Lewis Hamilton admits that there is work to do after the defending world champion could only manage the ninth quickest time in Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Although the McLaren driver lost out in traffic late in the second session while chasing a quick time, Hamilton was left disappointed by ninth place on the timesheets – six places behind team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.
However, the Briton conceded that qualifying on Saturday is when the important part of the weekend will start and said he was hopeful that the team would find more speed from the car to secure a strong grid slot.
“I'm still lacking some speed in certain areas, so I need to work on that,” he said. “The sessions were a little up and down for me today – I didn't have any major problems, but I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped to be. Today's not the important day though, and when the track gets a bit cleaner tomorrow, we'll have a better understanding of the tyres.
“The track's still very bumpy and all the traffic makes it quite difficult to get a clear lap, and the turn ten chicane is also worse than last year – a bit more dangerous – but nobody's had any problems there so it should be okay. The main thing for us is to analyse the data, try and improve the car and find some more time for tomorrow.”
While he suffered a minor spin in the first session, Kovalainen was pleased to be third quickest and he said he was optimistic of finding more speed overnight.
“I'm very happy,” the Finn said. “I didn't have any problems today and I think we made some good progress between the sessions. Both tyre compounds seem to work okay, so that's another reason to be optimistic. I'm confident we can find a bit more time overnight, too. However, the other teams are also looking quick here, so it's not going to be easy. The main difference to the track this year is the change to the turn ten chicane: it's slower and tighter, and the kerbs are bigger so you cannot attack there because you can't afford to risk damaging the car.”