- Spanish GP - FP2
Pole still crucial despite pace - Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton believes the nature of the Circuit de Catalunya means pole position is still of vital importance on Saturday despite his pace during Friday's practice sessions.
Hamilton looked untouchable in both FP1 and FP2, especially so in the latter, as Mercedes once again demonstrated ominous pace to the rest of the field. But during his runs Hamilton occasionally came up behind back markers and he feels the difficulties in overtaking in Spain means a mistake in qualifying could compromise his chances of a win on Sunday.
"I think even with the pace we have it's always important to get pole," Hamilton said. "I was following back markers out there today and it's very difficult to get past people, especially Mercedes [customer teams] for example. Position is everything so we will do everything we can to put ourselves as high as possible but the race is obviously the most important thing."
Hamilton complained about tyre degradation in FP1 but seemed to be at ease behind the wheel in the second session, with his times over the longer runs looking much better compared to Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes. Hamilton admits he was surprised by how his tyres reacted in FP2.
"This is such a different circuit, it's so difficult to drive with the track temperatures so today was just seeing about how the tyres worked. [The tyres] felt pretty bad this morning but then we made some changes and I was pleasantly surprised. In the past, for example, we have a bad FP2 [with degradation], and then the race has gone better. Today FP2 has gone well so I'm hoping for even more good news in the race."
Hamilton also thinks it is a great advantage to him to know Mercedes is going to deliver him a quick car every time he gets behind the wheel.
"It's not nerve-racking because we know the guys don't just create something and then just throw it on. There's so many trials and tests we have to go through before it comes. You know when it comes that our correlation in the wind tunnel has been really good.
"To get back in the car and feel that positive step forward from the team. Today has just been a smoother day, I haven't had a Friday like this for a long time."