McLaren strong, confident and ready

Date published: August 21 2011

Lewis Hamilton is adamant McLaren can fight for top honours at the Belgian GP as their MP4-26 has proven to be the car to beat in recent races…

Lewis Hamilton is adamant McLaren can fight for top honours at the Belgian GP as their MP4-26 has proven to be the car to beat in recent races.

McLaren headed into the summer break on the back of successive victories with Hamilton having won the German GP while his team-mate Jenson Button triumphed in Hungary.

The results were a welcome boost to McLaren’s confidence in the midst of a season that has been largely dominated by Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team.

“I think we go into the race weekend in a pretty good place,” Hamilton said.

“We’ve won the last two grands prix and the car feels strong; we’ve worked hard to improve the set-up, so it’s really inspiring confidence at the moment, which means you can push it that little bit further, particularly in qualifying.”

The Brit, though, admits that the weather could play a major role in the outcome at a track that he considers to be “easily one of the greatest circuits in the world.”

He said: “Of course, the weekend is likely to be affected by the weather, which is always somewhat unpredictable at Spa. I’d prefer a dry race, but, to be honest, I’ll take any track condition: I just can’t wait to get back out in my car!”

Meanwhile, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has urged his team to give everything they have in the final push, saying they need to be aggressive and confident.

“This final stretch of European races (Belgium and Italy) will break the back of the calendar,” said Whitmarsh.

“So it’s important we hit them aggressively and confidently before pushing on into the final flyaways.

“The whole team has returned to work feeling refreshed, relaxed and recharged, and I’m confident we’ll see the benefit of that at the racetrack.

“Our engineers and strategists are hungry to get back to business, and our mechanics are fit and ready to continue the excellent progress they have been making all season with fast and reliable work in the garage and the pitlane.

“Despite winning three of the last five grands prix, we are still hugely determined to be stronger than before.

“Time and time again, we have proved our resilience and determination, particularly at this crucial stage of the World Championship. We are more than ready for this fight and relishing every race.”