Williams takes McLaren threat seriously

Despite qualifying on the front row of the Hockenheim grid with Ralf Schumacher and on row two with Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams is taking seriously McLaren's bid to overhaul it for second place in the constructors' championship. Williams currently holds a 19-point advantage over McLaren with six races remaining

Williams takes McLaren threat seriously

McLaren will start fifth (Kimi Raikkonen) and ninth (David Coulthard) in Germany but team boss Ron Dennis said that a relatively weak qualifying performance was influenced by the team's tyre choice. McLaren, like Williams, opted for the harder Michelin tyre at Hockenheim.

Dennis explained that in Saturday morning practice, where the cloudy conditions brought lower temperatures, the tyre did not work as well and so the team then risked upsetting up the car's balance by trying to tune it to largely irrelevant conditions as McLaren is predicting a hot race. As in France, he is expecting the MP4-17s to be stronger come Sunday afternoon.

"McLaren was very strong at Magny Cours and we were weak, so yes, we take the threat seriously," said Williams technical director Patrick Head. "At no time would we underestimate McLaren or its drivers. We've had some weak performances over the past five or six races but I hope we can show that we are making progress in the race tomorrow. And I'm expecting us to be strong as the season goes on.

"Basically our problems have been about wearing the rear tyres out too quickly, which is partly down to the characteristics of the car and partly down to optimising the traction control. We think we are making progress there and we will see in the race."

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