• Indian Grand Prix - qualifying

Hamilton surprised to split Red Bulls

ESPNF1 Staff
October 29, 2011 « Grosjean gets Renault FP1 drives | Vettel targets Red Bull 1-2 after clinching 13th pole »
Lewis Hamilton was second in qualifying despite aborting his final run © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton said that he was surprised to be able to challenge the Red Bulls during qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix, despite knowing he would drop three places on the final grid.

Hamilton set the second fastest time in qualifying, just under 0.3s slower than Sebastian Vettel and 0.034s quicker than Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. However, Hamilton will start the race in fifth place following a penalty he was given on Friday for ignoring waved yellow flags during FP1.

Despite knowing he would drop back to the third row for the race on Sunday, Hamilton was upbeat about the pace shown by McLaren, and said that the double DRS zone would help climb through the field if the race pace was as strong as he was expecting.

"Really it's been a good day for me," Hamilton said. "I'm quite surprised that we were able to split the Red Bulls, and it's great to be on the front row in terms of how we qualified. Of course we have the penalty which was a bit of a silly mistake from myself, but I paid the price and tomorrow we still have good race pace. It's a long race with two DRS zones so overtaking should be a lot easier than perhaps in other places so I'm still optimistic regardless of where I start."

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