Korean GP: McLaren preview
11 October, 2011
“I had a pretty good race here last year, finishing second – it was a long, tough afternoon, but I’m glad we got the chance to put on a race for all the fans who’d come for the first-ever grand prix in Korea.
“I think the DRS zone into Turn Three should definitely make for some exciting racing: last year, the back straight didn’t really produce too much overtaking because it was so wet and there was so much spray by the time we reached that downhill braking area, that it wasn’t an easy place to pull off a pass. The weather’s supposed to be good next weekend, so I think we’ll really begin to see how this circuit works in the dry.
“You can tell that this track has been designed to be a good place for racing – Turns Four, Five and Six are a bit like the end of the lap at Istanbul Park, where you can attack on the inside and the outside and try and fight your way past.
“So, yeah, second was a good place to start last year, but I want to go one better in 2011.
“Winning in Japan was one of the most satisfying and emotional victories of my career, and I’m really looking forward to carrying that momentum into this weekend, too.
“Although last year’s Korean Grand Prix wasn’t one of my greatest performances – we just couldn’t get the car hooked up properly – I think that, given the current pace of the car and the form the team has at the moment, I’m going into this year’s race feeling much more positive.
“The most important difference is that I have a car beneath me that I can really trust – for me, that wasn’t really the case here last season: but, this year, our car just feels positive in every type of corner, and I feel comfortable pushing hard, because you can really feel the limit. I think you could really see that at Suzuka.
“So I’m feeling much more optimistic about this year’s race. It’s an interesting circuit, there’s a good range of corners – Turn 11 is pretty unique, it’s a double-apex, heavily cambered left-hander, and the back-end of the track is quite interesting, too – there’s only really one line through that sequence of bends, and, if you get one wrong, you can risk losing out through the whole sequence. I’m quite confident that we should be able to hook the car up quite well through that sequence this year.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Jenson’s fantastic victory in Japan last weekend was his fifth consecutive podium finish and a great reward for him after some of the most impressively consistent driving of his career. He’s in fantastic spirits, and I know he’s heading to Korea feeling incredibly positive about following up that win with another great result.
“Lewis, too, is keen to convert his pace into a strong result – he showed at both Singapore and Suzuka that he had the pace to put the car on pole position, but was unlucky to lose out for a variety of different reasons. It seems like luck is against him at the moment, but, knowing Lewis, he will bounce back stronger than ever.
“We’ve lost none of our ambition to win now that the drivers’ championship has been resolved, and I know both our drivers would dearly love to score a one-two for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to further proof that we have a superbly competitive car at the moment.
“Last year, the people of Korea seemed to really embrace this grand prix – the grandstands were packed and the enthusiasm for the sport was infectious: that’s a great foundation for a new race, and I hope that we can sustain that interest and enthusiasm into our second year.
“Finally, it’s a matter of considerable pride to the whole team that this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix will mark McLaren’s 700th Formula 1 grand prix – that’s a massive achievement, so I hope we can crown it with another victory.”
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