• ‘We can capitalise on their faults and mistakes’
• Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have ‘less chemistry’
Lewis Hamilton says the McLaren team can exploit the difficulties in the Red Bull camp created by the crash between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Istanbul two weeks ago.
“Clearly they have less chemistry, less of a friendly relationship than myself and Jenson [Button],” he said yesterday. “We do a lot of events together, spend a lot of time with each other and we have a huge amount of respect for each other and what we have achieved.
“That plays to our advantage and we will definitely try to capitalise on their faults and their mistakes.”
Hamilton knows all about difficulties within a team from his rookie year in 2007, when he had a strained relationship with Fernando Alonso, who was ultimately driven from the camp by the British driver’s precocious brilliance.
“For sure the experiences I have had has helped in dealing with things. I can always take things better, I can always be less emotional but I am a racer, I am committed to the team and we are all emotionally driven, so we all feel it when there is a mistake.”
Describing how a relationship can deteriorate, he said: “It starts off at some point and spirals off. While we are in a team sport you are out there to win the championship. But we don’t hide anything. If Jenson changes a wing I know that and the work I do on the simulator he knows.
“Everything is transparent. I heard that the Red Bulls had one engine turned up, another turned down even though they both had the same instructions.”
The superior pace of the Red Bulls is expected to be less evident here, with the long, fast straights and slow corners expected to favour the McLarens. Certainly Hamilton and Button lived up the hype yesterday when they dominated the morning practice session. The world champion Button was fastest and Hamilton third, separated by Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was fourth, followed by Vettel’s Red Bull, Robert Kubica’s Renault and Alonso’s Ferrari. Webber, though, the world championship leader, was back in 14th place.
The weather was once again damp and cloudy and the prospect of rain on Sunday is already intensifying the expectations of a good race. Even in the dry here races are usually dramatic enough for most people.
Button, meanwhile, wanted to take his mind off the racing and talk about the recent awarding of his MBE. “I was pretty excited but I was also quite nervous. I was stood with quite a few people. Patrick Stewart was being knighted and I met up with him. He is a big F1 nut. When I walked up to meet her majesty the Queen I thought I know what I am going to say. It’s not a problem. I know exactly what I am going to ask her.
“I arrived and I just stood there, staring at her. She put the MBE on me, looked at me and just smiled and then started talking. She broke the ice and it was fine.”
He added, a little tongue in cheek, “She knew a lot about F1. If she was well-briefed she was very well-briefed. She knew everything, F- Ducts, you gain five kms on the straights, or is it six? Amazing.”