Hamilton on Spa: "Back into title hunt”

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Lewis Hamilton is ready to renew his title race when the season resumes next week in Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix.

"Personally, I think Spa is one of the ‘great’ Formula One tracks, and one I’d really love to win," said Hamilton.

"I’ll be going flat-out to try and get us back into the hunt again in Belgium, and it would be fantastic if we could take home another win at the end of the weekend."

Hamilton lost his championship lead to Mark Webber and Red Bull at the Hungarian Grand Prix, leaving the McLaren driver four points behind.

He surrendered his lead after failing to finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix because of a transmission failure:

"For this year, too, I head to Spa off the back of a disappointing non-finish in Hungary. We’ve investigated the causes, and think we’ve identified the reason and are confident that it shouldn’t happen again."
Lewis Hamilton

Team mate Jenson Button is optimistic that the team has made progress and that new flexi-wing tests introduced by the FIA will help set McLaren’s title ambitions back on track.

We come into the Belgian Grand Prix knowing that we have some catching-up do to. While we’re optimistic that the bodywork rules clarification will close the gap among the top teams, and that both Spa and Monza should suit our package better than the Hungaroring, it’s still important that we regain the momentum we’d reached earlier this season.

I love racing at Spa – it’s one of the truly great circuits, and a Grand Prix that I’d love to win. I didn’t have the best race here last year, when I was punted out at the top of the hill on the first lap, so that just gives me additional motivation to do well here.
Jenson Button

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added:

"After a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix, we are pushing hard to regain the performance relative to our rivals that we had enjoyed earlier this season.

"While we believe our recent upgrades have given us a downforce improvement, it appears that the package hasn’t yet delivered to its full potential, particularly in terms of providing the drivers with a consistent, confidence-delivering platform.

"We were able to carry out some useful evaluative tests during practice in Hungary, which provided us with some useful data and avenues for experimentation. And we’ll take that programme further in Spa, running floor rakes during practice to supply us with more information.

"As we’ve always stated, we believe there are some large areas of performance locked within the car and its recent upgrade, and we are confident that our solid-engineering approach will enable us to fully unlock them sooner rather than later."

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    52 comments on “Hamilton on Spa: "Back into title hunt””

    1. Lewis you won in 2008 on the track just not in the record books. Good luck Mclaren, back on track next week I hope.

    2. I think that McLaren might struggle around Spa.

      1. Nah, it’s a massive speed circuit with some bloody long straights. F’Duct territory, McLaren should fly…

        1. I always think that Spa is odd like that as it does have long straights but it also has a pretty downforce-heavy middle sector

      2. i agree wwith dayking because mclaren were supose to be succesful in valencia and they werent the 2nd sector and the last chicane are going to be very negative for mclaren anyway i believe they are going to be fast but i bet redbull are going to bring a low downforce pack and ferrari is the car that adapts better to all tracks they are slower than mclaren on turkey despite that they have been not as fast on straight but not as slow on corners aswell

        1. Doesn’t Spa resemble Canada more than Valencia?

          1. Apart from having a chicane and the long straights, the middle sector is quite different from Canada.

          2. If you want to make a good comparison, Spa is very similar to Turkey. Moderate downforce, high speed corners.

      3. McLaren struggled around Valencia because of the bumpers, not because of the track lay-out.

    3. McLaren will be back on track next week! But so will HRT.

      1. Hey, be nice to HRT, HRT is very fast through the speeds traps, most likely because the car doesn’t produce much (any) downforce. I really hope HRT can get a look in a Monza, But with Yam in the other Car, they may be stabbing themselves in the foot.

        1. Maybe their bringing Chandhok or Klien to Monza istead?

    4. They’re my team of choice so I’d love to see them do well, but I’m not sure they’ll manage it. RBRs claims that even with the new front wing tests wont make them change their car are worrying…

    5. Next couple of races look like McLaren territory indeed. This season is shaping up to be a corker! :-)

      1. if they turn out not to be the seasons over

    6. Red Bull have been quick at every track this year so it would be foolish to dismiss them, and Ferrari now also have a car that seems competitive at most tracks. McLaren will surely be in the hunt as well with the F-Duct, I think it’s going to be impossible to predict a winner and there wont be a dominant team. Any one of the top five championship contenders could win the race…

      …Unless it rains of course, then McLaren would be a great bet for victory.

