McLaren preview the Bahrain GP

Date published: April 19 2012

Jenson Button believes the MP4-27 will be well suited to the Sakhir circuit while team-mate Lewis Hamilton is looking for his first win in Bahrain…

Jenson Button believes McLaren’s MP4-27 will be well suited to the Sakhir circuit while team-mate Lewis Hamilton is looking for his first win in Bahrain.

For all the latest F1 odds on the first race of the season at the Sakhir circuit visit Sky Bet.

Jenson Button: “I won this race in 2009 and feel we have a car that’s quite well suited to the track’s characteristics. The track is a good balance of tricky, technical, low-speed corners and faster, high-speed sweeps – particularly two sections behind the pits, which are very satisfying when you get them right. Our car should go well here.

“I think the original circuit layout, which doesn’t include the extended ‘endurance’ loop that we used for a single race in 2010, is better for Formula 1 – and it’s a positive that we’re returning to that configuration this year.

“It will make the approach into Turns Five, Six and Seven – the high-speed sweepers – more challenging as you’ll be entering at much higher speeds. Hopefully, we can get another strong result to bolster our chances in the championship.”

Lewis Hamilton: “Unlike Jenson, I’ve not won in Bahrain – although I’ve had some strong drives there in the past. The circuit is a typically modern F1 track, with plenty of run-off and a good variety of corners. You can be really late on the brakes for Turns One, Four and 14, which is a particularly technical final corner.

“Still, there are definitely passing opportunities. Turn One is a classic late-braking opportunity, and it also gives you the chance to set up the other driver, by forcing him to defend up the inside and then compromising his exit speed, which gives you the opportunity to have a look inside at Turn Two, or even Turn Four at the end of the straight.

“I think we go to Bahrain with a car that’s well-balanced in every area, and I’ll be looking for another strong result.”

Martin Whitmarsh, team Principal: “Our result in China showed that neither Jenson nor Lewis has lost any of his fighting spirit; and to get both of them on the podium – after each qualified in a less-than-representative position – was further proof that MP4-27 appears to be consistently competitive wherever we go.

“The 2012 event will mark the first time Formula 1 has raced in Sakhir using both KERS Hybrid and DRS, and I think the combination, in tandem with a well-positioned DRS deployment zone along the main straight, will lead to another exciting race.

“This weekend, we’ll be looking for more points-scoring opportunities for both drivers – we’re fully aware that this is a long championship and that it’s often just as important to score regularly, and to keep scoring, as it is to win races. It’s consistency that will define the path to both world championships, I believe.

“This race will represent the last of the four flyaways that constitute the opening phase of the 2012 world championship. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes goes into the race leading both the drivers’ and the constructors’ world championships, and we want to come away from Bahrain having consolidated our positions in both. We’re determined to mount a consistent and sustained challenge for both titles, and we’re currently in a good position to achieve that.”