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McLaren will make drivers talk - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
April 22, 2013 « Red Bull still unhappy with Pirelli | Hembery says Massa failures caused by cuts »
Jenson Button and Sergio Perez made contact twice during their fight © Sutton Images

Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren will get its two drivers to sit down and talk about their actions during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Jenson Button accused Sergio Perez of being "dirty" during their on-track battle at Sakhir, while Perez admitted he was "too aggressive" but said Button was just as guilty. Whitmarsh said after the race that he would ensure the drivers talk it over due to "some tension" between them, but added such a situation was part of not issuing team orders.

"Jenson's a grown-up and he'll deal with it," Whitmarsh said. "We'll probably get the two together and have a chat to them and let them talk amongst themselves. What happened there hurt both of them in a race to a degree, but that happens if you're going to let your drivers race. You can't suddenly change your mind on lap 38 and go 'Sorry guys, I didn't mean it', you've got to let it happen.

"There's some tension, but Checo knows what he did and I think with Jenson the great thing is he's a grown-up. If he's been beaten by his team-mate and he's happy I'd be concerned, but I'm not concerned that he feels like he does because that's how he should do, but he'll get over it."

Whitmarsh clarified that McLaren would continue to let its drivers race and feels that ultimately Perez was showing encouraging signs during the fight.

"If you call a team order the guy behind is always going to be aggrieved and he's trying hard so why should we do that to him? So, it cost us time in the race and it could have cost us a lot more; a bigger calamity than that otherwise I think we would have been comfortably in front of the Mercs but that's how we go motor racing, I don't think there's a surprise there. It was a little bit on the edge of what they should have been doing to each other but I think there was no doubt that they both wanted to get the place.

"He beat a lot of cars fair and square. People talking about Sergio being a bit too polite are probably not going to rate those headlines this evening. He's young and he wanted to push and I was fine with it but hitting your team-mate is a more difficult to forgive offence; you don't do that. He's young, he's learning and he's fighting and that's fine with me."

Confirming he had spoken to Perez soon after the race, Whitmarsh added: "I gave him my view on it. His response was 'Yes, you're right, I was s****ing myself at the time!'"