Whitmarsh: Today’s McLaren pace ‘not representative’

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has said that his team’s second practice speed this afternoon was ‘not representative’ of their potential pace.

Despite the Woking-based pair of drivers having dominated first practice, they fell to fifth and ninth for Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button respectively in the second session.

But Whitmarsh said he believed cold, windy weather had affected the MP4-25’s performance and that qualifying and the race would be a different matter.

“We certainly come away from today’s two sessions armed with a considerable amount of data to sift through ahead of third practice and qualifying tomorrow. Today’s uncharacteristically chilly weather, and the resultant difficulties we encountered in adapting the set-up to best suit the conditions, meant that neither Jenson nor Lewis felt entirely happy with their cars by the end of second practice.

“As a result, we’ll place even greater emphasis on an examination of the data before tomorrow. We’re confident that our car has the potential to be well suited to this circuit, and that this afternoon’s pace was not fully representative of our expected race performance.”

Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that he was not where he had hoped to be, he too citing the weather.

“It was quite windy today, so, despite running right through our programme, we struggled a little bit, particularly at the end when we changed to the Option tyre and encountered a bit of traffic. The new parts have definitely given us a step forward, but we don’t yet know how big that step is compared to our rivals.

“Generally, however, the car doesn’t feel too bad. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make some further set-up changes overnight, too. Tomorrow we’ll just be focusing on our programme, pushing the envelope, and analysing everything we can to make sure we’re as competitive as we can possibly be.”

Button, meanwhile, seemed mystified by his relative lack of pace.

“This afternoon we embarked on some set-up changes that we thought were headed in the right direction, but I’m not sure if they were. So there’s a lot of work still to be done on both tyres some of it is possibly set-up, and some of it is getting the tyres in their correct working range.

“This afternoon was a very tricky session. A few teams were already getting their cars to work well, so we should be able to get there too. But there’s a lot to be done this evening to figure out exactly why our car didn’t feel as we expected it to. I don’t think it’s an issue of the new components working or not, I think it’s more about not turning the tyres on properly, or not working them in the correct way.”