McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished the Spanish GP in 8th and 9th positions respectively. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh however is adamant Lewis in particular drove a brilliant race after having to recover from 24th on the starting grid.
Lewis Hamilton, MP4-27A-03:
Fastest lap: 1m28.918s (+2.668s, 18th)
Pitstops: Two: laps 14 (4.0s) and 35 (3.8s) [Opt-Pri-Pri]
“I’m proud of my performance today, and proud of the team too. They did a great job: a real improvement with the pitstops, following our difficulties in that area recently. All in all, then, I think today’s result was the best we could do.
“I was the only driver to attempt a two-stop strategy, and I’m glad I was able to made it work. People often say that I have an aggressive driving style, but my final stint on the Prime tyre was 31 laps, so I reckon I proved today that I can make tyres last.
“It was a huge challenge to come through the field from the back, but I never gave up for a single second, right up to the finish line. Before the race I said I’d race my heart out, and that’s exactly what I did. For me, that’s what racing is all about.
“Today was all about damage limitation. But, now, looking at the bigger picture, I can’t really complain because, despite the setbacks I’ve had this season, I’m still only eight points behind the leader of the drivers’ world championship.
“The team has been working extremely hard, and our car is quick. So, when things go right, I think we’ll be in a great position – and it’ll come to us before too long.
“Finally, big congratulations to Pastor [Maldonado] and everyone at Williams – it’s a fantastic result for them and this is a great day for him personally.”
Jenson Button, MP4-27A-04
Fastest lap: 1m28.624s (+2.374s, 14th)
Pitstops: Three: laps 9 (4.1s), 25 (4.6s) and 38 (3.8s) [Opt-Pri-Opt-Pri]
“Congratulations to Pastor! His was a great drive and I’m sure it will instil a lot of confidence in him and the Williams team
“The Formula 1 form-book is very mixed-up at the moment, which is unusual, but that’s the way it appears to be going this season. As for us, well, a lot of my afternoon was spent stuck in traffic, and I had a Sauber breathing down my neck for most of the race. All in all, we weren’t quite quick enough today – but that’s something I need to solve myself. I need to find a set-up that suits me better as I feel like I have pretty poor grip at the moment.
“Having said that, I’m already looking forward to Monaco and a much better weekend there. It’s a circuit I love and hopefully a place where we can achieve a good result.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Before I say anything else, I want to offer my very hearty congratulations to Williams, to Pastor and particularly to Sir Frank for a stunning victory here today.
“For Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, following our disappointments yesterday, today was always going to be about recovery. Even so, Jenson will be disappointed: he struggled with balance and grip all afternoon, and won’t be satisfied with the brace of world championship points that his ninth place delivered him.
“Lewis, having started in 24th and last place following his qualifying penalty yesterday, drove an absolutely storming race to eighth place at the chequered flag, all but catching and passing Nico [Rosberg] for seventh place on the final lap. Like Jenson, he won’t be content with the four world championship points he earned this afternoon, but in truth he should be immensely proud of his performance here.
“Lewis was the only driver to make a two-stop strategy work today – and that, given that his race strategy called for him to drive exceptionally hard and extremely fast in heavy traffic all afternoon, pulling off some sensational passing manoeuvres on a circuit on which overtaking is notoriously difficult, was a truly magnificent feat.
“Make no mistake about it, the 2012 Santander Spanish Grand Prix was one of the most impressive races that Lewis has ever driven. His performance combined fabulous verve with commendable caution – and I’d go so far as to say that, rising above the frustration he inevitably felt yesterday evening, he’s inspired each and every one of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes with his stirring drive today.
“He’s only eight points behind the leader in the Drivers’ World Championship, and he loves the Monaco Grand Prix, the next stop on the World Championship calendar.
“Jenson, too, is a past winner at Monte-Carlo, and, like Lewis, he’ll approach the dauntingly tortuous streets of the famous Principality with the forceful precision that marks out both our drivers as the superb World Champions that they are.
“They’ll both be aiming to win, of that you may be sure.”