Whitmarsh boosted by McLaren spirit

Martin Whitmarsh believes his McLaren team proved they are tough nuts to crack after weathering a barrage of criticism of late.

Martin Whitmarsh believes his McLaren team proved they are tough nuts to crack after weathering a barrage of criticism of late.

A run of three woeful races following Jenson Button’s victory in Canada had piled the pressure on McLaren and team boss Whitmarsh in particular.

There was even the suggestion of Whitmarsh being ousted during the summer break next month if the poor performances continued in Germany and Hungary.

But Lewis Hamilton’s stirring triumph at the Nurburgring on Sunday is almost certain to keep any wolves from the door, if they had even been threatening in the first place.

Not that Whitmarsh had spent any time worrying about that, and he can now feel vindicated for his efforts after a hallmark win that underlined McLaren’s fortitude.

“We’re a pretty resilient team, we’ve good people and we don’t pay too much attention to what others think,” said Whitmarsh.

“Of course, we’re tough on ourselves. We don’t like not winning.

“But all that stuff we had, and I enjoyed two weeks ago, you have to remember we were second in the world championship, more than 50 points ahead of Ferrari, ahead of some pretty big teams.

“We lapped some pretty good teams in Germany, so we believe in ourselves, but we also believe we can be better.

“At the same time we also know we’re not too bad either, which just proves the resilience, the toughness of this team.”

There is still some way to go for McLaren to prove they have truly caught up to Red Bull, who are 112 points clear in the constructors’ championship, whilst Hamilton is 82 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings.

But with Ferrari also in the hunt as Fernando Alonso has won one grand prix and finished second on three occasions in the last five races, Red Bull are facing a dual threat to their supremacy.

As Whitmarsh added: “Ferrari and ourselves, we need each other to take points off Red Bull, and that happened to an extent on Sunday, which is good.”

It was not only Whitmarsh, though, for whom the pressure eased as Hamilton conjured a performance that was one in the eye for all his critics.

Error-strewn displays and ill-judged remarks had prompted the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart and Nigel Mansell to have their say.

In Germany it was payback time as he said: “My dad always told me when I was growing up to do my talking on the track.

“It’s very difficult to stick to that because sometimes you want to let things out off the track, which I have.

“But on Sunday I did do all my talking on the track, and it felt amazing to be able to put in a performance like that.

“It’s not very often you get to do those kind of performances.

“Maybe if the car felt like that all the time then it would be easier to do it more often, but it really felt great.”

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