    7. I predict Mclaren will be 0.5sec off the pace in Qualifying and a bit closer in the race.

      They will be 0.5 up in S1 and a second down on the rest of the lap. RBR will be amazing all the way from the end of the long straight to the finish line.

      1. There’s a 20 second flat-out section from second part of Stavelo (sp, turn 15) to the chicane which is McLaren country.

    8. The next two races with Monza will be the places where Mclaren will be looking to get back in the title hunt as these high speed tracks should suit them. I still think Hamilton can do it & can’t wait to see hi fight with Alonso on track like Canada it will be very spectacular.

      1. Would be good if they could, but i am not expecting too much from it. RBR have not slugged anywhere really, only in 2 or 3 races did they have real competition in the race.

        But here the weather might again help to make it more interesting!

    9. Hopefully not can only see an alonso or a red bull victory unless its wet and then we’re talking, loved the 2008 race best in years!!

    10. Well Spa is the top driver’s circuit, so it should be either Lewis or Fernando. My guess is Alonso due to an edge in qualifying. Red Bulls are about due for another error/mechanical failure.

    11. Spa is probably everyones fav circuit, usually a good race and littered with history. Hoping this is a good’n and controversy free. Being a Brit, il be supporting the Mclaren boys.

      Pretty Sure that Horners going to comment about his car’s renault engine being around 30bhp down, if not next weekend then around Monza. My point is, different teams are suited to different tracks, Spa & Monza are those circuits that Mclaren should been primed for, and the likes of Force India could be a cat amoungst the pigeons. That being said, Ferrari seems to be jack of all trades at the moment, so a battle with Fernando could be a real possibility.

      1. I think thats mostly because Fernando is driving the wheels off of the car. If we were to rank the red car by Massa’s performance, I think our view of Ferrari’s potential might be very different.

        1. I agree with you Jack.

          Unfortunately, most people on this site will never give Alonso the credit. I remember posting this similar comment earlier in the year and some of the response I got was that Massa was simply slow and hadnt come to terms with car…things along those lines.

          Alonso’s double WDC wins in 05 and 06 will always be put down to the superiority of his car and a poor team mate…its amazing how people cannot give him the credit he deserves.

          I think Ferrari will be slower in Spa, the long sweeping corners will suit red bull, but the straights will be Mclaren teritory. Its going to be Mclaren v Red Bull race. Finishing 3rd would be a great weekend for Fernando and Ferrari.

      2. But RBR wanted Mercedes engines, they couldn’t get them.

        Which would imply that it is better, and they are at a disadvantage with the engine. Why should that just be ‘tough luck’ for those who can’t obtain deals with Mercedes?

    12. McLaren is going to be unstoppable here, which just sucks!

    13. Lewis already won once at Spa, but unfortunately his win was wrongfully taken away. Lewis needs to put Spa in his win column, and he will if Woking gives him the car.

      1. The MP-25? Come on Malcom, that thing has seen it’s best day. All of McLaren wins this year can be attributed to skill of the drivers.
        McLaren has not produced a truly competative car since the MP-23. The weather is suppose to be good for Friday and Saturday with a 60% chance of ran on Sunday. Those kinds of changes could play to the McLaren drivers favor if they can grab a lead in the first sector.

    14. Doesn’t Lewis get his verdict on the mad road driving thing that happened in Aus a couple of days before Spa? He isn’t meant to be turning up himself of course but hopefully the negative headlines will not appear so it can just be about the racing for him.

      1. I think your riht Steph. Let’s hope it does not get to him like the incident itself did.

        Now is the right time for him to show what he’s got if he wants to make a serious throw for the title.

