• Chinese Grand Prix

Cooler temperatures will suit McLaren - Hamilton

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2011 « Pirelli will look into marbles | »
Lewis Hamilton is hoping to bounce back from his eighth place finish in Malaysia © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton is hoping the cooler temperatures at this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix will rule out a repeat of the tyre problems he suffered in Malaysia.

Tyre degradation was high in the 30C Malaysian heat and Hamilton's race was compromised by a struggle on the hard tyres in his final three stints. He believes the McLaren is better suited to the cooler conditions in China, which should be roughly 10C lower, and is hopeful the latest upgrades on the car will come good.

"I think the car, the temperatures are better here, so the car I am sure will be better this weekend than it was last weekend," he said in Thursday's press conference. "With the upgrades, they were upgrades that came to the last race but didn't particularly work and so it is just an attempt to try and get them to work as there is a decent amount of potential. But whether or not we will get it done and we make it work who knows - but it will be something we will continue to work on."

But Hamilton is not underestimating the pace of the Red Bull, which he expects will be the class of the field in qualifying.

"My guess is in the last race they had to probably cool their car a lot more so they probably lost a bit of time there," he said of the Red Bull. "Whether or not they had as good a KERS or as much KERS as us I don't really know. It was close there but I am sure that they will be back on top form this weekend and have even more pace than they did in the last race.

"Whether or not we will be as close as we were in the last race we will find out here. Race pace tends to be quite similar to theirs, it is just generally in qualifying they seem to have an advantage."

Hamilton lost two points at the last race after he was penalised for changing his line more than once while defending against Fernando Alonso. Hamilton did not contest the stewards' decisions and insists it is not weighing on his mind.

"It didn't really make much difference," he added. "I was seventh; so seventh or eighth, it's pretty crap either way. That's racing. I think it was fair."

He compared the situation to the 2010 race in Malaysia when he was widely criticised, although not penalised, for weaving on the straight in front of Vitaly Petrov's Renault.

"Well, the previous year, obviously I had some big weaves on the straight which everyone disagreed with, which was fine," he added. "They said that they would be stricter on that this year. Looking back at it, I didn't weave even half as much as I did in the previous time, and I didn't put anyone in danger - but the rules state that you can only move once, to the better position. I think the confusing part was really whether I was defending a place or trying to lose the tow. But at the end of the day I got 20s. It was one place so I feel fortunate that it wasn't any more than that and I will just try to avoid doing that in the future, so no one can complain."

He said he was more motivated to bounce back by his poor performance than the penalty itself.

"I definitely want to bounce back from that because we really had the opportunity to finish second quite easily and to end up eighth after starting second on the grid is not the kind of performance that we want to have in the future," Hamilton said. "I feel positive about this weekend. It's in the past. It's very early stages in the championship. I actually look at it as a blessing because there have been many races where you have started in nice positions and you don't get any points at all. I've still got a couple of points and who knows whether they will be quite valuable points in the future?"