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Istanbul McLaren's 'worst' race of 2011, concedes Whitmarsh

He might candidly acknowledge that the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul was McLaren-Mercedes' 'worst' performance of F1 2011 to-date, but Martin Whitmarsh is adamant that 'we will turn it around as quickly as we can'
Martin Whitmarsh has candidly confessed that last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul was McLaren-Mercedes' 'worst' performance of the F1 2011 campaign to-date – but he insists the team will 'keep pushing' and 'turn it around as quickly as we can'.

After Lewis Hamilton had finally stopped defending F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel in his tracks by overhauling the young German for Chinese Grand Prix glory in Shanghai three weeks earlier, hopes were high inside the Woking-based outfit that McLaren would be able to heap further pain upon Red Bull Racing in Turkey.

A raft of crucial new updates for the fast-improving MP4-26 added to that overriding sense of optimism – one strengthened by the team's one-two finish at Istanbul Park twelve months earlier – but following a loss of practice time due to rain and reliability issues, those development parts were never used in anger, and Hamilton ultimately took the chequered flag more than 40 seconds adrift of race-winner Vettel down in fourth place, with team-mate Jenson Button a further 20 seconds in arrears again back in sixth.

It was undeniably a case of being brought right back down to earth with a shattering bump, with Ferrari joining Red Bull in comprehensively outperforming McLaren – as Fernando Alonso rubbed salt into the wounds by finishing half-a-minute ahead of Hamilton – and team principal Whitmarsh blamed excessive tyre-wear caused by on-track battles and pit-stop delays for the poor result. Must do better next time out in Barcelona, the Englishman acknowledged.

“If you're in front and you're looking after your tyres and you're driving in that manner, it's a positive,” he reflected of Vettel's peerless afternoon, speaking to SPEED.com. “Conversely, the fact is that Ferrari were up there giving Red Bull a tough time. They are doing a good job, they're very strong and – there's no secret here – we've got to improve our car at a faster rate. Fernando did a good job – congratulations to him. We'll make sure we try and jump ahead at the next race.

“We've had the mean average best pit-stops of everyone [in F1 2011], so then to have a couple of [bad ones] is disappointing. The fact is you're trying to spin a nut on very quickly, it cross threaded, he hauled [it] off, he went to get the second gun, he felt that was cross-threaded so he tried to put it on manually. It will always happen; you will always have, when you're trying to bang nuts on that fast, a situation where occasionally you have one cross-threaded.

“It was the worst [race] this season, but I've had worse in my career, and I'm sure we're going to have a lot better as the season goes on. I think we can turn around and we will turn it around as quickly as we can. We will bring an upgrade to Spain and keep pushing, as simple as that.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.05.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.05.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.05.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.05.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.05.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 1, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 1, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
17.04.2011- Celebration, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 2, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
07.05.2011- Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
Hungarian Grand Prix Infographic [credit: Crash.net]
24.07.2014- Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari
24.07.2014- Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.07.2014- Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
24.07.2014- Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
24.07.2014- Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22

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Googolplex

May 11, 2011 11:43 AM

McLaren had the unenviable situation of their two drivers going wheel for wheel and racing each other hard for extended periods of the race. With the tyre wear as it is this year, that must have presented as a real dilemma for the team. If it was Ferrari, I suspect Massa would have been told to back off.

USF1_Fan - Unregistered

May 11, 2011 2:47 PM

During the race itself I was wishing that Hamilton and Button would just parade for a while and work closer to the front instead of fighting for one spot. That would be a tough call to make for either driver or the team but arguably might have left them in a better position instead of losing time against themselves. Hopefully they will get the new parts on the cars for the next race and be able to fight it out with RBR.



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