Formula 1 News

Hamilton encouraged by practice pace

McLaren looks very strong ahead qualifying and the race. They consistently have been the closest threat -if any- to the mighty Red Bulls.
Friday, November 11, 2011

ABU DHABI, Nov 11, 2011 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton was in a positive mood after topping the times for McLaren during Friday's free practice for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 2008 champion clocked a lap of the Yas Marina circuit in one minute 39.586 seconds during an incident-filled afternoon practice.

That meant he edged out his his team-mate and English compatriot Jenson Button, fastest in the morning session, as the British outfit dominated the day.

"I think it was a great day for us," said Hamilton.

"Our long run pace doesn't seem too bad. It's definitely a lot better compared to the last race. I kept it out of the wall, kept it out of trouble and I'm quite happy with it."

The 26-year-old suggested his car was dealing better with tyre wear but refused to rule out improvements from rival teams.

"The tyres are behaving really well and they are lasting really well as well," he said.

"Today my long run felt pretty good and so that's the real positive today. And also the lower fuel run felt really, really good and tyre worked really well. A positive day. I'm quite happy with it.

"We seem to be quite competitive, but we don't know the fuel the others are running. So we are focusing on our job.

The car is feeling a lot better for me this weekend, so I really hope that I'm able to keep that."

Despite finishing the day second quickest, Button, champion in 2009, said he was struggling with the balance of his car.

"The day was alright," Button said. "I'm still not entirely happy with the balance. I haven't been all day. We tried a few things and we are going in the right direction, but we have to get to the bottom of it.

"But the pace of the car looks good. Lewis is very fast so it shows that the car is quick. And the long run that I did was alright, but there's a lot of room for improvement."

Jenson Button facing the sunset on track.

Jenson Button facing the sunset on track.

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Drivers
Teams
1 Nico Rosberg 25
2 Kevin Magnussen 18
3 Jenson Button 15
4 Fernando Alonso 12
5 Valtteri Bottas 10
6 Nico Hülkenberg 8
1 McLaren 33
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3 Ferrari 18
4 Williams F1 10
5 Sahara Force India 9
6 Scuderia Toro Rosso 6

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