Indian GP: Qualifying notes - McLaren


Lewis Hamilton: "I'm very satisfied that I'll be starting tomorrow's race from the second row. This is one of the best circuits we race on and I definitely think third position gives us a fighting chance to win tomorrow.

"Even if I'd had a perfect qualifying lap, I think I'd only have found another tenth. I reckon I got everything out of the car, particularly on my final run in Q3; the middle and last sectors were particularly strong.

"At the start tomorrow, I feel I have a lot less to lose than Sebastian [Vettel] in front of me, so I'll certainly be pushing a bit. Seb has more to worry about than I do, and, if I can get up with the two Red Bulls, I'd love to take a win for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. We have the race pace to be able to stay with the Red Bulls, so as I say a win is definitely possible."

Jenson Button: "Fourth isn't a bad place from which to be starting tomorrow's race. We struggled a little to get the Options [tyres] working, particularly on the first lap, so I went for a different strategy from most other drivers, carrying out a three-lap run. The longer run really worked out for me in Q2, in fact, but I didn't quite have the right balance in Q3: I had a bit more understeer, as the circuit had gripped-up more than we'd anticipated. In terms of my performance, my Q2 lap was better than my Q3 lap.

"Overall, as a team, we should be reasonably happy with what we achieved today: we're not far from the Red Bulls and we're ahead of the Ferraris. As a result, I'm very excited about the race tomorrow. Our starts tend to be pretty good, so let's see what we can do from the second row."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "We struggled a little to get the Options instantly 'switched on', and consequently our first few laps on them were a tad tricky. As a result, we weren't able to post Q3 laps quite as rapid as the Red Bulls' - our fastest Q3 time was 0.261s away from their fastest, in other words a delta of just over a quarter of a second.

"But both our drivers did a superb job in the circumstances - Lewis's and Jenson's respective Q3 times were separated by just 0.115s - and we think we've got a very good race car. Yesterday our long-run pace was very strong, in fact. So, as a result, tomorrow's race may be a bit closer than some pundits are currently prophesying.

"Moreover, the Buddh International Circuit is a fantastic racetrack, and all the drivers relish the challenge of racing here. Ours certainly do. So here's hoping that, collectively, we can all put on a brilliant show for the tens of thousands who'll be making the trip to Noida from all over this great country to watch the Indian Grand Prix, and also for the tens of millions all over the world who'll be watching it on their sofas at home."

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Published: 27/10/2012
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