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Australian GP: Qualifying notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
26/03/2011

Lewis Hamilton: "I was really happy with my lap today. The car felt fantastic, and I owe it all to the guys back at the factory, in the design office and those building components. They need to give themselves a huge pat on the back. It was a brave decision to make such a dramatic change to the car, and a superb effort to deliver that change. An amazing turnaround!

"However, although I was pleased with my performance today, my KERS Hybrid stopped working halfway round my final lap - I had 40 per cent left that I couldn't deploy - but that would have been worth only an extra couple of tenths. Still, it's good to know, because this car platform is now definitely something we can build upon.

"Tomorrow is a long race and it won't be won at the first corner. We need to take home some good points from this weekend because we know our car will only get better.

"We still have some work to do, but I think the race is winnable from here - and I'll be giving Sebastian [Vettel] the race of his life tomorrow!"

Jenson Button: "I think we should be happy with this result. Q3 was a bit disappointing, however: I got stuck behind Nico [Rosberg], and Felipe [Massa] had a spin in front of me. It was all quite messy - the lap that I didn't complete in Q2 would have been quicker!

"So we didn't get the most out of our package in Q3, but it's nonetheless a massive step forward from what we had in testing, so we should all be very happy with what we've done so far.

"And there's still a lot we can build on: the car is still in its early stages because we haven't done much testing. To be reliable and reasonably quick gives us huge motivation: everyone back at the factory should be really proud - they put in an awful lot of hard work to get us here today.

"I'm really looking forward to tomorrow: I had a good race from fourth last year, and I think I can have a good race from fourth this year, too. We ought to be positive and think we can challenge for the win tomorrow."

Martin Whitmarsh: "Yesterday indicated that the car improvements we'd made in the past few weeks were significant, and today proved it. I therefore want to say a big thank you to all the guys here in Melbourne, and back in Woking, who have worked so hard to make those improvements possible.

"Lewis and Jenson, too, have done a great job this weekend - and the result, second and fourth places on the starting grid for tomorrow's race, is very encouraging.

"Actually, Lewis could have gone a bit quicker still, had he not suffered a KERS Hybrid failure. As a result of that failure, he lost not only the performance dividend that KERS Hybrid provides, but also had to cope with compromised brake balance resulting from the absence of KERS Hybrid. A double whammy, if you like.

"But the parc ferme regulations allow us to make the necessary repairs, and both he and Jenson will therefore be looking forward to taking the fight to Red Bull on the streets of Albert Park tomorrow afternoon."

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