• Russian GP - FP2

McLaren looking close - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
October 10, 2014 « Rosberg unhappy with 'creative' Mercedes set-up | Bottas upbeat despite tyre blanket malfunction »
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Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren look closer to Mercedes than they have done all year at this weekend's Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes has been the benchmark team this season and its nearest rivals have usually been either Red Bull or Williams. However, in Sochi McLaren was the best of the rest in both Friday practice sessions after a season of struggling for pace.

Hamilton said having his old team in the mix could provide some interesting racing this weekend.

"They had a great race in the last race, their pace was looking really good, especially with Jenson," he said. "I don't know if they have made a step this weekend but they are looking good. But we'll see how it is as the weekend progresses.

"I think it's been good, I feel comfortable on the new circuits and learning them. It's a new skill you have to learn quite quickly, but it's the same for everyone. The car's been feeling really good today, the McLarens are obviously very close, which is good for everyone and having a race. The track is getting grippier and grippier and rubbering in quite a lot and there's a nice flow you can get on this track."

Hamilton said he was impressed by the new circuit.

"The car is performing fantastically well. We got a good balance today and there are a lot of ticks on the boxes and we got quite a good balance today. We've got some challengers behind, so that will hopefully make it more exciting for the fans.

"The whole track is fun to drive, but Turn 3 is full gas and flat out. It's not a huge challenge because you can take an easy line through there, and when you are going into it you are thinking about the next corner and the position for the next one."

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