McLaren encouraged by Hamilton's F1 drive in China

PUBLISHED: 08:59 21 April 2009 | UPDATED: 22:12 26 October 2009

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2009, GP of China, 01 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes), 
 *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel +++

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2009, GP of China, 01 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes), *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel +++

HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel

TEAM bosses at McLaren Mercedes were encouraged by an improved performance in Sunday s Chinese Grand Prix. F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton finished sixth in a rain-hit race around a treacherous Shanghai circuit. The 24-year-old from Tewin was one place

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2009, GP of China,  *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel +++

TEAM bosses at McLaren Mercedes were encouraged by an improved performance in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton finished sixth in a rain-hit race around a treacherous Shanghai circuit.

The 24-year-old from Tewin was one place behind team-mate Heikki Kovalainen after spinning a number of times on the wet track.

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal for Hamilton's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes outfit, felt it was a step forward after the trials and tribulations of Australia and Malaysia.

"Heikki scored a very well deserved four points for an impressive fifth place," said Whitmarsh afterwards.

"It isn't at all easy to drive a faultless race in conditions like those we faced today [Sunday], but Heikki did just that.

"Lewis pressed hard all afternoon and, when you do that, occasionally you run wide or spin.

"Lewis duly did so but, in truth, his was a great drive, too."

Explaining McLaren's race plan, Whitmarsh added: "We were never going to be able to live with the Red Bulls or the Brawns today, which is why we chose a one-stop strategy.

"The track was wet throughout the race, and the longer stints that our strategy dictated inevitably caused more wet-tyre wear than that experienced by the two-stoppers; but, despite the challenges posed by that extra wet-tyre wear, our drivers both coped very well.

"So, overall, an encouraging result: getting two cars into the points shows that we're making good progress, but there's more to come and we're working flat-out to develop the improvements that will deliver it."

Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, isn't getting carried away with Sunday's results though and issued a word of caution.

"More than fifth and sixth places are not possible for us at the moment and this has to change," he said.

"Seven points are better than nothing, but our speed has to improve significantly."

Hamilton will go again this Sunday in the Bahrain Grand Prix.


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