Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Our qualifying performance will be critical 16 Apr 2010
Although it ultimately proved rewarding, McLarens Lewis Hamilton is hoping he doesnt have to repeat his Malaysian fight through the field at this weekends Chinese Grand Prix. And after setting the pace during Friday afternoons second practice session, Hamilton is optimistic he can earn a top-five grid slot for the Shanghai race on Saturday
Q: Lewis, your performance on Friday suggests you could win this race
Lewis Hamilton: I dont think so, really. Of course you never know what the others are doing in the free practice sessions, especially what the Red Bulls have been up to today. Our pace looks pretty similar to theirs on the longer runs, but again, we dont know what theyve been doing, whether theyve been lighter on fuel or not. One thing that is for sure - our car feels good.
Q: How are you finding the big bump on the track?
LH: Actually there are a few big bumps on the track but theyre not affecting us, which is a good thing.
Q: The track looked pretty dusty all day. Did that affect you in any way?
LH: No, the day has been pretty good, and thank goodness it is much warmer today compared to yesterday, when it was freezing. The car feels as good as it did in Malaysia, even though weve made some smaller changes. I came out of Friday Practice One and Two with a very positive feeling, but of course you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. We have to keep our heads down and try to get a much better qualifying position tomorrow.
Q: Could the McLarens straight-line speed advantage help you?
LH: Everybody is saying that we have a straight-line speed advantage, but that is rubbish. We dont have. I think the Ferraris are doing exactly the same speed as us at the end of the straight. We might be a little quicker than some of the others, but some of the others have more downforce than us, so the secret lies in the mix they use. They could drop the downforce and match us, but then maybe they wouldnt be so fast in the mid sector, so it really is about having a good balance. And we do have a good balance, so hopefully that is going to help us in qualifying.
Q: So what will be critical to winning this race?
LH: Qualifying. Youve seen our pace in the last two races. It is pretty good, but weve been coming from the back to the front. Ideally we want to make it into Q3 and have a top-five starting place on the grid. That will enable us to have a competitive run for the win.
Q: How would you summarise your running?
LH: Friday Practice One was nice and smooth. I had no issues at all. The car was running smoothly, the engine was pulling great and the balance felt close to perfect. Friday Practice Two was even better. Every time I come to a track this season it feels so much better than the last time I drove it. Its like night and day, when I compare it to last year, and it feels so rewarding to have a car beneath me that I can push. Its almost reminiscent of 2008.