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Constructors’ championship 2010: 2nd
It seems hard to believe, but McLaren have not won the constructors’ title since 1998. Initiators of the F-duct which spread through pit lane like a rash last season, they might have been in contention right till the end if Jenson Button had managed to maintain the form that brought him two victories in the first four races.
The rumour from testing is that MP4-26 is not the weapon its drivers might like it to be, but we’ll believe that when we see it – and with Messrs Button and Hamilton 1-2 in Friday’s second practice, there doesn’t seem to be too much wrong.
3 Lewis Hamilton (age 26, British, 71 Grand Prix starts)
Always glorious to watch, the 2008 World Champion was in the hunt for a second crown right up until the final race of 2010 but eventually finished out of the top three for the second year running. He won three times but successive no-scores in Italy and Singapore proved costly in the title run-in.
2010 season: 240 points, 4th – best result 1st Turkey, Canada, Belgium.
4 Jenson Button (age 31, British, 189 Grand Prix starts)
The 2009 World Champion comes to Melbourne looking for his third straight victory here – and with his reputation for tyre management, borne out so brilliantly in last year’s race, he may just have the initial edge as the grid switches to Pirelli rubber. He was one of the ‘Big Five’ bidding for the title last season until finishing out of the points in Korea, which effectively ended his hopes.
2010 season: 214 points, 5th – best result 1st in Australia and China
MP4-26, powered by Mercedes – a partnership now in its 17th year