Upgrade will help us fight for British GP win, Hamilton and Button say

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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button said they expect to be in the hunt for victory in the British Grand Prix this weekend as McLaren bring another performance upgrade for their home race.

Speaking at a press conference in London today the pair were also enthusiastic about racing on the revised Silverstone circuit, with Hamilton saying he expects the track will be “even faster” than before.

Button expects McLaren’s planned upgrade for this race – introducing their version of Red Bull’s exhaust-driven diffuser – will put them in contention for victory:

We have new parts on the car which should make us more competitive. Our package will lift us into a good position where we can really fight for victory this weekend.

As you saw in the last race a few cars had new parts, mostly this special diffuser Red Bull have been running since the start of the season.

We do need to raise our game and add performance to our car if we’re going to challenge the Red Bulls. When we add new parts it’s not just a question of sticking them on and going faster. You have to work with the new balance of the car. It’s a challenge but it’s something we’ve got to do.
Jenson Button

Hamilton stressed it would be important to see how well the new parts worked in practice before the race:

Often when you bring an upgrade package it doesn’t do exactly what you expect. We’ll have to see exactly which parts work and which parts don’t.
Lewis Hamilton

The pair seemed in good spirits ahead of their home race. Hamilton jokingly brushing off a question about how the team’s F-duct worked saying “We’ll leave it to you think what we have!”

Button also gave an insight into his thinking behind joining McLaren at the start of the season in this exchange between the two:

LH: We’ve not been dominant every year. We’ve had good car, not so good car, bad car, good car…

JB: The great thing about McLaren is a ‘bad car’ can still win two races!

LH: You should try driving it! He’s driven the 23, but not the 24 [last year’s car].

Button also talked more directly about why he switched teams last year:

After winning the world championship I thought “where do I go from here?” You don’t plan for what you do after winning the world championship. Immediately afterwards I thought I needed a new challenge.
Jenson Button

The pair were largely enthusiastic about the changes made to the home of the British Grand Prix for this year’s race.

Silverstone has always been a very fast, flowing circuit. This adds something but it also takes away from the flow a little bit. But it will hopefully offer an overtaking opportunity.

Becketts [which hasn’t changed] is one of the best sections in the world in a racing car.

Brooklands is now more difficult because when you turn in there’s two kerbs. The first one is nothing to do with the actual corner. It’s a hard corner to get right with a late apex.

The new Club is not that different for us. But the new right-left kink – the quick section – is going to be flat and it’s very bumpy.

Then you’ve got the two slow corners with some big kerbs which you don’t want to hit.
Jenson Button

Hamilton added:

I drove it yesterday on the simulator and it was a very interesting experience. I think on my first lap of the circuit I missed out the new bit and continued as normal.

It took a lap longer than normal to get used to not going up to Abbey and turning left but going right onto the new section. It looks like they’ve done a great job.

It’s an extremely fast circuit and I think it’s going to be one of the fastest circuits. It was fast before but I think it’s going to be even faster now.
Lewis Hamilton

Later he was asked how well the pair of world champions got on and joked:

We’re just really good actors. Next year I’m going to Bollywood, he’s going to Hollywood.
Lewis Hamilton

The relationship between the pair remains under close scrutiny. Button has been out-qualified by Hamilton in the last five races and he admitted he had no answer for his team mate’s pace in Canada:

I was behind him at Montreal – Lewis put an unbelievable lap together. He’s never been anywhere other than on pole in Montreal. At Valencia I made a mistake in the last corner.

It makes things tougher for myself because in the race I’ve got more to do and at circuits where you can’t overtake it’s very tricky. But I’ve been able to in the last few races which has been good.
Jenson Button

The pair were asked whether they would fight for position or hold station if they were leading on the last lap of the race. Hamilton insisted that, despite the appeal of winning at home, the championship comes first:

I think it’s important to remember the championship isn’t going to be won this weekend. In terms of the championship, it’s just another race. But on the emotional side it’s a special Grand Prix for us. But I don’t think it’s necessary to do anything silly on the last lap.
Lewis Hamilton

Button had expressed similar sentiments earlier:

I love the British Grand Prix, it has such a good atmosphere. It’s not just because I’m British There are a few races around the world where you get a very special atmosphere and Silverstone is one of them.

