Hamilton hails “massive step” for McLaren

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton said McLaren have made a “massive step” after qualifying second for the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton said: “I’m thrilled to be here today.

“The guys at the factory have done an unbelievable job. A massive step this weekend, the car’s feeling fantastic and of course we still have a lot of work to do be we’ve really got ourselves on the right track and a great foundation for us to build upon.

“I know the guys back in the factory will keep trying but a big thank-you to everyone at home, keep pushing!”

Hamilton qualified second despite having a problem with KERS halfway through his fastest lap.

Jenson Button took fourth on the grid behind Mark Webber.

2011 Australian 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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    61 comments on “Hamilton hails “massive step” for McLaren”

    1. loved Ron handing Eddie some humble pie!

      1. DId I miss something ridiculous that EJ said? Why did Ron give Eddie humble pie?

        1. For writing off McLaren.

          Really, Ron should be apologising to EJ for cutting his mike cord last year.

          1. Didn’t Jordan start it though? and Ron was just giving it back to him?

          2. The BBC should apologise for fixing Jordan’s mike cord again!

            1. comment of the day

            2. Brilliant, yes they should!

        2. Bigbadderboom
          26th March 2011, 11:38

          Eddie was as usual engaging mouth before brain. He said everytime McLaren have road car projects the F1 team suffer. Which in my memory is completly usubstantiated by the actual facts. But as we know Eddie never lets minor issues such as facts get in the way of his nonsense spouting.

          1. yes true. :-)

            I actually thought that the Coulthard and Brundle combo worked well. I didn’t think it would, but I actually think Coulthard is way better in that role. The problem now is that Eddie is on his own. I like his presence a lot now and find him entertaining, but I really think they need someone else there to sort of tut at him and give the opposite view when he says something dumb…..which he does about 50% of the time. Fans will know when he is talking crap or being overly emotional, but the casual viewer may well not.

      2. That was great, and to think the team were looking at a repeat of 2009 only a week ago – but from an even worse starting point! They’re now firmly in 2nd, the drivers must be so pumped up. :)

      3. Didn’t Ron gave pie to David?

    2. I guess Button can feel satisfied about his choice for McLaren antother year in a row. Really impressive to catch up like that based on testing data and engineering.

      If they show reliability tomorrow as well, its even more amazing.

    3. Can they try and fix the KERS tonight in Parc Ferme? I beleive if something is broken you can try to fix it.

      1. I suppose they just reboot it. The Batteries will be charged before the start anyhow.

      2. Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can fix something that’s broken but you can’t add to it.

        N.B. “Fixing something that’s broken” doesn’t mean that HRT could give themselves an upgrade overnight hee-hee.

      3. Yes i read somewhere Withmarsh has said under the Parc Ferme rules they will be able to repair the system. So Hamilton will have his KERS fully fuctional for the race.

        I think the main aspect of the Parc Ferme rules is about making setup changes rather than normal repairs

    4. really astonished by mclaren…
      their speed out of the box amazes me, bodes well for the rest of the season… hopefully they can catch redbull before its too late

      1. me too.

        the performance gap is still big though. i really hope its a competitive season and Red Bull don’t run away with it.

        It’s great that Mclaren are in the mix, but i was really hoping Ferrari and Mercedes and maybe even someone else would also be close to Red Bull.

    5. Hmm…, I suppose all of You that kept spewing the “Lewis should leave McLaren” bile feel a bit silly now eh? I know there is pace in that car. Also, as Lewis is arguably the most naturally gifted driver in the field, having the added functions to activate should pay dividends for him, while offering a greater challenge to rivals. I know He will Excel where others struggle in this regard. He used Kers masterfuly in 09′, and the addition of drs will prove little challenge. I’m predicting a great season for him, provided the team unlock the potential of the car.

      1. Lol i said it a couple of days ago…People are so quick to judge it’s unbelievable.

        And Ferrari are just short of saying that someone must have come to their garage and stole their speed loll

    6. Younger Hamii(Formally Younger Hamilton)
      26th March 2011, 10:20

      McLaren were eventually going to Recover from Pre Season Troubles,It was just a Matter of how long it took,Half a Season,Couple of Races but no they fixed it and improved massively before the start of the season.This Shows the Resources,Facilties and Abilities McLaren have to Develop a Car throughout an F1 Season,Its Incredible.

      No One can ever Emulate that in F1 right now,Red Bull cant touch it neither Ferrari.Red Bull are only good at developing cars for the team to have a big aerodynamic advanatage to last throughout the whole season.Notice how Ferrari and McLaren were catching up with them Last year,It wasnt dramatic and big as you’d anticipate but they were chasing Red Bull like Hell.

