Hamilton thrilled with front row start

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Lewis Hamilton put in one of his best laps this season to put the McLaren on the front row for tomorrow's German GP. He splits the Red Bulls after it looked there were not enough pace in the car to do it. Jenson Button will start from 7th due to various struggles with the balance of his car.

Lewis Hamilton, MP4-26A-03:
P3: 4th, 1m31.578s (+0.662s) 13 laps
Q1: 8th, 1m32.934s (on Primes)
Q2: 1st, 1m30.998s (on Options)
Q3: 2nd overall, 1m30.134s (on Options)

“First of all I want to say a huge congratulations to the whole team, who did a great job today. Everyone back at the factory and here at the circuit has been working massively hard, and that’s the reason why the car was so quick today. I think we all underestimated how good the car would be, in fact.

“To split the Red Bulls and be ahead of the Ferraris is a fantastic effort by the team. We’ve got a big job ahead of us tomorrow, of course, but today I’m on a high: that lap was a real boost.

“I reckon today’s qualifying session was one of my best ever, definitely my best this season. The car felt great, we had really good balance and I think it’s one of the best laps I’ve done in the car. You’re already on the limit in your first lap of Q3, and usually if you improve in the second run it’s by a tenth; but today it was by four-tenths. I don’t really know where I found the time, and to be honest I’m going to get a recording of the onboard footage and watch it back because I’d love to see it!”

Jenson Button, MP4-26A-04:
P3: 5th, 1m31.623s (+0.707s) 14 laps
Q1: 13th, 1m33.224s (on Primes)
Q2 6th, 1m31.532s (on Options)
Q3: 7th overall, 1m31.288s (on Options)

“My car felt pretty good this morning, but this afternoon during quali I couldn’t find enough grip out there on either the Prime or the Option tyre. We’ll look into it this evening to better understand what happened.

“However, Lewis drove a brilliant lap to be second on the grid – so congratulations to him. Actually, his pace is encouraging for me too, because it shows there’s more speed in the car if only we can find it. Also, yesterday showed that our long-run pace is pretty good, so that’s encouraging too.

“So, when you consider that I’ve had a rather troubled couple of days, I suppose P7 is a reasonable platform from which to try to score as many world championship points as possible during the race tomorrow.

“As always, here at the Nürburgring, there’s a possibility of rain – and I’ve had success in changeable weather conditions this year. But, come rain or shine, I’ll be approaching the race really positively.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Lewis drove an absolutely stunning lap at the Nürburgring today, and will start tomorrow’s race from the front row as a result.

“Moreover, our long-run pace was strong in yesterday’s practice sessions, so I’d say we’re now in a good position from which to mount a challenge for victory on Sunday.

“Jenson had some reliability niggles yesterday, but was much happier this morning in P3. In qualifying this afternoon, however, he struggled for grip, but still qualified seventh. This evening we’ll analyse what happened to him, the better to optimise his race strategy for tomorrow.

“Undoubtedly, he’d prefer to have qualified farther up the grid, but we know how combative and canny a racer he can be, and he’s therefore well capable of scoring a lot of world championship points tomorrow too.

“We’ve worked extremely hard on the car in the two weeks since the British Grand Prix, and the new aero parts we brought here appear to have delivered what we’d hoped they’d deliver. So I want to say a big ‘well done’ to all concerned.

“As ever, also, Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines have done and are doing a fantastic job for us, and we’d dearly love to be able to reward their sterling efforts with victory in their home Grand Prix.”