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Abu Dhabi GP: Qualifying notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
12/11/2011

Lewis Hamilton: "It would be nice to have had pole position, but that Red Bull, as always, is very quick in Q3! Still, we've got our car to a point where it works particularly well on certain tracks, and we always seem to go well here.

"To be as competitive as we've been this weekend is very encouraging - we're on the front row so we can have a good race from there. And, for the first time in quite a while, my long-run pace was pretty good too, and I think we had more fuel on board than some of the other teams. I feel really good about tomorrow, in fact.

"I hope I have a good start - I really want to get into Turn One first. But, if I can't, I'll follow Sebastian [Vettel] as closely as I can, I'll try my hardest not to let him get more than a second ahead, and I'll try to get ahead through the DRS zones.

"Last year I started second but braked early into Turn One and let Sebastian have the corner. I've just told him that's not going to happen tomorrow, though…"

Jenson Button: "I haven't really been able to find a balance that suits me perfectly this weekend. The car changed quite a lot for qualifying. In practice I'd been struggling with the rear end; but, during qualifying, I suddenly had great rear grip and masses of understeer - so the car felt completely different to me.

"Obviously, there's only a certain number of things you can do during the qualifying session to counteract that, so we used everything we could to make the car work reasonably well, and I felt much happier as a result. Third isn't a bad place from which to start - hopefully we'll get one over on the Red Bulls tomorrow."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "It may sound a little churlish to say that we're a bit disappointed with second and third today, but the honest truth is that we are.

"Granted, second and third is a pretty creditable result - it's a platform from which we can win tomorrow in fact - but I don't mind admitting that we were eyeing pole position today.

"Lewis and Jenson both did a good job though - and, looking forward, they're both great racers and we think we'll have a strong race package for tomorrow. Our long-run pace has been impressive all weekend, and we think we'll be in good shape on both the Prime and the Option [tyre].

"People tend to opine that it's difficult to overtake here in Abu Dhabi - and so it is. But there are two DRS zones, and of course there's also the all-important drag down to the first corner. Beyond that, you've got to get the strategy right, and let's just say that we intend to pile the pressure on tomorrow afternoon!"

Check out our Abu Dhabi qualifying gallery, here.

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