McLaren acknowledge there is work to do
29 May 2012 – Both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button recognise that McLaren must up its game in order to sustain a competitive title attack in 2012. The Woking team has lost a handful of worthy points for a variety of reasons since the start of the new season.
McLaren began this year in confident fashion, demonstrating strong pace in pre-season testing before locking out the front rows of both the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix grids. With Button having won in Melbourne with Hamilton third, the following three events – Malaysia, China and Bahrain – all featured pit-stop errors to varying degrees which could prove highly costly by the end of the campaign. For Button, the 2009 title winner has now failed to score points over the past three races in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco.
“S*** happens sometimes,” the Frome man is quoted as saying by Reuters. “It's my leanest period since my old Honda days. I've just got to clear it up and move on. Since I've joined the team everything has gone amazingly well and after every few races the confidence would step up a gear, with the understanding of the car and working with the engineers - even into this year, with the first race.
“The first three races were good, I was happy, but suddenly the last three races…I don't know where the pace and feeling I get from the car have gone. I haven't had that before. It's tough, but it's nothing we can't sort out. We will solve the issues. It's just whether we do it in time.”
Hamilton has notched up impressive qualifying statistics, being either on pole or second quickest at the first five venues before setting the fourth best time in Monte Carlo. Despite this achievement, he too is beginning to slip behind Fernando Alonso and the Red Bull drivers.
“The team definitely have some work to do,” Hamilton admits. “I've fallen behind and race by race we are getting further and further behind the others. I'm still there, but we are falling behind bit by bit, which is tough for us, but we will keep pushing and keep fighting.
“I lost a lot of points and we have to focus on trying not to lose any more from now on...I have to go back to the drawing board, find out where we are losing time and work on that.”
After six of the 20 rounds so far in 2012, McLaren sits 38 points behind Red Bull for the lead of the Constructors’ Championship, meaning the silver and red cars remain within a one-two result’s worth of points behind their blue rivals. For drivers’ honours, Hamilton trails Alonso by 13 points, but Button is now 31 points (more than one race win) in arrears of the Spaniard.