Insisting that lessons have been learned from a painful end to the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship campaign that saw both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso lose out on the drivers' laurels in the very last race to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren-Mercedes is adamant it will take a far more 'disciplined' approach to the 2008 title showdown.
As Hamilton doubtless scented a possible victory in last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix – or the runner-up spot at the very least – when the field was concertina-d right up again following the second safety car appearance ten laps from home, the world championship leader was instructed by his team not to attempt to overtake the Williams of Nico Rosberg for second place.
That order came as a result of both the fact that the Briton's chief rival for the crown, Felipe Massa, was well outside of the points, as well as the knowledge of the potential for it all to go horribly wrong, as Raikkonen evidenced soon afterwards in his efforts to find a way past Toyota's Timo Glock.
McLaren's attitude in Singapore contrasted somewhat with the 'all-out' tactics taken by the multiple world championship-winning Woking-based outfit twelve months ago – an approach that saw Hamilton carry a 17-point margin over Raikkonen into the last two grands prix of the season, only to ultimately cede the trophy to the Finn by a single point in Brazil after continuing to fight the Ferrari whilst on severely worn tyres in Shanghai…and when, such was his points' advantage, he had no need to.
It was an error that saw the 23-year-old end his Chinese Grand Prix in the pit-lane entry gravel trap – and one that in the final reckoning arguably torpedoed his championship challenge.
“I think an inherent weakness in the team and Lewis last year was the overwhelming desire to win the races at almost any risk,” McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as having reflected by British newspaper the Guardian
“That is more forgivable in Lewis – you would like to have that in a young racing driver – but we as a team should have been more disciplined than we were.
“We wanted to win and pushed too hard when we didn't need to. Championships aren't won like that.”