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McLaren: KERS issue made gap larger

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne 2011McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh believes Sebastian Vettel's dominance of Australian Grand Prix qualifying was due in part to a KERS failure costing Lewis Hamilton time in Q3.

Hamilton's McLaren was 0.8 seconds slower than Vettel's Red Bull, but Whitmarsh pointed out that as well as lacking boost, the KERS issue also upset the braking performance of the Briton's car.

"He had a KERS failure, so apart from obviously not having KERS hybrid boost, he would also have lost brake balance, so it is a little bit of a disadvantage," Whitmarsh told the BBC.

"I've got to say Sebastian was very quick, so it would have been difficult to beat Sebastian, but we would have been closer.

"But nonetheless, from where we have been it's not too displeasing to be second place and have Jenson [Button] in fourth."

Whitmarsh admitted that Button was not happy to be in fourth but is sure the 2009 champion will be more competitive in the race.

"Jenson will be a little bit disappointed with that, he obviously felt that he should be able to get up into third, but he won from fourth last year," said the team boss.

"We've got two great race drivers, we've got to look after the tyres, make no mistakes and see if we can win the race tomorrow.

"Jenson's been as quick as Lewis all weekend. I think he wasn't quite comfortable with the balance of the car in that session, so by his standards that was a disappointing performance. Jenson wants to be up there, he felt he could and should have been quicker than that. But nonetheless, you can win a race from there.

"We've just got to push Sebastian hard tomorrow."

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