Whitmarsh: Lewis did a “fantastic job”

Martin Whitmarsh was full of praise for Lewis Hamilton after the Briton converted his pole position into a superb victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Hamilton led from lights to flag, and overcame a small KERS issue and tyre problems midway through the race to hold off his nearest challengers and bring the car home.

After the race the reigning World Champion paid tribute to his team for their efforts throughout the weekend.

Heikki Kovalainen struggled throughout the race with extracting the maximum from his Bridgestone tyres. He could only manage seventh.

Lewis Hamilton – 1st: “This is the perfect end to a fantastic weekend. The race was physically very tough for all the drivers, but it was actually quite straightforward for me. I made a good start and I knew I was running longer than the guys behind me, so I was able to bridge the gap back to them. It was a very nicely controlled race in that way.

“The team did radio me about a small problem with KERS – but I didn’t have a problem in the cockpit and was able to just disable it and then re-engage it. It worked fine after that. We came here hoping for a good result and I wanted to redeem myself after the last lap in Monza and we got it!”

Heikki Kovalainen – 7th: “I had no problems from start to finish and was feeling very comfortable, but I couldn’t go quicker. I drove to the pace I could with this car. I struggle a bit to maintain the tyre’s performance and the car gets out of shape if I try to increase my pace, so I can’t carry more speed through the corners. My focus now is to get the car better for me, so I can achieve better results.

2As a team, we’ll take many positives from this race. First of all, our car performance has been fantastic all weekend and Lewis’s victory shows that the performance is definitely there. But, to be honest, my weekend was ruined yesterday in qualifying, which was very unfortunate for me.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “You won’t be surprised to hear me describe what Lewis did this weekend as ‘a fantastic job’. After a slightly troubled Friday, the team worked tremendously hard throughout Friday night and Saturday morning to rebuild Lewis’s car completely and the result, combined with a brilliant pole lap from the man himself, was that we were able to approach today with a win firmly in our sights.

“As such, it was a perfectly paced weekend and Lewis delivered magnificently today. Working together with the team, he was able to control the race from the front and, although at one point both Nico [Rosberg] and Sebastian [Vettel] were piling the pressure on, we were always confident.

“In short, I’d describe it as a great victory not only for Lewis, but also for the team. To design and manufacture the new parts required for our latest upgrades, against time pressure, and yet to do it accurately and reliably, is a truly superb achievement. In fact, I’m every bit as proud of the team as I am of Lewis himself.

“As for Heikki, he was unlucky in qualifying yesterday, but today he put in a solid performance from 10th position on the grid, in tricky circumstances, and earned us some valuable world championship points as a result.”

Norbert Haug – Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “A first-class grand prix from Lewis and our whole team. Lewis did everything right, setting pole position yesterday and winning the race today. The team was at its best by building up a different chassis for Lewis over night from Friday to Saturday and they all got the reward for their exceptional work including perfectly timed and well-executed pit stops.

“Heikki came home seventh, and more was just not possible after his 10th place in qualifying. Well done to everybody nobody scored more points than Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in this so important night race here in Singapore.

“The statistics speak for themselves: this is the 60th grand prix victory of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership, and no team has scored more points than us in the five races since Lewis’s victory in Hungary two months ago Now we all are looking forward to a great season finale with three more races to go.

“Congratulations to our German friend Timo Glock and Toyota for their second place today, they have been strong all weekend.”