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Hamilton ready for tyre challenge

Lewis Hamilton says the performance of the Pirelli tyres in practice suggests a challenging weekend lies ahead in Spain
Lewis Hamilton has said he expects the difference between the two Pirelli compounds being used for the Spanish Grand Prix will lead to an intriguing race weekend.

The McLaren driver struggled during the opening practice session of the weekend while using the harder compound tyre but was able to split Red Bull pair Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on soft rubber in the second session.

Lap times were noticeably quicker in FP2 and Hamilton admitted that it was going to be difficult to get the best out of the hard tyre through qualifying and the race.

“It's difficult to get an accurate read on pace: we stuck to our programme today and didn't appear to be too far off, but you never know what fuel-loads or engine levels the other teams are running,” he said. “Still, we got some good data and made some positive improvements so, in all likelihood, we look as competitive today as we have in the past.

“We have taken some small steps forward – we put a new front-wing on and it naturally appeared to be a little bit better. Globally, it's not too bad. It didn't feel too good this morning on the harder tyre, which was difficult to switch on and difficult to make last, but this afternoon's running was very positive.

“There's a big difference between the two Pirelli compounds – and that will hopefully have a positive impact on the show this weekend!”

Team-mate Jenson Button was fourth fastest, despite struggling with the balance of his car over the course of the day.

“This morning was spent running through the new systems on the car; this afternoon was the time to push a bit harder and get a proper feel for things,” he said. “I'm not particularly happy with the balance – I'm struggling with the rear-end, which isn't something I like – but I'm going to work to improve that overnight.

“There is more pace in the car, we've just got to unleash it and find a balance that I like. The longer run was reasonable, even if we got a slightly different result than we expected. But it's all good information and I think we can get a good balance for the race – now I need to focus on sorting out the rear-end for qualifying.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
07.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
17.04.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 race winner
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H

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Firestorm - Unregistered

May 20, 2011 7:29 PM

As Hamilton and Alonso said the hard tyres are a disaster.Maybe this is a bad new for the top teams and especially for Red Bull.They must use the soft tyres during Q1 and not the hard ones as they usually did and they will not have any advantage with fresh tyres like in Turkey.It seems that McLaren and Ferrari have improved and closed the gap to Red Bull.So I think it will be a nice weekend.


May 20, 2011 7:45 PM

Hamilton said he found it tough when the (hard) tyres were difficult when they were new. Vettel was around one second quicker than anyone else on hard tyres, mclaren and the rest could be even further behind tomorrow, Mark Webber on the other hand has a chance (in a horses for courses kind of way, he will have done more laps around, and gone through most of the corners more often than vettel)

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