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motorsport-news.co.uk NOVEMBER 30 2011 3
early season pace to net 2012 title
M c LAREN : THE FIGHTBACK BEGINS HERE
5THINGSTHAT HURT McLAREN’SCHARGE
1: Lack of test mileage McLaren’s charge to recover its F1 crown was hampered from the start when a fundamental flaw emerged with the MP426’s aerodynamics. The team blamed an over-complicated exhaust system for the lack of pace. The system also proved fragile and the team only completed 785 laps (3746 miles) of testing, compared to Red Bull’s 1372 laps (4402 miles).
2:Turkish trauma A pair of conflicting strategies made the Turkish GP one of McLaren’s worst weekends of the year. The team opted to run Button on a three-stop strategy, when many of his rivals used four. The rate of tyre wear was too severe for the call and Button slipped to sixth. Hamilton made an over-exuberant lunge on Mark Webber and damaged his tyres on the opening lap. He finished fourth.
will be the biggest threat to Vettel if they start with a good car. If they start at the same level and it becomes a development struggle, McLaren has the lead, technically.”
Button added: “We’ll come out fighting from the first race. Weneed to start the year stronger. Wewant to make it hard for Red Bull.”
Red Bull switched focus to developing its newRB8machine before the Korean GPback in October. The team also ran a selection of development parts on MarkWebber’s car during practice in Brazil. Webber said: “We also did some reliability work here and there. It was a good day for us. Nobody is rigged up for 2012 just yet so you still need to read a bit into it, but the running was relevant in terms of the information we got.”
Lewis’s fresh start Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox failure while fighting for fourth place in Brazil brought the curtain down on a torrid season for the former world champion. Myriad personal problems and on-track clashes have left him fifth in the points, his lowest ever finish in the standings. Although Hamilton, 26, won three races this year, it also marks the first time he has been out-scored by his teammate. He said: “It’s been a long season and I’m looking forward to some downtime and then just attacking next year.
“I’ve learned a lot this year so I feel positive and in the future I’ll look back and think ‘I needed that’. I’m ready to come back fighting next year. Mypreparation starts here.”
HOW M c LAREN CLOSEDTHE GAP
First ten races Points scored over the season: Last nine races
RED BULL: 355pts
RED BULL: 295pts
3:Team-mates clashing Canada provided one of the flash points of the season. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button collided while fighting in extreme wet conditions. Hamilton attempted to overtake Button on the pit straight but the pair touched as Button moved across to take the racing line. The contact led Hamilton to tag the pit wall and retire from the race. Button recovered to win.
Own go al in Canada
4: Downforce mystery Following strong practice pace at the Korean Grand Prix both McLarens struggle to capitalise on their form and fail to challenge Sebastian Vettel. Both cars suffer a loss of frontal downforce, which is blamed on the front wings picking up debris from the dirty circuit. Hamilton slipped to 12 seconds behind Vettel at the finish.
5: Pit stop palaver A botched pit stop put Jenson Button out of the British GP. Button was released from the pits without a nut on his front-right wheel. The tyre detached and he retired. Hamilton was fourth after being told to slow because the team feared he would run out of fuel.
Button had wh eel nu t w oe in the UK
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