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Whitmarsh aims to close gap in China

ESPNF1 Staff
April 5, 2010 « Ferrari rues disaster weekend | »
Martin Whitmarsh says Red Bull can be caught © Getty Images

Martin Whitmarsh thinks that his McLaren team can match the pace of Red Bull in the races to come despite the dominance shown by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in their 1-2 in Malaysia.

McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button battled back strongly in Sunday's race to finish sixth and eighth respectively after a misjudged qualifying session saw them line up 20th and 17th on the grid.

"I think they were very much in a class of their own but we are very much closer now," Whitmarsh told AUTOSPORT. "Their qualifying pace has been very good, we think we know why, and I think that is something that others will be coming through with shortly."

Whitmarsh said McLaren would arrive at the Chinese Grand Prix with a series of updates, which could include a revised suspension for helping optimise ride-height to boost speed in qualifying. It is a system that has proved effective for their Red Bull rivals.

"We have some new parts coming for China which will lift us by more than a few tenths," said Whitmarsh. "We had six modifications here that were worth over 0.3 seconds, and if we can deliver more than 0.3s going to China, then I think it will be a pretty good effort - particularly in qualifying.

"We have a reasonable momentum at the moment. But who knows? You can turn up at the next race and someone goes, 'hallelujah', finds something, and they take half a second to one second off you. But I think we will be competitive in China."