McLaren showed good pace in dry conditions but in the end both cars got caught out by the wet track during the final part of qualifying. Because of these struggles, Jenson Button will start 7th while Lewis Hamilton will start from 8th on the grid tomorrow.
Jenson Button, MP4-27A-02:
FP3: 24th, 1m20.914s (+4.900s) 25 laps
Q: 7th overall, 1m44.113s (on Full Wets)
* will start 6th due to Mark Webber’s five-place grid penalty
“We struggled to get the tyres to work today – when you can’t get temperature into the tyre; you don’t know its limit because it’s too cold, and you can’t hit the brakes either because you’ll lock up. It’s an issue we’ve had for a few races and an area where we need to improve.
“In dry running, however, the pace is very good: we just struggle in wet conditions to get the tyres working. We’ve got to sort out these issues with the tyre temperatures because it’s hurting us both – and that makes it a very difficult day in the office for us.
“However, the positives that we can take away are that our car looks quick in the dry and that this weekend’s upgrade package is a good step forward. Everyone should be proud of their efforts to not only get it working, but to also have delivered it ahead of schedule this weekend. Today was tough, but I hope we have a good race tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton, MP4-27A-03:
FP3: 2nd, 1m16.091s (+0.077s) 21 laps
Q: 8th overall*, 1m44.186s (on Full Wets)
* will start 7th due to Mark Webber’s five-place grid penalty
“We’ve got to be a little disappointed with the final qualifying result; we were looking good in both Q1 and Q2, so I don’t understand how the others went quicker as the track dried slightly towards the end of Q3.
“Still, we’re in a better position for tomorrow: although we’re not starting from the best positions, our car certainly looks better in the dry and, with dry weather predicted tomorrow, I definitely think we can have a good race.
“On Sunday, I plan to hunt everyone down from behind. The great thing at Hockenheim is the great big DRS zone along the back straight – so hopefully Jenson and I will be doing lots of overtaking there tomorrow!”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“The bad news is that we weren’t quick enough in Q3’s wet conditions; but the good news is that the dry pace of our car appears to be very good. It’s looking dry for tomorrow, it’s going to be a long race and we have two great racing drivers, so we’re optimistic of getting a decent result.
“Jenson and Lewis struggled in the wet, despite being very quick in the dry. Naturally, I’d rather start a few rows further forward, but as has been shown many times this year, you can win from further back. Fortunately, with our car looking more competitive in the dry, I’m confident that both drivers will do a good job tomorrow.
“From a broader perspective, I’m sure the quickly changing weather conditions between each qualifying session proved a gripping visceral thrill for even the most casual armchair fan. To its great benefit, Formula 1 is an all-weather sport, and all the drivers certainly displayed true gladiatorial mettle out there today. This most certainly isn’t a sport for the faint-hearted!”