Lewis Hamilton is confident that McLaren won’t repeat the mistakes of the past two years and is also looking forward to his battle with Jenson Button…
Lewis Hamilton is confident that McLaren won’t repeat the mistakes of the past two seasons and is also looking forward to his battle with Jenson Button.
The Woking squad struggled during pre-season testing in 2010 and 2011 and, although they managed to get their act together after the opening few races, they were unable to stop Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull from claiming the double.
The start of the 2011 season was a particularly poor one for McLaren and many people dubbed their MP4-26 “a dog” during testing.
However, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Hamilton says early impressions of the MP4-27 suggest it will be a much better car than their 2011 challenger.
“From what I’ve seen the new McLaren seems a lot better than last year’s car,” he said.
“Basically, the Red Bull is an evolution of the aerodynamic concepts introduced in 2009. Midway through 2011 it was phenomenal, it was at the highest level and on top of that it almost never broke down.
“By contrast, when we had the same reliability, we lacked the same performance.”
“During the winter you always dream of arriving at the start of the season with a car that goes quick immediately. This hasn’t happened in the last two seasons. If we start well, we’ll stay at the top more easily.”
The 26-year-old finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship last season and also found himself behind team-mate Button in the standings.
“Jenson is very quick and has built a strong team of technicians around him,” Hamilton said.
“I’d like to be ahead of him all the time, and I’m not happy if the opposite happens.
“However, psychologically it’s absolutely not a problem. Besides, he’s an open and cheerful guy who I get along with. It would be nice to fight for the 2012 Championship with him: that depends on the McLaren car.”
Hamilton also commented on his relationship with Massa during the 2011 season. The duo made contact several times on the track and they also had a run-in or two off it.
The McLaren driver feels there is a simple explanation for their clashes.
“We often found ourselves close together and Massa is a difficult driver to pass because he never gives you any room. But it’s not something to over-dramatise. I have nothing against him,” he said.