LONDON: McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button had the last laugh over rivals Red Bull at the weekend, even if Australian Mark Webber won their home British Grand Prix.
While Red Bull were fighting fires once again, needing to clear the air and mend fences after a row that overshadowed their driver’s victory and left Webber at odds with the team, Button and Hamilton’s ‘love-in’ continued to reap results.
McLaren stayed comfortably ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ championship while overall leader Hamilton, who finished a close runner–up to Webber, eased 12 points clear of Button in his title battle.
“I think everyone’s been talking how we get on well as team–mates and as a team but it’s what works for us,” reigning world champion Button said.
“We get on well at the moment. That might not always be the case but we are going to try and keep it that way,” added the 30-year-old.
“I think it keeps a very good environment within the team and it pushes everyone really hard here.
“It seems that in some teams you want to put a wall up in the middle (of the garage) but we share information. That is so important. They (Red Bull) have a very different situation,“ said Button.
“It might work for them, it might not, but our situation is the best I’ve had in Formula One.”
Webber and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had both said before the race that the McLaren ‘love-in’, illustrated by one newspaper printing Hamilton and Button’s images framed by a giant heart, could not last and was bound to end in tears.
Instead, not for the first time this season, Red Bull showed that internal combustion is not confined to the engine compartment while McLaren cashed in.
At Silverstone, as in Turkey in May when Webber and Vettel collided in the closing stages while leading one-two, the team were left nursing self-inflicted injuries in a row over favouritism.
The team had taken a new wing off Webber’s car and handed it to Vettel for qualifying after the German broke his in practice. Webber, winner of two races and very much in contention for the title, was incensed at being treated like a ‘number two’.
Hamilton, right behind the Red Bull drivers on the grid, could scarcely believe his eyes.
“Mark just drove in a straight line and the other one came over. Wow, he was aggressive, I thought they were going to crash,” the 2008 champion said.
Webber’s comment after winning, while Vettel came in seventh, showed how much he was smarting: “Not bad for a number two driver,” he said. On Monday, he wrote on his website that the win had tasted “even sweeter” for what had gone on.
The tension contrasted with the delight at McLaren to get two drivers into the top four after a weekend wrestling with a big aerodynamic update that had to be ditched on Friday evening.
“The team are performing as a group. Look at the harmony of the team,” said Hamilton, standing in the garage as the mechanics packed up around him.
“And myself and Jenson add to that. If there was a rift between us it would divide the sides and we don’t have that. It’s a real team.
“We work together, there’s no holding anything back or hiding anything,” he added. It’s just go out there and put these two cars on the front row and win the race.” – Reuters