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2012 German GP preview – McLaren

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Jenson Button: “The final back-to-back before we head into the summer break will be important for the whole team: coming off the back of a couple of disappointing weekends, it’s important that we capitalise on the opportunities available in Germany and Hungary.

“I’ve always enjoyed Hockenheim: I raced here when it blasted through the forests – a long time ago! – and I had a great race here in 2004, finishing second, despite starting back in 13th after a penalty for an engine failure in practice. It’s a circuit where you can attack; it’s good for racing and the newer layout is better for the spectators, too.

“Performance-wise, I still think it’s difficult to accurately predict where we stand in the competitive order – Valencia and Silverstone were certainly difficult races for us, but I don’t think they were truly representative of our pace. This year, you really need a problem-free build-up to the race if you’re going to maximise the car’s potential – and that’s exactly what we’ll be hoping for in Germany next weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I was quick to get over our disappointing weekend at Silverstone, running with the Olympic flame on the day after the race and then quickly turning my full attention to Hockenheim. Unbelievably, next weekend will mark my 100th grand prix. That’s incredible, because I still remember my first as if it were only yesterday – I guess Formula 1 has that effect on you!

“It’s always been a regret of mine that I arrived in Formula 1 too late to race on the classic, old Hockenheim layout, where the track disappeared for miles into the forests and was only broken up by a couple of relatively high-speed chicanes. It must have been incredible battling round that track with minimal downforce, locked in a slipstreaming battle with another car and waiting for just the right moment to pounce and overtake.

“Still, I very much enjoy the updated track – it’s a place that’s built for racing: the hairpin at the end of the back straight is a classic overtaking spot, and the whole layout seems to make it more inviting for a following car to attempt an overtake. This is the first time we’ve been to Hockenheim since introducing DRS, too, so it should make for an even more exciting race.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Silverstone was a difficult weekend for us – made better by observing at close-hand the depth of loyal support all around the circuit for Jenson, Lewis and the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Indeed, it was extremely heartening that, even after what was a disappointing result, their enthusiasm and support remained undimmed. They are a constant motivation for me, and for everybody at McLaren.

“Of course, after Silverstone, our focus immediately turned to Hockenheim, which, along with the Hungaroring in Budapest, will bring the curtain down on the first half of the season at the end of the month. There is a huge resolve within the operation to ensure that our aggressive development strategy is upheld across the summer: we are determined to narrow the gap to the championship leaders before the start of the summer break.

“We have many happy memories of racing in Germany with our friends at Mercedes-Benz. This year, while we remain rivals on the track, I’m sure there will be opportunity to catch up with old friends and enjoy some famous Mercedes-Benz hospitality.”


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