Sepang circuit will not suit the McLaren MP4-25 as well
"but I’m confident that, once again, we’ll be fighting at or near the front"
Jenson Button: “It was a tremendous achievement to score our first win of the season in Melbourne last week, and it’s given every single member of the team even greater enthusiasm for this weekend. Even so, I think we travel to Sepang mindful that the characteristics of the circuit probably won’t suit our car as well as it will suit some of the others – but I’m confident that, once again, we’ll be fighting at or near the front.
“We’re only two races in, but I think the development race will already be starting to have an influence on performance. It’s the rate of improvement that will most influence the battle at the front. And I’m confident we can deliver in this area: it was something I watched the team doing throughout 2009, and it was one of the key reasons for deciding to hold talks with the team. I’m convinced we have the firepower to develop faster than our key rivals.
“Sepang is an awesome circuit, one that I love driving, and I think that I’ll be able to further develop and improve my relationship with the car here. It’s a circuit that not only requires smooth and precise input, but it also needs real commitment through some of the high-speed stuff. I think it’s a circuit that every driver loves.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Sepang has some of the best high-speed corners on the entire calendar. And, this year, I think we’ve got a car that will be far better suited to the circuit than we did last year, so I’m heading to Malaysia optimistic of a good result.
“It’s a fast circuit, that requires a well-balanced car with a good level of downforce. In some ways, it’s quite similar to Barcelona, where we tested well before the start of the season, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be competitive this weekend. However, I still think it might be difficult to make up the difference that’s needed in qualifying. Hopefully, that’s something that we’ll be able to solve as soon as possible.
“Last year we saw what could happen here once the weather took over. While I’m hopeful that this year’s race will be run in the dry, you can never discount the threat of rain. Either way, I think we’ll be competitive.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Every single member of this team worked tirelessly to put us in a position to win the Australian Grand Prix – and we were tremendously buoyed by both Jenson and Lewis’s incredible performances. As a result, we travel to Malaysia keen to maintain the level of competitiveness we demonstrated in Melbourne.
“We’re under no illusions that the regular pacesetters will once again be up at the front, but I think we’ve now shown that we’re a match for the competition – particularly with our race pace, which is up there with the very best.
“On a broader note, it was very satisfying to see Formula 1 deliver such an invigorating and exciting race in Melbourne, and I hope that this weekend’s race can continue that trend. It’s a circuit that delivers natural spectacle and is one of the best places in the world for watching grand prix cars at high-speed. It looks like we have all the ingredients for a classic season.”