• Indian Grand Prix - FP2

McLaren race pace a match for Red Bull - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
October 26, 2012 « Button worried by McLaren pace | Raikkonen cautious on Lotus progress »
Lewis Hamilton: "We've got a little bit of time hopefully in fuel" © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren has the race pace to challenge Red Bull this weekend based on the times from Friday practice in India.

Hamilton's hot lap was only good enough for sixth fastest and was 0.910s off Sebastian Vettel's fastest time on Friday, but he showed much more competitive pace when the cars were heavy with fuel. He's optimistic he would have been able to challenge Red Bull had the race been held on Friday but admitted qualifying pace would also be very important this weekend.

"Today's been pretty good," he said. "The part where we are struggling a little bit is turning the tyres on when the car is on low fuel. Long run pace was looking relatively good and strong. If we were in a race just then we would have been keeping up with Sebastian, the Lotuses and Mark Webber, but still it's very, very difficult to overtake around here so qualifying is important."

Hamilton is hoping Red Bull was on a significantly lower fuel load when the drivers went out for their hot laps on fresh soft tyres.

"I'm hoping that the Red Bulls are trying to continue to improve their qualifying runs on lighter fuel," he added. "If they're not then we are in trouble but I hope they are. We've got a little bit of time hopefully in fuel but not enough and we need to make some changes to improve. If I go over the data I'm sure I can find some time in my data as well."