Hamilton calls on McLaren to improve qualifying

Lewis Hamilton has called on McLaren to beef up his car in qualifying if he is to have a decent crack at this year's Formula One world title.

Despite Jenson Button's victory in Australia on Sunday, and McLaren collecting 54 points from the opening two grands prix to sit second in the constructors' championship behind Ferrari, their Achilles heel has so far been their one-lap pace.



It has resulted in Hamilton and Button starting fourth and eighth on the grid in the season-opener in Bahrain respectively, and 11th and fourth in Melbourne.



The team's saving grace has been the performance of the car during a race, allowing the British duo to haul themselves up the field and claim reasonable results.



"In both Bahrain and Australia we've felt more comfortable with our race pace than the pace we showed in qualifying," said Hamilton.



"While that's encouraging, it's become clear we need to improve our qualifying pace if we're to have a regular shot at winning races.



"It's all very well being quick in the race, but if you can't make up places from your grid position, then your race is still going to be a struggle.



"We can take home the positives: our car is fast, much faster than it was this time last year, and it seems to be reliable.



"Now we need to work on single-lap pace, the sooner the better."



Hamilton's travails in Melbourne are now behind him, and he appears to have made peace with the team following his outburst over the in-car radio when he accused them of a "freaking stupid" call.



The 25-year-old was left fuming after the race as he was told to pit for a second occasion for fresh tyres at a time when he was running third and certain of a podium finish.



Instead, following a late collision with Mark Webber, Hamilton was forced to settle for a disappointing sixth following what he felt was one of the drives of his career.



However, the 2008 world champion now understands the call after the reasoning behind it was explained to him.



After a run-in with Melbourne police on Friday night to add to his weekend of woe, Hamilton at least has the chance to swiftly put to the back of his mind the events of a troubling few days given the Malaysian Grand Prix looms large this Sunday.



Mercifully for Hamilton, McLaren are in there fighting at present as he could have experienced Sebastian Vettel's depressing issues.



The Red Bull Racing star has qualified on pole and been on course for wins in Bahrain and Australia, only to suffer old reliability problems that plagued his title bid last season.



Appreciating he has at least scored heavily, Hamilton remarked: "The key to a good championship is consistent points scoring.



"Fortunately, the new points system makes it easier to pick up points in each race.



"Obviously, you want to score as many points as you can, but it's still important sometimes to go for the finish, pocket the points, and live to fight another day.



"Even at this early stage in the season we've seen it only takes a slight mistake or a small mechanical problem to drop you down the order.



"That's something we as a team have been very good at avoiding over the past few years."



As if to emphasise just how grateful he is to the job McLaren have done, and continue to do, he added: "I've an incredible team behind me.



"They've provided me with a phenomenally reliable car throughout my whole Formula One career, and I know well that every single point can be crucial at the end of the year.



"But while we feel relatively confident in our reliability, the key over the next couple of races will be to improve our performance to enable Jenson and I to take home some big points and move closer to the top of the championship tables.



"I'll really be pushing for that over the next couple of weeks."



News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea