• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Mercedes feels 'awesome' - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
October 12, 2013 « 'I'm not doing good enough' - Alonso | Raikkonen admits to qualifying mistakes »
Lewis Hamilton starts on row two alongside Romain Grosjean © Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes "felt awesome" during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

While Red Bull locked out the front row - with Mark Webber ahead of Sebastian Vettel - Hamilton will start from third place after setting a time 0.3s off Webber's best. Although unable to seriously challenge for pole position, Hamilton said he was pleased with the performance shown by Mercedes at Suzuka.

"I'm really happy, I think the team did a great job so far this weekend," Hamilton said. "Realistically it was difficult - or almost impossible - to finish ahead of these guys. They've had a much better package generally for a long, long time but we've come a long way and to be as close as we are I think is a huge compliment to the team.

"The car was feeling good. I mean, my car felt awesome so I can't imagine how it felt for them but congratulations to Mark; I'm looking forward to racing them tomorrow."

Hamilton was optimistic that he could give the Red Bulls a race as long as his tyres hold up.

"Degradation is going to really be the key tomorrow. I hope that we can get a good start being on the cleaner side and be able to at least put up a little bit of a fight for these guys, don't let them walk away with it too easily."

Asked if he got the most he could out of the car, Hamilton replied: "In terms of position, yeah.

"Of course when you go back and you look at the lap you can always improve but I'm generally happy with it, I'm glad that I've got that position and I'm just going to try to build on it tomorrow."