Interlagos Day 2: McLaren report
27 November, 2011
Nov.26 (McLaren) Drivers and team report on second day action of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, 19th and final round of the 2011 Formula 1 world championship, at Circuito Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.
Jenson Button: MP4-26A-03
“All in all, Q2 was a bit nerve-wracking for me – but enjoyable in the end because I haven’t managed to get past Q2 here in Brazil since 2005!
“So, as I say, it was satisfying to get into the top 10. In Q3, the car was working well too: balance-wise, I think the car was as good as we were going to get it.
“My quick lap was pretty ragged. I was pretty aggressive on the throttle, which you have to be to be fast around here. That’s not normally my style, but it was definitely quick and in fact I crossed the line thinking I’d be farther up the grid than I eventually was. But that was because the two guys in front of me did a great job too.
“If it rains here tomorrow, as we’re told it may well do, then it’ll almost certainly pour down – and that’s bound to make things very tricky. Still, this place lends itself to good overtaking – over the years there have been some great moves into Turns One and Four for example – so I think everything is well set for Formula 1 to put on a fantastic show tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton: MP4-26A-04
“Jenson was massively quick today. I ended up a couple of tenths away from him, so clearly I could have gone a bit faster, but the fact is that although I didn’t make any mistakes on my best lap I just wasn’t quite quick enough on the day. While that’s inevitably a little disappointing for me personally, Jenson’s pace is very encouraging for the team. We have reason to be optimistic about tomorrow too: we’re both on the second row, and we can definitely mount a strong challenge from there.
“I don’t think we’re quite there in terms of race pace in the dry, but hopefully we’ll be there if it’s wet. Whatever happens though, it’s going to be a tough, long race; and if the weather is wet or changeable, as predicted, then it’s going to be very interesting indeed.
“Interlagos is a place that makes you feel inspired as a racing driver: it’s Ayrton Senna’s homeground, and the Brazilian fans are unbelievably passionate. I’ve started fourth here a few times before [in 2008 and 2010], so I hope four is a good number for me. Let’s hope we can turn it into something even better tomorrow!”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Perhaps we didn’t quite get the best out of the Option tyre in Q3 this afternoon – it could have been a tyre pressure issue although we’re not yet sure about that – but we still put both our cars on the second row which is a pretty decent result. Jenson nailed a particularly impressive lap to end up in third place – his best qualifying performance ever at Interlagos.
“Lewis delivered a very good lap too, just two-tenths shy of Jenson’s best. He experimented with driving two flying laps in Q3 – a fast-ish one followed by a really hot one in an attempt to get more out of the Option – but in the event it didn’t appear to confer any benefit over the conventional one-flying-lap approach adopted by Jenson.
“Looking forward to tomorrow, it may well rain – and, if it does, the race will surely be incident-packed and therefore unpredictable. We geared both our cars with the probability of a wet race in mind, in fact.
“But, rain or no rain, Jenson and Lewis are both hungry to notch up Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ seventh victory of the season, and we’re confident that both their race cars will be fully competitive on the day.”
- McLaren: That was our best grand prix of the year to end a difficult and disappointing year
- Button and Perez save face for McLaren in Brazil at the end of a torrid year
- McLaren look to the skies to save them from the lowest of lows at season finale
- McLaren: To qualify 14th and 15th for the last grand prix of the year is very disappointing
- McLaren: You can take nothing for granted at Interlagos
- McLaren previews the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos
- Hulkenberg: I often spoke to Whitmarsh but it’s hard to know why there’s so little interest
- McLaren: An extremely solid platform to develop our 2013 car
- Hamilton: I feel numb, it is mixed emotions at the moment
- McLaren: We’re now extremely well set come rain or shine