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F1 NEWS 

McLaren: Rain ruined 1-2 chance in the Malaysian Grand Prix

McLaren: Rain ruined 1-2 chanceMcLaren believes the wet weather that struck the Malaysian Grand Prix cost it the chance of a 1-2 finish to cement its place at the top of the world championship standings.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button had locked out the front row of the grid, but were unable to keep those places in the rain-hit race as it was left to Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez to fight it out for victory.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh thinks that if conditions had stayed dry then there was no reason to think his drivers could not have come out on top.

"In the dry, if nothing had gone wrong, then we had the pace to be 1-2 and we should have been," he explained. "I think we take away from this weekend that we are leading the Constructors' Championship, and we are second and third in the drivers' championship.

"We have a quick car and we can hopefully do a good performance in China and get this championship rolling for us."

Whitmarsh says the key moments that cost his men were Button's mistake in colliding with Narain Karthikeyan, and Hamilton getting held up on his way out of his first pit stop after Ferrari double-stopped Alonso and Massa.

"Lewis was held," he said. "I don't think it was overly conservative, but had he been released there was a reasonable chance that he would have got T-boned by Massa coming in. I think the guy made the right decision.

"I have looked at it again, thinking were we too conservative. It was that holding of him that put Fernando in front, otherwise it might have been a different outcome."

Although McLaren could not match the speed of the Ferrari or Sauber in the wet, Whitmarsh said he was not too concerned by the potential shown by his team.

"Overall we did not have the pace, but we were not dramatically slow either," he said.

"The real [title] contenders did not score too many points either, and I have told Lewis that it is days like this, where you have damage limitation and score some valuable points, where you win world championships. I think he will reflect on that at some point and realise that is the right thing."

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