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McLaren Friday practice reports 2011 Belgian GP

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Jenson Button: “Despite the changeable weather, I think we learnt quite a bit today. We didn’t get quite as many laps’ running in the dry as we’d have liked, but we still made some reasonable progress. I tried a couple of different rear-wing combinations today – and each had their positives and negatives. The wet weather didn’t make it easy to draw many meaningful comparisons, and it’ll be a bit of a challenge to decide which way to take the car’s set-up direction, but I’m sure we’ll get there. Speaking personally, I think it might have been more fun to race with DRS through Eau Rouge – but on the other hand I suppose you’d have to say that, on balance, the FIA has made the right choice: you lose so much downforce by activating the DRS that it’s safer to keep it closed through the corner. I’d definitely prefer it to be dry on Sunday. I reckon we’d still do a very good job in the wet, but I think we’re looking very strong in the dry. The Red Bulls are very strong in the middle sector too, but we’re definitely in good shape overall.”

Lewis Hamilton: “We got a couple of laps in the dry during P2, but we didn’t do too much because of the changeable conditions. In fact, we spent most of the day running installation laps to test wings and to find out which downforce levels to use. We look pretty good in the wet, but I think the car is pretty solid in the dry too. It’s also difficult to get the car set up to be competitive both with and without DRS, so it’s going to be really close – although it looks as though the same cars as usual are going to be up at the front. I had a big moment on the approach to Blanchimont in P1. I drove across a small river on the track – I must have been doing around 150mph – and I had a huge tank-slapper. I’m glad I was alert enough to correct it, otherwise we could have ended up with all four corners and both wings knocked off the car! The top three or four teams all look competitive; now our challenge is to make the right choices with the wings and downforce levels.”


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