F1: McLaren miles behind as Hamilton prepares for Barcelona testing

PUBLISHED: 22:26 19 February 2011 | UPDATED: 10:33 20 March 2011

Former F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the McLaren MP4-26 car launch in Berlin [Picture courtesy of www.mclaren.com]

Former F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the McLaren MP4-26 car launch in Berlin [Picture courtesy of www.mclaren.com]


FORMULA One driver Lewis Hamilton takes the wheel again in Barcelona tomorrow (Sunday) with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes behind schedule in testing the new MP4-26.

McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button [Picture courtesy of www.mclaren.com / Patrick Gosling]

The Herts-born racer, 26, will be looking to get plenty of miles on the clock in Spain after unreliability and a shortage of spare parts has dogged testing of the team’s 2011 challenger.

Arsenal fan Hamilton, who attended the Brit Awards in London this week, will be running the MP4-26 tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday in Barcelona.

Former F1 world champion Jenson Button was only eighth fastest today (Saturday) around the Circuit de Catalunya.

He completed just 54 laps on a somewhat frustrating day for both team and driver.

A hydraulics failure after just a handful of laps of aero-mapping cost Button the majority of the morning’s track-time.

A similar failure towards the end of the day also brought an early end to proceedings.

After the second day of the four-day Barcelona test, the McLaren team’s frank assessment was there’s “a lot more performance still to come”.

Button admitted: “We’re not doing as many laps as we’d like, so we’re a little behind some of the other teams, which is a bit of a disadvantage, but that’s something we’re addressing.

“Over the next two days, hopefully our reliability will be better, and we’ll be fully equipped with spare parts.”

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel topped the unofficial timesheets in Spain today for Red Bull ahead of Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari. He posted a quicker lap time than Fernando Alonso for Ferrari.

McLaren star Button said: “There’s a lot more performance still to come from this car – now we just need some proper mileage to see what it can do.

“Hopefully, Lewis will be able to achieve that over the next two days.”

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix is the first scheduled race of the F1 season on March 13 but political unrest could force the FIA to cancel the race.

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