2011 TURKISH GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING
“DEFINITELY IN THE FIGHT AND PUSHING ALL THE WAY”
Istanbul Park, Saturday May 7
LEWIS HAMILTON MP4-26A-03
“We’re starting on the dirty side of the grid – so our biggest challenge tomorrow could be getting off the line. Every year here I’ve started on the dirty side here!
“Mercedes GP and Ferrari have picked up their pace, and it might be hard to overtake the Mercedes GP because they’re very fast on the straights; so if it pans out like that, the Red Bulls could edge away from us.
“We don’t have an extra set of [unused] tyres, but you never know what the weather will do tomorrow. We’re definitely in the fight and I’ll be pushing all the way – just as we did last year.
“So I’ll try to get a good start tomorrow – fingers crossed we can gain some places that way. I’m looking forward to driving a strong grand prix – it’s a long race here and there should be opportunities to overtake.”
Lewis Hamilton P3
6th 1m26.726s (+0.689s) 14 laps
Q1 4th 1m27.091s (on Primes)
Q2 3rd 1m26.066s (on Options)
Q3 4th overall 1m25.595s (on Options)
JENSON BUTTON MP4-26A-04
“Sixth position isn’t great, but we can still do well: Mark Webber had a good race from 18th in China, so we can definitely have a good race from sixth.
“Maybe I should have just done a single run for Q3 because my second run wasn’t any faster than my first – and you tend to lose time if you push these tyres too hard. But to be honest I couldn’t get a really good balance in qualifying.
“It’s difficult to know people’s overall pace from Friday running because the changeable weather has mixed everything up. I’d hoped for more but we’ll see what happens.
“It’s a pity that I’m on the dirty side of the track – it might cause a few problems with the getaway into Turn One tomorrow – but we’re competitive. We’ll be in the running tomorrow.”
Jenson Button P3
5th 1m26.578s (+0.541s) 17 laps
Q1 6th 1m27.374s (on Primes)
Q2 8th 1m26.485s (on Options)
Q3 6th overall 1m25.982s (on Options)
MARTIN WHITMARSH, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Only six cars managed to beat the 1m26s barrier in Q3 here at Istanbul Park today, and I’m glad to say that Lewis and Jenson were both among that sextet.
It’s very tight, very competitive, at the sharp end of the grid this year
“It’s very tight, very competitive, at the sharp end of the grid this year – and it’s worth noting that, had Lewis managed to string together his three best sector times in a single lap, he’d have been second-quickest. As things turned out, he was fourth-quickest, and Jenson was sixth-quickest, but they’re both fantastic racers and they’ll approach tomorrow’s race with all the controlled aggression that we’ve come to expect from them over the years.”