Whitmarsh relief at Hamilton
Martin Whitmarsh says Lewis Hamilton was more confident of winning the Hungarian GP than the McLaren team as Kimi Raikkonen hunted him down.
Last Updated: 30/07/12 9:00am
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that Lewis Hamilton was more confident of securing victory in the Hungarian GP than the team as the 2008 World Champion just managed to rebuff the pursuit of Kimi Raikkonen at the Hungaroring.
Having repulsed Romain Grosjean during the first-half of the race, Hamilton was then required to run the final thirty laps as a single stint with Raikkonen's Lotus in hot pursuit. The Finn spent almost twenty laps tucked up within one second of Hamilton's McLaren but a faultless display kept the Englishman in front for a much-needed victory.
Reflecting on the "difficulty" of the win, Whitmarsh eulogised: "Lewis drove a great race. Obviously looking after the tyres was tough and he just drove superbly, made no mistakes, looked after the tyres and was more confident than we were for most of that race. In fact, he was calmer than we were and he really managed his pace to look after the tyres - they still had quite life left at the end.
"I think we had the quickest car. Looking after the tyres was difficult for both drivers, so maybe we need to look a little bit at tyre durability, but, it was quick enough to cross the line first and that is quick enough for me today."
Yet while it certainly appeared as if the Lotuses were able to maintain their tyres better than the McLaren, Hamilton's ability to avoid falling off F1's proverbial cliff offered a convincing retort to the critics who have previously disparaged him as being a tyre eater.
It was a performance that also drew effusive praise from former World Champ Damon Hill.
"He absolutely dominated the whole weekend and he did the complete job," enthused the Sky Sports F1 pundit. "He withstood the pressure from Kimi Raikkonen and he is looking stronger and stronger all the time.
"He's the pick of the bunch. Only Fernando Alonso is driving at the same level."