Motor Sports

Formula One: Hamilton delighted with speed and potential

McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, who made best time, arrives in the pits at the Hungaroring circuit on July 27, 2012 in Budapest during the second practice session ahead of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix. (AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI)

BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton said he was delighted with the speed and potential of his McLaren car after dominating both of Friday's free practice sessions for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 2008 drivers champion said he had 'absolutely no problems' as he led team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button in a McLaren one-two in the morning and was then fastest again in the afternoon's rain-hit session.

He said: "It's been a really positive day. I'm very, very happy. We made some good changes to the car to get it dialled in and we're on the right path, but we've still got some work to do. The Red Bull looks very quick, so does the Lotus, and obviously the Ferrari as well. So we're by no means feeling comfortable."

Hamilton said he expected several rivals to improve on Saturday after suffering from the weather and conditions on Friday.

"I feel good in the car, but practice is completely different to qualifying," he said.

"Tomorrow when we get into qualifying I have no doubts that Fernando [Alonso, Ferrari] will all of a sudden find half a second and the Red Bulls will also find a chunk of time. I think we're not in a bad position."

Hamilton has only scored four points in three races since he won the Canadian Grand Prix win, but said he felt in excellent form going into this weekend's Hungarian race.

"I'm on it and I'm happy to be on it," he said. "I feel like I've been on it all year, but I feel a lot of support from the fans, the car feels great - as it did in the last race - and it's all in one piece at the moment. I'm just focusing on trying to maximise every lap and every opportunity I get out there."

Button warned that he felt Lotus could prove to be the team to beat.

Although Hamilton topped the times in both sessions, with Button placing second and sixth respectively, the 2009 world champion predicted a number of rival outfits, led by Lotus, will be more competitive than their Friday times suggested.

"I think the Lotus is quick," Button said. "I don't think Kimi [Raikkonen] really got a lap together but he was still second in FP2.

"I think on a hotter track you really see the Lotuses come to the front, which has been the case all year - if you look at Bahrain that's where they were very strong."

He added that he felt his car's balance in the first session was good, but that changes in the second did not work out.

"This afternoon we tried a few new things with the car which I don't think worked, so we're going to go back on them," he said.

"We should be up there, but I don't think just because we were quick today we'll definitely be on the front row. I think we're all going to be very close in both qualifying and the race - it's all about finding the perfect balance..."

He added: "There are worse circuits for overtaking. I still think we'll see people overtaking, especially in the DRS zone down the pit straight."





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