Hamilton and Button believe McLaren can bounce back

McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have backed their team to recover from its mid-season slump in form, after a troubling British Grand Prix weekend

Hamilton and Button believe McLaren can bounce back

With the outfit having slipped back from being Red Bull Racing's main challengers at the start of the campaign, Hamilton and Button have endured difficult times in recent races that has seen them fall away from runaway points leader Sebastian Vettel.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted at Silverstone that the team's title hopes were now looking slim, and that its target was simply to get itself back into a position to win races later this campaign.

Although that ambition falls short of the championship target that Hamilton and Button headed into the campaign chasing, neither driver says he is depressed about the plight they find themselves in.

Hamilton says that McLaren has shown itself in the past to be more than capable of making such a recovery.

"We are a team and we will pull through it," he declared. "Through experience we have been one of the only teams that has been able to bounce back from situations like this. We will pull back and regroup.

"While this appears to be a tough time, we have won grands prix this year, and there will be more wins at some stage when we make the next stage and catch up.

"I think it is the morale in the team, it is the team I have been with, the passion that they show, the enthusiasm they show, the dedication they show - all those ingredients give you the belief that you are eventually going to get back there.

"Because we have been there before and we have won races, it leads me to believe we will get back there. That gives you confidence and it very comforting."

Button added: "It is a very, very competitive formula, F1. If it was easy then great, but it is not. It is very competitive and every year they have won races since I have been in F1. That is pretty amazing.

"It is not where the team want to be, but they will not give up, they will fight and they will come back strong."

Whitmarsh is not afraid to admit that the team is not doing a good enough job at the moment, although he does believe its British GP form was hit badly by the ban on the off-throttle use of blown diffusers.

"The fact is that we are at the pinnacle of motorsport and it is not easy winning in this category," he said. "We have won two races this year, and this is not good enough for us.

"We have been second or third too many times and that is difficult for us. No one likes being second or third, and if you are fifth or sixth it is even more painful. We have to make sure we maintain our momentum, we have to make sure we know what we are doing as a team, and that we push forwards. I don't think there is any point in apologies or beating up on ourselves. We have to make sure we go forwards. That is what we are going to be trying to do.

"I believe in the team that we are capable of winning, we have proven it over the years, we have proved it on a couple of occasions and we need to do that consistently."

McLaren's ongoing struggles this season have prompted speculation that Whitmarsh's position as team principal could even be under threat - and the regular attendance of Ron Dennis at races has served only to heighten rumours that he could be plotting a return.

However, Whitmarsh made it clear to the media earlier this week that he was not worried about his position - and that ultimately it was the McLaren board that would decide his future and not Dennis.

"I am confident that I will stay in my job," he said. "I answer to the board, not just to Ron. And they seem happy with the job I'm doing.

"For now, anyway. I have been here for 23 years and worked with Ron for 23 years. Some people thought I was a clone of Ron, but I am not. We do have an interesting relationship - we have ups and downs - but it is strong at the moment.

"And I am hard on myself - even harder than you guys in the press are on me. But doing the job I am doing is an addiction. And success in F1 is cyclical. We are judged by high standards at this team and that's something I welcome."

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