McLaren not expecting Red Bull to have big advantage in the British Grand Prix
|By Edd Straw and Pablo Elizalde||Wednesday, July 4th 2012, 10:57 GMT|
McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael does not believe Red Bull will be able to keep the same kind of advantage it had in Valencia in this weekend's British Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel dominated the European Grand Prix from pole position, opening a comfortable gap over his rivals before he was forced to retire with a mechanical problem.
The German was often nearly a second quicker per lap than McLaren's Lewis Hamilton before his retirement.
And although some expect Red Bull to be the team to beat at Silverstone, Michael reckons the team's advantage was circuit-specific and is expecting the Milton Keynes team to be closer to its rivals this weekend.
"It [Red Bull's advantage] probably has got some circuit-specific nature to it," said Michael during a Vodafone phone-in on Wednesday.
"Valencia hasn't been a track that we have traditionally been very good at and if you look forward to Silverstone this weekend, it definitely fits more in line with where the McLaren car strengths are.
"However, they did take a step forward but I don't think it's as big as the pace that Sebastian showed in that first stint and we will be looking to correct that at Silverstone."
He added: "If we look back to Barcelona, we were almost six tenths in front of them on the grid before we took the penalty, so looking at the type of track that Silverstone is, we're hoping for a repeat of that."
Michael believes that the fact that Red Bull made such a leap in terms of performance compared to the previous races is proof that its advantage was more than to the nature of the Valencia circuit than to the updates introduced there.
"Because the changes that they made to the car, if you look at that pace it was a second a lap. To find a second lap in F1 through changing some fairly secondary parts on the top surface on the floor, which is where we know they have changed, to get a second a lap in F1 would be pretty impressive.
"When we arrive in Silverstone we will find out if that is the case but I will be pretty surprised if they maintain a second a lap gap on the rest of the field.
"It was very impressive pace, but ultimately we have seen this year that if you get the tyres working properly and you fall into that window then you can generate some enormous amounts of grip. We have seen that four or five times this year and Sebastian was definitely bang on the tyres in that first stint. So it was reflective of that rather than the car upgrade."