McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh believes that Lewis Hamilton's victory in the United States Grand Prix was vital for the team after its recent reliability troubles.
Hamilton beat World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel after a thrilling battle to erase the heartbreak of his race-leading retirement in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago. Reflecting on the emotions of the day, Whitmarsh said it had been important for McLaren to remind itself of how strong it has been at times this year.
"It was fantastic for the team, and fantastic for Lewis," he said. "We have under-performed in the last three or four races, really, and at a race team like this you start to worry about those things a little bit. But Lewis did a fantastic job here. I said to him before the race: 'Sebastian is a quick driver [but] you can put him under pressure and you can race him,' and he did that just fantastically.
"He closed in, he was patient and he just got by brilliantly. With one race to go it makes you think we can go there and try and win again, and it will be some compensation for some of the failures and disappointments we have had this year."
Whitmarsh admitted that Hamilton's first triumph since it was announced he would be moving to Mercedes next year had also meant that emotions were running high after the race.
"Yes they were, but we are trying not to be emotional," he said. "I said to Lewis a few weeks ago, 'We will have the emotion after Brazil. Let's focus on doing the best job we can on track.'
"He should have won two weeks ago, and in Singapore as well, so I felt sorry for him and sorry for the team. We have had amazing highs together and I don't want to make it easy for him to leave this team, so let's focus and see if we can win another one in Brazil."