Monza, Italy, Sept 12, 2011 (Gordon Howard / AFP) - McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh on Monday vowed to continue fighting to win Grands Prix and said his team had not yet given up hope of stopping Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull from winning this
year's world titles.
Whitmarsh, who conceded that Vettel was in imperious form after the 24-year-old German defending drivers' champion cruised to victory in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, said he and his team had set their sights on winning the Singapore race later this month.
Even though it would take a bizarre sequence of events for either of his British drivers 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton or 2009 champion Jenson Button to rekindle their title hopes, Whitmarsh said nobody at McLaren had given up hope.
He said he retained hopes of winning in Singapore and, at least, stopping Vettel from retaining his crown there with another sumptuous triumph to add to the 25th of his career Sunday. Whitmarsh said: "There is a good chance of winning it - the race in Singapore. Winning Grands Prix is what we are here to do and we will be trying pretty hard in Singapore. You can be pretty sure of that."
Asked if he thought the championship was virtually over, he said: "No, not yet. But we think we want to try and win some races. "It is definitely possible, but they [Red Bull Racing] are doing a good job and Sebastian is not making enough mistakes for my liking at the moment, but we will see."
Looking back on the Monza weekend where Button finished second and Hamilton fourth, with Ferrari's two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso sandwiched between them in third place to the delight of the home fans, Whitmarsh said there were plenty 'of positives' to be taken from it.
He said: "We had the pace in the car, but we had poor starts and that is frustrating. If the race was one lap longer then we would have two cars on the podium. "We scored more points than any other team and we set fastest and second fastest laps of the race with the two guys, so we are disappointed with not winning.
"But we have got six races left that we are able to win and we will keep pushing on so we can." While McLaren departed the Autodromo Nazionale determined to keep on fighting, the Red Bull team went home triumphant and equally set on attacking
at each race left this season.
Vettel's victory at Monza gave him a 112-point advantage ahead of Button and a chance, in Singapore, to clinch his second champion's crown.
Team chief Christian Horner said: "Our approach to Singapore will be exactly the same as every grand prix this year -- we will go there to try and win. We came close last year and it would be great to win that race and the championship will take care of itself at the end of the day.
"I think that our philosophy has been to attack each weekend and not cruise and collect points -- and I think that is the right philosophy. We continue to learn very valuable lessons for next year so our approach will be exactly the same."