Lewis Hamilton says he is confident of a strong run in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, despite missing out on the podium last time out in India.
Hamilton could only manage fourth at the Buddh International Circuit despite Mark Webber ahead suffering a KERS-related problem ahead but has always gone well at Yas Marina in the past.
Although he retains a slim chance of winning the title, a more realistic goal for Hamilton would be to end the season –and his time with McLaren – with more victories to his name and the Briton said he was hopeful of challenging for top spot this weekend.
“The facilities in Abu Dhabi are absolutely fantastic – probably the best of any circuit in the world,” he said. “I've always enjoyed the Yas Marina circuit – I took pole here in 2009 and led until my retirement, finished second in 2010 and won it last year – that's a pretty good record.
“It's a track where you can really push the car, which is what I most enjoy. There are a wide variety of corners – I love the fast sweeps in the first sector – and it's incredibly satisfying to hook together a good sector through the tricky marina section of the lap. Good mechanical balance makes all the difference here because you're always changing direction.
“This has also been a place where Red Bull have traditionally gone well, but our race pace was very strong throughout the race in New Delhi. I really enjoyed that race India – fourth place may have been little reward for 60 laps of flat-out effort, but I couldn't have gone any faster.
“I feel confident that we can pull together a strong race weekend in Abu Dhabi.”
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he too was confident that both Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button would be in contention in Abu Dhabi.
“Another race just a week after the last gives us the perfect opportunity to maintain the positive momentum we gathered during Sunday's grand prix in India,” he said. “Both Jenson and Lewis drove their hearts out, and, although we weren't able to match the Red Bulls in qualifying, their pace on Sunday afternoon, particularly during the second half of the race, was impressively strong.
“The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has always gone well in Abu Dhabi – Lewis set a stunning pole at the first-ever grand prix in 2009 and led until his retirement. Additionally, in 2010, both Jenson and Lewis finished on the podium, while Lewis finally delivered on two years' promise by winning spectacularly last year.
“It's a circuit that both drivers enjoy, and which plays to our cars' strengths, so I feel confident that we'll have a strong race weekend.”