McLaren unveil new Formula One car
Friday 04 February 2011
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are optimistic that McLaren will be even more competitive in 2011 as the 2008 and 2009 champion drivers go in search of further Formula One glory.
The British duo were at the unveiling of the new McLaren MP4-26 car at Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin today, with both excited at the prospect of improving on an encouraging first year in tandem in 2010.
Hamilton was in contention for the F1 title until the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi but ultimately finished fourth, 16 points behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing.
Button, who won the drivers' title in 2009 with Brawn, was fifth in his debut season with McLaren, who finished in second behind Red Bull in the constructors' championship.
Button said: "I've had some fun years in Formula One - some good, some bad, and I think the competitiveness now is the best it ever has been.
"You have five world champions on the grid but also other drivers who have been close in the past, like Mark Webber or Felipe Massa.
"There is lots of competition and I hope it's a good fight but not too good - hopefully we can have a few tenths on everyone."
Hamilton added: "We should have a more competitive season. We are pushing as hard as we can to be even more competitive than we were last season. I do feel optimistic."
The launch of the MP4-26 was delayed until after the first Formula One tests of the season in Valencia last week, with an interim car used in Spain instead.
Button believes the extra time spent on development will be important, even if it has meant less time actually being able to test the car.
He told autosport.com: "I am sure (other teams) are saying that they have got an advantage because they are driving the new car already, and doing set-up work, KERS work and rear wing work, but I think that for us as a team we understand KERS and that is important.
"I think it was important for us to spend as much time as possible building our car and that when we get it on the circuit it is competitive.
"For us it was the best situation to go to Valencia with the old car and to drive the new Pirellis, and it is good because we can compare the tyres - and you can get lost if there is so much going on."
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