Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“It’s definitely going to be a tight weekend”
“I’m very happy with my start to the weekend: happy that the rain held off for both sessions today and happy that we got through a lot of good set-up changes.
“This is a great track to drive – it’s a place that requires 100 per cent commitment and where the driver can really make a difference. It magnifies the differences between drivers. Today, even though the Option tyre was a little quicker, I preferred running on the Prime tyre.
“It was an unfortunate day for Jenson, who had some problems with the back-end of his car. Still, I was very pleased for him that he was at least able to get out at the end of the session and get some laps under his belt. This is a place where it’s important to do some running, because there are some pretty close walls and you need to build your speed up gradually.
“So today has been positive, but it’s definitely going to be tight this weekend – not just for qualifying, but for the race, too.”
“Well, we certainly had a few issues today. We had an oil leak on my car in this morning’s session, so the mechanics had to take the gearbox off then put it back on. And then we found another problem, so they had to take it off again then put it back on again!
“They did a great job, but the delays stopped us from doing any high-fuel running or any set-up work simply because we had to get out on the circuit and get some laps in. It meant we didn’t put a set-up on the car that felt quite right. Still, as I say, I want to say a massive thanks to the guys for working flat-out to get everything fixed – they were fantastic.
“But I’m not too worried – the car has been working well and Lewis has been quick all day, so there’s a lot of good information for us to look at for tomorrow.
“I enjoy driving around this place, so we’ll be hoping for a bit more luck tomorrow.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Lewis performed extremely well today. His short-run pace was strong, and his long-run pace was excellent.
“For Jenson, clearly, today was rather more troubled, albeit through no fault of his own. He suffered an oil leak in this morning’s session which necessitated the removal and re-fitting of his gearbox. Then, prior to this afternoon’s session, we diagnosed another problem and as a result we had to change his gearbox yet again.
“Consequently, he lost a lot of running time today – and then, when we finally got him out onto the track with only 18 minutes of P2 to go, he encountered quite a bit of traffic and was unable to get a decent run in the few laps available to him. Still, hats off to his mechanics, who did a splendid job to remove and replace the back-end of his car, not once, but twice, today.
“But tomorrow, in P3, we’ll work on getting Jenson a good package with which to qualify, and we all know how brilliant he can be at this circuit. Last year he was superb here, as tens of millions of TV viewers worldwide won’t need me to remind them.
“Lewis, too, is always super-competitive here – he won this race in both 2007 and 2010 – and I’m sure he’ll approach tomorrow’s qualifying session with his customary confidence again this year.”