Hungarian GP: McLaren preview
28 July, 2010
Jul.28 (McLaren Mercedes) Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team preview the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend at Hungaroring near Budapest.
“I won my first grand prix in Hungary – and I can still remember that race as if it was yesterday. Actually, what I remember best were the moments after the race, when you finally realise that it’s all real, and you get to see the reactions of everyone around you. It was a great moment in my career, and one that I still savour. As for the circuit itself, it’s a good track – it’s a place where you need to drive with a lot of control if you’re going to get a good laptime. Some of the kerbs are quite high, so you need a bit of precision through the high-speed stuff. Fortunately, it’s a high-downforce track, so there’s usually plenty of grip – or, at least, there is by Sunday, because it’s always really dusty at the start of the weekend. After Hockenheim, I think we go to Budapest feeling more optimistic about our pace – the team has traditionally gone well at the track, and we feel we have a high-downforce configuration that should be well-suited to the circuit. We’re learning more and more about the blown floor after every session, and I feel like we got some very useful data from Sunday’s race in Germany. Now it’s all about maximising our package and hopefully securing a strong result before the summer break – that would be a massive positive for everybody on the team.”
“I love racing in Hungary. Budapest is a fantastic, beautiful city that I’d love to get out and really explore one day, and the circuit is quite a unique place – it’s got a reputation for being a slow track where it’s impossible to pass, but I don’t really agree with that. Firstly, the track has a couple of high-speed corners – in particular, the blind left-hander at Turn Four, and the right-hander at Turn 11 – and, since the revisions to the first corner, it’s a place where passing is definitely possible, even if it’s not easy. It’s a circuit that really requires you to pull it all together – like Monaco, there’s nowhere to relax, and, because one corner always leads straight into the next, you’re really hustling the car the whole way. Which, when you’ve got a good car, is good fun. I’ve always gone well there – I won in 2007, and winning there last year was one of the best races of my career in terms of sheer satisfaction. The whole team was elated with that result because we’d just performed one of the greatest turnarounds in sport, coming from the back of the grid at the start of the season to take victory.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Historically, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has always gone well at the Hungaroring. Lewis won the race in 2007, and again in ’09 – a memorable race because it marked the first-ever victory for a KERS-powered car in Formula 1. Of course, we also remember the good memories of Heikki’s victory in 2008, and we go into this year’s race hopeful of another strong performance. While we’re under no illusions that our pace relative to our rivals was lacking at Hockenheim, the MP4-25 should perform better in a more dedicated high-downforce configuration. More encouragingly, we’ve now got one race with the blown diffuser under our belts, and this has already given us lots of data with which to take the concept forwards. Finally, this will be the 12th race of the season and the final round before everybody in the team earns a well-deserved summer break. We have all worked incredibly hard to cement our positions at the top of both world championships – not least in the past four weeks, when we’ve seen unbelievable dedication and commitment as we’ve strived to update MP4-25. For all of us in Woking, it would be fantastic to go into that summer break with a strong result to ensure we maintain our motivation and commitment as we enter the crucial final third of the season.”