• Japanese Grand Prix - FP2

Hamilton thinks Red Bull runs light

ESPNF1 Staff
October 7, 2011 « Red Bull the car to beat - Button | Last corner cost me a shot at pole - Hamilton »
Lewis Hamilton was eighth quickest in FP2 having been unable to set a flying lap on new soft tyres © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton says that he thinks Red Bull's long run pace during Friday practice is due to it running less fuel than McLaren.

Although Jenson Button was quickest in both of the practice sessions, Button said that the Red Bull is the car to beat after it was consistently setting lap times over a second quicker than the McLarens during the heavy fuel runs. Hamilton, however, says the McLaren is usually closer during the grand prix, and that he expected he had been running more fuel than Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

"Looking at the times, I think Red Bull typically carries less fuel than us during Friday's long-run practices - that's often been the case throughout the year - and we're often closer in the races," Hamilton said. "I think our long-run pace, particularly on Jenson's car, looks good: I think we've got a good chance of being very competitive.

"Also, our pace over a single lap also looks very good. Actually, I think looking after the tyres during the race will be the biggest challenge, because degradation could be a slight issue for the teams."

Hamilton also said he didn't expect to receive any punishment from the stewards after being called to explain his pace under yellow flags in FP2.

"After P2, the stewards were looking at my data after [Vitantonio] Liuzzi parked his car at the exit of Turn 14 - but I did a slower sector time and didn't use DRS or KERS, so it should be okay."

Martin Whitmarsh also didn't expect any punishment for Hamilton, saying that by obeying the yellow flags he actually passed up the opportunity to set a low fuel lap time on fresh soft tyres.

"Lewis wasn't able to capitalise on the softer rubber when his tyres were at their optimum due to several yellow-flag sectors during P2, but, nevertheless, he's still encouraged by the pace of the car over both a single flying-lap and a long-run. "