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Whitmarsh: A team decision

Sunday 02-September-2012 11:50

Martin Whitmarsh says Lewis Hamilton is not solely to blame for his poor qualifying as the decision to swap wings was a team call.

Hamilton qualified down in seventh place for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix while his team-mate Jenson Button claimed pole position.

The 2008 Champ later revealed that he was down four-tenths compared to his team-mate on the straight after opting to return to McLaren's old rear wing rather than run the new one like Button.

Whitmarsh, though, says the blame doesn't rest solely on Hamilton's shoulders.

"We are a team - so we make these choices together," the McLaren team boss told Sky Sports News.

"On Friday we had virtually no running, yesterday morning we just had one hour. In that hour we wanted to compare tyres, fuel loads, aerodynamic setups, so the data we had was compromised.

"Lewis wasn't comfortable with the new wing, so we made the decision to go back to the old one.

"They have different downforce levels, I think if you look at the top 10 drivers there is quite a span in downforce levels.

"I would say Lewis is at a similar level to Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen, so I think you've got a 50:50 split of low downforce and medium downforce and again that is going to add to the race because in the middle section of this track you want downforce, so those with high downforce will be quicker, but then they are going to struggle on the straights.

"So, there will be a mix of that along with tyre degradation, KERS and DRS so it will be a pretty unpredictable race."

He added: "I think if you go up and down all the top garages at the minute you have got one happy side and one unhappy side.

"I think everyone knows this is an extraordinary track, it's a long lap, a long race and lots of things can happen, so I think Lewis will be keen to get as many points as he can and Jenson will be trying to create a very boring processional race if he can.

"Anything can happen here, anything can happen at the start, I don't think it will rain although it often does here. It's a tough track, it's a demanding track for the drivers, it's produced some really spectacular events.

"Overtaking I think will be considerably easier here than it has been at some of the recent races so I think we could see all sorts of things going on."

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