Lewis Hamilton says he is keen to go one better than 2010 when F1 returns to the Yeongam circuit this weekend for the second running of the Korean Grand Prix.
The McLaren man finished second in the inaugural race last year, which was held in treacherous conditions after heavy rain, and makes his return to the circuit this year eager to end a run of form that has seen him finish on the podium just once – his victory in Germany – in the last ten races.
With the weather forecast being for dry conditions, Hamilton said he was keen to see what the Korean circuit would be like without the rain that plagued the event last year.
“I had a pretty good race here last year, finishing second – it was a long, tough afternoon, but I'm glad we got the chance to put on a race for all the fans who'd come for the first-ever grand prix in Korea,” he said. “I think the DRS zone into turn three should definitely make for some exciting racing: last year, the back straight didn't really produce too much overtaking because it was so wet and there was so much spray by the time we reached that downhill braking area, that it wasn't an easy place to pull off a pass. The weather's supposed to be good next weekend, so I think we'll really begin to see how this circuit works in the dry.
“You can tell that this track has been designed to be a good place for racing – turns four, five and six are a bit like the end of the lap at Istanbul Park, where you can attack on the inside and the outside and try and fight your way past.
“So, yeah, second was a good place to start last year, but I want to go one better in 2011.”
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was confident that Hamilton would be able to bounce back from the problems he has faced in recent races, with the team focused on a strong end to the season despite the fact that the F1 title race has now been decided in favour of Sebastian Vettel.
“Lewis showed at both Singapore and Suzuka that he had the pace to put the car on pole position, but was unlucky to lose out for a variety of different reasons,” he said. “It seems like luck is against him at the moment, but, knowing Lewis, he will bounce back stronger than ever.
“We've lost none of our ambition to win now that the drivers' championship has been resolved, and I know both our drivers would dearly love to score a one-two for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to further proof that we have a superbly competitive car at the moment.
“Last year, the people of Korea seemed to really embrace this grand prix – the grandstands were packed and the enthusiasm for the sport was infectious: that's a great foundation for a new race, and I hope that we can sustain that interest and enthusiasm into our second year.”