McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said the team had scored 'as many points as it could hope for' after Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took fourth and fifth in the German Grand Prix.

Starting from sixth on the grid, Hamilton battled his way up to fourth place on the opening lap but proved to be unable to match the pace of the cars ahead - with Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel able to pull away from the Briton.

While he admits that the car didn't feel great underneath him, Hamilton was able to stay ahead of Mark Webber through to the pitstops and then held his position after the stops as he kept his position at the head of the standings.

"I did everything I could at the start, because I knew that that was the place where I could really make up some ground," he said. "Unfortunately, the guys in front were phenomenally quick, but I still managed to make up a couple of places.

"It was a very tough race today - the car didn't feel fantastic and the Ferraris and Red Bulls were very fast. We hoped the gap would be closer in the race than it was in qualifying, and it was - but, even so, we've got to make up some pace on our main rivals.

"We need to go back and figure out where we can improve, and pick it up again very quickly. Today, we did everything we could do - now we just have to work harder than ever to get ahead of the cars in front."

Team-mate Jenson Button started fifth but was baulked at the first corner by polesitter Vettel having got away well, and lost places a result. The defending champion however was able to run a longer opening stint than the cars around him which enabled him to jump ahead of Webber in the pits to finish fifth.

"My start was pretty good, I got away fantastically well off the line - but we got to turn one, and Sebastian, who was fighting the Ferraris, braked pretty early, and I nearly went into the back of him," he said. "I had to take avoiding action and go wide at turn one - the thing is, I hit the brakes, and soon as you do that in turn one, you lose a lot of time. So I lost three places, but thankfully I got one of those back pretty quickly.

"In the first stint, I looked after the tyres pretty well. I was at the back of the group, and it was a strategy that we'd planned before the race. After my stop, my pace relative to Lewis was very similar, and I settled in never less than two seconds behind him. But I couldn't go any quicker because I was losing downforce to the car in front.

"Lewis and I showed today that we got the maximum out of the car - it's just that the car isn't quite quick enough at the moment."

The fourth and fifth place finish allowed McLaren to add 22 points to its championship total and Whitmarsh said it was difficult to have expected more.

"In truth, in the circumstances, that's probably about as many as we could have hoped to score today," he said. "We arrived in Germany in first place in the constructors' championship and in first and second places in the drivers' championship - and we leave Germany in exactly the same positions. So that's extremely positive.

"From here on in, we'll work as hard as we can to maintain and improve our positions at the head of both world championships. We'll continue to develop our car in the weeks and months ahead, with a view to adding as many world championship points to the milestone total of 300 we've amassed this season as of today."