McLaren head for Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

“Firstly, we shouldn’t get carried away by our podium in Australia. Yes, we had a fantastic race but we’re all aware that our car isn’t capable of repeating that sort of performance on sheer pace alone. And Sepang is one of the tougher tracks on the calendar, one where we will probably be further from the frontrunners than we were in Albert Park. The track is both fast and technical so requires good mechanical and aero grip. It’s much more aero-dependent and rear-limited than Melbourne so it may highlight some of the shortcomings in MP4-24. Nevertheless, we’re all really encouraged by the progress we’ve made and I know we’ll be pushing as hard as ever to put more points on the board in Sepang.”

Heikki Kovalainen

“The Sepang track is a challenge because it requires several compromises to get the best set-up. There are plenty of long straights, where you ideally need lower downforce, but that gives the car a tendency to slide too much through the high-speed corners. The best corners are Turns Six and Seven – the fast left-right esses behind the pits. In the car, you’ve not only got to find the optimum balance, but also make sure the brakes and cooling are efficient, otherwise you’ll be in trouble before you get to the end of the race. The only difficulty for me is the heat; coming from Finland, we often see the same temperature-readings – but with a minus in front!”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes“Despite a good result in the race, our performance in the Australian Grand Prix was not what we would like it to be, and the reality is that this weekend’s race in Malaysia is unlikely to offer a significant improvement in fortunes. Nevertheless, we are still pushing to introduce performance to the car – the close proximity to the opening race means there won’t be many large changes to the car but there will be several upgrades to existing components. For us, the mission is clear: we must introduce laptime to our car faster than our rivals to enable us to, firstly, catch the leading runners and then to be able to compete against them. It’s a task we take incredibly seriously and are confident that progress will be made sooner rather than later.”

Norbert Haug

Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport“With Lewis in third place, the season opener in Melbourne ended much better for us than we had expected after his 18th grid position. Compared to our test results in Barcelona two and a half weeks ago, we made a good step. This result was mainly due to Lewis’s perfect drive and a good strategy by our team. Moreover, some of the incidents in the race went in our favour. However, we cannot expect the same again this coming weekend in Malaysia. We all will work flat out to improve our technical package further – that’s a promise.”

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