2011 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
“For me, Valencia will be a weekend of consolidation after two disappointing results in Monaco and Canada. Those two races were particularly frustrating for me because we showed we had the pace to win both of them, yet I only came away with eight points.
“Still, I’m really pleased that Jenson drove a brilliant race to win in Canada; after his bad luck in Monte-Carlo, he more than deserved this result. It’s a great result for the team, too. “I’ve always gone well at Valencia, finishing second there in every race, and I really enjoy attacking the track.
It’s a difficult circuit with no let-up, but that won’t deter me as I’m really keen to get back on track and get back in the points. This race will be our third street circuit in a row, so hopefully it’ll give me the chance to reverse the bad luck I’ve encountered in the previous two!
“We’ve arguably had the fastest race car in the last three races, and that’s really encouraging because I know that, when it’s put to best use, I should be able to finish at the front. “As always, that will be my goal next weekend.”
“It’s been a fantastic week in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix. I had a few days’ break immediately after the race, which was perfectly timed as it gave me the opportunity to take in all the positive memories of a crazy weekend, and to reflect on an incredible race.
“I wouldn’t say that winning in Montreal has given me extra motivation, because I was already totally committed, but I think it will help to sharpen the focus and conviction of everyone in the team. We’ve proved we can challenge and beat Sebastian [Vettel], and we know we can fight for this world championship.
“I’m looking forward to Valencia. I had a good race there last year and I think the track shares some of the characteristics of Montreal and Monaco, so I’m confident that we’ll be competitive again. The trick will be to find enough performance in the race to overcome any potential difficulties in qualifying. It’s a hard place to pass and, even though there will once again be two DRS zones, I don’t think that’s going to make it much easier during the race.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Jenson’s fantastic last-to-first result in Canada last weekend proved beyond doubt that, as a team, we never give up. That victory was a great fillip for the entire organisation and shows that our tireless efforts to bring constant upgrades to the track are really paying off.
We’ve typically gone well around the Valencia street circuit
“As a team, it’s particularly satisfying that our upgrade ‘hit-rate’ has been successful and that we’ve really been able to translate the results we’ve seen at the factory into concrete performance at the track. Again, that’s the result of good teamwork, and is what will successfully carry us through this championship fight.
“We’ve typically gone well around the Valencia street circuit but we’ve never won there before. I think we go into the weekend feeling encouraged and motivated by our performance, but still realistic that Red Bull remains the pacesetter – particularly in qualifying.
“We’re now into the heart of the season and need to ensure that we’re regularly delivering performance to the car. We’ve shown time and time again that this is one of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ key strengths and I’m confident we can continue to deliver. For Valencia and beyond, our aim is clear: we want to win.”