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McLaren's success could be key - Martin Whitmarsh

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Canadian Grand Prix in 90 seconds

McLaren's past success could give them the edge in this year's championship, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has said.

After securing a second straight one-two finish in Canada, McLaren top the Formula 1 driver and team standings.

And Whitmarsh feels the pressure could particularly tell on a Red Bull team lacking experience in title fights.

"Overall this team is pretty battle hardened. We've been through a lot of fights, so have our drivers and they know how tough it is," he stated.

McLaren have won 12 driver and eight team F1 titles, were involved in battles that went down to the final race in 2007 and 2008 and, in Jenson Button and Sunday's race winner Lewis Hamilton, have the last two champions.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton delighted after 'sensational' win

In contrast, Red Bull are in their sixth season and have only once come close to winning a title - Sebastian Vettel finishing as runner-up to Button last year.

And in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, McLaren won the strategic battle, with Hamilton and Button stopping early and ultimately taking a one-two that saw Hamilton head the drivers' standings on 109 points, three ahead of Button, with Red Bull's Mark Webber a further three points back.

And Whitmarsh added that McLaren can continue to win the small battles, saying: "A lot of titles are won by making the most of opportunities, and we have won championships on that basis, and lost them by not doing so as well.

"We probably have a bit more experience in our team than Red Bull Racing, and the drivers and this team are very determined to make sure we carry on winning races.

"But we don't underestimate Red Bull. They are going to come back strongly because they have not won a championship, and they are determined to do so.

"Ferrari is there as well, and at the moment you cannot rule out Mercedes, even though they have slipped back a little.

"We have to make sure we continue to develop the car.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

"We have an underlying development programme where we are trying to save 0.15 to 0.25 seconds every race, and if you do that in four races then that is one second.

"We have a reasonably big upgrade we are fighting to have for Silverstone [the British Grand Prix on July 11], and if that is there I would be disappointed if it is not a much bigger step than that.

"If we fail to develop the car we will get overhauled and beaten by more than just Red Bull.

"It is a classic case if we don't develop the car at a quick enough pace, we will not win races and we will not win this championship."

However, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has insisted his own team's upgrades can keep them in the hunt.

The team are 54 points behind McLaren in the constructors' championship, while Fernando Alonso is 15 points behind Hamilton in the drivers' standings, but Domenicali believes Alonso's third-place finish in Canada points towards an improvement.

"The result does not match up to the potential we had shown during the weekend," he said.

"But the fact we had a car virtually identical to the one in Turkey where we were definitely not competitive, is cause for thought.

"Now we must push as hard as possible on the development of the car.

"The drivers' championship is very open, and if the constructors' one looks a bit trickier, the situation can change really quickly."



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see also
Canadian GP - Top three drivers
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Button delighted with second place
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton relishes title challenge
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Superb Hamilton wins in Montreal
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Mixed reactions from Red Bull duo
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher escapes Massa penalty
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Canadian GP as it happened
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix photos
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1


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