Mclaren were left in a sombre mood after today’s Spanish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton struggled with tyre wear, finishing in 9th place, while Heikki Kovalainen retired with a reoccurring gear box problem.
However Mclaren had always stated that they would struggle around the Circuit De Catalunya and with this in mind, they remain hopeful that they can continue to develop their car and send both Hamilton and Kovalainen back to the front.
Lewis Hamilton – 9th: Today was a difficult race for me because we lack the downforce of the top cars. I was a bit worried about my tyres after driving over so much debris at the first corner but I came out of it okay. It was a tough, long race and it was incredibly hard to keep the car on the road – it felt like driving on ice at times, especially at the end of the second stint, when the tyres were finished, and in the final stint, when there was very little grip on the prime.
I gave it 100 per cent for the entire race so ninth place doesn’t feel like the proper reward for the team, who worked hard all weekend. Still, we’re all hopeful that Monaco will be a better race for us because the absence of fast corners shouldn’t hurt us as much as it did here. In fact, I’m already looking forward to it.
Heikki Kovalainen – DNF: Luck just doesn’t seem to be going my way right now. It’s been a difficult weekend the car’s performance is not where we want it to be and this was tough for us all but that’s life. But we shouldn’t forget that we’ve improved our car massively since we last tested here in the winter and eventually we’ll be fighting with Jenson and the other guys at the front. I’m already looking ahead to Monaco where I’ll be fighting harder than ever. I’m not going to let this get me down.
Martin Whitmarsh, team principal – Lewis made a great start off the line but, after having been obstructed by another car, through no fault of his own he lost time avoiding an accident and ended up at the back of the field at the end of lap one. After that, his task was always going to be a tough one, because the Barcelona circuit is not an easy one on which to overtake. Furthermore, his tyres went off during his second stint, and then he got pipped by Fernando when they made their second pit stops.
But he kept pushing as hard as he could, in ninth place, in the hope that one of the cars ahead of him would drop out and thereby allow him to score one hard-earned championship point. It didn’t happen, unfortunately, but the fact that Lewis never gave up demonstrates just what a competitive individual he is. Heikki made a decent start, but his race was ended disappointingly and unluckily by a gearbox failure.
We predicted that this race would be a low point of our season, and we’ve been proved right. In two weeks’ time, at Monaco, which is a very different kind of circuit from Barcelona, things ought to be significantly better for us. But we know we aren’t yet where we want to be, and we’ll continue to work flat-out to get there.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedez-Benz motosport – We knew since testing here what to expect from our car on this racetrack. Being lapped here is not what Lewis deserves: he delivered everything that was possible with his car today we just cannot handle the high-speed corners and need to dramatically improve over the next weeks and months. Thank God the Brawn guys saved our bacon again with our engine in the back. Congratulations Jenson, Rubens, Ross and the whole team, you guys have been the benchmark since the season started.