although we didn't win the 2010 Santander British Grand Prix, today is a good day. We saw an excellent afternoon's racing on a wonderful racetrack, and we leave Silverstone with our lead in the constructors' world championship intact, and with Lewis and Jenson still in first and second places in the drivers' world championship.”
“In the past four grands prix we've scored 149 points out of a possible 172, a stupendous achievement that speaks volumes for the tenacious determination of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”