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McLaren 'heading in the right direction' in Brazil

Despite again generally trailing F1 2010 title rivals Red Bull Racing and Ferrari during practice at Interlagos, McLaren-Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button remain confident of springing a surprise this weekend in Brazil...
A fired-up Lewis Hamilton has revealed that should the forecast rain materialise during qualifying for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, then his aim will be to 'fight for the front row' of the starting grid – as both Jenson Button and Martin Whitmarsh profess themselves confident about the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25's long-run pace at Interlagos.

Hamilton lapped third-quickest in opening practice in São Paulo, and fourth later on in FP2, just over half a second adrift of dominant Red Bull Racing duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Whilst the British star – who has experienced every extreme of emotion at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, agonisingly losing the drivers' title at the end of his maiden campaign in the top flight there in 2007, and making amends by clinching the crown on the very last lap in the same race twelve months later – acknowledges that on pure dry-weather pace, Red Bull look unbeatable again, in the wet, he hints, it may just be a different matter...

“The car felt good today – I'm getting everything out of it – but I still felt it needs just a little more downforce,” the 25-year-old conceded. “Still, I'm optimistic for qualifying tomorrow – especially if it rains, which I'm told it probably will. This year's car is much better than last year's car in the wet, so I feel confident that if it rains we should be able to fight for the front row.

“In terms of pure pace in the dry, the Red Bull looks very quick, but a number of factors will play a part in deciding how things pan out in the next two grands prix – weather, engines, reliability – so it's all still up for grabs.”

Team-mate, countryman and title-winning successor Button, for his part, was around half a second slower than Hamilton in both sessions – placing fourth and seventh respectively – and will need to significantly up his game over the remainder of the weekend if he is to preserve his already exceedingly slim hopes of successfully defending his 2009 laurels.

“We spent today playing about with the balance,” the 30-year-old explained. “The car feels good in high-speed corners, but we still need to work on the front end of the car in low-speed corners. Towards the end of today's running – on higher fuel – the car felt pretty good, which was encouraging.

“The weather forecast says it looks like rain tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to see how that affects qualifying. I think our race car should be good – and that's important because Sunday should be dry. Hopefully, our race set-up won't be too compromised by the anticipated wet conditions in qualifying tomorrow.”

“Today was an extremely busy day of testing for us as we gathered data on a number of new components, including floor modifications and a selection of rear wings,” summarised the Woking-based outfit's team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “Both drivers reported that the car wasn't as well-balanced as they'd ideally like, but we feel we have enough data to be able to effect some very positive changes ahead of running tomorrow.

“Neither Jenson nor Lewis was able to set optimal lap times during their 'Option' tyre runs, owing to a yellow flag adversely affecting their running. However, our long-run pace looks particularly encouraging and is a very good basis for Sunday's race.

“In the meantime, the weather forecasters are predicting an 80 per cent chance of rain tomorrow – and that will inevitably have some influence over some of the decisions we take this evening – but we believe we're heading in the right direction for the rest of the weekend.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Friday Practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Thursday, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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sixtenths - Unregistered

November 06, 2010 6:59 AM

ROFL@Mr Caffeine "Ooh the ~noise~ of that engine" Funny how nobody seems to remember Lewis was robbed of the title in 2007 by Ferrari Team Orders, Massa moving over to let Kimi through.

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