• Canadian Grand Prix

McLaren upbeat about chances of victory

ESPN Staff
June 10, 2012 « Gearbox change demotes Maldonado to 22nd | 'I never had a doubt in my mind' - Hamilton »
Lewis Hamilton will start from second on the grid © Press Association
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McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident Lewis Hamilton can win the Canadian Grand Prix and expects Jenson Button to bounce back in Sunday's race from 10th on the grid.

Hamilton qualified second on Saturday after warmer temperatures appeared to suit Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull more than the McLarens. But McLaren have won the last two races in Montreal and Whitmarsh does not think Saturday's qualifying performance in symptomatic of a more general slide in form for his team.

"I think the season is very, very challenging," he said. "I think Lewis is in much better shape than Jenson, he's on the front row, and we know that Lewis is a great driver here and he's capable of winning here. We also know that Jenson was running last last year before he won the race. These two guys have won the last two races here and we're looking forward to the race, which is the right focus."

For the third race in a row Button struggled to match the pace of Hamilton in qualifying and he has admitted that he still does not know why. However, Whitmarsh is confident that Button will come good if he continues to work on the problem with the team.

"These tyres are quite a reasonable challenge, and if between us we can't put a driver in a position where the tyres are in that very small narrow window then it's very difficult. We need to work together and the great thing is Jenson's got all this experience and I think he's renowned for being very calm about these things and very analytical. In the one sense it makes it a little bit frustrating for Jenson when we haven't got the answers but there is no-one better equipped than Jenson to work with the team to find that solution."

Button qualified tenth on Saturday after he used all three sets of his super-soft tyres before the top-ten shootout, forcing him to attempt a lap on the slower soft compound Pirellis. With the benefit of hindsight Whitmarsh admitted the team had made a mistake by sending him out on super-soft tyres in Q1 to ensure he made Q2.

"We would have got through without doing so, but you know how easy it is with hindsight to come up with that [decision] because you've got all the data. At the time there's a lot of track evolution and you don't know how much anybody is going to find. So we made that decision and from that point on we really put Jenson on the back foot and we arrived in Q3 without a new set of options."