Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Hamilton and Button expect more from McLaren

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button expect to make more progress with the revised McLaren having only run the much-changed car for the first time in Australia.

Hamilton praised the team, calling them a “relentless development machine”. He said: “In a way, I’m never surprised by what the team does, because they always seem able to do impossible things!

“Of course, going into this race we weren’t certain about our performance – we were optimistic, because our simulations were showing a significant improvement, but you never know until you finally get to the track.

“I feel really comfortable with this car – I’d always said the car felt good, we just lacked a bit of downforce and some decent mileage during the winter tests – and I feel like it’s a car that is easy to push to the limit, so I’m very hopeful of what will be coming along to add to its performance down the line.”

He added: “We’ve got two weeks until the next Grand Prix, so we’ll be pushing through some more improvements.

“What I think is just as important, actually, is the fact that we got a lot of data about the car this weekend – and we’ve only just started to exploit this package. What I think will be interesting is how the engineers are able to go back to the factory and understand just what we have and how we can improve it.

Button said the team are in a better position now than they were at the start of 2010: “Clearly, the Red Bulls are quick. Sebastian’s pole lap showed everyone that.

“But, on race pace, it would look as if we?re already a lot closer at this stage of the season than we were last year. I know you can say that Red Bull weren?’t using [the] KERS, which puts a couple of tenths in your pocket, but I don?t think it?s as clear-cut as you might have believed on Saturday evening.

“Then, we?re very definitely in the hunt. I think there’s a massive amount of untapped potential in our car: Sunday was the first time we’?d even completed a race distance with the car, which tells you how much there is to get out of the package.”

Button said the revised car had “over-delivered” on the team’s expectation: “We brought along the new exhausts, obviously, which are a lot simpler than the original exhausts we were trying during testing, and we also had a revised floor and a front wing, which helps balance up all the aero elements across the flow of the whole car.

“So, individually, those elements bring a certain amount of performance, which we reckoned to be worth about one second. But, when you?’re in the car and you?’re able to ‘switch on’ all that performance, it’s suddenly worth a lot more.”

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