Hamil­ton and But­ton get to see new McLaren

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

NEW­BURY, Eng­land: Lewis Hamil­ton and Jen­son But­ton swapped jokes in a pub­lic show of unity as they at­tended For­mula One team McLaren’s un­veil­ing of their car for the 2010 sea­son.

The two driv­ers were im­pressed with the new MP4-25 but ad­mit­ted they would only know whether the car can win the world cham­pi­onship un­til test­ing in Va­len­cia next week.

But­ton, who won the driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship with Brawn GP last year be­fore de­fect­ing to McLaren, said: “I must say it looks pretty im­pres­sive. I can’t wait to take a step back and have a bet­ter look, but this team al­ways puts a car to­gether prop­erly, metic­u­lously.

“We’ve seen all the num­bers, been in the sim­u­la­tor, and it looks pos­i­tive, but the real work be­gins on Mon­day in Va­len­cia with the first test.”

But­ton and 2008 cham­pion Hamil­ton have teamed up at McLaren in the first pair­ing of driv­ers’ cham­pi­ons since Ayr­ton Senna and Alain Prost raced for the same team in 1989.

There have been plenty of pre­dic­tions that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the driv­ers will be just as volatile de­spite a care­ful­ly­orches­trated dis­play of unity. Hamil­ton was un­able to avoid un­der­lin­ing that he is a long­stand­ing fix­ture at McLaren.

Voic­ing his de­light with the new car, Hamil­ton said: “It looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent, and I feel very proud be­cause I’ve had some in­put into this car.”

Hav­ing strug­gled in the first half of last sea­son as But­ton built up a com­mand­ing lead. Hamil­ton said: “I just hope it han­dles dif­fer­ently this year.”

But­ton added with a smile: “I hope so too!”

But­ton’s car will have the num­ber one on it in recog­ni­tion of his cur­rent sta­tus as the world cham­pion, but there is lit­tle doubt Hamil­ton re­mains top dog at the team. Me­dia re­ports say his an­nual salary of around £12 mil­lion is twice as much as But­ton’s fol­low­ing his move from Brawn.

Al­though world cham­pi­ons have raced to­gether be­fore, the Hamil­ton and But­ton com­bi­na­tion rep­re­sents the first time a team has started a new sea­son with the two most re­cent win­ners of the driv­ers’ ti­tle.

“To be in the same team, it’s a re­ally great part­ner­ship, a great team, It should be spe­cial.” Hamil­ton said

Team prin­ci­pal Martin Whit­marsh voiced con­fi­dence the new car would give But­ton and Hamil­ton a great chance.

“Tele­phone in­ven­tor Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell said prepa­ra­tion is the key to suc­cess,” Whit­marsh said. “In keep­ing with that, we have pre­pared for this sea­son more than ever. This car is the ba­sis of thou­sands of man hours.

“But a car is noth­ing without good driv­ers, and we are thrilled this year to have the last two world cham­pi­ons in Jen­son and Lewis rep­re­sent­ing us on the track.”We are all ex­cited about the 2010 sea­son: our goal is clear, and we aim to win,”he said – Sapa-AFP

REUTERS

OUT THE BOX: McLaren Mercedes un­veiled their MP4-25 yes­ter­day. Inset: Lewis Hamil­ton and Jen­son But­ton will be be­hind the wheel this sea­son.

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