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McLaren 'pushing the envelope' as they expect Korea to 'reward commitment'

As McLaren-Mercedes 'pushes the envelope' in terms of upgrades to its MP4-25, both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button remain convinced they can drag themselves back into title contention in Korea around a circuit that they believe will 'reward commitment'
As they strive to keep their respective title chances alive heading into the final three races of the F1 2010 World Championship campaign, McLaren-Mercedes duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have revealed that the Woking-based outfit is 'pushing the envelope' in terms of development and predict that the Korea International Circuit – the stage for this weekend's inaugural Korean Grand Prix – will 'reward commitment'.

Off the back of a run of troubled races in recent weeks – comprising three failures to finish from five outings and a disastrous Suzuka weekend for Hamilton, and just a single podium finish since Silverstone for Button – the 2008 F1 World Champion currently sits 28 points adrift of leader Mark Webber in the chase for the coveted crown, with his countryman and title-winning successor three markers further in arrears.

Conventional wisdom goes that time is now beginning to run out for the all-British pairing to haul themselves back into the reckoning for glory, with McLaren's MP4-25 having been very much just the third force in both Singapore and Japan – but both are adamant that they can claw back ground in the race that represents the greatest unknown on the 2010 calendar.

“It's always exciting visiting a new circuit for the first time,” underlined Button. “The Korean track certainly looks very interesting – a real mix of different characteristics – and there appear to be a couple of very likely opportunities for overtaking, particularly at the end of the three main straights, but possibly also off-line in the twisty final sector. The track looks quite high-speed and the walls are close, so I think it will be an interesting challenge.

“As with any new circuit, it looks like it might throw up a few unexpected issues – not necessarily on the racetrack itself – but I'm sure the teams and drivers will work together with the organisers to make sure the event is a complete success.

“We've made some improvements to the parts we tested at Suzuka, and it's looking likely that we'll run the new parts on Friday in Korea. As with all our upgrades, we are pushing the envelope, so I'm optimistic that the tests will be positive and that we'll be able to race the new components.”

“I've driven the Korea International Circuit on the simulator, and my first impressions were extremely positive,” concurred Hamilton. “On paper, the track should suit our car quite well – the first sector is all about good end-of-straight speed and strong performance under heavy braking, both key characteristics of our car.

“The middle sector is fast-and-flowing; it's the kind of place where you want a car with a good balance and good downforce. I think it will reward commitment – it actually feels like quite a nice drivers' track. The end of the lap is slower and tighter, but it's still all about rhythm and flow, so as long as the track surface is nice and grippy, I think we're set for an enjoyable first race in Korea.

“I'm looking forward to the weekend – I think we can have a positive race. While recent results haven't necessarily shown it, we've had a strong car – now I'm hoping to get the chance to prove it on-track.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sunday, Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Sunday, Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position  and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position
Thursday, Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
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Tormo4ever - Unregistered

October 19, 2010 3:38 PM

Oh, please, everyone knows what is meant by the relative "visibility" of each rider. I think Jenson Button has proved he is the World Champion not just because his car was superior -when was the last time someone became World Champion with and inferior car anyway- but also because he is a fine driver. That said, and accidents and bad luck aside, Hamilton has consistently performed better than Button. I think both drivers have been fighting all year with an inferior car. Only in Turkey their car was better than the Ferrari, but anywhere else the McLaren was 3rd best car, and with a significant gap behind Ferrari and Red Bull. I only hope it is not Alonso who makes Champion this year. God please.


October 19, 2010 11:05 PM

richard, andrew - Max is eligible to run for his former position when Jean's term is up. Surely don't suggest that The Dark Lord and Le Grande Spanker are plotting a coup-de-tat prior to that time? As for McLaren, they may not be an odds-on favorite but it would be foolhardy to count them out just yet.

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