Lewis Hamilton admits: My car felt awesome but it wasn't quick

Updated McLaren fails to impress as drivers are left frustrated and down the field

Silverstone

On a day when the sun finally shone over Silverstone, McLaren left under a cloud. The circuit should have played to the aerodynamic strength of their updated car, but they suffered a massive disappointment yesterday as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could finish only eighth and 10th.

Hamilton was competitive early on, running the medium-compound Pirelli tyre, and even retook the lead from Fernando Alonso that he had inherited when the Spaniard made his first pit stop. But that was as close as McLaren got to glory, and it soon faded.

"We are a long way away," Hamilton admitted, when comparing his McLaren with Mark Webber's winning Red Bull and Alonso's Ferrari. "We are still in the fight, but unless we find a lot of time, it's going to be hard to stay in it."

Button started 16th after lacking grip in qualifying, and struggled throughout.

"It's not just the Red Bulls and the Ferraris that are quicker than us, a lot of cars are," he said. "Our car doesn't feel too bad, but everyone else's must feel really good because they're a lot faster than us. I was racing the Williams and the Sauber, and you see areas where they're able to put the car or make mistakes and get away with it. I don't understand how they're able to do that.

"The Sauber is quicker in high-speed corners than us, the Williams is quicker in low-speed corners. It's tricky. We don't seem to be exceptionally strong anywhere at the moment, and we thought we would be here. It's a high-speed circuit and we thought that was one of our strengths."

Hamilton echoed his team-mate's sentiments. "My car actually felt awesome, but it just wasn't quick," he said.

Part of his problem was a disparity in performance between his first and final sets of tyres.

"Today we were very, very slow in the low-speed corners and Michael Schumacher came past me near the end and he was really quick in the high-speeds," he said.

Hamilton, who held the lead in the World Championship after his victory in Canada, is now fourth with 92 points to Alonso's 129. Button, winner of the opening race, is only eighth with 50.

McLaren, meanwhile, slumped from second in the constructors' stakes to fourth, separated from Red Bull by Ferrari and Lotus.

"Lewis's first stint was very impressive on the first medium tyre," said the team principal, Martin Whitmarsh. "It went a long way and he had good pace. We then switched to the soft tyre, which he was fine on, but we sensed that it was prone to graining.

"We then stopped too soon on that, because we were covering Grosjean. It would have been OK if the second set of mediums had been as good as the first, but as soon as Lewis put them on he was not as comfortable. It was therefore a long third stint."

Whitmarsh said that he did not believe that McLaren had got it dramatically wrong, but admitted that it would have been better to run longer on the soft tyre in the middle stint.

"Overall, we weren't good enough, is the summary," he confessed. "And there weren't enough incidents for us to capitalise on. It's been one of those weekends. We had lots of stuff on the car but couldn't run it properly on Friday because of the weather.

"We have a decent, more visible upgrade package for Germany and we've got to make sure we deliver that and make it stick. We've got to develop the car, make sure we use the tyres better.

"I'm disappointed but I'm not desperate yet. It's a long season and we're a strong team. This race was only a twentieth of it and no race is more important than another."

One positive was that McLaren's pit stops were flawless and among the fastest. But it remains to be seen how the overall disappointment influences Hamilton's decision about his future.

"I think he's smarter than that," Whitmarsh said. "My pitch is he's got to want to be in this team, which I believe he does. He knows that racing is highs and lows and this hasn't been one of the high weekends."

A year ago McLaren were reeling here after Button's car lost a wheel and a mistake on fuel settings obliged Hamilton to reduce his pace. They responded by winning the next time out, in Germany. Now the pressure is greater than ever for them to do something similar at Hockenheim in two weeks' time.

"Four weeks ago it was different and in two weeks' time it could be different again," Whitmarsh said. "We're disciplined enough and battle-hardened enough these days. You've got to take stock and learn from these weekends. Sometimes you can learn more than you do from the successful weekends."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen