Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a good start to propel him up the order in tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Although the British driver remains in high spirits, he was unable to match the pace of either the Red Bull or Ferrari drivers and had to settle for fifth on the grid.
However, team-mate Jenson Button suffered a frustrating session; eliminated in Q2 after struggling to get to grips with the option tyre.
As a result, both McLaren drivers will be hoping to pick up as many points as possible in tomorrow’s race to minimise the damage done by their rivals.
Lewis Hamilton – 5th: “I’m happy with today’s result. I was relieved to get into Q3 – it was very close and I feel I pulled every last drop out of the car. So I’m satisfied with the job we did today.
“Obviously, we’ll have to work hard again tomorrow but, all things considered, it’s a good place for us to be starting from tomorrow: it’s on the clean side of the track, which is a positive, and it’s a long haul down to Turn One. So anything’s possible. As I say, I’m quite happy.
“Our car is the best it’s ever been at this circuit. And we’ll stay focused for tomorrow: I need to get as good a start as I’ve been getting for the past few races, stay clean, get around the first corner and keep moving forwards after that.
“It would be great to make up some places off the grid because it’s very hard to overtake around here. But we’ll do the best job we can. I’m ready for it. Bring it on!”
Jenson Button – 11th: “In practice this morning, the car was working pretty well and I felt quite happy with it. We were still some way off the top two teams, but the overall pace wasn’t too bad.
“This afternoon, I still felt pretty happy on the Prime tyre, and ended Q1 seventh-fastest. But I just couldn’t find a balance on the Option tyre and I struggled for grip with it.
“The good thing is that I’ll be starting on the clean side of the track. Normally, that can make you up a place or two at the start, and there’ll be lots of opportunities into the first corner, which is always exciting here. Plus, I’ve got two new sets of tyres for the race.
“So we can still do a lot from 11th and I’ll do my very best to pick up some valuable world championship points from there.
“I suppose you could say we’ve just got to be brave tomorrow.”
Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Lewis did a fantastic job to qualify immediately behind the Red Bulls and the Ferraris and, in fact, had he not lost a little time on the second sector of his best lap, it’s just possible that he may even have been able to pip Felipe [Massa] for fourth.
“Having said that, P5 puts him on the clean side of the track for tomorrow’s race, and you can be well sure he’ll be his usual precise yet aggressive self on the initial run in to Turn One.
“Jenson was unlucky to miss out on getting through to Q3 by just 17 thousandths of a second. With hindsight I think perhaps we didn’t engineer him sufficient opportunity to get to grips with the Option tyre. Even so, he, too, will start on the clean side of the track and will also be attacking tomorrow’s race with a mind to bag as many world championship points as he possibly can.”