European GP: McLaren preview

McLaren MP4/25 detail.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday 12 June 2010.Jun.20 (Grand Prix 247) Vodafone McLaren Mercedes preview the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Jenson Button: “As a team, we’ve taken maximum points in the last two races and it feels like we’ve really gathered considerable momentum. The team really is functioning as a single unit, so I think we head into Valencia next weekend hopeful of being able to once again capitalise on that determination and ambition.

Even though it’s a street circuit, it’s got quite a different feel to other street tracks like Monte-Carlo or Singapore. For a start, it’s quite a bit faster – there are some low-speed corners with some fairly unforgiving walls at the apex, but there are also some high-speed changes of direction and some long straights, so it’s quite an interesting place set-up-wise. It’s not as if you completely rely on downforce, there’s a trade-off, and that should suit our package.

Valencia is also the final race before two important stop-offs in the UK: our home race at Silverstone and, before that, the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Both are events where the British fans will be out in force. And, as world champion, I’m looking forward to both events. Silverstone will be an incredible experience, and I get to achieve a childhood dream of driving one of Alain Prost’s classic McLarens, the MP4/2C, at Goodwood. Sometimes, I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m really looking forward to racing in Valencia. I had a great, attacking race there last year – but I’ve finished second for the past two seasons, so I feel like I have some unfinished business!

I also think it’s good for the championship to have a variety of circuits – we’ve just come from a fast, flowing road course in Canada, to a tight street track in Valencia. And, next month, we’ll be at Silverstone – one of the fastest tracks of the year, and a circuit with incredible history. As a driver, that sort of variety makes the racing exciting and unpredictable, which is all you can really ask for.”

The last few grands prix have had some fantastic racing – it would be great for all the Spanish fans if we can have a great race here too. It’s not a circuit where we’ve seen too much passing in the past, but I think this year could be different – the grid is so tight, there were battles all through the field in Montreal last week, so I think we could have a close and exciting race this year.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “After two consecutive one-twos, it certainly felt like Bruce McLaren himself was looking down on us and smiling, particularly after we recently commemorated the 40th anniversary of his death.

I’m sure Bruce would also have appreciated the relentless and dedicated approach we have taken to the engineering and development of MP4-25 – I think we’ve shown in the past two races that we lack nothing in terms of hunger and motivation. And with our car being constantly developed, I believe we can continue to be a threat at the majority of remaining races on the calendar.

Of course, we’re no strangers to relentless development – it’s one of the team’s greatest strengths – and we’re absolutely committed to maximising every last component in the search for performance. Nothing is too small to be overlooked, and it’s that holistic approach that really brings rewards, allowing us to eke out performance in every single area of the car.

It’s also an approach we’re increasingly focusing on with the team, too: we’re looking at pitstops, engineering, strategy – and we’re seeing practical and material benefits in those areas, too.”