2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton says he wasn’t able to ‘switch his tyres on’ as quickly as his team mate was in Australia.
Hamilton admitted Jenson Button was able to get up to speed much more quickly at the start of the race and after the restart.
Hamilton said: “After the race in Australia, it was difficult to understand exactly what happened. I was generally happy with the car all weekend, but just lacked a bit of pace compared to Jenson in the race.
“Afterwards, I sat down with my engineers and we went through all the data. There was a small issue with the clutch at the start: it wasn’t my fault, but we now understand and know how to improve in the future.
“My race pace was pretty much identical to Jenson’s, but he was able to switch the tyres on extremely well, which explains how he was able to pull a gap so quickly at the start and also after the restart.”
The Australian Grand Prix lap times chart shows Button was almost a second faster than Hamilton on the first flying lap of the race.
Hamilton added: “It’s encouraging and reassuring to understand the reasons for our race pace in Australia, and it puts me in a really positive frame of mind for the race in Malaysia. Plus, it always helps to be back in the car only five days after the last grand prix – you move on so quickly.”
Button said the team’s winning start to the year will spur them on for the season ahead: “to come away from race one with such a positive result – Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took pole, fastest lap and the victory – is a huge relief for the organisation.
“But it’s also incredibly motivating: we know we have a great car but we’re not going to sit still with it. We have ambitious plans to develop the car and I know that everybody back at Woking is working hard to bring new components to the track, and that all our mechanics and engineers are flat-out to ensure that we maximise the package that we have this weekend.
“I think everybody knows that we are a relentless organisation; we can develop a car as well – if not better than – any other team. The difference this year is that we’ve started with a winning package; the challenge will be to maintain that, and I know that’s something we’re all really looking forward to doing.”
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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei