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Lowe: Qualifying pace a boon for McLaren 19 Sep 2012

Paddy Lowe (GBR) McLaren Technical Director celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 2 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2012 Jenson Button's car grinds to a halt at the side of the track

Technical director Paddy Lowe believes McLaren’s qualifying pace has played a key role in their victories at the last three Grands Prix, even though the team haven’t been placing a conscious emphasis on Saturday speed.

The previous four rounds of the season have been won from pole, including McLaren’s triumphs in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, and Lowe concedes that it’s a pattern they are becoming increasingly aware of.

“It’s interesting that there is a trend about being able to control the car and the tyres much better if you are leading from the front than if you aren’t,” he told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. “So we’ve certainly noticed it and it may cause us to do some things differently.

“We can influence the difference in race and qualifying pace in a few areas. In most areas we can’t. In the areas we can we tend to make calculations as to how we weight that in priority between the two. Recent statistics kind of show that weighting (towards qualifying) has perhaps been stronger than we - or most people - appreciated.”

McLaren’s recent burst of qualifying speed is in stark contrast to last season, when they often had the fastest car on a Sunday afternoon, but were unable to capitalise on it thanks to relatively poor grid slots.

“We are in the great position that we can qualify well at the moment,” added Lowe. “That is proving to be a strong benefit relative to our race pace, which is relatively weaker. Last year the opposite was the case where we had very strong race pace, which made it very tough.”

McLaren’s latest hat trick of victories has moved them to within 30 points of leaders Red Bull in the fight for the 2012 constructors’ crown, despite Jenson Button failing to finish at the last round in Monza.

Lowe confirmed that a fuel pump problem not previously experienced by the team had caused Button’s retirement. It has been resolved for this weekend’s 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix.

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