Lewis Hamilton believes he and team-mate Jenson Button can lead McLaren to a treble of top finishes in the last three races of the Formula One season.
Despite the overall domination to date of Red Bull and their double champion Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton reckons it is McLaren’s time to turn the tables at last in the final races in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
Hamilton managed to end the Red Bull team’s season-long run of pole positions by out-pacing everyone in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix before he came home second in the race, behind Vettel.
Hamilton suffered mechanical difficulties in that contest after losing a lot of down-force at the front of his McLaren car and believes that his team are fast enough to run at the front for the rest of the year.
“I think it’s maybe too early to say, but I think we’re set to be competitive at all of the final three races,” he said.
“We were quick at Singapore, Japan and Korea – and I think the pattern at the front has sort of settled down now as we reach the end of the season.
“I think we have a car that can be quick anywhere so I’d like to think we’d be in the hunt again in India.”
His team-mate and fellow-Briton Button, who won in Japan, said he is also confident of success — and more wins — despite being left behind by Hamilton’s sheer speed in qualifying in Korea.
He said: “Our car’s been pretty competitive recently and we’d like to win more races before the end of the season. I think there is no reason why we can’t so we just have to focus and go out and do all we can.”
Like Hamilton, Button is keen to see what the Buddh International Circuit, near Delhi, will be like when the F1 circus starts running on track there in practice on Friday.
“It is the first time for us all to go racing in India so, in prospect, it is very exciting,” he said.
McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh added that he is also keen to see the circuit, the surroundings and the country, but most of all he is looking forward to a good result for his team.
He said: “I am expecting something exciting, I think we all are — it is a venue we have not been to, it is a country we have not visited on the grand prix calendar, so it is going to be interesting.
“I think we felt quite strong in Japan, we felt quite strong in Korea, but Red Bull did a good job. Hopefully it can swing our way in India, and that is what we are trying to do.”
He added that the layout of the Buddh circuit, which puts a premium on both down-force and straight-line speed, should suit McLaren.
“We don’t know until we get there, until we see the surface and until we see what it is like, but there is no reason why we cannot be strong there,” he said.