British GP: McLaren preview

McLaren MP4/25 detail.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday 12 June 2010.

Jul.05 (Grand Prix 247) Vodafone McLaren Merceds preview Round 10 of the Formula 1 World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Jenson Button
“Racing in front of your home crowd is one of the biggest buzzes for any racing driver. And racing at Silverstone is always an exceptional experience – the crowds are huge throughout the weekend, everybody absolutely knows their stuff, and the motivation and support you get is like nowhere else on earth. I love it. The Santander British Grand Prix is a bit of a festival of motorsport – there’s a great atmosphere there, a party vibe, and you meet people who’ve supported you throughout your career, which is always very rewarding. Of course, the big unknown for this year is the new track configuration. On paper, it looks to have kept most of the classic corners, which is important. We’ve lost Bridge, but we’ve still got Copse, Becketts and Stowe, which is great. There’s no substitute for actually driving it though, and a new circuit is always great fun to try out and get to grips with, so I can’t wait for Friday morning. Even though I came to Silverstone last year as the championship leader, I still haven’t won this race. I’m second this year, and I can think of nothing better than being able to take a win in front of my home crowd – that would be amazing.”

Lewis Hamilton
“The Santander British Grand Prix is the halfway point in the season, and our whole team is really hungry for success. After spending most of 2009 out of the hunt, I can tell that everybody is really fired up, particularly for this weekend, where we’ll be performing in front of a home crowd, and all our friends and families. It would be amazing to score another great result at our home race. We haven’t raced on this Silverstone configuration before – I’ve looked at the track map, and I’ve seen some onboard footage, and I like what I’ve seen. It still looks fast and sweeping – even the new corners look medium- to high-speed, which is what you want around here. To be leading the world championship going into my home race is a fantastic feeling – I know very well the effect of people-power around here – in 2007, when I got pole position, I vividly remember driving around on my slowing-down lap and I could hear the noise of the crowd over the engine. And in 2008, in those terrible, wet conditions, nobody lost heart or faith, and they kept waving their flags and banners for me on every single lap. When you see that kind of dedication, you know you’ve got to repay it. And that’s why I go to Silverstone absolutely determined to get a great result; to make 100,000 people proud of our team and our country. The Santander British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the year – it’s going to be a brilliant weekend. Bring it on.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“In the past three races, we’ve scored 119 points from a possible maximum of 129 – an incredible statistic that tells you a lot about our hunger to fight at the front. Our home race at Silverstone has a special significance for all of us, and it would make the whole team tremendously proud if either Jenson or Lewis were able to stand atop the podium on Sunday afternoon. Such a result would be the highlight of our season so far. As we stand at the halfway mark in the season, I’m incredibly pleased with the way the team is currently operating. There’s a real grit and determination at work: you can feel it when you walk in the garage. We’ve created our own internal momentum, and it’s extremely rewarding to see how everyone is pulling together for the greater good. It’s the way great teams work, and I’ve rarely seen the team as single-minded – from factory floor to racetrack – as it is right now.”