      Whoever was saying Lewis should leave McLaren if he’s going to win Multiple WDCs are out of their stupid minds and it was incredible hearing that.You should take another Look at Lewis’ racing history and his history with McLaren and make a quote that is Valid.I cant believe people actually considered that and acting like F1 Drivers are like Footballers,who hunt for the Trophies and Money.Guys,Just go and have another think and come and apologise to this Website or this article for doubting McLaren,A big Racing Industry who are known Worldwide for their sucess and development.How Dare you Insult McLaren’s Intelligence and Wisdom whoever did,How Dare you Test Lewis’ Commitment and Determination.

      1. I am guilty of doubting McLaren!

      2. Haha! This sounds a bit like Seb’s speech over the radio earlier today! Heil! ;-)

      3. Red Bull cant touch it neither

        Haha! You are perfectly right, They keep building a good car on the first attempt don’t they?

        That made me chuckle!


        You are simply awesome. Looks like you been in my mind lol. It’s really stupid for people to be understating a team such as Mc Laren.

        And I remember saying to someone in here that the measuring equipment fitted on the nose of the car wasn’t for nothing. Mc Laren always see far ahead they think about the long term development.

      5. I am a unapologetic Lewis fan, but, I know formula one is a race that last for a season. We will see how good this McLaren turns out by the fourth or fifth race. If the car gets better and is on even footing with the RBR car we will have a super season. However, If they (McLaren)can’t overcome the Newey variable it won’t matter how good Lewis is, his car won’t be able to compete with Vettel’s and Weber car.

      6. No offense younger hamii, but I think you are being a little quick to say that Mclaren has solved all their problems before the start of the season. Maybe you should wait a few races before demanding for apologies from everyone.

    7. Personally I’m astonished.

      How lucky are these guys that Bahrain fell through?!

      1. Very lucky. Mclaren have done a wonderful job of using the extra testing time to full effect.

    8. Hamilton gave a somewhat confusing answer in the press conference about his KERS situation on his last lap:

      Q: You were shaking your head when we were talking about KERS. Is that because you didn’t use it or were thinking ‘wow, without it’.

      LH: No, I used it for half my lap and I ran out towards the end of the lap. I didn’t have any more. No, I had probably, like, 40 per cent still left. That is a little bit of time but nothing which would get me close enough to them. That is a staggering lap time they did, so well done to Sebastian but like I said I’ll catch you up.

      1. Strange things on KERS…what the hell is going on?

      2. Keith its not the first time Lewis has given conflicting answers. He has a tendency to just forget what a problem is and get on with the job. He does this so often that he can some times take blame for issues that are not his fault. Alonso on the other hand will remember every detail necessary or not while Hamilton just discards details that are of no value to him.

      3. This whole KERS thing. Might REd Bull be onto something with a “start only” KERS. Doing away with the most expensive and heavy things needed for quick recharging. Sounds like a clever idea and consistant with what Newey said about KERS al along. Good for Gascoyne if they can pick up on the idea, how many will follow suit?

        With all those teams “running out” or just malfunctioning KERS seems to be only that much better than in 2009, might there be other teams looking at this option?
        Interesting take is, that it makes for another reason why Red Bull will hate the DRS, as they wont have KERS to counter.

        I bet Vitaly, Fernando, Jenson and Lewis are wanting to have a go at a combined DRS/KERS push to make a lunge tomorrow. That is, if they have them in sight a few laps from the start (after the pitstops?)

      4. I translate it as his KERS broke with 40 percent of it left.

        1. 40% charge left on battery but inability to unleash it?

          40% of the lap left?

          I think the first one…

      5. During the post qualifying tv interview with James Allen, I had to laugh when Lewis just shook his head when he heard that Vettel didn’t use his KERS on his last flying lap.

      6. Could it be that he means that he had 40% left at the time it failed?

    9. To b honest its irrelevant whether he used KERS or not.. Sebastien’s still way out in front. BotH of them put in awesome laps. Nice to see mclaren being competitive :). Just a shame that one of the red bulls seems to be so far ahead. I guess it’s a race for second place.

    10. Awesome effort from McLaren…. and that theyve got such a radical car competitive so quickly bodes well for the rest of the season – theres no way theyve got anywhere near its potential as yet with so little running.

    11. Whats so confusing about that keith??

      I cant believe you guys are goinna beat down on Lewis just because he didnt use his crystal ball to find the words you’ll be happy with.

      I dont find anything confused about his comments. Hes said he used it for half of his lap and had 40% to spare which he couldnt use.

      What on earth was wrong with that??
      -Would it be because he shaded jenson quite abit considering partial use of KERS. And maybe more so cos over practice…no doubt the Jenson-loving journos were getting abit too carried away?

      – Stop with the sour grapes with Lewis all the time! Lewis gets too much of a raw deal by the haters especially the british media journos.
      Its sad.

      1. After all the rants about Keith being biased towards British drivers, this is a refreshing dig at him. Were you by any chance around when Hamilton was named nr.1 driver of 2010 (https://www.racefans.net/2010/12/22/2010-f1-driver-rankings-part-four-3-1/)?

