McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh paid tribute to the calm approach of his drivers after Lewis Hamilton took a frantic Chinese Grand Prix victory, despite the 2008 World Champion coming close to missing the grid formation after a fuel problem in the garage.
The team flooded Hamilton's car and over-filled it with fuel, then had to dismantle the McLaren to drain it before the deadline for getting to the grid. Hamilton, having made his third position slot with seconds to spare, then went on to take the lead at the start and fight Sebastian Vettel to win a dramatic grand prix.
"Lewis just sat in the car and let the team do the job," Whitmarsh explained. "But he would have been focusing on his start while all the back of his car was being dismantled. So it was a good job by him to stay calm and focused.
"A few minutes later he made a great start, got into the lead and the race got going with a 1-2 position for us. Frankly the first stop and that part of the race went wrong for us and then to recover from that was a great effort from the team and the drivers."
Whitmarsh explained that McLaren faced a race against time to resolve Hamilton's flooding issue prior to the race.
"Just before we went out we started the engine no problem, but clearly it was flooded," said Whitmarsh. "We had to respond with time then tight against you. To dismantle a car, to get in there, drain all that fuel out and make sure it wasn't flooded and get out there with seconds to spare was not the greatest way to start our afternoon, but the boys did a great job."
Asked how he felt after the race, he said: "All sorts of emotions. It's been a challenging weekend and the races now there is so much action, there are so many stops, you have got to monitor the tires and if you get it even slightly wrong then you're toast," he added. "I think Lewis and Jenson [Button] drove brilliant races, it was just a charging race.
"It was fantastic to get our first win of the year. It was a really important one, emotionally you always dread a year when you are not going to win races so to win the first one for the team, with all the work that has been done in the last six weeks, it is a reward for that.
Both Button and Hamilton led the race, but the pair battled for second position in the last third of the grand prix – Lewis taking the position after a wheel-to-wheel moment.
"I don't ever enjoy our cars overtaking each other," said Whitmarsh. "When you watch it live it's pretty scary because you know they are centimeters away from catastrophe. "But again they are there to race, and they were racing each other and that's the philosophy of this team. We want both of our guys out there racing flat-out it just made a fantastic afternoon and they got past cleanly."