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Reliability issues not endemic at McLaren - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
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Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead for the second time this season in Abu Dhabi © Sutton Images
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Martin Whitmarsh does not believe McLaren's recent reliability problems are part of a wider issue with the team's systems or quality control.

Since the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren has had a variety of issues on its cars and two have forced Lewis Hamilton to retire from the lead of races. In Abu Dhabi last weekend, Hamilton retired with a fuel pressure problem and has had handling difficulties as well as a gearbox problem over the previous three races.

However, team principal Whitmarsh said the problems were unrelated and stressed that the team was not blaming engine-supplier Mercedes for Hamilton's latest DNF.

"In fairness to Mercedes, they have been very reliable," Whitmarsh said. "But these things happen in motor racing, they are not related or endemic, it's just one of those things."

Whitmarsh said he felt Hamilton was set for an easy victory in Abu Dhabi until the problem emerged.

"I think Lewis deserved to win this race. He came here, did a great job, was on it from the get go and we were all pretty confident that should have been a relatively easy and straightforward win. Clearly he had the pace, he was looking after his tyres from the start and that's why it's frustrating."

With McLaren now out of the drivers' and constructors' championships, Whitmarsh said his team must make more of its opportunities to win races next season.

"We've had a quick car but you can always make it quicker. That's the name of the game. You've got to get the points the car is capable of getting and we haven't always managed to do that this year. We have seasons like that sometimes, but the season is not over and I'd certainly like to have a go at winning those two races before we talk about next year too much."

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