Hamilton aims to keep the pressure on his engineers

London: Lewis Hamilton`s McLaren race engineers and mechanics will be pleased to know he was thinking of them on his way to victory in Sunday`s Chinese Grand Prix.

They might be less delighted to be told he was pondering how to raise their blood pressure on a regular basis after they had won a race against time to fix his car and get him on the starting grid.

"I was thinking in the race maybe I need to do some drills, like sprinting drills, with my engineers to get their hearts racing more for the beginning of the race (in future)," he told Reuters.

"Because their hearts were massively racing when they were trying to work on my car and the pitstops were the best they have ever been."

Hamilton`s win in Shanghai denied Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel a fifth win in a row for Red Bull and opened McLaren`s account for the season with their first victory since last August.

The 2008 world champion, now second in the standings after the first three races, had said after troubled pre-season tests that he did not have a winning car but he has that now -- and far sooner than he could have dreamed of only a month or two ago.

Despite that, the 26-year-old said McLaren still had plenty of work to do to level the playing field.

"I think it`s very early stages to say," he replied when asked whether it might also be a championship-winning car.

"We are definitely the second quickest team and behind (Red Bull).”

"We are the only ones really applying pressure but you can see Mercedes are catching up and Ferrari are still quite competitive. We have really got to just keep moving forwards and we can`t let the ball really drop," he added.

"I think the next step is making a step on our downforce package because the Red Bulls definitely have quite a bit more downforce than us.”

"They`ve got over half a second`s worth of downforce on their car than we do which I think we can catch. Then we will really have a winning car."

Even if there is still some way to go, Hamilton could only marvel at just how far the team have already travelled.

McLaren went into the Australian season-opener with a revamped car that had not done a race distance in a single day and whose earlier version was so unreliable that the drivers had struggled to string even a sequence of 20 laps together in testing.

Asked whether, in his wildest dreams, he would have imagined in early March that he could be a winner by April, Hamilton shook his head.

"No. If you really knew how bad the car was behaving in the winter and how it wouldn`t go past...you`d get to 10 laps if you were lucky and to get past that wouldn`t happen," he said.

"Whilst we were being quite cool about it, it was worrying for sure."

Bureau Report

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