Hamilton on victory drive after losing the anxiety - Motor Racing - Sport - The Independent

Hamilton on victory drive after losing the anxiety

Lewis Hamilton left Istanbul Park last night feeling his mounting anxiety draining slightly after missing out on the fastest time of the afternoon practice session by only fractions of a second to the world championship leader Kimi Raikkonen.

The previous day the 23-year-old Englishman had explained how failing to win races affected him since his success in the opening race in Australia in March.

"I want to win. I miss winning, so that's my plan," he said. "The anxiety you feel grows the longer you go without it.

"We are racers and we want to win. I've tasted it quite a few times now, and that is what we are here to do. As a driver when you come to a team you need to be innovative, you need to come with lots of ideas and keep on pushing the team. That is the bit I love about this job. When you come to the race, and all that comes together and you win – it is one of the best feelings you can have.

"I believe in the team and my abilities, so I have no doubts that we can do it. It is easier said than done, but I think this weekend we could have a good shot."

Yesterday, after Felipe Massa, the winner of the last two Turkish Grands Prix, had set the initial pace for Ferrari, Raikkonen took over in the afternoon but was only 0.036sec ahead after the hour-and-a-half session ended.

The Finn was kept in the garage for all but three laps in the morning by a gearbox problem, and admitted: "Not the best of Fridays. This morning, I managed only one timed lap and in the afternoon I struggled to find the right settings. One of the main problems was getting the tyres up to the correct temperature."

The change of date from August to May has seen the ambient temperature drop some 13C, and everyone struggled to get the best from the hard compound prime tyre that Bridgestone provided. Things were not so bad on the softer compound option tyre, but the issue was made more taxing by changing track conditions as the surface 'rubbered in'.

"We focused on tyre evaluation and set-up work today," Hamilton said, "and things are not looking too bad. Everybody lost a bit of time in the first session as the track was still wet after cleaning. It is constantly evolving, which is challenging but also enjoyable."

Hamilton also said he was encouraged by McLaren's pace in the recent Spanish GP in Barcelona, where he finished third behind the Ferraris. "Just analysing our last race, we have a lot of information about it and there's a lot of things we can improve on, not just with the car, but in the way we do qualifying and the way we do practice, and even in the race.

"I think what's good is that over that weekend we got faster and faster. Throughout the race we were quicker the whole way and the great thing is we were able to push them the whole race. So it was a boost to our confidence."

TURKISH GRAND PRIX First practice session times: 1 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1min 27.323sec; 2 H Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:27.456; 3 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:27.752; 4 F Alonso (Sp) Renault 1:28.284; 5 J Button (GB) Honda 1:28.919; 6 K Nakajima (Japan) Williams-Toyota 1:29.002; 7 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:29.024; 8 R Barrichello (Br) Honda 1:29.068; 9 N Piquet (Br) Renault 1:29.082; 10 T Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:29.103; 11 JTrulli (It) Toyota 1:29.329; 12 R Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:29.330; 13 N Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota 1:29.367; 14 A Sutil (Ger) Force India-Ferrari 1:29.756; 15 G Fisichella (It) Force India-Ferrari 1:29.811; 16 M Webber (Aus) RedBull-Renault 1:30.088; 17 D Coulthard (GB) RedBull-Renault 1:30.340; 18 S Bourdais (Fr) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:30.388; 19 S Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:30.426; 20 K Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:30.732.

Second session times: 1 Raikkonen 1min 27.543sec; 2 Hamilton 1:27.579; 3 Massa 1:27.682; 4 Coulthard 1:27.763; 5 Kovalainen 1:27.954; 6 Kubica 1:28.431; 7 Trulli 1:28.619; 8 Nakajima 1:28.664; 9 Alonso 1:28.681; 10 Heidfeld 1:28.817; 11 Button 1:28.826 12 Glock 1:28.849; 13 Rosberg 1:28.907; 14 Fisichella 1:29.008; 15 Rubens 1:29.024; 16 Piquet 1:29.212; 17 Vettel 1:29.462; 18 Bourdais 1:29.630; 19 Webber 1:29.633; 20 Sutil 1:30.832.

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