McLaren play down their recent race problems, they are struggled with the tyre in last grand prix at India. McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe is believes that they must keep the qualifying form into the Sunday race.
This is the first time since Japanese Grand Prix Red Bull out qualified from the Pole, following four consistent victories the defending world champion will start Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the very back of the grid after his RB8, which he stopped out on track following qualifying instead of returning to the pits, was found to be short of the one litre of fuel required for the FIA tests.
“There is a little bit of a trend here of slow warm-up, so it is difficult to get tyres [bedded] in, that could emerge as an issue between the two types of tyre in the race, but it is nowhere like as extreme as it was in India. So it is not a big worry.” Lowe said.
“We were optimistic as, if you look at the times in FP3, there was an indication of our speed. The Red Bulls didn’t look quite so sparkly as they have in the last few races, so we were crossing our fingers, and in Q1 that pattern was maintained.
“Lewis’s ultimate lap was more about just hoping we could string together a good lap as he had done in previous sessions, and he did exactly that. That seemed to be the right ranking.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Lewis drove brilliantly in qualifying here in Abu Dhabi today – he was quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3 – and pole position was never really in doubt, was it?
“It was the 25th pole of his Formula 1 career – all of them scored in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars – and he’s now perfectly positioned to drive to victory tomorrow.
“Having said that, you get no points for pole position in Formula 1, so we don’t intend to get carried away. Equally, there’s a lot of hard work for us to do between now and flag-fall at the end of tomorrow’s race, and we never under-estimate our opposition. But we’ve got a good race car, and Lewis loves this circuit.
“Jenson is understandably a little disappointed with qualifying, but he’s a truly fantastic racer and he can still mount a serious challenge from sixth place on tomorrow’s starting grid. Moreover, his long-run pace was good yesterday – so, like Lewis, he’ll certainly be one to watch when the five red lights go out on the startline gantry.”