McLaren’s drivers have admitted the urgency of eating back into Fernando Alonso’s increasingly big championship lead.
After ten races – or half of the 2012 schedule – the Ferrari driver is leading his Red Bull rivals by at least 34 points. Even Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen has more points than McLaren’s highest-ranked driver, Lewis Hamilton, while Jenson Button is a huge 86 points behind.
Told it appears ‘quite urgent’ for him to react, the 2009 world champion admitted: “Yes, it is.
“It’s a massive gap to Fernando. Fernando and Ferrari have done an amazing job over the last few races and I know how difficult it is to come back from there,” Button told F1’s official website.
Even Hamilton, who is a further 24 points up the road, agrees, insisting that his bad outing at Hockenheim a week ago was a championship “dent”.
“It was as big a dent as you could probably take, just as Valencia was,” he said. “There are only a certain amount of dents that you can take through the year, especially when the guy who is leading has finished every race in the points.”
Every driver in the FIA press conference on Thursday – Narain Karthikeyan, Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado – named Alonso as the obvious championship favourite. The Spaniard trotted out the obvious line about not counting any chickens, but reporters did manage to get him to imagine winning his third drivers’ title.
“When we finished Brazil in 2006, it was a dream for me to win three world championships in my career,” he said in Hungary. “To have the same as Ayrton (Senna) had … he was my idol or my reference when I was in go-karts and there’s some other big names, Lauda etcetera, so three is a pretty good number and hopefully it arrives sooner rather than later,” added Alonso.