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McLaren faster than Red Bull in race trim - Lowe

ESPNF1 Staff
June 8, 2011 « Bahrain GP cannot go ahead - Ecclestone | »
McLaren is confident it can fight Red Bull for victory this weekend © Getty Images
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McLaren is confident it can start to turn its championship around with a win at the Canadian Grand Prix and continue to take victories over the next few races to close the gap to Red Bull in the championships.

Lewis Hamilton is currently 58 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings, while McLaren is 61 points adrift of Red Bull in the constructors'. But technical director Paddy Lowe reckons there have been plenty of positives to draw on in recent races and it is just a matter of time until McLaren starts winning more races.

"We have been quicker than them [Red Bull] in the last two races in race trim, so we're actually out-performing them at that point in the weekend," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "Clearly in qualifying we've got quite a big gap to make up - how that advantage is gained by Red Bull we don't know. But we're working hard on raw performance, particularly in race performance, and I think we can play to our strengths and win races by applying good strategies."

Jenson Button said before the Monaco Grand Prix that it would take six or seven races for McLaren to match the Red Bull's downforce in qualifying trim. But Lowe believes some of the developments coming to the car should make that time span significantly shorter.

"We're working on a number of things - I won't declare them obviously - that would make it quite a bit shorter than that," he said.

He added that the McLaren works particularly well in low-speed corners and that should put it in good stead in Canada.

"I think we saw a good performance in Monaco [from McLaren], particularly in the race, and generally cars that go well in Monaco also go well in Canada. We were also quick in Spain in race trim, so I think the car is still performing well in all types of corner and I think we are therefore in a good position to take the race to Red Bull and win it if we can."

As for the championship, Lowe admitted the gap to Red Bull is big but said it was by no means insurmountable.

"With 12 or 13 races to come I would say that the championship is still there for the taking despite Sebastian's good lead in the drivers' and Red Bull's in the constructors'," he added. "As I said earlier, if we can close the gap in qualifying we will put ourselves more on the front foot on Sunday. I think we're in a very good position to win a lot of races and bring ourselves into championship contention. We're feeling very bullish about our current position, even though the points gap may look a little bit depressing when viewed in isolation."