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McLaren duo 'on the ragged edge' – but in no mood to give up

McLaren-Mercedes team-mates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton concede that Red Bull Racing rival Sebastian Vettel is in a dominant position right now in F1 2011 - but there's no way they'll be giving up
McLaren-Mercedes duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have hit back at suggestions that Red Bull Racing rival Sebastian Vettel will have a second consecutive drivers' crown sewn up come mid-season in F1 2011 should he continue the way he has begun – but they admit they are presently 'on the ragged edge' merely trying to keep up.

Vettel's dominant Turkish Grand Prix victory in Istanbul last weekend has seen the young German make it three victories from just four starts this year and further strengthen his stranglehold on the world championship battle by extending his advantage in the title standings to a commanding 34 points.

That caused French newspaper L'Équipe to dub him 'Mr. 93 per cent' in allusion to his current points tally and led Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport to muse that 'if it continues like this, it is no longer a question of if he will win the championship, but when', with F1 legend Niki Lauda agreeing that 'if he keeps it up like this, the season will be over at half-distance'.

Such comments, however, have received short shrift from an angry Button – who blamed a misguided strategy for a distant sixth-place finish in Turkey, after a raft of new parts for McLaren's MP4-26 could not be used following reliability issues during practice – and a rather calmer but equally fiercely determined Hamilton.

“Getting the best out of what we have is the most important thing,” stressed the 2009 F1 World Champion, who now languishes some 47 points adrift of Vettel in the standings. “I'm not thinking the title is slipping away already. What's the point in saying that? We might as well f***ing go home as say that. I mean, Jesus Christ guys, let's not make it too negative. We just need more pace, and hopefully we'll turn up in Barcelona next week with that.”

As Button visibly bristled, Hamilton – who himself took the chequered flag more than 40 seconds adrift of Vettel at Istanbul Park, where only twelve months earlier he had triumphed – concurred that it would be foolish to write McLaren off so soon, and rubbished notions that the championship could be wrapped up by mid-summer.

“Thirty-four points is a very big gap at the moment,” acknowledged the 2008 title-winner, the only man to have defeated Vettel in 2011, in China last month. “He was cruising in Turkey. I've got to be on the ragged edge to try and get every little step I can.

“It's very similar to when [Michael] Schumacher was dominating. Now Sebastian is dominating – pole position in all four races this season, and he's nearly won all four. I don't have a fear [the championship will be over by midway through]; it is possible, but it is also possible we could catch up and overtake them.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
08.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
08.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
08.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
17.04.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and 2010 champion, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and 2010 champion, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and Champion 2010, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Lewis Hamilton (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- Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
09.04.2011- Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
26.03.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05.
25.11.2014.
Spike Goddard (AUS) Sahara Force India F1 Team Test Driver.
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The McLaren MP4-29 of Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck.
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Will Stevens (GBR), Caterham F1 Team 
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mike - Unregistered

May 11, 2011 12:24 PM

Vettel are very talent drive, but i don't think he's better skill then Alonso, Hanilton. it's clear he has got the better car. and that car is very easy to drive.

Googolplex

May 11, 2011 12:08 PM

It seems to me that the bigger the cushion Vettel builds in terms of his points lead in the first half of the season, the less pressure there will be on him and the less likely he will succumb to making mistakes. If the others can narrow his points lead over the next few races, then he may start to feel the pressure and it may well be game on for the second half of the season. My thinking is that the next three or so races are critical for the other drivers, if there is any chance of Vettel being beaten in the WDC this year.



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