• Australian Grand Prix - FP2

Hamilton 'massively excited' by pace

ESPN Staff
March 15, 2013 « Australian Grand Prix Qualifying | Rosberg unconcerned by gearbox problem »
Lewis Hamilton's running ended in the gravel, but it didn't dent his optimism © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton admits he "can't believe" how competitive Mercedes appears to be ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

After playing down expectations during pre-season testing, Mercedes' impressive form continued as Nico Rosberg set the third fastest time of FP2 while Hamilton was seventh having had to abort his flying lap on super soft tyres. Despite a late stoppage when he beached his W04 in the gravel, Hamilton said he was delighted with the team's competitiveness.

"I'm massively excited to be up there when you look at the times," Hamilton said. "Obviously over the years I've always been kind of up there and to think I've made this big step and people were talking it down and talking it up really not knowing what was going to happen. To be as competitive as we are today is a real plus."

Explaining his off at the end of the session, Hamilton said his trip through the gravel on super soft tyres appeared to do some damage to the underside of the car.

"I was complaining of shedloads of understeer as I was beginning my long run so I came in and asked for three holes of front wing - which is quite a lot - and as they did that they changed the tyres. I went back out and I was just braking for turn six, turned in and the car just didn't turn. I just thought to myself 'what an idiot' - that was the kind of thing I was feeling - but when I got back they explained to me that the front of the bib underneath the chassis had broken and was up against the chassis, so I had lost a lot of downforce. They're trying to work out how many points of downforce I'd lost, so I was like 'Thank God it wasn't just me!'

"Potentially it was when I went wide, but thankfully nothing's really damaged, that's an easy fix. The real positive thing is the car's competitive. I can't believe it; the guys have done an incredible job."