Hamilton may test at Mugello
McLaren searching for answers after losing pace
Last Updated: 26/04/12 9:40am
Lewis Hamilton is considering changing plans and attending next week's Mugello test as an emergency measure to put McLaren's faltering season back on track.
Although the team have signalled that neither Hamilton nor Jenson Button would be involved in the May 1-3 test, with test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey instead scheduled to be in action, Hamilton has confirmed that he may now cancel plans for a week off in the wake McLaren's unexpected loss of pace in Sunday's grand prix in Bahrain.
"It might change," Hamilton told The Daily Telegraph. "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 some-one else do it."
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Although McLaren's botched pit-stops were the most dramatic features of the team's miserable afternoon, a fundamental lack of pace - on the first lap alone, Hamilton lost over two seconds to race winner Sebastian Vettel - and premature graining on the MP4-27s tyres meant that Hamilton and Button were never in realistic contention for a podium, let alone victory.
The 2008 World Champion is therefore grateful for the small mercy of a three-week window between races giving the team an extended period of time, and a rare in-season test, in which to cure their ills.
"I think for us we need that gap. We have a lot of work to do. 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," Hamilton said.
"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."
To what extent Sunday's unpredicted cooler temperature caused McLaren's sudden drop-off is unclear, but there is no doubt that the team, like every other outfit along the pitlane, is still striving to understand this year's brand of Pirelli tyres.
"It is a much more interesting championship right now than I would like it to be," Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss, told The Times. "We have got to focus on what we did wrong. These tyres are very, very challenging.
"We have to focus on and understand what we did wrong, how we weren't performing, because clearly we're doing something wrong. If you look at our pace in the race compared to that on Friday, we were a second slower.
"We're capable of doing that because we've good people, capable of recovering the situation, but there's no magic."