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Set-up 'not a concern', even if wet - Hamilton
25 November 2012
With forecasts on Friday predicting heavy rain for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Brazil in Sao Paulo, many teams had one eye on set-up considerations throughout the build-up to the race. But one driver shrugging off questions about his car set-up was pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.
"Generally nowadays you don't even really have much of a wet set-up," he told reporters on Saturday after qualifying. "It's not like in karting when you soften everything off.
"The set-up in the dry and the wet is very, very similar - apart from ride heights maybe,' he explained. "We've just set the car to attack the qualifying and we don't know what's going to happen [in the race]."
Over at Mercedes - the team that Hamilton will move to after ending his six-year tenure at McLaren this weekend - Michael Schumacher was blaming a decision to go for a wet-set-up for his own slump in qualifying on Saturday.
Many pundits in the paddock felt that Ferrari had opted for a similar wet set-up gambit in their bid to boost Fernando Alonso to the 2012 title ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but Alonso echoed Hamilton's dismissive line on the importance of set-up in the modern era.
"F1 is dominated by aerodynamics," he said. "We ran with maximum downforce in dry and same in the wet so no big changes today, no gamble. It is minimum changes."
Although early forecasts pointed toward a "hundred per cent chance" of rain on Sunday, the outlook has improved substantially and now suggest that there is less than a 40 per cent chance of rain this afternoon for the race. However, showers could still play a major role in the season finale even if they are relatively brief and light
"I think the weather is going to be tricky," said Hamilton of the uncertain outlook. "It's definitely going to make it more of a lottery."
"Interlagos can be very hit and miss, the little showers can just generate from anywhere and surprise you pretty quickly," said Red Bull's Mark Webber, who will start immediately behind Hamilton from third place on the Interlagos grid.
"We just have to hope that the rain level is okay for us to actually race," contributed Jenson Button, who will start alongside his McLaren team mate on the front row. "That's always the worry here in Interlagos ... It is tough to drive here in the wet, you get a lot of rivers on the hill."
"We just have to wait and see, make sure we get our tyre pressures right, make sure we get the tyre temperatures right and the brake temperatures and try to steer clear of any big puddles," contributed Hamilton. "Even if we both get good starts, we'll still need to be cautious."
"We need to keep our eyes open tomorrow and be ready for everything because that's what can happen around here," said Webber. "We could even run all three sets of tyres, in terms of wets, inters and slicks at some stage.
"I think it will be pretty humid tomorrow as well, I think the ambient is going to be quite cool but the humidity will help dry the circuit out in some cases," the Australian added. "It's going to be a good final grand prix of the year, looking forward to getting a really good result.
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