McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh (pictured) has admitted McLaren made a monumental error in not sending its drivers out at the beginning of Q1 before the weather worsened.
He did, however, defend the team’s reliance on technology when predicting the weather conditions – the team’s weather radar had predicted that conditions would ease towards the end of the session.
Both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were effectively eliminated in Q1: Lewis will line up 20th, while Button could not take any part in Q2 after spinning out in Q1, despite having set a time quick enough to squeeze through into Q2. He will line up 17th.
Little to smile about in the McLaren camp after qualifying…
Despite the team having made an excellent weather-based strategic decision at last weekend’s Australian GP that helped Button take victory, the same couldn’t be said for this weekend so far!
"Clearly we should have done [a banker lap], so we the team
cocked up got it wrong. The drivers, sat in the car, were ready to go,” Whitmarsh said.
"The weather radar has been pretty reliable here. It predicted that it would pass through and we thought it would be dry by the end of the session. If you send a car out to do a banker, there is a risk.
"These cars are not easy to drive and we believed, as it turned out wrongly, that it was going to be dry and we didn’t therefore believe that the risk, as we saw it, of a banker was the right approach.
"By the time we sensed it was time to get out, we’d put our drivers in a difficult situation. There was a lot going on and they had too much to do in difficult conditions. [But] in fairness we got out ahead of the two Ferraris, ahead of [Michael ] Schumacher, ahead of [Nico] Rosberg."
That doesn’t explain why both Mercedes GP cars made it through top the top-ten, Martin!
"We relied on the weather radar, with the benefit of hindsight we got it wrong and we accept it,” Martin added. “This afternoon, the drivers were not in good position, they were sat in car and relied on us to make the call."
Bit of a fail, McLaren!
[Original image via GP Update]