Lewis Hamilton looks for major gains
Lewis Hamilton admits the three-week pit-stop until the next race in Barcelona couldn’t have come at a better time as McLaren go back to the drawing board in a bid to get their campaign on track.
Riding high at the top of the drivers’ championship heading into Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the Briton crashed back down to earth with an eighth-place finish at the Sakhir Circuit, while team-mate Jenson Button was forced to pull out on the last lap.
Although botched stops for both drivers did them no favours, of most concern was the alarming lack of pace from the MP4-27 - Hamilton lost over two seconds to race winner Sebastian Vettel on the first lap alone - and the premature graining of the tyres.
And the 2008 champion admitted his McLaren team have it all to do in the lead-up to the Spanish GP to ensure they remain in the hunt for the title.
“I think for us we need that gap,” Hamilton said.
“There is no quick fix. We really have to make some big improvements to the car because the qualifying pace is there but the race pace was miles off.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and try and figure out where we are losing time, because we are quick in qualifying. But something changes in the race, so we have to go back and work harder at the factory, and if anyone can fix it, it’s us.”
Hamilton also revealed he’s considering changing plans and attending the Mugello test to make sure everything runs smoothly once the real action resumes on May 13. McLaren had signalled that neither Hamilton nor Button would be involved in testing, but the determined 27-year-old said: “It might change. I need to get back in the car. We need to figure out why the tyres are going off.
“If there are other things to test or ways to figure out I will be the one to do it, not let someone else do it.”
Meanwhile, McLaren aren’t the only ones with a busy next three weeks, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, whose team has struggled for much of the season, admitting: “The coming days will be very important, during which the primary objective will be to push as hard as possible on the development of the car.”