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Quali bankruptcy: McLaren gambled away with the setup

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J enson Button was the only driver in the field who came close the unearthly Red Bull came. 'My Q3 lap was very good. Still, I'm four tenths off Vettel. I don't know where I should have got it from.' Even worse. Button must move back five starting positions on the starting grid. After the Singapore GP, the McLaren engineers saw the mess. The gearbox was so badly damaged that it would have lasted two races at the most. The damage history was the same as with Lewis Hamilton, who had already failed after 22 laps. Foreign bodies in the transmission oil.

Hamilton gambled away with the setup

Despite Button's transfer, Hamilton will start the race behind his teammate. The future Mercedes driver gambled away with the setup. Once again. On Friday he complained about a touch too much understeer. The intervention on Saturday morning provoked the opposite. So back again. But that made the understeer even worse.

'I noticed on the first lap that I wasn't cornering the car properly. We changed everything we were allowed to change during qualifying, front wing , mechanical adjustments and so on, but it didn't help much. Had there been no yellow flags in Q3, I might have been fourth. But Jenson's time was out of reach for me. '

Button relies on top speed in the race

Button also experimented a lot with the vehicle set-up. On Friday he tried it with minimal downforce. It was a failure because the tires suffered too much. 'I would probably have had to change tires six times. Still, it was a useful experiment because it gave us a few ideas. We had to give it a try, because I'm starting from behind because of my penalty. That's why we need top speed in the race to be able to overtake. For qualification and the race we are back to a more conventional setup. '

Button hopes for a crazy race like last year. One where tire wear dictates what happens. 'Last year only the rear tires were the big problem. This time the front tires will also be added. There are blisters, grains, a lot of wear and tear. A lot can shift in the race and give us an opportunity to make up positions.' Hamilton also relies on this: 'I have so much downforce on the car that it should help the tires. I even calculate myself for Sundaynot so bad chances. '

Whitmarsh puzzles over Red Bull updates

While the drivers thought about what could happen in the race, team boss Martin Whitmarsh looked thoughtful. The Red Bull were alarmingly fast. And that although McLaren came up with new side wings and modifications to the front underbody. According to the computer, the McLaren should be 0.120 seconds faster.

But Red Bull has apparently found half a second. Lag it's just the new front wing, which was flown in from Europe on Saturday night? Or the adjustable brake drums, with which you can better control the tire temperature at the front? The trick was copied from McLaren. It helps more in the race than in the race Training.

It was noticeable that the Red Bull drove the rest of the crowd in the twisty first sector, including McLaren and Ferrari, who are usually better in fast corners. Sebast lost on the straight ian Vettel and Mark Webber only three km /h on the McLaren. At the beginning of the year it was still up to eight km /h. Annoyed Whitmarsh summed up: 'Red Bull has developed well and got exactly the right setup. We hope it is just a flash in the pan.' Mr Whitmarsh could have been wrong about that

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