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McLaren now aiming for second in constructors'

ESPN Staff
October 29, 2012 « Mallya considers Sutil as Hulkenberg's replacement | Raikkonen expects stronger title bid in 2013 »
McLaren is now hunting Ferrari in the constructors' championship © Sutton Images
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McLaren is confident it can still beat Ferrari to second place in the constructors' championship, but has ruled out challenging Red Bull for the title.

McLaren has scored just 45 points to Red Bull's 110 over the last three races and is 101 points adrift of the championship leaders with 129 still available. Realistically, McLaren's drivers are both out of the title chase and sporting director Sam Michael said the new target is to close the 10-point deficit to Ferrari in the constructors'.

"It's pretty difficult for us to win the constructors' championship now because Red Bull can wrap that up at the next race, so our target is that we at least get back to second place," he said. "We are within 10 points of Ferrari so that should be able to happen as long as we start getting everything right. We'll have to start finishing higher up to achieve that and start finishing ahead of Ferrari."

However, asked if anybody could match Red Bull for pure performance before the end of the season, Michael was more optimistic.

"The performance can swing from one track to another by a couple of tenths - and that's all there is in it at the moment: two or three tenths in terms of qualifying," he added. "If you can have that performance from the front row then you have a better chance. Even if no-one upgraded their cars full stop from now, there's still a pretty good chance that people could have a go at them [at the remaining three races]. But for the championship it's quite different because they need to have DNFs for people to take them and the chances of that happening are pretty slim right now."

McLaren finished fourth and fifth at the Indian Grand Prix last weekend and Michael revealed both cars were running at full speed from lights to flag.

"We were flat-out the whole race because the tyres were so solid round here. That's why we knew it would be a one-stop because we weren't entering any big degradation phases. Even the lap before Lewis stopped when you've got 30-odd laps on the tyres it would have kept going, but it wasn't as fast as the new prime at that stage so we had to change."

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