McLaren: We never under-estimate our opposition

18 November, 2012

Nov.18 (McLaren) Team and drivers report on their United States Grand Prix Qualifying session, Round 19 of the Formula One World Championship, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Lewis Hamilton: MP4-27A-04:
“I came here this weekend to push almost beyond the limit – and that approach seemed to work in qualifying. I gave it everything. I did two consecutive quick-laps – and, on my second lap, having put in a ‘banker’, I didn’t really have anything to lose, so I went almost over the limit, really on the edge, but the car still seemed to handle it well. On the final corner, I gained a little time on the entry but lost it on the exit. I got every corner perfect, I reckon, except for that last one. Looking ahead to tomorrow, Turn One is very wide and there’ll be lots of opportunities for drivers to make or lose positions. My side of the grid will be a bit dirty, because it’s off-line, so I hope the authorities will cleaning the circuit on that side of the track so that the drivers on the inside will have a chance to at least keep their positions at the start.”

Jenson Button: MP4-27A-03:
“It was such a pity to be put out of the running so early into the qualifying session. We had a throttle pedal problem – the engineers don’t yet know exactly what caused it – but I suffered a loss of drive out on the circuit. Fortunately, I got one decently quick lap in during Q2, which was good enough for P12, otherwise I’d have been starting much farther back. This circuit is such a fun place to drive around, but it’s not going to be too easy to overtake. Going into Turn One at the start is also going to be tricky, particularly as I’ll be starting so far back. Still, I really hope we can put on a great show for all the American fans – it’s great to see so many people embracing the sport.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Today we saw an extremely exciting qualifying session, in which Lewis and Seb [Vettel] traded fastest laps in the later stages of Q3, both men at the absolute peak of their form. In the end, Lewis just failed to score what would have been his 26th pole position in F1, but it was mighty close. Jenson suffered a throttle pedal problem in Q2, which prevented him from being able to cut a really fast lap. That was disappointing for us and frustrating for him, obviously, but he’s a brilliantly canny racer and he’ll surely make good progress in tomorrow’s race from his P12 starting slot. As for Lewis’s race prospects, well, you may be well sure that he’ll be tremendously determined to go one better tomorrow than he did today. In a nutshell, he’ll be aiming to win. He did a good long run yesterday, so, although we never under-estimate our opposition, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t do just that. McLaren has won a total of 11 grands prix on US soil, and it would be awesome if we could make that a dozen tomorrow.”

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