Hamilton in control but Button set for challenge
8 June 2012 – Friday in Montreal was a day of mixed emotions for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton may be set to control the Grand Prix weekend, judging by early indications, but team-mate Jenson Button suffered a major problems which resulted in only a handful of laps.
As he topped the timesheets in both sessions, Hamilton – who has won two of his four Formula 1 races to date in Canada – notched up a total of 73 laps.
“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 setup changes,” he began. “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; so today has been positive, but it’s definitely going to be tight this weekend – not just for qualifying but for the race, too.”
Button, on the other hand, managed only 26 tours of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – 47 less than Hamilton – after suffering an oil leak which caused his clutch to slip. It took some four hours to change his gearbox not once, but twice.
“Well, we certainly had a few issues today,” acknowledged the 2009 World Champion, who has scored only two points in the last three races. “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 setup work simply because we had to get out on the circuit and get some laps in. It meant we didn’t put a setup 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.”
McLaren has won three of the last four Canadian Grands Prix, with Hamilton having triumphed in 2007 and 2010 before Button won in dramatic fashion last season.