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Hungaroring, Friday July 24
P1 programme                                     20 laps
1m22.554s (3rd)
P2 programme                                     36 laps
1m22.079s (1st)

How was today?
“Firstly, I love driving here: it’s quite a complex circuit, verytechnical, lots of bumps and you need a good rhythm. It’s definitely inmy top five tracks on the calendar. We’ve refined the improvements wehad at the Nurburgring and they seem to be working, but we’ve still gota lot of work to do to beat the Red Bulls particularly. Nevertheless,it’s encouraging to be able to push the car – I’m happier with it thanI’ve been all season.”
Where is MP4-24 lacking pace?
“Over the bumps and at the exits of corners: unlike the Red Bulls andthe Brawns, we’re just not able to get the power down as early as them.It’s the speed out of the corners onto the straights where we lose out.Still, the guys at the factory have done an incredible job; I’m lookingforward to seeing them next week, just to expresshow thankful I am forall the hard work they’ve been doing.”
What do you expect for qualifying?
“The front row would be beautiful but, to be honest, I’m just aiming toget into Q3. The car is much more competitive – we’ve come from 2.5s offbut we’re still about four to five tenths off the leaders, so we’ve gotto keep working to make that up before we can start thinking aboutwinning.”

P1 programme                                     21 laps
1m22.278s (1st)
P2 programme                                     36 laps
1m22.126s (2nd)

A great result in both sessions – what’s made the difference for you?
“I’ve got the full upgrade package that Lewis raced at the Nurburgringand the car now feels much better to drive. We’ve got a new floor, newfront wing, updated bodywork and some small changes to the suspension.It’s a big package – and I know how hard the team has worked to geteverything here. There are stillcomponents arriving at the circuittoday!”

How different does the car feel with the upgrade package?
“The grip level is so much higher now. Stability under braking is muchbetter, and the guys have done a fantastic job to improve the balance atthe rear. We still haveto keep working hard to make furtherimprovements – but this is a great starting point.”

How positive do you now feel ahead of qualifying?
“I still think we need to look at the data and analyse the strength ofthe opposition. Of course, it would be fantastic to carry this over intoqualifying and the race, but we need to be realistic: I’m sure tomorrowmorning will give us a much clearer idea of the position of the Brawnsand the Red Bulls. But after today’s performance, I’ll definitely begoing for it.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

How have you managed to achieve such impressive improvements recently?
“The new aero package that Lewis’s car was fitted with in Germany wasoriginally intended for Hungary, but as things turned out we were ableto introduce it one race early on one car only. Here, in Budapest, we’vebeen able to use it on both cars. It’s a pretty major change, which hastaken us down a different aerodynamic route from the one we initiallyfollowed with MP4-24’s design, and I think it’s fair to say that thatnew direction appears to be a fruitful one. In addition, we’ve also madea few extra aero mods over and above the original Hungary aero package,and both drivers have clearly benefited from those mods today. As aresult, MP4-24 is now generating a significant amount more downforcethan it was at the beginning of the year – and, combined with what wasalways a pretty sound mechanical package, the result is the performancestep we’ve seen today.”

What are Lewis and Heikki saying about the car today?
“A racing driver will always drive up to and including his car’s limits.So, whenever you extend those limits by improving his car’s performance,his initial reaction on his first outing will always be a very positiveone, simply because he’s been enjoying exploring new, higher, limits. Onhis second outing, by which time he’ll have encountered those new,higher, limits, he’ll be making fresh observations. As a result, hisfeedback will be less positive than it was after his first outing. Butthat’s exactly as it should be: you want your drivers to be insatiablyambitious, and ours are.”
What can we expect for the rest of the weekend?

“This morning was basically a test session in which we did somedisciplined development work and gathered some useful data. Thisafternoon we turned our attention to trialling race fuel loads and doingtyre comparisons. There were no big issues, and our drivers bothperformed well. We learned quite a lot today, in fact. For tomorrow, wehope to be able to improve our car’s ride a little, and to continue tooptimise its set-up and thereby find a little more speed. We know what
programme we were on today in terms of tyres and fuel loads, but wedon’t have the same information about our competitors, so it would be
foolish to make predictions about the rest of the weekend. Suffice it tosay that we hope to qualify well with both cars, from which platformthere’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to race competitively onSunday.”

Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Quite a constructive first day on this demanding track. Clearly, our KERS Hybrid is a big help around this circuit – particularly in the first sector. But, in addition, it’s obvious that our car in total has improved a lot since Silverstone two races ago. Now we need to continue in the same direction tomorrow and on Sunday in order to finally bring home a creditable and respectab
le result.”









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