      2. And where has Keith shown he’s had ‘sour grapes’, ‘hated’, been ‘Jenson-loving’, or given him a ‘raw deal’ in this article? Whats your problem?

    12. ralph schumacher
      26th March 2011, 11:04

      i remember one david coultard referring to the McLaren as a dog of a car. Hmm. Explains how he got all his championships… Making such irrational comments without having have as much a driven a car will leave u with a massive serving of humble pie on those jaws!

    13. Mclaren have definitely given all a big shock. To their fans a positive one and vice versa(biggest to Ferrari maybe). After having seen their turnaround of 2009, i seriously believed that Mclaren will catch up RBR before the half way mark(predicted that in 20 questions thread).

      Also in testing i didn’t totally believe that Mclaren were as slow as some pundits(same pundits who said Ferrari will be very close to RBR) were saying. Most likely they had troublesome Exhaust systems and some other reliability problems so couldn’t get enough mileage which also mean they couldn’t get their setup right.

      Another thing is on topic of Hamilton leaving Mclaren. All the talk was based on Mclaren not pushing enough and producing a slow car and disappointing their drivers especially Hamilton. I am sure that talk had an effect (especially Horner talking about getting Hamilton) and we have seen the result today. Mclaren have improved an awful lot.
      Keep Pushing Mclaren and Hamilton(my prediction for 2011 driver WC).

    14. Something i only noticed in qualy is how cool the car looks from a face on picture. The wheels hide the sidepods and it looks very similar to how the ground effect cars looked in the late 70s/early 80s with the low bodies and raised tubs.

      But well done Mclaren, certainly pulled a bloody great big rabbit out of their hat this time.

    15. I am so excited for the race tomorrow.. Seeing McLaren do so well today has made my day..!

      I hope they keep it up and start to put the pressure on Red Bull. This season is going to be awesome :D

      1. also i have to praise Sauber and Kamui.. excellent job today!

        1. +1… Great job by Kamui …

      2. I’ll second that.

    16. apparently Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have escaped grid penalties despite being found guilty of impeding other cars during qualifying.

      1. Yeap, I saw Ham and MSC do that at the time but it wasn’t bad, common sense prevailed.

    17. Great lap from Lewis, once again. And well done to Mclaren. They’ve still not given Lewis the best car; however, they are improving this one, dramatically.

      But what was Webber playing at? To be nearly a whole second behind your team-mate, when you had no apparent problem or made no obvious mistake, is beyond words.

      Webber has to reconsider his future. If that gap is genuine, it’s time to hang up the helmet. If Vettel is being given a better car, it’s time to jump ship. (The same is true for Massa in his situation.

      RBR might be quicker over a lap without (full) KERS: better weight distribution; center of gravity; packaging; etc. However, they had better pray that there are no re-starts or safety car re-starts. And they won’t have any defence against a DRS overtake; whereas, the KERS cars will be able to use it to fend off a RBR DRS overtake. And RBR will be vulnerable exiting the pits close to a KERS car: remember Heiki’s overtake on the ‘sleeping’ Fisi at Suzuka a few years back. So, if Mclaren are within striking distance on the track, on the grid, or in the pits, then RBR are sitting ducks…

      1. Yeh I don’t believe they would risk situations like that, especially at Albert Park and with the amount of times the SC comes out every year. Doesn’t sound like a design feature to me, maybe more of a set-up choice. And if we believe Martin Whitmarsh Hamilton should have been another 4-5 tenths closer, I think most people would accept 3 tenths as being the natural gap between Red Bull and McLaren at the moment.

        I have no explanation for Webber and Button though, maybe I’ll have to eat my words to Keith and it really was DRS making all the difference! Others have talked about a qualifying/race compromise with downforce levels too, that would be a fitting explanation too.

      2. Yes it is a bit of an odd decision as if they are not expecting anyone to get close enough to pass them.

        I do think if it is a start only system it is against the spirit of the concept.

    18. Genuinely surprised by Hamilton and to a lesser extent Button today. I know they did reasonably well in practise, particularly FP2 but I didn’t see either of them on the front row. Nevertheless a welcome surprise, I always like them, just one of a few today.

      If they can find that pace they were after so soon after testing the other teams best be very careful throughout the season.

    19. kenneth Ntulume
      26th March 2011, 17:09

      RBR sitting ducks??… U must be joking…………..

    20. Also note they left the white heat-coating on the floor/diffuser, costing them drag and weight, because they don’t have enough data on heat dissipation. Meaning, the configuration is basically untested. So more astonishing. And it also means there is more time in that configuration close at hand, after they get a race’s worth of data on it.

      1. At pre race the BBC stated its a full titanium diffusor, they did to be on the sure side, and make it on time to Melbourne!

        Certainly will have room for improvement in 10 days towards Malaysia then. Good job on them

    21. Alongside Petrov this team have surprised everyone.They did improved a lot,all those crying in the off season about the car from the drivers have paid off.Can’t wait,I bet they can win if they have a good race.

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