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Tyres not a concern for McLaren

NEWS STORY
28/10/2013

Mat Coch writes:

Fifth place in the Indian Grand Prix was the best Sergio Perez could have hoped for, a result which earned him high praise from the team.

"Checo drove really well," said McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael after the race. "He got himself up there and got the best out of everything."

"Fifth place is a great result for me," Perez enthused after sweeping by both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in a single move during the dying stages of the race. "It's been a tough season, but today's result is a promising sign."

Though expected to be an issue heading into the race, concerns over the integrity of the Pirelli rubber proved unfounded. Blistering during practice had prompted the Italian firm to ask teams not to run more than fifteen laps on the soft compound, and no more than thirty-five on the medium, in an effort to safeguard the tyres.

"There were no Pirelli recommendations before the race," disagreed Michael. "We didn't receive any lap limitation.

"We had the normal tyre pressures and cambers and all the stuff that we've coped with for the last seven or eight races since Silverstone, but apart from that there was nothing unusual."

Indeed, Michael failed to share Pirelli's concern, believing it was the teams' responsibility to manage the tyres appropriately. "Ultimately even if you had to do a three stop if you wanted to avoid the blistering then you have that choice," he argued. "I don't really have any complaint with what Pirelli did here.

"In terms of the racing, it was absolutely fine,” he added. “There was nothing unsafe about the tyre.

As it was neither McLaren driver exceeded the lap recommendations Pirelli suggested (but which McLaren didn't get, according to Michael), though Jenson Button suffered a puncture early in the race after contact with Fernando Alonso. Set for a long first stint on the medium compound tyre it immediately compromised the Briton's race, eventually coming home fourteenth.

However with Perez in fifth place the Woking squad extended the point's difference in to Force India in the Constructors' Championship to twenty-five, effectively assuring its position come season’s end. It will be scant consolation for a team which is yet to stand on the podium this year; more so after winning seven races last year, including the last two.

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