Canadian GP: McLaren race report

Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Executive Chairman, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday 13 June 2010.

McLaren Mercedes team celebrate after their Canadian GP 1-2

Jun.13 (Grand Prix 247) Vodafone McLaren Mercedes report on their Canadian Grand Prix afternoon at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Lewis Hamilton: “It was an incredibly challenging afternoon, especially in the last 20 laps, when I was trying to look after my tyres while also keeping Jenson and Fernando [Alonso] behind me. It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that!

This track is unique – you can never be too confident, because you really have to look after your tyres, and it’s so hard to know how long you can make them last. Fernando put a lot of pressure on me. We had a really good battle, but, although he was pressing me hard, I was able to pull out a small gap and then maintain it. It was such a sensational feeling to cross the line.

In terms of pure pace, I still think the Red Bull car is still a little bit faster than ours. But, as a whole, I think our package is now stronger. So, going forward, we need to build on the progress we’ve made recently, and we’re going to do just that; we’ll now knuckle down and make a really big effort to increase that gap. We’ve got good momentum now, so I hope we can continue our winning run through to Valencia in two weeks’ time.

The feeling and atmosphere within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is better than ever. The contribution that Jenson has brought is the best I’ve ever witnessed from a team-mate. He did another great job today to come from fourth to second – he’s doing his part and I’m doing mine. The team is happier than ever. This has been a truly fantastic day.”

Jenson Button:
“Turn One was a bit too exciting for me – I got hit by Felipe [Massa], and I feared I’d damaged the car, but fortunately it was just rear graining that I felt, not a puncture. Then, when I got onto the Prime tyre, the car started working really well.

But it’s so difficult around here – you’ve really got to look after the tyres, even the Prime, which was also liable to graining. But I looked after my tyres carefully, and in traffic I was able to pull out five seconds on Sebastian [Vettel]. After that, I decided to focus on driving flat-out to catch Fernando. And it worked: when we both hit further traffic, I was able to pounce and make my move.

After that, I began trying my best to reel in Lewis, but I’d taken so much out of my tyres while chasing Fernando that I couldn’t get any closer to Lewis than about two seconds.

Overall, then, this has been a great weekend for us. Lewis did a phenomenal job in qualifying – I couldn’t touch him – but it feels good to have finished second in the race just behind him. Hopefully, next time the order will be reversed!”

Martin Whitmarsh,
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “I’m told I sometimes over-use the phrase ‘fantastic job’ when describing the performances of Lewis and Jenson, but I make no apology whatsoever for using that phrase again today.

This afternoon’s race was extremely exciting from a spectacle point of view and decidedly challenging from a strategy point of view, and I think our engineers rose to that challenge supremely well.

But, yes, Lewis and Jenson did indeed do a fantastic job here in Montreal this afternoon. They drove with controlled aggression when it was needed, tempered by patience and discipline when those qualities were required.

I firmly believe that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has the two best racing drivers in the world today.

Now, we leave North America and head back to Europe, in first place in the constructors’ world championship, and in first place and second place in the drivers’ world championship.

We never under-estimate our competitors, who are working every bit as hard to win grands prix and world championships as we are. There’s a long way to go yet, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every single person at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is working as hard as he or she possibly can to maintain our positions at the top of both championship tables from here on in through to Abu Dhabi in November.”