McLaren want Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to attack

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport

McLaren want Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to take an aggressive approach when the season resumes in Belgium.

With eight races to go, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton by 88 points in the drivers' championship, with Button 12 further back.

"There is no change of mission for the drivers - they should attack at all opportunities," said McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale.

"We are not in a position to play a safe game. We have to give everything."

McLaren began the sport's three-week summer break buoyed by holding off rivals Red Bull and Ferrari to score back-to-back victories in Germany and Hungary, with Hamilton and Button each scoring a victory.

"The [two victories] were like scoring a goal just before half-time," Neale continued. "It gives everyone a lift and going into the break and you don't have that worrisome feeling on your mind.

"Whilst we can draw comfort from it there is no complacency. I don't regard us having the upper hand. We still have a lot of work to do.

"The next few races are going to be hard-fought as Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren all have cars capable of winning races."

McLaren's recent success has also been tempered by costly mistakes.

Hamilton lost the lead in Hungary when he made the wrong tyre choice, while Button retired because of hydraulics problems in Germany and saw his race end early in Britain when his right front wheel was not fitted correctly in the pits.

"When you are pushing that hard to close the gap it is easy to make a mistake either reliability or operationally," said Neale.

"We are not the only team to have problems around the pit-stops but we've had some notable ones and they are always very painful.

"We are working very hard on hydraulics, on mechanical reliability and engine reliability. The engine and exhaust programmes that have been run this year have put a huge strain on the system as has a long season and very tight races.

"What is most important for us is to win races and the only way we are going to be able to do that when the competition is as tight as it is, is to keep them [the drivers] focused on taking every opportunity that they can and for us as a team to get behind them.

"Under pressure you have to keep your head cool but you have to give it everything."