No reason to panic, says McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport at the Nurburgring

Lewis Hamilton says there is "no reason to panic" as McLaren target a return to form at the German Grand Prix.

Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button are both 95 points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel with 10 races to go.

But Hamilton believes a change in the rules over using exhaust gases to enhance downforce will benefit McLaren.

"We're back to what we know and our race pace has been pretty quick," he said. "There's pressure to succeed but we're pushing as hard as we can."

Button added: "We can be on good form here and challenge the Red Bulls and Ferrari."

Before Fernando Alonso's win for Ferrari in the last race, at Silverstone, Hamilton and Button were the only drivers to deny Vettel victory this season.

But the decision by governing body the FIA to restrict the use of exhaust gases to generate downforce had a major impact on McLaren's competitiveness at the British Grand Prix.

Teams have been using so-called off-throttle blowing of the diffuser to flow gases over the rear floor of the car even when the driver is not pressing the accelerator.

After intense debate, the ban has now been postponed until the 2012 season and both Hamilton and Button are confident that will help them regain lost ground on their rivals at the Nurburgring.

"At Silverstone we were further behind because we were hampered by the rule change," added Hamilton. "It benefited others but didn't benefit us at all."

Button agreed, saying: "We're probably doing a better job with our diffuser than some of the other teams so when they take away the blowing it hurts us a lot, having that back should help us.

"I don't think we're scared of anyone this weekend - I don't think anyone has a big advantage over us.

"We have some updates and we're going back to the old regulations. I'm looking forward to this race."

Button and Hamilton have not been on the podium in the last two races, at Silverstone and Valencia.

While Button took a thrilling victory in Canada last month, Hamilton, who won in China, has to look as far back as early May for his last podium when he was second in the Spanish Grand Prix.

"I'm praying we are as competitive as we were in Barcelona," Hamilton said.

"I hope our car works like a dream this weekend, I'd love to have another win."

Button was forced to retire from the British GP at his final pit-stop when he tried to rejoin the race without a wheel nut on his right front wheel.

The 2009 world champion said he has since visited the "wheel nut department" at McLaren's factory in Woking and described the atmosphere as good, despite a difficult weekend on home soil.

"It was just a mistake and it lost us a lot of points," Button reflected. "It's amazing what one non-finish makes. I went from second to being fifth in the championship.

"We just have to make sure we don't do that again because the last two races have been pretty tough for us in terms of points.

"We are taking it race-by-race and we come here with some good upgrades. I hope we can really fight the other guys and take some good points off Sebastian [Vettel]."

Grey clouds loomed over the Nurburgring in the Eifel mountains on Thursday and a burst of heavy rain saw both McLaren drivers, despite being known for their wet-weather skills, still hoping the miserable conditions would not prevail all weekend.

"Can you sort the weather out, it's rubbish," commented Button. "I like it in the middle, wet, dry, wet, dry."

Hamilton agreed: "I'd like it to be dry but I also quite like changeable conditions."

The drivers will reacquaint themselves with the Nurburgring, which returns to the calendar after Hockenheim hosted the German GP in 2010, during Friday practice.

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