As Lewis Hamilton approaches the end of his six-year tenure at McLaren, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has conceded that the partnership should have yielded more championship success than it ultimately achieved.

Hamilton won the world championship in 2008 but the follow-up second title has been conspicuous by its absence. Added to that, the team hasn't won the constructor's championship since the turn of the millennium.

"All of us are at fault for that," Whitmarsh told the Daily Mail newspaper on Friday in Abu Dhabi. "We've still got an extraordinary record and have had some fantastic races, but between us, with Lewis and the team, we could have done a better job together than we did."

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Despite clearly assigning the responsibility equally between everyone involved, Whitmarsh's comments had been taken as being particularly critical of Hamilton - and on Saturday he was keen to tell reporters that no such slight was intended.

"I know it's been cast this way this morning in the newspapers but what I said is, yes, he should have won more championships and we could have done a better job as a team," he explained to Sky Sports News in the Yas Marina paddock in Abu Dhabi. "We could have been more reliable, we could all do [more than we did.]

"Lewis is part of this team so we don't point fingers at anyone," insisted Whitmarsh. "I was very clear in what I said about taking that responsibility but clearly it's more entertaining in the newspapers to cast it as I was suggesting Lewis hasn't done a good enough job.

"He's done a great job," he said. "We haven't always done as good a job as we'd like to, but we both know rather ruefully we should have had one or two other world championships in his time."

Whitmarsh speculated that the team was possibly paying the price for playing it too safe in recent seasons.

"Arguably we have been too conservative and risk-averse in regulation interpretation," Whitmarsh told The Guardian. "Given our brand and our position, I think we are more risk-averse.

"There are things that have happened which, had our engineers come to me and said we're going to do this, I'd have said forget it," he admitted. "I'd rather campaign for clearer, less ambiguous regulations."

Whitmarsh also acknowledged that the team's decision to sign Sauber's Sergio Perez as a replacement for Hamilton in 2013 is a definite leap into the unknown.

"He's got something but we don't know whether that something is enough to be groomed into a world champion," Whitmarsh conceded. "I think it might be but it is an interesting challenge."

Pointing to the team's record of winning more than a quarter of the races in which it had raced since 1966, Whitmarsh pointed out the heavy burden of expectation that Perez would face as soon as he steps into the cockpit of the McLaren.

"That's an added pressure to being a McLaren driver," said Whitmarsh. "[Sergio] might think he understands it, but he doesn't.'

Whitmarsh admitted earlier this week that the Woking-based team had made it too easy for their rivals to get away from them during the 2012 season - particularly Red Bull, who are now on seemingly unstoppable charge to the title.

"They've a fast car, a driver who is consistent and the team has been doing a good job," Whitmarsh was quoted by the Daily Telegraph at the start of the week. "But we have made it all too easy for him."

Recalling the fierce first-lap battle between drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton - which ultimately ended with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso ahead of both - Whitmarsh agreed that this had been a lost opportunity to really take the battle to the Red Bulls.

"That was probably the dream ticket for [Red Bull]," he said. "But they have done a great job," he added.