The boys at Woking seem to have settled into a firm, calm confidence after their back-to-back one-two finishes at Turkey and then Canada.
I guess being on top of both title races will do that, huh?
In the team’s European Grand Prix preview, Martin Whitmarsh probably sums things up the best:
After two consecutive one-twos, it certainly felt like Bruce McLaren himself was looking down on us and smiling, particularly after we recently commemorated the 40th anniversary of his death.
Iâ€™m sure Bruce would also have appreciated the relentless and dedicated approach we have taken to the engineering and development of MP4-25 â€“ I think weâ€™ve shown in the past two races that we lack nothing in terms of hunger and motivation. And with our car being constantly developed, I believe we can continue to be a threat at the majority of remaining races on the calendar.
Whitmarsh puts the credit on the team’s development ability — a quality we’ve discussed here plenty. And once again this season, the McLaren cars did not start off the year the quickest, but they have moved steadily forward. That F-duct isn’t hurting, either.
The drivers, too, are exuding confidence, if that’s possible over the Internet. First, Jenson Button:
As a team, weâ€™ve taken maximum points in the last two races and it feels like weâ€™ve really gathered considerable momentum. The team really is functioning as a single unit, so I think we head into Valencia next weekend hopeful of being able to once again capitalise on that determination and ambition.
Then, Lewis Hamilton, who might be so confident he doesn’t really even talk about the racing:
I also think itâ€™s good for the championship to have a variety of circuits â€“ weâ€™ve just come from a fast, flowing road course in Canada, to a tight street track in Valencia. And, next month, weâ€™ll be at Silverstone â€“ one of the fastest tracks of the year, and a circuit with incredible history. As a driver, that sort of variety makes the racing exciting and unpredictable, which is all you can really ask for.
The last few grands prix have had some fantastic racing â€“ it would be great for all the Spanish fans if we can have a great race here too. Itâ€™s not a circuit where weâ€™ve seen too much passing in the past, but I think this year could be different â€“ the grid is so tight, there were battles all through the field in Montreal last week, so I think we could have a close and exciting race this year.
Seriously, Lewis doesn’t focus at all on the points fight or the car’s development. He’s just happy to talk about the different tracks and how Valencia might, finally, involve one car passing another. Wouldn’t that be a treat?
I think the key statement from these, though, might be Jenson’s about the team acting as a “single unit.” It is easy to say that when you’re winning, as McLaren has done in the past month, but unlike over at Red Bull where any talk of unity — even before Turkey — sounded disingenuous, I’m starting to wonder if McLaren has got the egos in check and Jenson and Lewis in a frame of mind that allows them to race each other, but with respect and even a bit of friendliness towards each other.
That all might start to crumble as the title chase moves along, but McLaren sure seems poised right now as the clear front-runner. Are they the favorites, do you think? Can Red Bull (or Ferrari, or even Mercedes) pull it together enough to keep the title chases going?