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McLaren buoyed by end to 2012

ESPN Staff
December 4, 2012 « Wins the target in 2013 - Brawn | Silverstone takes measures to avoid a repeat of 2012 »
McLaren had the quickest car in the final races of the season © Sutton Images
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McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael says the team's confidence will be high at the start of 2013 having ended this season with back-to-back victories.

Lewis Hamilton won in Austin before being taken out of the lead in Brazil, leaving Jenson Button to secure victory at the final race of the season. Hamilton was also set for victory in Abu Dhabi before a gearbox problem ended his race, and Michael said that the strong performances at the end of 2012 marks McLaren out as the team to beat at the start of next year.

"The car was really quick in the last two races and I think we can look forward to some really strong performances next year," he told Sky Sports News. "We have to make the normal gains you have to do over winter and Red Bull and Ferrari will be flat out doing that, as will the other teams trying to catch up - Lotus and Mercedes. But we're pretty confident we can do the right things over the winter and start off strong. We're going to Melbourne to win."

McLaren won as many races as double world champions Red Bull this season - seven in total - and Michael believes it's a fact that shouldn't be overlooked despite the failure to sustain a challenge for either championship.

"It was a fantastic year for the team. We obviously wanted to perform better in terms of end result and be there for the championship but the car was strong at the end and we're really focused on 2013 now.

"We've got a change to one of the drivers, so that's a big change for the team, and we're doing all the planning for that now, but also putting in place all the changes that we need to make sure that we're successful next year - and that means the whole lot."