McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Sunday's four-way Formula 1 World Championship title decider could be one of the most exciting races in the history of the sport, after overseeing Lewis Hamilton to second on the grid in qualifying at Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton is one of four drivers in with a chance of winning the world championship, but must win the race with Alonso not finishing and both Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel scoring poorly if he is to do so. But even if Hamilton's chances are a long-shot, Whitmarsh believes the prospect of a four-way battle is a thrilling development for F1 as a whole.
"I reckon tomorrow has all the ingredients to be one of the most thrilling days in the history of Formula 1, and I'm sure that trackside spectators and TV viewers alike will be on the edges of their seats during what promises to be a truly dramatic sporting occasion," he said.
Whitmarsh added that while Hamilton must win the race, Jenson Button -- who showed strongly in qualifying with fourth place -- will also be tasked with pushing hard to secure McLaren's second position in the constructors' championship.
"Both Lewis and Jenson drove superbly in qualifying today, and will line up second and fourth on tomorrow's grid as a result," he said. "In fact Lewis missed out on bagging pole position by just three-hundredths of a second - and inevitably you're always just a smidgen disappointed when it's as close as that at the front.
"Nevertheless, his goal tomorrow will be a unilateral one: to score 25 World Championship points. He's well placed to do just that -- and, as ever, he'll be pushing just as hard as he knows how. He'll have a competitive race car tomorrow, and in our view he'll be in decent shape to deliver the win we need.
"Jenson, too, is well placed to score heavily, and thereby consolidate Vodafone McLaren Mercedes's second place in the constructors' World Championship."