Dennis buoyed by McLaren’s Shanghai pace

Dennis ChinaRon Dennis struggled to conceal his delight at Lewis Hamilton’s dominant win in China on Sunday and was boyued by the significant performance advantage that McLaren enjoyed over rivals Ferrari.

Hamilton led the race from pole and never looked back, setting a searing pace around the Shanghai International Circuit en-route to a comfortable victory one that puts him in pole position for the title ahead of the season finale in Brazil.

Dennis, who was forced to leap to the defence of Hamilton after an onslaught of criticism about his driving tactics, was quick to draw attention to the advantage Hamilton had over his peers.

Dennis said: “The key message from China that we take forward to Brazil is that we qualified extremely well despite the fact that our cars were fuelled longer than those of our principal opposition, which clearly demonstrates the inherent pace of our car.”

McLaren would also have turned the revs down on Hamilton’s car during the middle and final stints, making the Briton’s pace even more formidable.

“No-one will be surprised to hear me describe today s performance as a tremendous one, because that s exactly what it was,” added Dennis.

“In difficult circumstances we never allowed our focus to waver, and we paced ourselves carefully throughout. Lewis did a truly fabulous job, as did our entire team.”

Mercedes-Benz Vice President Norbert Haug was similarly left in awe of Hamilton’s mind-boggling pace in China. “Pole, win and fastest lap, Lewis demonstrated his skills and was clearly the man of the race and the whole weekend,” he said.

“He made a perfect start and controlled the field, never putting a foot wrong and the team executed a perfect strategy.”

“We are now looking forward to an exciting finale in Brazil and everybody in the team is working hard to score enough points to win the world championship.”

Hamilton heads to Interlagos with a seven point advantage over Felipe Massa and needs to finish fifth or higher to become the youngest ever world champion, and the first British champion since Damon Hill in 1996.

“I ve got a seven-point lead in the world championship, but that doesn t allow me to take anything for granted,” he said.

“It might be another step towards my dream but we ve still got to stay calm and keep our heads. I just hope we can pull through.”

Recounting his performance in the race Hamilton recounted: “Everything just went right this weekend: our car has been simply phenomenal, I made one of my best-ever starts and had perfect balance during the race.”

“I owe so much of that to the guys in the team – both at the track and back home; they did an amazing job so a big thanks to them.”