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Will McLaren be the happiest team after Round 1?

The combination of Red Bull and 2010 Formula One World champion Sebastian Vettel may well have proved dominant all weekend, but ironically it's probably McLaren that leave Australia the happiest.

The team took gigantic strides forward at Melbourne.

After winter testing in Barcelona McLaren looked unlikely to break into the top six during the first round of the F1 championship, far behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes on pace and reliability.

In fact Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both looked set for a race amongst the mid-pack teams of Renault, Williams and Sauber.

But a good qualifying session from Hamilton and Button and a solid race which resulted in a second and sixth place finish will leave the team happy moving ahead to the second round in Malaysia on April 10th.

If it wasn't for a drive thru penalty for Button it could have proved to have been an even better weekend for the team, but Lewis Hamilton was delighted with his second place finish.

I am so happy that I brought the car home with a really great result. The guys back home in the factory can really take a big chunk off those 18 points Iíve achieved today. Hamilton told after the race.

'The car felt great, it was really nice to drive and I was able to look after my tyres throughout the whole race. Being able to race with Vettel after only one and a half weeks with this upgrade makes me very proud and I am looking forward to seeing what they can bring in the next couple of weeks. I am sure theyíll keep on pushing and I hope at the next race we will be out there to challenge the Red Bulls even more.'

Vettel's performance looked ominous for every one else on the grid, his Red Bull was on a different level to every one else, including team-mate Mark Webber and this was achieved without a KERS device.

The debate regarding Red Bull's KERS has already started on, many worry that Red Bull will develop their device and will run with it in future events giving them an even bigger advantage, while Druss_the_Legend believes otherwise: Seen a few comments on here about Redbull and KERS and how that means they could be much quicker with KERS when they get it running.

This is not entirely true. 2 years ago Red bull (Newey) decided against KERS and they wanted to get the balance of the car perfect and the system would disrupt that. It looks like they have chosen the same route. Lets be honest, the car they have this year is almost the same as its been the last 2 years. If not for the DD they would have won the season in 09, kept the same design to win the season last year and kept it pretty much the same for this year. The car is balanced and they don't want to risk that with KERS.

The downside for them is that despite being quicker in qualifying, in the race the KERS gives the likes of McLaren a 'racing' advantage. Its a trade off that the red bulls clearly made but they think they are stronger for not running it.

Also, it should be noted that the red bulls were a lot harder on their tyres than the McLarens. This was unexpected (most pre season reports indicated an advantage to the red bulls) so going into the next race, with more understanding of the tyre compounds, the advantage at the front will not be a big as people are expecting.

Its shaping up nicely!

Hamilton also appears confident that the advantage is McLaren's: "[Red Bull] definitely have a gap at the moment but I am sure that we are able to close that gap and a positive aspect for us is that they have troubles with KERS it seems. And we have no trouble with KERS. So once we close down the downforce deficit then we will have the advantage of the KERS, so my guess is that they are more under pressure than we are."

Do you agree, or do you think Red Bull will develop a KERS system which will boost them even further into the distance?

Why not join us on our forum to give us your view!

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 28 2011

Time: 12:34PM

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