McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted that the team couldn't be happy with fifth and sixth on the grid for the German Grand Prix but said he was confident of a stronger showing on race day from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
In their first qualifying session using the blown diffuser the pair proved to be unable to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari but emerged as best of the rest behind – with Button getting the edge over Hamilton for only the fourth time this season.
Although he was hoping for more from the session, Whitmarsh insisted that the team was still confident for race day and said his drivers were more than capable of bringing home good championship points.
“No-one at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is ever going to be fully satisfied by a qualifying session that results in our cars qualifying only fifth and sixth,” he said, “but we have reason to be confident that our race pace will be stronger. Our straight-line speed is impressive – perhaps more than we needed for an optimal qualifying set-up – but it's likely to pay dividends tomorrow.
“As ever, both Jenson and Lewis will be looking to make up places early on, and thereafter they'll approach the race with their usual combination of combative ambition and disciplined adherence to a race strategy that we hope will bag them another decent haul of world championship points.”
Hamilton meanwhile agreed with his team boss that there is work still to be done and insisted that felt confident of having more pace in the car in race trim that he did in qualifying.
“My qualifying pace wasn't great today – there was definitely a bit more time to be gained somewhere,” he said. “I did the best job I could – it's just that the two teams in front did a slightly better job. We're the fastest down the straights, but we don't have quite enough downforce at the moment. We'll keep on pushing, but we know we have more work to do.
“Still, I think there'll be an improvement in our performance relative to the others tomorrow, because our race pace is generally better than our qualifying pace. Hopefully, the weather will be good, too, so we can push the guys in front and try and make up some places.”