F1 »

Hamilton admits: Ferrari will be hard to beat.

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Formula 1 World Championship rival Felipe Massa 'destroyed everyone' on his way to securing pole position for this weekend's inaugural European Grand Prix in Valencia – but the Briton remains optimistic of being able to fight back on race day around the all-new harbour-side street circuit.

Having looked quick throughout practice, and with his McLaren-Mercedes team expected to hold a slight edge around the Juan Carlos I Marina track, Hamilton was always going to be a strong contender for pole position – and with just moments remaining in Q3, he took it.

That glory, though, lasted all of a matter of seconds until Massa stole the top spot back again by just over two tenths of a second – in so doing threatening to break the Woking-based outfit's three-race winning streak stretching back to Silverstone last month, when Hamilton so famously triumphed on home turf.

“In sector one he destroyed everyone,” the 23-year-old world championship leader admitted of his Ferrari foe afterwards. “They are going to be hard to beat tomorrow, but we will push as hard as we can.

“We knew we had a great car, and we didn't have any problems during qualifying. I felt really comfortable, and I decided to qualify with the option tyre. My first lap wasn't perfect, and I lost almost one second compared with my second lap.

“On my final lap I think I was already down a tenth or two tenths after the first corner. Turns four and five did not seem as strong as I'd like either.

“Second place on the grid is a good basis for tomorrow's race; however, Felipe was significantly faster in the first sector, and I hope we'll be able to improve there tomorrow. Our team did a great job, and I'm confident we'll be strong.”

One variable now counting against Hamilton is the fact that the pole position side of the circuit has been altered after head of the FIA technical department, Charlie Whiting, observed 'the line taken by cars across the grid' during the practice and qualifying sessions. Pole was previously to have been located on the left-hand side, but there have been repeated suggestions over the weekend that there is more grip on the right.

There is a precedent for this, as in 1990 the late three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna requested the pole position move from the dirty side to the cleaner side of the track at Suzuka in Japan, only to see his plea refused by then President of the FIA Jean-Marie Balestre. Though he wound up almost a second adrift of team-mate Hamilton in Valencia, at least Heikki Kovalainen will now benefit from what should be the grippier side of the grid.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Valencia F1 Grand Prix, 22nd-24th, August 2008
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Renault Formula One Team, launch date, [Credit: Renault F1]
Force India reveals the launch date for its 2017 F1 challenge
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Shirley Knott

August 23, 2008 7:36 PM

Apologies.... have great respect for Charlie Whiting, but do wonder whether the pole would have been altered for Lewis.... Always seems to me that if a decision favours Ferrari then that's the one that will be made.....

rich ard

August 24, 2008 9:12 AM

shirley, this is a new track and after observing the previous two races, charlie, along with the team owners agreed that the pole position was incorrect and that a natural lead into the first curve, from the grid, should be changed. this happened BEFORE qualifying, so i wonder, how on earth could everybody have known where a ferrari would have qualified, or maybe the whole grid is fixed??

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.