McLaren say they need to raise their game
McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen was third while Hamilton finished fifth and had his championship lead over Raikkonen cut to three points.india Updated: Mar 25, 2008 19:20 IST
McLaren must raise their game after losing out to Ferrari in Malaysia at the weekend, the Formula One team's chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said on Tuesday.
"We knew it would be quite a challenge to beat Ferrari in Malaysia and I think ultimately we underperformed," he said in a team de-brief of Sunday's second round of the season.
McLaren won the season-opener in Australia with Lewis Hamilton but Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen triumphed at Sepang.
McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen was third while Hamilton finished fifth and had his championship lead over Raikkonen cut to three points.
"Our next major evolutionary step will be in Barcelona (the Spanish Grand Prix on April 27), but we tried one or two minor developments on the car in Malaysia and the same will be true in Bahrain," said Whitmarsh.
"We have to make sure we perform better there.
"We're leading both world championships so it hasn't been too shabby a start to the year, but we need to raise our game in Bahrain and carry that through into the European season."
The Bahrain Grand Prix is on April 6.
Both Hamilton and Kovalainen were penalised five places on the starting grid in Malaysia for impeding rivals in qualifying when they slowed to save fuel after completing their final quick laps while others were still at full speed.
Whitmarsh said that problem was partly due to the threat of rain at Sepang, which meant some drivers -- including the McLaren pair -- had gone out earlier than others in the third and final session.
"We warned our drivers to keep out of the way, so they were aware of faster cars approaching," said Whitmarsh.
"But in fairness, Heikki looked in his mirrors and saw a number of cars, some to the left and some to the right.
"He could see a BMW that had switched to the right and had to make an instant decision about whether or not it was on a quick lap.
"He decided it would be dangerous to cut across the track if the car behind had a possible closing speed of about 200kph."
After the starting penalty, Hamilton also lost time at his first pitstop when the mechanic struggled to remove the front right wheel.
Whitmarsh said the problem was not one that had happened previously and was caused by a faulty wheel nut locking mechanism.