After an encouraging Qualifying Session, Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident that a double points finish could be on the cards for the Woking squad.
Reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton is even more optimistic, claiming that a top five finish is possible in tomorrow’s Grand Prix. The Brit will line up in 5th place, his highest Qualifying position so far this season, while his team mate Heikki Kovalainen managed eleventh.
Lewis Hamilton – 5th: “We have been pushing incredibly hard over the last couple of months and this is a result of all our hard work. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved: firstly, it was good to get into the top 10, then it was even better to battle inside the top 10! We’ve got a similar pace to some of the guys in the top five; as long as everything goes smoothly we should be able to get a top five finish tomorrow. I can almost see pole position now – and I’m really looking forward to getting there soon!”
Heikki Kovalainen – 11th: “I didn’t have any major problems today but, obviously I wasn’t as fast as I would have liked. We have to analyse what went wrong. Nevertheless our competiveness has improved compared to the previous grands prix. We are lacking pace especially in the middle sector. However, the fact that I was less than one tenth of a second behind 10th position in Q2 shows that we have made some more progress. I am now looking forward to the race, where my target is to achieve a solid points result.”
Martin Whitmarsh team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “After our top-10 qualifying position in Shanghai last weekend, today’s performance once again shows that we are continuing to make progress with MP4-24. Lewis’s top-five position is a fantastic achievement and, considering he began the first race of the season from 18th on the grid, a fantastic indicator of just how much progress the team has made. Of course, while our qualifying positions mark the team’s best Saturday performance of the season, they were made without compromise to our race pace; both Lewis and Heikki are well placed to pick up some more points for the team tomorrow.”
Norbert Haug vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Looks like we are heading in the right direction. Lewis did a great job yesterday and today. The layout of the track is not bad for us as our car is strong under braking and we feel that our KERS hybrid is helping here as well. A shame for Heikki that he missed Q3 by less than one tenth, finishing 11th while Lewis was eighth: an incredibly close session, with 0.05s covering fourth to eighth! It is extremely tight these days in Formula 1 but that is great for the spectators they are what we are here for.”