McLaren hopes Red Bull can’t retain form
7 October 2012 – Japan has witnessed Sebastian Vettel becoming the first repeat winner of the 2012 Formula 1 season, convincingly winning the Japanese Grand Prix as McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth. With five races remaining, the Woking team is now 41 points behind in the championship.
“It was a great start and I made up a couple of places,” said Button, who just missed out on hunting down Kamui Kobayashi for a podium finish. “I was sixth by Turn 1, then third, but I didn’t have the pace and lost out to Felipe (Massa) at the first stops. I pitted early, which probably wasn’t right because I came out in traffic. It was tough to keep him behind because he was quick on fresh tyres.
“I think Red Bull were quicker than we thought, but they’re always quick here. I hope it’s just a stand-out race for them, but I would be surprised if it was…”
One position but 21 seconds behind, Hamilton could do nothing but regret the car setups modifications he had made on Saturday morning.
“I got everything I could out of my car and looked after my tyres quite well,” said the Mercedes-bound driver. “The long first stint was not too exciting but I got everything out of the car. The lap I first came in, the tyres were just finishing. I wanted to continue but the team made the right call to bring me in.
“They were fantastic pit-stops, but I’ve had a bit of strange behaviour with my car this weekend; amazing understeer in qualifying and the same today, so I was falling back and just wasn’t quite enough. For the championship, I’m quite realistic about my situation but I’ll keep pushing for better qualifying results.”
Fourth in the championship, Hamilton is now 42 points in arrears of leader Fernando Alonso while Button is sixth and 63 away from the top of the table.