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McLaren aware of qualifying advantage

ESPN Staff
September 19, 2012 « Williams targets titles from 2014 | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
McLaren's qualifying pace saw it secure its third front row lock-out of the season at the Italian Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says the team may give greater importance to qualifying as it aims to chase down Fernando Alonso in the championship.

Lewis Hamilton's victory at Monza was the fourth time in a row that a race had been won from pole this season, with McLaren boasting the last three of those wins. Speaking during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in Lowe admitted that the recent trend could see the team focus on qualifying performance even more during the remainder of the season.

"We can influence the difference between race and qualifying pace in a few areas," Lowe said. "In most areas we can't, in the few areas we can we tend to make calculations about how we weight that in priority between the two. I have to say I agree that the recent statistics kind of show that weighting has kind of been stronger than most people appreciated. It does seem that there is a trend about being able to control the car and the use of the tyres if you're leading from the front than if you aren't. So we've certainly noticed it and it may cause us to do some things differently."

Lowe also said that McLaren had turned the tables on Red Bull by having the quicker car in qualifying trim this season and he said that performance leaves the team in a strong position as it chases both the drivers' and constructors' titles.

"We are in the great position that we can qualify well at the moment, and that is proving to be a strong benefit relative to our race pace which is relatively weaker. Last year the opposite was the case where we actually had a very strong race pace relative to Red Bull but they could consistently outqualify us and that made it very tough. So we are in a great position where it is the other way round now and that means we're in a good position for the remaining seven races."