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."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice