Hamilton in high spirits as McLaren pick up the pace in pursuit of pole
Friday 27 May 2011
Lewis Hamilton ended practice here yesterday even more confident that McLaren could challenge for pole position and victory, as the question became one of whether he would have to beat Ferrari rather than Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso headed the faster of two sessions with a lap of 1min 15.123sec for the famed Italian team, but Hamilton was only 0.105sec slower and team-mate Jenson Button was another 0.220sec further back in fourth.
The times were very close, as four marques filled the top six places. Local boy Nico Rosberg put his Mercedes in third place with 1min 15.321sec, while world champion and series points leader Sebastian Vettel was fifth for Red Bull and Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari was sixth.
Qualifying here tomorrow afternoon will be crucial, given how hard it is to overtake and the restricted use of the DRS system that enables following cars to go faster by opening up a slot in their rear wings. This can only be activated in the race along a short section of the front straight. Hamilton is one of several who believe the wear-rate of Pirelli's soft and supersoft-compound tyres may be a more significant factor in creating passing opportunities on Sunday afternoon.
"If we had qualifying performance I think we could beat them in the race," said Hamilton, referring primarily to Red Bull, whose cars have won four of the season's five races. "I think I showed at the last race [in Spain last week] that I had the fastest race pace. So that just shows that if I can get on the front row we'd be in a good position."
He was bubbling after the second session, when he said: "I'm really pleased with the balance of the car, but it's going to be close. You quickly get used to DRS and Kers, but you're only really on it for the pit straight and up the hill; you tend not to use it through the slower sections. Maybe I'll find a few more places to use it for qualifying – but I'll keep that in my pocket.
"I just love driving the car here. It's the best thing I've ever done. It's so exciting. You can't afford to make mistakes. The car feels amazing when you're jumping from kerb to kerb. I want to win this grand prix."
Lionel Messi dumps Jerome Boateng: The moment two-goal hero made Bayern Munich defender look like 'baby in a playpen'
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match report: Lionel Messi double and Neymar strike put Barca on course for Champions League final
Floyd Mayweather mocks Manny Pacquiao: 'Winners win and losers have excuses'
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings
Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in top eight of Forbes Rich List
- 2 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 3 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General election live: Booths open at 7am across the country on polling day