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Stewart: McLaren can claim F1 2011 crown

Sir Jackie Stewart argues that based on the dramatic step forward McLaren-Mercedes made between testing and the opening two races of F1 2011, the team can go on to be world champions this year
McLaren-Mercedes has received a vote of confidence in its bid to catch and overhaul early-season pace-setter Red Bull Racing in the battle for title glory in F1 2011, with triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart insisting that 'they've the resources to do it' and praising Lewis Hamilton as the best overtaker in the sport.

Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel takes a commanding 24-point advantage in the drivers' standings into this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, with the energy drinks-backed outfit holding an identical margin in the constructors' chase.

The defending F1 World Champion has triumphed in both of the opening two outings and the Red Bull RB7 is clearly the fastest car in the field, but McLaren was considerably closer in Malaysia last weekend, and the Woking-based concern took a dramatic leap forward between pre-season testing and the Melbourne curtain-raiser following a radical redesign of the exhaust system on its initially uncompetitive and unreliable new MP4-26, enabling Hamilton to finish as runner-up Down Under, with team-mate Jenson Button doing likewise at Sepang.

Stewart – who claimed the drivers' laurels in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – contends that if the team can make such a significant improvement in just a matter of weeks, then it can do a good deal more over the balance of the campaign.

“McLaren can do it,” the Scot told PA Sport. “They've the resources to do it, and I think they're in great shape, but it's too early for the fat lady to sing. I'm delighted they managed to turn things around, but I have to say I was never worried they were not going to. They've a huge base of highly-skilled people, even if they don't have a genius individual any longer as Adrian Newey was there, and John Barnard before that – but they've a very strong support of very high-quality people, so you can't rule them out.”

Whilst admitting his admiration for Vettel, who he concedes is 'driving so beautifully' at present, Stewart confessed that the driver he truly enjoys watching out on the circuit is Hamilton, whose balls-out aggression and never-say-die determination have gained the 2008 world champion a legion of fans.

“As I've said before, Lewis is a real racer,” the 71-year-old underlined. “I don't think he sometimes has the smoothness of driving Jenson has, for example, but when it comes to overtaking, there is nobody better than he is. Everybody talks about [Kamui] Kobayashi, but I would put Lewis in there to get past somebody above anyone else.

“There are times when he allows his enthusiasm to be a little more spirited, but he has a very, very high level of skill – and what he does do is see an opportunity and he knows how to take it, and that I like very much.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
10.04.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
10.04.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
10.04.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
10.04.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
10.04.2011- Race,  Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
10.04.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
09.04.2011- Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
26.03.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
27.03.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
Jackie Stewart (SCO)
Thursday, Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR)
Sir Jackie Stewart (SCO), Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
Jackie Stewart (SCO), Catalunya F1 Grand Prix, 25-27th, April 2008
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22, Jackie Stewart (SCO), Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 16-18/3/ 2007,
Kevin Giovesi joins Caterham F1 driver development programme   [pic credit: Caterham F1]
20.07.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T

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«2PAC»

April 12, 2011 10:21 PM

@norville2... there is a certain type of person, a person who harbors certain views that cannot be expressed in public without fear of prosecution that use forums, especially this one in my opinion, as a release valve for their repressed feelings manifesting themselves in irrational hatred for lewis hamilton. it's insidious but i was made very aware of it when i first came onto this site almost 3 years ago.



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