21 July 2012
McLaren hope for dry race
McLaren hope for more in a dry race at Hockenheim after wet woes in qualifying
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was hoping for a dry German Grand Prix after Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton struggled in qualifying at Hockenheim.
The pair were unable to challenge for pole in a wet Q3 and could only secure seventh and eighth on the grid, although both will move up a place thanks to the five place penalty handed out to Mark Webber for his gearbox change.
Both drivers had been quicker in the drier parts of the qualifying before the rain started to fall in earnest and Whitmarsh said he was hoping for better conditions on race day to allow the duo to challenge at the front.
“The bad news is that we weren't quick enough in Q3's wet conditions; but the good news is that the dry pace of our car appears to be very good.,” he said. “It's looking dry for tomorrow, it's going to be a long race and we have two great racing drivers, so we're optimistic of getting a decent result.
“Jenson and Lewis struggled in the wet, despite being very quick in the dry. Naturally, I'd rather start a few rows further forward, but as has been shown many times this year, you can win from further back. Fortunately, with our car looking more competitive in the dry, I'm confident that both drivers will do a good job tomorrow.
“From a broader perspective, I'm sure the quickly changing weather conditions between each qualifying session proved a gripping visceral thrill for even the most casual armchair fan. To its great benefit, Formula 1 is an all-weather sport, and all the drivers certainly displayed true gladiatorial mettle out there today. This most certainly isn't a sport for the faint-hearted!”
Hamilton had been the quicker of the pair in both Q1 and Q2 before Button managed to out-qualify him by less than a tenth of a second, although the 2009 title winner admitted that he had struggled to get heat into his tyres to maximise their performance.
“We struggled to get the tyres to work today – when you can't get temperature into the tyre; you don't know its limit because it's too cold, and you can't hit the brakes either because you'll lock up,” Button reflected. “It's an issue we've had for a few races and an area where we need to improve.
“In dry running, however, the pace is very good: we just struggle in wet conditions to get the tyres working. We've got to sort out these issues with the tyre temperatures because it's hurting us both – and that makes it a very difficult day in the office for us.
“However, the positives that we can take away are that our car looks quick in the dry and that this weekend's upgrade package is a good step forward. Everyone should be proud of their efforts to not only get it working, but to also have delivered it ahead of schedule this weekend. Today was tough, but I hope we have a good race tomorrow.”
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