Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hamilton: This is a fabulous day for McLaren

Lewis Hamilton: We're in the best possible position to score maximum points tomorrow

Lewis Hamilton has thanked his team after giving him a car capable of securing pole position today for the 2012 F1 Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has been on the pace all weekend and after setting the best time on Friday, he was again quickest this morning in final practice - although only just, with Fernando Alonso just 0.001 seconds back for Ferrari. Hamilton and Alonso continued their battle in Q1 and Q2 too, but while the Spaniard was best in those two sessions, in the all-important top ten shoot-out, Hamilton came through on top, 0.123 seconds up on his team-mate Jenson Button, while Alonso slipped to tenth due to a technical problem.

“This is a fabulous day for the whole team – they've done a fantastic job to get our car into this position, so I want to say a huge thanks to them. The whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team deserves this result,” Hamilton said.

“It's going to be a fast, tough race tomorrow. Jenson and the Ferraris are very quick, but we've got a good car and a good set-up, and we're in the best possible position to score maximum points tomorrow.

“This is a beautiful track; it's so fast that you really need to respect it. Monza has such great history too, and, at some stage, I'd love to become part of that history. For the moment, though, I'm just looking for a strong, consistent race tomorrow, because I need to score some good points.”

Button meanwhile was also pleased, even if he did have to settle for second and he will be now looking to repeat what he did in Belgium last Sunday, when he took a dominant victory.

“It's been a really good day for us. Congratulations to Lewis and the whole team – they've done a fabulous job to get us in this position and we've got to build on that tomorrow,” Button added. “Happily, we're in the best position possible: the past few races have really shown the strength of our car.

“We didn't consider trying to tow each other around as some of the others did – it's a difficult thing to get right and if you get it wrong you end up being compromised elsewhere around the lap.”

“I'm extremely proud of the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, all of whose members have worked incredibly hard to develop our car so well over the year. Today's front-row lock-out is an appropriate reward for all their efforts,” summarised McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh. “In fact, I'm told that we now hold the record for the highest number of front-row lock-outs in F1 history, which is quite an achievement. So I want to say a big 'well done' not only to the men and women who have worked so hard to make our car quick here today, but also to the men and women who have worked equally hard, going back through 46 long years, ever since McLaren first entered a world championship grand prix in 1966.

“But tomorrow is what counts, and I'm glad to say that we got quite a lot of race prep work done yesterday, so we're hoping to be in pretty good shape for the race. Returning to today, though, both Lewis and Jenson drove immaculately, capitalising on our car's impressive pace in sectors one and two, and optimising its capabilities also in sector three, where it was slightly less competitive relative to our opposition. Doing that may have looked easy for them, but it wasn't. In fact they both had to keep their nerve towards the end of their fastest laps. Well done, boys.”


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