Martin Whitmarsh satisified with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton's Indian GPs
Hamilton finishes fourth and Button fifth
By William Esler. Last Updated: 28/10/12 10:13pm
Martin Whitmarsh was satisfied with what he described as a "solid race" for both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton - who finished fourth and fifth at the Indian GP.
The Woking-based squad struggled on the option tyre all weekend and those travails followed them into the race as the both cars dropped behind Fernando Alonso during the opening stint.
Whitmarsh says that was expected given what they had seen during practice, but was pleased with their pace right to the checkered flag on the hard compound.
"It was a tough race but I think both guys did a good job," he told Sky Sports F1.
"We knew we were struggling on the option tyre - we have been struggling all weekend on it. On the prime tyre we were quickest out there but by that stage Jenson had fallen behind (Romain) Grosjean and lost too much time there and having the quickest pace at the end didn't quite get us back to where we wanted to be.
"Overall, solid race, solid points a good performance from both drivers and good pace on the prime but we have to work on how we get those option tyres working.
"I think to be honest we didn't get the 0.6 seconds advantage the others got when they switched to the option tyre - fortunately we had the underlying pace to get on the second row. But if you saw Jenson's tyres coming off the options were ruined but on the prime we told him to save fuel and he still set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap.
"We had the pace on the prime tyre but we just weren't as quick as the Red Bulls and Alonso on the options."
Button - a driver renowned for looking after his tyres - was the first of the front runners to pit and get rid of his options and echoed his boss's thoughts.
"The first and the last laps of the race were great - it was all the ones in the middle," the 2009 World Champion told Natalie Pinkham.
"I had a great a start, a good fight with Fernando and Lewis but for me the problem was the soft tyre. I just could not get it to work, the rim was moving and really destroying the front tyres - that is why I had to pit so early, they were on the canvas.
"I think some of it was to do with not being able to run on Friday and do a long run so trying to find a set up for that tyre was always going to be difficult. The prime was fine as I had done a lot more laps on it and the car really came alive on the prime tyre, but it was too late and the guys were too far ahead."
Lewis Hamilton was by far the most upbeat member of the McLaren line-up and despite not being able to catch Mark Webber for the final podium spot, says he thoroughly enjoyed the race - even with the unusual situation of changing five wheels, four round and one steering, at his pit-stop.
"It was a very, very tough race," Hamilton said.
"Within the car it felt great, but it was so difficult - Red Bulls were so quick through the final sector but we were catching them around the rest.
"I pushed every lap, right to the checkered flag as always, but more so it just felt fantastic to have that battle. It is just a shame I had one of my famous poor starts which put us on the back foot.
"If we had had a better start we had a chance of fighting for the lead, but those guys were faster than us so I probably would have lost time to them at some point - but even staying in my starting spot would have helped and perhaps I could have been fighting the Red Bull a little bit earlier.
"But then we had a steering wheel downshift failure and we had to change it during the race. I've never had that before - it was so quick! I just took it off before I even stopped, back on stuck it in first gear, boom it was gone."
Despite now being out of the hunt for both titles Whitmarsh says motivation will not be a problem for McLaren in the final three rounds of the Championship.
"We can still win races and that is what we are here to do," he added.
"There are three races left and we can get wins and podiums so I don't think motivation is a problem. That is what I want to do, what Lewis wants to do and what Jenson wants to do."