Despite it being the team’s home race, the British Grand Prix was the worst of the 2012 season for the McLaren team, which slipped from second to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
With Lewis Hamilton (8th) and Jenson Button (10th) claiming five points to Red Bull Racing’s 40, the Woking team found itself overtaken by Ferrari and Lotus F1 in the championship standings after a lacklustre showing at Silverstone.
“It wasn’t a great race for me – I just wish we could have done more for the fans today,” Hamilton said after the race, which he had won in dominant fashion in 2008.
“We tried as hard as we could, but we simply didn’t have the pace this afternoon. My tyres were still good at the end of my first stint and I was able to hang on to Fernando (Alonso), so it’s hard to understand how we could be leading the race at one point and then fall back to eighth place, especially as our car doesn’t feel bad overall.
“I raced my heart out and was flat-out right to the end. We’re still in the hunt for the World Championship and, if we can find a bit of lap time, we can stay in the hunt, too. I gave the fans a little donut on the slow-down lap – simply because I wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out to watch us here today. I’d love to have done better in my home Grand Prix but, regardless, the fans were fantastic throughout the weekend.”
After being surprisingly eliminated in the first phase of qualifying on Saturday, Jenson Button was bumped two spots up the grid to sixteenth, on account of the grid penalties handed out to Jean-Éric Vergne and Kamui Kobayashi.
The 2009 championship winner – who has never finished on the podium at his home race – snatched tenth place and the final championship point in the closing laps after Nico Hülkenberg made a mistake and ran wide at Copse.
“It was good to get a point in my Grand Prix, but of course that’s not what we ought to be doing,” Button conceded.
“We’re a front-running team and we’ve got a bit of work to do to start running at the front again. I don’t think we made any mistakes with our strategy today – we’re just not quite quick enough at the moment, that’s all.”
The team will now be relying on its next development upgrade – scheduled for the next championship round in Germany – to help lift it back into championship contention.
“We weren’t quick enough, period,” rued McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.