I was just reading some analysis by Mark Hughes (Sky), and he raised some very interesting points regarding Mclaren’s current performance level. The thing that really caught my attention was this;
“But a comparison of Hamilton’s speed on his prime tyres – like those used by Alonso to lead throughout his first stint – as the others pitted ahead of him and left him in clear air is illuminating. From laps 14 through to 17 he was consistently lapping in the low-mid 1m 38s, with a best of 1m 38.3s. This was directly comparable with Alonso’s pace on the same tyre before he’d pitted – and Lewis’ best lap was actually a couple of tenths faster. There are complicating fuel load and tyre deg factors making exact comparison impossible, but as a generality the McLaren’s potential pace in that first stint was as good as the race-leading Ferrari’s; it’s just that its poor starting position had put it in a queue where that couldn’t be demonstrated”
I think the Mclaren is a very high downforce package, but they are struggling with tyres which prohibits them from running the pace the cars capable of. As Jonathan Neale said, throughout practice and particularly in Q2, on the full wets the Mclaren was able to “switch” the tyres on quicker than most and Hamilton was the fastest man on full wets, and this can’t be done without substantial downforce. Also to support this, Mark Hughes’s analysis suggests in the 1st stint, the Mclaren got its tyres working, and Hamilton was running on the pace of Alonso, but dropped in the finalb two stints due to struggling with tyres.
Overall, i think Mclaren shoud concentrate on understanding the tyres as the car clearly has the pace, but is very sensitive when getting the tyres to work is concerned.