McLaren says title hopes are in its own hands following Australian GP victory
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, March 19th 2012, 09:30 GMT|
McLaren's world championship hopes now rest in its own hands following Jenson Button's performance in the Australian Grand Prix, according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
With the Woking-based team having delivered on its target of starting the season with the quickest car, Whitmarsh says it is now in control of its own destiny as it pushes to improve the MP4-27.
"We can win this if we improve the car at a quick enough rate," said Whitmarsh in Australia. "So that is clearly what we are going to set out to do.
"We have got two fantastic drivers and a strong team, and now it is up to us. We are starting from the right place.
"We know we have got to improve the car on a race-by-race basis, and if we don't do that then that is the nature of this sport.
"We have got some formidable competitors in Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes, plus Lotus looks strong as well. It is pretty tight - as it should be. This is F1. It should be difficult to win and it is."
Whitmarsh says one the factors that makes him so confident about McLaren's title prospects for this year is the way that Button has further improved over the winter.
"He has just got stronger and stronger - and I think he has such a mature laid back easy manner that belies the underlying hunger to win that he has," he said.
"I think he must now believe that he is in a good chance of a proper title run this year, and I think he is.
"Providing we can continue to improve the car, not make mistakes, and be reliable, there is no reason why we cannot recapture that."
Whitmarsh also thinks that Hamilton's disappointment after being beaten by Button in Australia was not out of the ordinary - and comes simply from the 2008 world champion's desire to win.
"They are great team-mates and great working together," he said. "You can see - whoever wins is delighted and whoever doesn't win isn't going to be happy.
"Lewis isn't going to be happy after Australia and when he starts getting happy with being third, or beaten by his team-mate, then he won't be the Lewis we all love and admire."