    15. the prancing horse is gonna run a riot at spa. Spa is similiar to Hockenheim. Redbull and mclaren gonna struggle. ferrari is gonna be quite competive, on the long str8’s and in the corners spa has…sector 1 2 and 3. redbull gonna match or beat ferrari in sector 2. mclaren only gonna be good on kemmel straight, but eau rouge might lose them alot of time to get it baq on kemmel str8.

      1. Eau rouge is flat out. How would McLaren lose time there when the Mercedes engine is supposed to be the most powerful?

        1. it requires downforce to go flat out up a hill that has turns.

          1. Eau Rouge is a joke, mate. It’s flat-out in almost any (dry) situation, in any car. A Jordan (and Spyker, Honda and Super Aguri) used to go flat-out through it…

            1. And you’d probably have a heart attack if you went along for the ride.

    16. It’s going to be a story of many parts.

      The run from La Source to Les Combes will be McLaren territory. Best engine, best F-duct, sure there’s Eau Rouge but the cars have been able to go flat-out through there for years so Red Bull’s aero superiority will barely show.

      From there on it will be Red Bull territory with the high-speed corners, with Ferrari just behind and McLaren a little further off. But then there will be the run from Courbe Paul Frere all the way up to the Bus Stop; just like with the run to Les Combes, McLaren’s speed advantage will dwarf the aero advantages of their rivals, with that speed compensating for less traction out of the Bus Stop.

      In terms of qualifying, Red Bull will probably walk it again. But if a McLaren can get on the second row, they’ll have a good chance of being in the Top 2 or even leading after Les Combes, and if they can stay there after Sector 2 then they could be home and dry on pace.

      1. McLaren won’t be running th F-duct at Spa.

    17. Ron in Michigan
      21st August 2010, 16:48

      Lewis to regain WDC lead in Belgium.

      1. I am with you there mate. Can’t wait!

    18. Spa and Monza will be good for McLaren because of their F-duct. The new teams should also do well at these circuits because of their low downforce. I’m not sure what Force India’s downforce is like this year but they did well here last year.

    19. From these statements McLaren obviously think they are in serious trouble. Whitmarsh talks of continued experimentation at Spa to try to unlock “some large areas of performance locked within the car”. Button knows “that we have some catching-up do to” and is counting on the FIA clamping down on flexi-wings. And Hamilton who is only 4 points behind in the WDC (1.6 points old money) thinks they’re out of the hunt; “I’ll be going flat-out to try and get us back into the hunt again”.

      1. Depressing, isn’t it.

        Whitmarsh says ‘we’re on the verge of a significant breakthrough in pinning down the area where we have high expectations of maximizing our chances of isolating as closely as possible the areas of performance where we can make positive steps towards unpacking the car’s potential for moving forward at a slightly faster pace than we have been moving since the last time I said that we’re on the verge of a significant breakthrough in… [etc]’

        I’ll take that as a bye-bye 2010!

        1. Excellent :) Sums it up quite nicely.

    20. It will easily be RB again, no matter how much I would prefer MC & HAM to trouble them.

      1. Yes, looks like Vettel will win this one

      2. We may see the fuel issue arise again, as in Turkey. Spa is high consumption, and this arithmetic battle helped keep McLaren in the race. Some think RBR have a small tank; Ferrari has admitted to a massive thirst. Also, an efficient F-Duct helps consumption. But who knows how this will turn out or where Ferrari will be.

        Also that quotation in the title at least needs some elipses, or something.

    21. The big question for me is will the Red Bull 2nd sector be quick enough to put them on terms with the Mclaren advantage in 1st and 3rd sectors.. After seeing just how dominant the Red Bull was in Budapest qualifying it will be very interesting..

    22. what’s a floor rake?

      1. It’s put on the bottom of the car to trap all the experimental aerodynamic data that’s generated for later examination; it also helps keep leaves from clogging up the diffuser!

        1. Yep, we’re getting towards autumn! Thanks for that.

    23. Sorry, but if people think the F-duct is going to help make up the near 2 second deficit McLaren had in Hungary then you are, in my opinion, mistaken. Completely different circuit granted but it won’t make up that kind of gap. Sadly as I’m a McLaren fan.

      Ferrari have a bigger chance of getting close to the RB6

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