McLaren press release
“Confident of making more progress tomorrow”
“We were competitive in P1, but in P2 there was a larger gap to the front and we started struggling a little with the rear tyres.
“There are some areas out on the track where the bolts are coming out of the kerbs – they must be taking some serious force from the cars. On a couple of the corners – Turns Three, 13 and 14 – the exit and apex kerbing has been removed, so some drivers were using the extra track.
“We don’t yet know whether or not the kerbs will be reinstated tonight, so I continued driving as though the kerbs were there. If they’re not replaced, then we should gain an extra couple of tenths by being able to run as wide as some of the others did.
“Either way, we’re going to improve the car overnight; we’ll change the set-up a little bit. Qualifying will be very important tomorrow, because a good starting position for the race will be vital. Then, looking after the tyres will be key; we’ll be making adjustments to limit the rears’ sliding, and also to make them last longer.”
“During P2, I locked up into Turn 14, but I just kept it out of the barriers. I selected reverse and started to pull back slowly, but then I had no drive. I tried to turn the car around, but there was no room. So I tried to reverse again, and something wasn’t working with the gearbox. We looked at the ’box once we got the car back to the garage, and it’s now happily resolved.
“I only ran the Prime tyre today and didn’t really find a great set-up. It was a little disappointing not to do any more running, because I couldn’t improve the package. Still, we have some good ideas for tomorrow and I’m confident we’ll make more progress.
“I think everybody will struggle a little with tyres during the race – they seem to be overheating quite quickly. So it’s going to be a bit tough, but we’re all in the same boat.”
Today was a tricky day for both Lewis and Jenson
MARTIN WHITMARSH - Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Today was a tricky day for both Lewis and Jenson. Lewis showed impressive pace in P1, but wasn’t completely happy with his car’s set-up in the second session.
“We’re looking closely at rear tyre degradation, and I’m confident that we have a number of solutions to try and improve the issue.
“Jenson was also struggling with an oversteering car and unfortunately locked up early into his P2 programme and ended up very close to the tyre barriers.
“Given the tight nature of this track, he wasn’t able to get the car turned around – and, after suffering a problem with reverse gear, wasn’t able to get the car pointed in the right direction in order to continue.
“We looked into the issue and fixed it – but, nonetheless, it was a frustrating issue for Jenson, because he couldn’t complete his planned run-programme today.”
LEWIS HAMILTON - MP4-26A-03
P1 programme - 10 laps - 1m48.599s - 1st
P2 programme - 22 laps - 1m47.115s (+0.741s) - 3rd
JENSON BUTTON - MP4-26A-04
P1 programme - 12 laps - 1m50.952s (+2.353s) - 5th
P2 programme - 10 laps - 1m49.751s (+3.377s) - 10th