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Hamilton fears sharks (not Ferrari); Trulli upbeat on Toyota 04 Apr 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren walks the circuit.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 3 April 2008 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 3 April 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault talks with journalists.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 3 April 2008 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 3 April 2008

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton may fear nothing on the track, but he admits that the break between the Malaysia and Bahrain Grands Prix helped him to overcome his fear of deep water. During a working holiday with his trainer and his friend and former team mate Adrian Sutil, he travelled in Thailand, visiting Bangkok and Phuket.

“We did a couple of other islands. But we did a lot of training out there which was quite cool. But to have another driver with you doing the training, to see the competitiveness, makes it fun. We very rarely are on holiday when we know that we are training. It's a part of our lives, it's something that we enjoy doing. I wake up in the morning, I feel... straight away, without even thinking about it, I'm going training. It was relaxed training but it was very efficient.

“We did a lot of running, in the heat, obviously, it's like doing double the work anywhere else. We played tennis, we played golf, we played basketball and beach volleyball, so I was improving in all those areas A lot of kayaking, a lot of swimming. I'm not particularly one who likes being far out in the deep sea, but I got over it, I overcame one of my fears which was good.

“I definitely don't like great white sharks, that's for sure. I guess it's the unknown, not really knowing what's below you. I do like scuba diving, so being under the water is a completely different thing from floating on the top. You see all those Discovery channels when the shark jumps up, eats whatever's floating on the top. I just don't fancy being in that position.”

Despite his lowly fifth place in Sepang, he remains upbeat about McLaren’s prospects this weekend. “I think when we went to Malaysia we easily had a very good package and obviously with a couple of hiccups, not only being put five places back but also with the pit stop issue we had, we sort of just didn't get the best from the weekend. But I think our underlying pace was as good as Ferrari's, if not a little bit slower, but we had the car to be in the top three, so that still gives us confidence and I think coming here we would have learned from the mistake we made in the last race and look forward.”

Ferrari, meanwhile, are aiming to go better still, after team principal Stefano Domenicali made it clear that he was not satisfied with the results from the first two races. At BMW Sauber, Robert Kubica has also been calling for more speed.

Fernando Alonso, last year’s winner for McLaren, is philosophical about Renault’s chances and does not expect a major upturn until his home Grand Prix at the end of the month. “We have some improvements coming that may change the situation. Until Barcelona I think it will be more or less the same, so I expect to have a difficult qualifying here, hoping to get into Q3 and the top 10. In the race, depending on which position we finish on Saturday, I will be aiming for some points again. This is more or less what we are expecting. We have some good things coming and we are quite optimistic about an improvement of the car, but at the same time, we all know that all the teams will have a similar feeling now.”

Both Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock are optimistic about Toyota’s chances here, especially having tested earlier in the season. “It is an advantage because obviously I know what we should get,” the Italian said. “We got the car set up and I don't think there is much change unless the circuit has changed dramatically. But I believe we have got some advantage and we have some new bits on the car which we can test here.”

Glock, meanwhile, is hoping to turn some good qualifying performances into a decent race result. “I am really happy with the way things have gone for me in qualifying so far, because Jarno is obviously my yardstick and a great qualifier an the gap between us has been pretty good. Now it would be n ice to score some points,” says the man who has brought a breath of fresh air into the team.

David Tremayne