McLaren: Useful points on a frustrating afternoon

May 27 (McLern Press Release) Team and drivers review their Monaco Grand Prix race, Round 6 of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship, in Monte Carlo.

Lewis Hamilton: MP4-27A-03
“I had a pretty poor start – I didn’t understand why that happened – and I was lucky not to get caught up in the first-corner crash. During the race, I struggled in the low-speed corners and found looking after the rear tyres tough. To make them last as long as we did, while trying to keep up with the pace of the guys in front, was one of the trickiest things I’ve had to do in a race. I lost time at my pitstop and gave away a place to Fernando [Alonso], and then Sebastian [Vettel] was able to get past me after he made his own stop. After that, it was impossible to overtake. Today wasn’t the best result for me – I really dislike going backwards in a race – but I think I got everything I could out of the car. We came away with some points, and there are many more races ahead, but we’ve definitely got some work to do because, race by race, we’re struggling to keep up with the leaders. The other teams are picking up serious pace, too. We can’t let them pull away from us – but we’re a fantastic team, we’ll knuckle down together, and we’ll really push on now.”

Jenson Button: MP4-27A-02
“At the start, Kamui [Kobayashi] almost landed on top of me because he’d been launched off someone else. Then I almost got stuck at the exit of Sainte Dévote, but I just managed to squeeze through. After my stop, I got caught behind Heikki [Kovalainen] – we weren’t really fighting, but if you position your car in the right place around here then it’s impossible to overtake. That’s quite frustrating when you’re so much quicker than the guy in front. Finally, I had a look up the inside of Turn 15 [Swimming Pool exit], we touched, and I had a puncture. Game over. Today’s result stems from a poor qualifying performance and being unlucky at the start. Also, when you start from the mid-grid, you’re more prone to incidents. It wasn’t my day today – but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“This year’s Monaco Grand Prix won’t go down as one of the most triumphant in McLaren’s glorious Monte-Carlo history – since, although Lewis finished just four seconds behind Mark [Webber] today, in truth the smallness of that deficit was partly occasioned by the unique combination of the drivers’ need to drive with tyre conservation in mind and a circuit on which overtaking is well-nigh impossible. As a consequence, Mark was able to back the field up in the closing stages, without risking his lead. Still, Lewis scored a useful 10 points, and lies only 13 points off the drivers’ world championship lead. Jenson had a frustrating afternoon, striving to make up ground from 12th on the grid, the result of which was ultimately a lap-71 DNF. Our next stop will be Montreal, another non-purpose-built racetrack, but one on which overtaking is at least feasible. Jenson won brilliantly there last year, and Lewis won superbly there the year before – so, although we weren’t able to add to our unrivalled record of 15 wins here at Monaco this afternoon, you can rest assured that in two weeks’ time we’ll be aiming to score a hat-trick of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Canadian Grand Prix victories.”