Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1's summer break has come at the wrong time for McLaren, just when the team needs to push ahead with the development of its MP4-25 to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.
With every team's factory closed during the summer break, there is little opportunity to improve the cars before Spa in four weeks time. Hamilton, who retired with a gearbox problem in Hungary, will have to wait another month before his team can attempt close the gap.
"Of course [reliability] is a concern, but there's nothing I can do about it – so it's best just to focus on doing the best job I can with what I have," he said. "There's nothing I can do – everything shuts down. They [Red Bull] are in a good position where they can go on holiday with a good car already, then they can come back and their car will be the same. Whereas we would, of course, love to improve our car over that period of time – but we won't."
On the other hand, Hamilton noted that both McLarens have stayed in the title hunt so far this season without being able to challenge Red Bull's outright speed.
"If they'd finished all the races where they've started them, they would be miles ahead, but they haven't," he said. "They've clearly had some reliability problems and some mistakes, and we've capitalized on it. We have to try to get as many points as we can and hope that some people have more reliability problems than we do."
He also played down the eruption of the controversy over flexing-wings in the last two grands prix: "I've seen the wings flex, but I don't know why it's an issue now – they've been doing it since China."