Hungary Friday quotes: McLaren

Lewis Hamilton - 1st

Hungary Friday quotes: McLaren

How was today?

"Firstly, I love driving here: it's quite a complex circuit, very technical, lots of bumps and you need a good rhythm. It's definitely in my top five tracks on the calendar. We've refined the improvements we had at the Nurburgring and they seem to be working, but we've still got a lot of work to do to beat the Red Bulls particularly. Nevertheless, it's encouraging to be able to push the car - I'm happier with it than I've been all season."

Where is MP4-24 lacking pace?

"Over the bumps and at the exits of corners: unlike the Red Bulls and the Brawns, we're just not able to get the power down as early as them. It's the speed out of the corners onto the straights where we lose out. Still, the guys at the factory have done an incredible job; I'm looking forward to seeing them next week, just to express how thankful I am for all the hard work they've been doing."

What do you expect for qualifying?

"The front row would be beautiful but, to be honest, I'm just aiming to get into Q3. The car is much more competitive - we've come from 2.5s off but we're still about four to five tenths off the leaders, so we've got to keep working to make that up before we can start thinking about winning."

Heikki Kovalainen - 2nd

A great result in both sessions - what's made the difference for you?

"I've got the full upgrade package that Lewis raced at the Nurburgring and the car now feels much better to drive. We've got a new floor, new front wing, updated bodywork and some small changes to the suspension. It's a big package - and I know how hard the team has worked to get everything here. There are still components arriving at the circuit today!"

How different does the car feel with the upgrade package?

"The grip level is so much higher now. Stability under braking is much better, and the guys have done a fantastic job to improve the balance at the rear. We still have to keep working hard to make further improvements - but this is a great starting point."

How positive do you now feel ahead of qualifying?

"I still think we need to look at the data and analyse the strength of the opposition. Of course, it would be fantastic to carry this over into qualifying and the race, but we need to be realistic: I'm sure tomorrow morning will give us a much clearer idea of the position of the Brawns and the Red Bulls. But after today's performance, I'll definitely be going for it."

Martin Whitmarsh - Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

How have you managed to achieve such impressive improvements recently?

"The new aero package that Lewis's car was fitted with in Germany was originally intended for Hungary, but as things turned out we were able to introduce it one race early on one car only. Here, in Budapest, we've been able to use it on both cars. It's a pretty major change, which has taken us down a different aerodynamic route from the one we initially followed with MP4-24's design, and I think it's fair to say that that new direction appears to be a fruitful one.

"In addition, we've also made a few extra aero mods over and above the original Hungary aero package, and both drivers have clearly benefited from those mods today. As a result, MP4-24 is now generating a significant amount more downforce than it was at the beginning of the year - and, combined with what was always a pretty sound mechanical package, the result is the performance step we've seen today."

What are Lewis and Heikki saying about the car today?

"A racing driver will always drive up to and including his car's limits. So, whenever you extend those limits by improving his car's performance, his initial reaction on his first outing will always be a very positive one, simply because he's been enjoying exploring new, higher, limits. On his second outing, by which time he'll have encountered those new, higher, limits, he'll be making fresh observations. As a result, his feedback will be less positive than it was after his first outing. But that's exactly as it should be: you want your drivers to be insatiably ambitious, and ours are."

What can we expect for the rest of the weekend?

"This morning was basically a test session in which we did some disciplined development work and gathered some useful data. This afternoon we turned our attention to trialling race fuel loads and doing tyre comparisons. There were no big issues, and our drivers both performed well. We learned quite a lot today, in fact. For tomorrow, we hope to be able to improve our car's ride a little, and to continue to optimise its set-up and thereby find a little more speed. We know what programme we were on today in terms of tyres and fuel loads, but we don't have the same information about our competitors, so it would be foolish to make predictions about the rest of the weekend. Suffice it to say that we hope to qualify well with both cars, from which platform there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to race competitively on Sunday."

Norbert Haug - Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Quite a constructive first day on this demanding track. Clearly, our KERS Hybrid is a big help around this circuit - particularly in the first sector. But, in addition, it's obvious that our car in total has improved a lot since Silverstone two races ago. Now we need to continue in the same direction tomorrow and on Sunday in order to finally bring home a creditable and respectable result."

shares
comments
Hamilton dreaming of front row start

Previous article

Hamilton dreaming of front row start

Next article

Concorde dependent on cost-cutting deal

Concorde dependent on cost-cutting deal
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021