F1 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix: McLaren drivers chase Budapest victory
PUBLISHED: 12:31 29 July 2012 | UPDATED: 15:13 29 July 2012
LEWIS Hamilton's Formula 1 team boss is looking for McLaren to take the chequered flag in today's 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix.
"I think Lewis’s performance shows how real our car’s pace is now."
The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire starts on pole position after dominating qualifying at the Hungaroring near Budapest yesterday (Saturday).
Hamilton’s teammate, Jenson Button, will line up fourth on the Hungary grid behind Lotus man Romain Grosjean and Red Bull’s reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel.
McLaren has the best record of any Formula 1 constructor at the Hungaroring and Martin Whitmarsh is looking to add to the team’s tally.
“Our record at the Hungaroring is considerable: we have won there 10 times, more than any other team, and we go there with the clear aim to add an 11th victory to our tally,” said Whitmarsh.
2012 Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Result
Top 10 Q3 times
1 Lewis Hamilton 1:20.953
2 Romain Grosjean 1:21.366
3 Sebastian Vettel 1:21.416
4 Jenson Button 1:21.583
5 Kimi Raikkonen 1:21.730
6 Fernando Alonso 1:21.844
7 Felipe Massa 1:21.900
8 Pastor Maldonado 1:21.939
9 Bruno Senna 1:22.343
10 Nick Hulkenberg 1:22.847
“It certainly won’t be straightforward, but every single individual within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is relishing that challenge.”
Speaking after qualifying on Saturday, the McLaren team principal said: “Lewis totally dominated qualifying today – in Q1, in Q2 and in Q3 – which was naturally satisfying for all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
“In truth, to use Lewis’s own phrase, he’s been ‘on it’ ever since he arrived here. And his long runs, carrying heavy fuel loads, have been encouraging too.
“Jenson also did an excellent job to qualify in fourth spot, which makes him well positioned to mount a serious challenge for a major placing from the second row of the starting grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
“He hadn’t had as straightforward a time of things as Lewis had, either this morning or yesterday, but he showed real mettle, true grit and immense natural ability here this afternoon.”
There was a thunderstorm at the Hungaroring first thing this morning but the sun is now out at the circuit near Budapest.
Looking ahead to the race, Whitmarsh said: “Overtaking is usually tricky here, although its level of difficulty may be mitigated somewhat by the pitstraight DRS zone.
“From our point of view, let’s hope Lewis gets a good start – and that overtaking remains as much of a challenge as ever thereafter!”
The F1 season shuts down for two weeks after today’s race and Whitmarsh is looking to head into the summer break on a high, before mounting a serious challenge for both titles in the second half of the campaign.
He said: “With the halfway point in the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship now behind us, it’s important that we head into the second half of the season with a concerted view to picking up as many points as possible in a bid to return us to the top.
“I firmly believe that we have the drivers, car and team to win both titles – and I think the difficulties we encountered during the first 10 races of 2012 have strengthened our resilience and hardened our resolve to fight back to the front.
“At Hockenheim last weekend, we had a car capable of taking on and beating our main rivals – the aim now is to ensure both Jenson and Lewis both score points in every race and to take as many points away from our rivals as possible.
“On paper, it may look a difficult task, but we are singularly determined to close down the gaps between ourselves and the championship leaders.”
The 2012 Grand Prix of Hungary starts at 1pm.