Monday March 18, 2013
McLaren look to recover from Aussie troubles
BRITISH team McLaren limp towards next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix after taking just two points out of the Formula One season opener in Melbourne yesterday.
Nothing went right for the eight-time world constructors’ champions in this weekend and their number one driver Jenson Button could only finish ninth behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus.
McLaren were well off the pace in practice and qualifying and Button was well down the field throughout the 58-lap Melbourne race, while Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez was out of the points in 11th.
“Having won the Australian Grand Prix three times so far in my career — in 2009, 2010 and 2012 — you’d have to say that today’s ninth place isn’t really much to write home about,” Button lamented.
The two championship points in Melbourne took Button to 1001 career points.
“Looking forward to Malaysia next weekend, I think we’ve got a tough few days ahead of us, but hopefully we can now do some number-crunching in an effort to understand our car a bit better and extract a bit more performance out of it there,” Button said.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, while praising the performances of his two drivers in difficult conditions, bemoaned McLaren’s inauspicious start to the new season.
“A ninth-place and an 11th-place finish don’t constitute much of a result by our sky-high standards, and ultimately the 2013 Australian Grand Prix weekend must therefore go down as a disappointing one for all at McLaren Mercedes,” he said.
“Our car simply hasn’t been quick enough here.
“Now the task that faces us is simple, if not easy: we’ll work incredibly hard to bring more pace to the MP4-28’s performance envelope. Our engineers are the best in the business, so I’m confident that they’ll do just that.” — AFP
Results of Australian GP
1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin-Lotus) 1’30:03.225, 2. Fernando Alonso (Spa-Ferrari) 12.451 seconds behind, 3. Sebastian Vettel (Ger-Red Bull) 22.346, 4. Felipe Massa (Bra-Ferrari) 33.577, 5. Lewis Hamilton (Bri-Mercedes) 45.561, 6. Mark Webber (Aus-Red Bull) 46.800, 7. Adrian Sutil (Ger-Force India) 1:05.068, 8. Paul di Resta (Bri-Force India) 1:08.449, 9. Jenson Button (Bri-McLaren) 1:21.630, 10. Romain Grosjean (Fra-Lotus) 1:22.759, 11. Sergio Perez (Mex-McLaren) 1:23.367, 12. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra-Toro Rosso) 1:23.857, 13. Esteban Gutierrez (Mex-Sauber) 1 lap, 14. Valtteri Bottas (Fin-Williams) 1 lap, 15. Jules Bianchi (Fra-Marussia) 1 lap, 16. Charles Pic (Fra-Caterham) 2 laps, 17. Max Chilton (Bri-Marussia) 2 laps, 18. Giedo van der Garde (Ned-Caterham) 2 laps.
Did not finish: Pastor Maldonado (Ven-Williams) 24th lap, Nico Rosberg (Ger-Mercedes) 26th lap, Daniel Ricciardo (Aus-Toro Rosso) 39th lap.
Did not start: Nico Hulkenberg (Ger-Sauber).
Fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen (Fin-Lotus) 1:29.274 seconds on lap 56.
Leading drivers’ championship: 1. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 25 pts, 2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 18, 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 15, 4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 12, 5. Lewis Hamilton, (Mercedes) 10, 6. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 8, 7. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 6, 8. Paul di Resta (Force India) 4, 9. Jenson Button (McLaren) 2, 10. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1.
Leading constructors’ championship: 1. Ferrari 30 pts, 2. Lotus 26, 3. Red Bull 23, 4. Mercedes 10, 5. Force India 10, 6. McLaren 2.