Italian GP: Race notes - McLaren


Jenson Button: "It was a very tough race mentally, and it was tricky holding off the challenge from behind. I spent the first half of the race either looking in my mirrors or at the TV screens to see where Fernando [Alonso] was.

"I didn't know until after the race that I'd damaged my diffuser as a result of contact with another car on lap one, and I don't know whether that affected my pace or not. But, with the downforce level I had, I expected to pull ahead more through the corners. Instead, the car was moving around quite a bit; so I had to drive as smoothly as I could and not make any mistakes.

"Maybe it was the wrong call to pit when we did, but the team felt the new Prime tyres were faster than the Options. But I couldn't find any grip on the new tyres, and lost a little bit of time on them. When I saw Fernando emerge just of me, I was very disappointed.

"Overall, then, we didn't quite have the pace to win today. But this weekend was definitely a good one - I scored some good points, and this second place is very useful for my world championship hopes. There's still everything to play for over the next five races."

Lewis Hamilton: "I made a good start, gained a position, got up to fourth, and, at that moment, perhaps I should have just stayed there for a while. But I put my car up the inside of Felipe [Massa] into Turn Four, trying to get third, and that was probably a little bit too much.

"I was trying to position the car in a certain way, I was too close to Felipe, and his left rear clipped my right front. The car was damaged after that, and there was nothing I could do; you try your best, but some things just don't go your way.

"Today was a shame, and I want to say sorry to the team. But the championship certainly isn't over - although I have to admit that days like today don't help. The good thing is that Jenson scored a nice lot of points for us. Now, though, I'm already fully focused on Singapore."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Today Jenson drove a truly fantastic race, coolly and consistently absorbing enormous pressure all afternoon, and holding a secure but slender lead until the pitstops.

"The timing of pitstops is always an inexact science - but, once we saw that Robert [Kubica] was immediately lapping quicker on Prime tyres after his pitstop, we resolved to put Jenson on Primes straight away. That was a logical and therefore sensible thing to do. But, even so, Fernando [Alonso] was just able to squeeze ahead when he in turn made his pitstop. It was incredibly close, and I'm sure it made edge-of-the-seat TV viewing, but on this occasion it went our opponents' way rather than our way. But that's racing.

"Like Jenson, Lewis made a very strong start, and was his usual forceful self on lap one. We've often seen that trademark lap-one forcefulness herald an equally combative race drive from him, but on this occasion he got involved in what I'd describe as a racing incident. But, again, that's racing.

"I was asked after the race why Lewis didn't pull over to the side of the track after the impact, and my answer was: 'Lewis is a racer, and racers keep driving till the wheels fall off - literally.' And we wouldn't want him any other way.

"Looking forward, there are five more rounds of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship to go, and the points situation in both the drivers' world championship and the constructors' world championship is extremely close. So it's all to play for, and you can be well sure that we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be giving it absolutely everything we've got."

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Published: 12/09/2010
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