McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh delighted with Lewis Hamilton timing

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh hailed Lewis Hamilton's Chinese Grand Prix victory as the perfect tonic heading into the European season.

Hamilton's win in Shanghai yesterday brought the curtain down on the first flyaway leg of the season following grands prix in Australia and Malaysia, and crucially spelled the end of Sebastian Vettel's perfect start to the campaign for Red Bull.



The return to Europe, from where Formula One's teams operate, traditionally brings a spike in development work as engineers grapple with problems emerging from the opening rounds.



Yet in the case of McLaren, much of their development took place in the run-up to the first race in Australia following a dismal pre-season testing programme.



A late revision to the car saw the team defy all expectations to take second place with Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, a result repeated by team-mate Jenson Button in Sepang.



The team's hard work was then rewarded to the full in Shanghai as Hamilton saw off the stern challenge of both championship leader Vettel and Button to record his first win since last August.



And for Whitmarsh the result comes at the ideal time, with the team now afforded three weeks to reflect and build on the result before the action begins again in Turkey on May 8.



"This victory was the perfect way for us to head into the European season," said Whitmarsh. "It's a fantastic boost for every man and woman in the team.



"It will only motivate us to achieve even greater things in Turkey next month."



Hamilton took the victory despite a fuel leak which meant he made it out of the pit lane just 30 seconds before it closed prior to the race. It was hardly the ideal preparation, but Whitmarsh praised Hamilton's cool head.



"Lewis responded magnificently to the pressure to record one of his most finely judged and aggressive race wins. He really is a magnificent fighter," he said.



"That must have been one of the most exciting races I've ever seen. It's incredibly rewarding to know that our sport is in good shape."



Whitmarsh also praised his drivers for their conduct on track after tussling during the race, in particular when Hamilton passed Button into the first turn shortly after half distance.



"Both drivers did some great overtaking, including of each other, which was a little bit of a tense moment for me, but nonetheless they raced well," he said.



Meanwhile, Whitmarsh has stated that F1 needs to rethink how it promotes its events in some regions after the Shanghai International Circuit failed to attract a bumper crowd over the weekend.



Despite the event being a fixture on the calendar since 2004, many grandstands were sparsely populated on both Friday and Saturday, and while there was an inevitable pick-up on race day, empty seats were still in evidence.



With F1 now heading to Istanbul - another event that has struggled to overcome the ambivalence of locals - Whitmarsh feels it is incumbent on the powers-that-be to rethink their strategy.



"Formula One is used to going to venues that know and understand Formula One and want us," Whitmarsh said. "I'm not blaming anyone because we're all part of it, but we're not good at promoting our sport in new territories and I think you've got evidence of that not just in China.



"We've got to work harder at it.



"If you go to downtown Shanghai and look for all the promotions going on for this event, I suspect you would struggle to find very much.



"Fortunately we still have a fantastic worldwide television audience but we need to work harder at circuits that are in new territories.



"It strikes me that we've got to do much more to promote our sport, develop it, and invest in its promotion than we do."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
boxing
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living