My main aim is to win the world championship and also to win my home Grand Prix. It’s something I’m looking for this weekend.
Jenson Button

Hamilton ended by responding to Damon Hill’s suggestion that he might be more prone to mistakes than Button:

It’s very interesting to know how past world champions talk about the present. We’ll see if it’s true or not and if they know what they’re talking about.
Lewis Hamilton

2010 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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71 comments on “Upgrade will help us fight for British GP win, Hamilton and Button say”

  1. I want the upgrade to backfire

    1. i think it might well do. just look at how quick the mclarens were in turkey -without- the exhaust blown diffuser! do they really need to make such a risky design change now?

      1. They obviously feel they need to.

      2. But after Turkey Red Bull has not been standing still as well. They have their own stalling rear wing ducting working and they made changes to the floor and diffusor to get more air through.

        I hope the updates work, even though it does not have to be an immediate succes. Ferrari are a team i expect to have improved their update with things learn from running it at Valencia, Renault as well (Mercedes too, but they are a bit too far away to make that up in one go) so it might be a nice fight again.

        1. But after Turkey Red Bull has not been standing still as well. They have their own stalling rear wing ducting working and they made changes to the floor and diffusor to get more air through.

          How is that an argument for McLaren not to adopt the blown diffuser? If anything, it’s proof they need it even more. Red Bull might have furthered development of their car, which means McLaren need to do everything they can to catch up. If that means using a piece of kit that Red Bull have had since the beginning of the season, so be it. It’s ll they can do to keep up.

          1. That was what i ment to say PM!

            Sato argued, that McLaren don’t need the update. My reaction (and yours) was that McLaren should not stand still.

          2. Quite right. If you stand still in F1 you go backwards.

            A team like McLaren will not put out an upgrade like this on the MP4-25 at a race which is as important to them as the British GP if they aren’t 100% confident it will pay off. They would have been working on this revision for absolytely ages now, so I have no doubt in my mind that it will provide McLaren with the boost they need to keep up with/get ahead of Red Bull.

          3. The difficulty of it seems to be getting it on the car without parts of the body and suspension going up in smoke. It’s not going to be very useful if they get a 0.5 seconds lap boost but then don’t finish the race like Hulkenberg.

            I think the ideal situation would be if they close the gap with Redbull such that they have similar performance rather than them jumping in front of them. I’d much rather see close racing and it come down to driver skill.

        2. miguelF1O (@)
          7th July 2010, 3:42

          i dont agree redbull is always saving the mechanics so they dont have another dnf they arent looking for humiliation of course their performance has limitations like straight forward tracks like canada im not seeing anyone overtaking an redbull but hopefully on this new bgp we will see the performance turning point maybe renault mclaren or ferrari

        3. After reading Johnathan Neal’s interview, Mclaren does not appear to be over optimistic about a great leap forward with the upgrades. However, they need to persue the blown defuser because most of the development of the rear end (except double defuser and f-duct)of the car will carry over into the MP4-26.

      3. We want turbos
        7th July 2010, 23:56

        Not going forwards is going backwards!!!!!!

    2. Fort the sake of good racing and seeing red bulls vs mclaren I hope it does work.

  2. I think it will make a difference for them. They have the experience of seeing how the other teams did it last race, plus more development time. Should be pretty interesting, even more interesting if we get a home 1-2.

  3. The McLaren guys are really heaping the pressure onto themselves.

    1. Just like Ferrari did last week.

    2. Just like they did before Turkey.

    3. I assume its a lot to do with PR. If you didn’t have commercial pressures and news papers hounding you I think the optimum strategy would be to keep upgrades secret, and even pretend you aren’t doing much development. Then bring them to the circuit and blitz a surprised opposition.

  4. I read somwhere that they used one of their Aero testing days just to test this upgrade. So Im sure they will have enough data, come Saturday. I do hope it works for them so they can close the gap to Red Bull, especially in Qualifying. So we can have a good fight for the rest of the season.

  5. What will be interesting is to see whether they :
    a) achieve on par performance in qualifying with RB
    b) Maintain their better race speed and keep the gap between their saturday and sunday performances and by this mean, can keep on cutting through the field when things go bad on saturday.

  6. Much as I love Damon and got into F1 as a fan of his, his comments do tend to drift a little wide of the mark. Not helped by the lingering worry that he could be labelled ‘questionable champion’ by some…

    1. questionable champion, do elaborate….

  7. supernicebob
    6th July 2010, 13:33

    “LH: We’ve not been dominant every year. We’ve had good car, not so good car, bad car, good car…”

    Is Hamilton suggesting the car he won the world championship in was a “not so good car”?
    2007 – good car
    2008 – not so good car
    2009 – bad car
    2010 – good car

    1. I don’t think he meant to do a year by year evaluation.

      However the 2007 car was way more dominant than the 2008 one (probably helped by having both Alonso and Hamilton sitting behind the wheel)

    2. Few people would argue with the fact that the 2008 Ferrari was faster than the McLaren. So maybe “not so good” is an exaggeration, but it sure wasn’t as dominant as it was in 2007.

  8. It’s very interesting to know how past world champions talk about the present. We’ll see if it’s true or not and if they know what they’re talking about.

    It might just be the way I’m reading it, but why does Lewis have to condescend on Damon. I’m a big fan of Damon hill, he’s a bit of gentleman racer like Jenson.

    Just be nice Lewis, it helps people like you..

    1. What’s not nice in his comment and how does it help people like him?

  9. Polishboy808
    6th July 2010, 13:46

    Why is this not and article in bri….. Oh wait……

    1. ‘Article in brief’, I guess you mean?

      Because this is from a press conference I was present at first-hand, it’s not from a press release. But that isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, more of a guide for what goes where. For example, if Ferrari put out a press release saying they’re pulling out of F1, that’s obviously not going to be an ‘in brief’…

    2. haha, lol. i get you, but i think it’s because Keith actually took time out of his day to travel to this media meeting. so that alone deserves a article in full slot.

  10. …………….eh?

    1. And that question goes to contestant number 1 (@Polishboy808..)

      1. Polishboy808
        6th July 2010, 14:08

        You see, if it was an interview with Renault just as long, it would go to the article in brief section (its happened before). But because its McLaren…….

        1. I think Keith was there in person, so I believe he felt it is quite an important piece of work. I don’t really care if it’s in brief or not, really.

          1. BTW : WD Keith, again the first with the humor trait from Hamilton in a time : “LH: You should try driving it! He’s driven the 23, but not the 24 [last year’s car]” Cheeky

          2. Polishboy808
            6th July 2010, 14:19

            If thats the case then I understand, however I doubt he did the the interview as it was at a press confrence so maybe one question (if any) was asked by him.

        2. Plus, ( and I think this is worth mentioning ), it’s a British fan, on his British site, with largely British visitors, before the British Grand Prix, where a British Team, with two British World Champions will be supported with up to 120,000.. ( wait for it ) largely British fans.

          So naturally, we’re going to ignore the interview.

          1. Plus whether he has been asking questions or not, fact is, I discovered it here first. As a french, of course i’d love more Renault informations… But i can’t find such a dedicated professionnal/fan who can bring me info before mainstream media do(and often, with way more info and less errors). But I get your point, this article is indeed brief but eyh, we are in the middle of the week and nothing is happenning really.

          2. It’s also worth mentioning that ONLY 30% of the visitors to this site are from the UK

            Percent of Site Traffic
            United Kingdom
            United States
            South Africa

          3. By largely, I mean that the most numbers of visitors to the site, is from the UK. As your cut and paste points out. Maybe I should have used the word ‘primarily’?

            At any rate, those stats only show what countries the users are accessing the site from, not what nationality they are. I for example am British, but am currently in New Zealand.

            But good pedanticism there, I like it! :)

          4. Renault is based in Brittain too isn’t it? Only the engines (and the money) come from France.

          5. Yes maybe there is a bit of Britishness in it but I don’t see it like that. It’s more news than say Renault because Renault aren’t regularly getting podiums or wins. It’s a home race for Lewis and Jense, 2 world champs who are both in contention for the title. It’s a bigger story than Kubica or whoever this particular weekend.

            Also I’m a British visitor but I don’t remotely go patriotic and don’t think Mclaren news should be bumped like many other British visitors on this site. There will always be a chance of bias but I think it’s rather telling that there are such a diverse mix of visitors.

          6. @Patrickl alot of the team are french at the managing level. and a few mechanics i think.

  11. Hasnt anybody thought maybe they just delayed it for another a bit so they could get it perfect? to reduce a chance of it not working well… im sure they have had a good 4-5weeks developing this one part and now its just a case to see whether it works on track… something also hints to me that they have maybe spent a bit longer on it then ferrari and renault?

    1. No Cal, in fact the opposite is the case as it was planned for Germany but Martin pushed to have it at Silverstone.

      1. I believe it was initially scheduled for after Silverstone

  12. Man i sound like a fanboy. Well i’ve been reading this site for more than a year and it was about time I said something nice. :D

    1. It’s all gravy.. good to hear it. Keith does an insane job on this site. Really!

      1. But some Kubica fanbois still complain of poor representation in a British Blog :-(

        1. Polishboy808
          6th July 2010, 18:54

          You do realize this Kubica fanboy* may be reading this right ;)

          1. If he was, it would probably be really hard to tell, as I expect he would have a really inconspicuous name and probably just keep quiet so we wouldn’t notice him ;) But it’s good that he’s here!

  13. Lewis Hamilton saying that he has had a ‘bad car’?

    I’m no Lewis fan, but what on earth is he on about? He has never had a bad car in his life! It’s the only way he wins. Last year he had KERS which is the only way he won races, but his car still had reliability that was – and still is – second to none.

    Apart from a brake problem last year at Abu Dhabi, which still did not cause the car to stop, LH has never had a mechanical failure on his car causing it to stop on track. Pushing the car the way Lewis does should make any car crumble, so if anything, Lewis should be thanking McLaren for their superb cars. Since 2007, his cars don’t break down, and for this to happen for four consecutive years is incredible. No one else has had had this reliability – ever. So Lewis should count himself really lucky. If he was driving the cars of Coulthard and his ‘falls-apart-every-other-race’ McLarens that were incredibly unreliable then I don’t think he would have had the results that he has had.

    Jacques Villeneuve was critisised when his car kept on breaking down race after race in 1999. So much so that it damaged his career and reputation. But that wasn’t fair. But because his car failed on him did that make him a bad driver? NO! If the same thing happened to Lewis Hamilton would that make him a bad driver? No. Then people should keep this in mind when comparing drivers. Lewis had always been in a good car – in fact a never-breaks-down car – and that’s been paramount to his success.

    So Lewis doesn’t do ‘bad cars’. He doesn’t know what a bad car is in F1.

    1. Kovy did make the MP4 23 look bad.

    2. So in 2009 he had a reliable yet undriveable car. How is that not a “bad” car?

      I think a driver would rather have a fast unreliable car than a slow reliable one.

      1. Agreed, just like the Red Bull this year. It took Mclaren 3/4s of a season to make the MP4/24 fast but it has only taken Red Bull a couple of races to fix their reliability problems.

        I dont know how you can say Lewis doesnt know what a slow car is in F1. The 2009 car was 2.5 seconds off the pace at the beginning of the season. Thats the same as the Lotus in Montreal in qualifying.

        Sure he didnt have one for a long time, but had one none the less.

    3. McLaren may have managed to develop the MP4-24 into a race winning car but I think it is fair to say it was a bad car, no matter how reliable it was.

      Hamilton has had an impressive reliability record during his F1 career, but it is not quite as good as you seem to make out, he may have been able to drive the car back to the pits and retire at Abu Dhabi last year but that was because McLaren knew it would be unsafe to let him continue.

      Also at the Spanish GP this year he had a wheel rim failure on the penultimate lap while second, so was still a classified finisher.

    4. To be fair, reliability for everyone has improved massively in recent years. You can bang wheels these days and the whole car doesn’t fall apart. It’s all very impressive.

    5. Barcelona this year ? I think a wheel disintegrating qualifies as a mechanical failure.

  14. Slightly off topic but while I was reading this article (which is great by the way, thanks Keith) I remembered that both Lewis and Jenson have MBE’s and wondered if anyone knew if any other F1 driver has a similar award from his home country?

  15. quite right Hare.

    sometimes i do wonder about people!

    talking of which – gst – he had a car that he couldnt qualify better than 19th, the team admitted they took a wrong turn development wise and it was a dog. hardly controversial..unless its Lewis saying it of course.

  16. I love how sometimes this blog just goes so far off base… this weekend should be amazing with not only the upgrades to all the cars but the new Arena section of the track… only time will tell us how the upgrades work… I’m really interested in seeing how Alonso’s car works with the full gearbox upgrade this weekend… it put Massa right behind him in Valencia qualifying so that should push his Ferrari ahead a bit more… should be a great fight!! :)

  17. I am not sure that Mclaren will be able to beat the Red Bull this weekend, but if they does then it will be great for the championship.

  18. im not to confident that the upgrade will be a instant success for McLaren, no one else has been able to make it work straight out of the box., even RB have had there problems with it.

    im also hopping Mark Webber has no problems with running Vettels old chassis that Vettel couldn’t drive, if he do’s then McLeran have been handed another grid position on a plate.

    i would keep an eye on Ferrari, personally i think they were way faster than normal, and they may just have made up more ground than we think.

    Silverstone is certainly special and i hope McLaren can bring it home in front of there fans.

  19. For some reason Redbull are saying it is not the so called blown diffuser that is making their cars the fastest on the grid….so i dont see why Mclaren are very sure that they have hit the holy grail by switching to this type of design mid season
    ….i think the reason Redbull is fast is hidden somewhere within the front suspension and main body works starting with the design of the front control arm assembly AND THE WAY these fed onto the body shell

    1. RedBulls speed in Qualli might have something to do with a special engine setting that ensures exhaust gasses get out even when the driver is not on the throttle, making for constand downforce in corners as well (John Beamer mentioned it in the commentary to the latest technical review, this was from JA’s blog)

  20. Expect McLaren to go off on a different tangent with this blown exhaust/diffuser. Last year, they took a couple of wrong turns with their upgrades. This year it has been marginal. I predict the upgrade will NOT work as promised. McLaren have a history(this year) of being too bullish and talking themselves up, only to have egg on their faces when it counts.
    It will be status quo, with Macca trailing Red Bull and Ferrari behind;or if their upgrade takes them up the wrong tree, they may find themselves trailing Ferrari and fighting with Renault.

  21. NOW they are playing down the hype. it seems the great difuser upgrade could turn out badly for the BRITISH Mclaren drivers…I HOPE THE DRIVERS USE their individual skills to drive both cars to victory if this thing does not work..


  22. You guys are being too harsh on Lewis. The ’09 car was utterly shocking and rubbish. Also the fact that he crashed in Monaco shows how hard it was to drive LOL

  23. An upgrade that performs better would be just that … an upgrade, or else it’s a downgrade. I’ve got to believe that McLaren will have tested their blown diffuser design to the max off track before doing the PR stuff for Silverstone. But PR is what it is. This weekend will be a drivers race for sure. Hammy and Jens need to split the bulls, then put them behind them. Who is the better driver … I think most days it may be Hammy, but Sunday is Jenson’s. Hope he tucks a Union Jack under his seat … because I want to see it flying on the victory lap. Make it a McLaren 1-2, boys.

  24. They are testing for straight line speed which they already have an advantage, so why?

    Now that we know RB has an electronic device in the exhaust system to keep pressure constant in slow corners, hence their overwhelming downforce. They should try and not make anything in haste.


  25. It was quite clear that whatever the Red Bulls were doing, it was being done in Q3. They have consistently struggled in Q1/Q2, only to blitz the field in Q3.Moreover, it is clear that they do not have the same advantage in the race – unless they choose to turn in on when threatened. Was this what Vettel did in the last stages in Valencia?

    The question now should be how they got this electronic setting in place. The engine is Renault, and it would be impossible to add this device without the knowledge and know how of Renault. I suspect this is what they did when requesting for the “engine equalisation” modification. Is is any surprise that Renault’s pace has also improved dramatically this year?

    I hope Macca have also found a way to keep the flow of exhaust gases stable and constant, otherwise, we may have a repeat of the MP4-18.

  26. US Williams Fan
    9th July 2010, 7:45

    Never been a McLaren supporter – but it would be cool to have one of the British teams win at home.

    If it can’t be Rubino or the Hulk….. Why not Jenson?


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