‘Just one of those days’ for McLaren

By on Sunday, April 22, 2012

© Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

FIA - Eighth place for Lewis Hamilton and a retirement for Jenson Button tarnished McLaren’s fine early season form.

Hamilton had been running in second place early in the race, only to lose that to the charging Romain Grosjean but the Englishman’s real problems came in his first two pitstops, where each time a problem with the left-rear delayed his departure. After the first round of stops he dropped from third to sixth, at the second he lost further ground and was effectively running in tenth before recovering towards the end of the race.

“There are good times and bad times in motor racing. I guess this was just one of those days,” said Lewis. “By rights we should have been fighting to finish in the top four today, but it didn’t work out like that in the end. The delays in the pits were a big part of that, of course. For the driver sitting in the car, that’s always frustrating, because you’re just waiting and there’s nothing you can do to help.

“We lost a bit of world championship momentum today – but, on the plus side, we still picked up four world championship points, and every point you score is valuable in a season as close-fought as this one. Button’s race was ultimately worse. After losing two places at the start he ran fifth and sixth for much of the race before a late puncture required him to make an unscheduled fourth stop. It may have been irrelevant as shortly afterward he retired a sick-sounding McLaren.

“My final stint was a long one, and, if I hadn’t struck trouble, I reckon things would have got quite interesting in the final laps,” said Button. “Some drivers had pushed harder at the start of that stint, but I’d been looking after my tyres. Into the last five laps, I started pushing pretty hard, and I caught up with Paul [di Resta] and Nico [Rosberg]. But, just as I braked for the final corner [on lap 53], the right-front corner lifted up in the air and I realised I had a [left-rear] puncture. So I quickly radioed the team, and pitted. In the last few laps, the car sounded really noisy. I think the initial problem was an exhaust failure, then my puncture, and then a differential failure; so I had to retire. It’s been a pretty difficult weekend for the whole team.”

McLaren leave Bahrain second in the Constructors’ Championship, nine points behind Red Bull Racing, with Lewis Hamilton second and Jenson Button fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

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