Mclaren appear to have improved their car immensely with the introduction of a number of new parts for this Weekend. These changes would prove dividend in today’s Qualifying session, as both drivers showed a noticeable improvement in form.
With this, the team appear more confident about tomorrow’s race and the rest of the season.
Lewis Hamilton – 9th: They were pretty hardcore laps! They were almost beyond the limit. Step by step, we are moving forward. And thanks to all the guys back at the factory for doing such a fantastic job and for churning away on all the new parts – every little bit helps us catch the leaders. There’s still a long way to go but this definitely feels like the start of the road to recovery.
Heikki Kovalainen – 12th: We’ve really improved our car this weekend. It was unfortunate we couldn’t go any faster in Q2 but I am glad for the team that Lewis made it into Q3. While 12th position doesn’t truly reflect my pace, it’s clear that we’re heading in the right direction. With the right strategy and some better luck in the opening laps, I’ll be aiming for my first points of the year tomorrow.
Martin Whitmarsh team principal: Lewis’s ninth place marks the first time this season that we have made it into Q3 and also demonstrates the effort we are putting in back at the McLaren Technology Centre to improve MP4-24. Admittedly, there is still a long way to go and we will not be happy until we are back at the front but this is an encouraging and significant step for the whole team. Lewis’s laps, particularly in Q1 and Q2 were absolutely tremendous and worthy of a great champion. While Heikki was unable to improve on 12th, he and his engineers did a fantastic job together to set the car up. As a result, we go into tomorrow’s race seriously optimistic of getting both cars into the points.
Norbert Haug vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: A great job by Lewis and the team since the beginning of the season we have taken steps forward. I believe we have a first-class strategy. There will be cars ahead of us which will make early pitstops, beginning approximately with lap 10, but we want to cover two and a half times as much until our first stop. In Q1, Lewis was fourth, two and half tenths behind first place, in Q2 he was sixth, six tenths behind the best time at least, we are making progress compared to Melbourne and Sepang.
Two BMWs and one Ferrari will start behind us we have the best-placed car with KERS in the field; we are heading in the right direction, but anyway there is still a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, Heikki missed Q3 by just 0.063sec that must be annoying for him and the team which truly deserved two cars in the top 10 as a reward for their hard work. However, 12th is not too far behind 10th.