Both McLaren drivers are optimistic of their chances in tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix after they qualified on clean side of the starting grid.
Lewis Hamilton, who starts just behind the two Red Bull drivers, says that he is aiming to jump them off the line, adding that he is in the ideal position to do so. He anticipates a good race tomorrow, and does not think that the tyre he flat-spotted in qualifying today will hamper him.
“The Red Bulls look very strong, but I'm going to do everything I can to jump at least one – if not both – of them at the start,” he said. “I hope I can attack tomorrow.
“When you start from the clean side of the grid, you automatically have a much better opportunity of getting a good start – and, this year, I've usually been on the dirty side, so tomorrow will be a bit of a bonus for me.
“Third on the grid is actually a perfect position – because, if you get a good start, you can slipstream the guys in front. My aim is to be P1 by Turn One! It doesn't normally go that way, but as long as I don't go backwards I'll be happy.
“When you're trying to eke every last drop out of the car, you sometimes lock the front wheels – and that's just what happened on my final lap. While the flat-spot to the front-left doesn't look perfect, we'll manage it by re-balancing the wheels, so it'll be fine.
“We've definitely made an improvement this weekend. We'll keep pushing: we don't give up, and with the DRS we should see some good racing tomorrow.”
Jenson Button, who starts in fifth, points out that he was unlucky not to be ahead of his team-mate, such was the tiny difference in their times. He is also optimistic of a good race.
“I feel that I did a good lap, so I’m happy with that; my car got better and better throughout the session – I was only three-hundredths slower than Lewis,” said Button. “I was a bit unlucky not to be third, then Fernando (Alonso) got between us as well, so you can see how close it is out there.
“One major positive is that, like Lewis, I’ll be starting on the clean side of the grid. Another is that, also like Lewis, I’ve got two sets of [Option] tyres that have only done one lap and another set that’s brand new –that’s going to be key tomorrow.
“Having your tyres in good condition makes such a difference – so I think we’re looking in very good shape. There’s a big difference between the Option and the Prime here, so there’ll be some different strategies tomorrow. We’ll be looking at the strategy tonight and I’m sure we can make the harder tyre work for us too.”
Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh summarised McLaren‘s chances tomorrow, and sounded pretty positive: “We're usually a little closer to the Red Bulls' pace in race trim than we are in qualifying, and we've got two brilliant racers in Lewis and Jenson, and … they'll start from the clean side of the track; so, all in all, let's just say that we're looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”