Saturday March 23, 2013
Hamilton hopes to do sponsors Petronas proud
FORMER world champion Lewis Hamilton is optimistic Mercedes can bring the cheers to their Malaysian sponsors Petronas, based on their opening practice runs at Sepang yesterday.
Mercedes opted to focus on race set-up during the first half of the second free practice in the afternoon with both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg putting in the laps with high fuel loads.
German Nico Rosberg clocked the seventh fastest time for Mercedes with 1:37.448 while Hamilton was not that far off, finishing ninth in 1:37.574.
While several rivals complained about high degradation with their Pirelli tyres, Hamilton found that his held up during his long runs in the afternoon.
And Hamilton, the world champion in 2008, was pleased with the results.
“We had quite a good long run in this session, so we don’t think we’re eating up the tyres too much.
“In the first session, we did chew up the tyres a bit but that was mostly due to the set-up of the car as we had a very oversteery set-up,” said the British driver, who switched from McLaren to Mercedes this season.
He, however, downplayed suggestions that Mercedes could be fighting for the race victory this weekend.
“It felt quick and better than it did in the last race and fingers crossed, it will be. We have taken a step forward on long-run pace but the others look pretty quick as well, so it’s difficult to judge where we are.
“The Lotus looks really quick and it’s not until after I analyse the laps that I can judge how good ours was.”
Rosberg also shared Hamilton’s views.
“We worked a lot on our long run pace today, rather than being quick over one lap,” he said.
“As we saw in Melbourne, tyre management will be the key to success, so that was our focus for the practice sessions. The conditions were tough out there and the heat is unbelievable. We learnt a lot today but we still have some homework to do.”