Budapest, Hungary, July 30, 2012 (AFP / Gordon Howard) - McLaren have acknowledged that a combination of starting from pole position and speedy pit-stops were key to its' success in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite constant pressure from Lotus duo, Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Frenchman Romain Grosjean, Briton Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish at the
Hungaroring securing his and the British team's first win since the Canadian Grand Prix.
McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael admitted Lotus had the faster cars and that a combination of starting from pole and well-executed pit-stops were
vital for Hamilton to hold his position.
"Lotus were definitely on us for the whole race," he said, "I think they really have a good race car and we basically only beat them because of
qualifying and the fact that we beat them in the pits.
"If they had qualified well and qualified in front of us then, because it is difficult to overtake here, I think you would really struggle to beat them."
Michael acknowledged Lotus' excellent tyre degredation characteristics and credited Hamilton, who won by just a second, for keeping second-placed
Raikkonen at bay until the chequered flag.
"We felt they would always go long because that is where their advantage is," he said.
"They probably knew that we could beat them in the pits, so it worked well. But definitely we thought they would be pretty hard work in the last stint,
and Lewis drove very well to keep Kimi off him."
In contrast, Jenson Button was baffled by McLaren's sudden change of tactics that led to the Englishman slipping three positions to finish sixth.
The 2009 champion was in third place before McLaren opted to change him to a three-stop strategy, forcing him to pit earlier than planned and exiting him
straight into traffic, killing any chance he had at fighting for a podium.
Button admitted he was baffled by the team's decision.
"I don't know what was going on there really," he said, "the weird thing was after the first stop I could still see the leaders so it was close, but we
decided to go for a three stop and we were stopping early, and both times I came out in traffic and wondered why.
"The tyres were still in good condition and I think they were trying to jump the cars in front but we went straight back into traffic and that was it.
Normally you pit and come out into clean air.
"Then we did that again later on in the race, so not a great race. Hopefully we will learn from this because it happened twice - I don't think we
looked too good on strategy."