McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says team will not repeat its early mistakes

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident the team will not repeat the mistakes it has made in the early part of the season

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says team will not repeat its early mistakes

The Woking-based squad has lost valuable points in the first five races of the year due to errors in the pits and the mistake that cost Lewis Hamilton pole position in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Whitmarsh said ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that McLaren has spent time discussing how to erase the mistakes, and insists he is confident they are now in the past.

He said however that it would be foolish to be complacent about it and believe that no errors will be made in the future.

"I'm confident that the issues we've had so far have been dealt with and are in the past," Whitmarsh told a Vodafone phone-in on Wednesday.

"I'm mindful that with the pressure of trying to win in Formula 1, there are always things, new things, that can come and bite you, so we have to be vigilant, careful and cautious.

"So I don't think we should ever be complacent and say we've solved everything and therefore I am super confident nothing will happen again this year. I think that will be foolish. I think we've made a range of changes within the team to deal with some issues that we've seen.

"But everyone in this company is mindful of the fact that a small human error on their part could cause some difficulty in any of the races that are left in this season. The criticality of that is not lost on anyone."

Whitmarsh also praised Hamilton's drive in Spain after the Briton had to start from the back of the grid and cope with a two-stop strategy in order to achieve the best possible result.

Hamilton, who had secured a dominant pole before he was disqualified for having run out of fuel, finished the Barcelona race in eighth position.

"In many ways the last race was disappointing for the team but I think Lewis should come away from that event - and I think he does - with a very strong feeling about what he has achieved this year," he said.

"Through no fault of his own I think he had a very severe [penalty] levelled against him and I think it is very easy at a circuit like Barcelona where overtaking is very difficult even with DRS to have some frustration.

"[He was] then asked by the team to run a two-stop strategy because of the difficulty in getting through the field, and ultimately [had] to complete a race with such controlled and measured tyre conservation, including 31 laps, more than any other driver.

"He should come away with one, the feeling that he has a car that is capable of being on pole, and two, that he has the speed and capability to be on pole - and he has been on the front row in every race, and his driving is showing greater levels of maturity, control and discipline than perhaps we've seen before.

"So I think it was a fantastic drive, and I think neither he, nor I, nor anyone else believe that he has lost his winning way. He is eight points away from the lead of a drivers' world championship that is wide open and he must consider himself as a very strong candidate to win in Monaco, many more races and to win this year's world championship."

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Simon Strang
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