Date: 14th March 2011 at 10:06am
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Winter testing may have made McLaren fans nervous, but both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have remained remarkably upbeat during the final days of testing in Barcelona.

The times suggest that the car could well be around 2 seconds slower on a qualifying run compared to the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and even Sauber and Mercedes, but following the late development of the car, McLaren have been forced to play catch up during testing and towards the end of the final days of testing, they were concentrating more on longer runs and ironing out the reliability issues.

Button and Hamilton remain confident that on the longer runs their car does remain competitive; however the concern is the reliability which has hampered them from completing the thousands of miles the other teams completed during the tests in Spain.

?It was disappointing not to be able to put more mileage on the car,’ Button said to the press after testing on Friday, before adding: I think we learnt some positive things: today was never about pace, as we weren’t running lower fuel loads, but there is pace in the car – it’s just been masked by reliability issues.

‘Now, I’m looking forward to Melbourne: you can’t under-estimate a team as determined as McLaren: we’re all pulling together and we’ve got some interesting developments in the pipeline.’

Hamilton had an extra few laps in the car on Saturday and even the wet weather failed to dampen his spirits: ‘I’ve done some long runs on the tyres on previous days, and I think the car’s feeling a lot better, So I think our race pace doesn’t seem so bad.?

‘Whether we can finish the race is the next thing. But our race pace doesn’t look so bad compared to other people’s.’ Hamilton added.

hile the drivers remain upbeat, they will remain hopeful that McLaren can pull on all their vast expertise and resources to bring updates and improvements to the car as quickly as possible.

McLaren have previously been one of the best teams at developing a car during the season and to play catch up this season they are going to have to do it all again this year.

 

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