F1 2012 German Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton's Hockenheim battle

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 July 2012 | UPDATED: 14:26 21 July 2012

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton during practice for the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton during practice for the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

HOCH ZWEI

FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton bids for pole position in qualifying for the 2012 German Grand Prix today (Saturday) at Hockenheim.

"I feel positive that we can do something good this weekend."

Lewis Hamilton after German GP practice

The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire was second fastest in Friday’s opening rain-hit practice session behind teammate Jenson Button.

McLaren introduced a number of upgrades to the car yesterday in an effort to close the gap on their main rivals – Ferrari and Red Bull.

Despite practice being a stop-start affair due to the weather, Hamilton is optimistic of a good grid position in Germany.

Speaking after a shower-hit second free practice session, he said: “I feel positive that we can do something good this weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton flies the flag in Germany ahead of the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]Lewis Hamilton flies the flag in Germany ahead of the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

On the McLaren upgrades, including revised sidepods, Hamilton said: “It’s quite a positive step: it’s still difficult to accurately predict what sort of a step we’ve taken as we couldn’t back-to-back between the old and new components, but it’s definitely a step forward.

“Hopefully, we’ll get more of an indication as the weekend progresses – although, with more wet weather predicted for tomorrow [Saturday], it might not be until Sunday that we can tell what we’ve got. Still, the car doesn’t feel bad at all.”

Button also feels McLaren have made positive strides after the team’s disastrous British Grand Prix result at Silverstone.

He said after practice: “For us, trying to get the tyres working is one of our main issues, so we spent a lot of time focusing on that – it wasn’t all successful, but when things came together, our pace was good.

Lewis Hamilton in Hockenheim ahead of the 2012 German Grand Prix [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]Lewis Hamilton in Hockenheim ahead of the 2012 German Grand Prix [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

“We’ve still got some more work to do to be quick in the wet, but FP2 was a useful session in terms of telling us where we need to be heading.”

Button added: “Hopefully we’ll be able to see the improvement in performance throughout the rest of the weekend.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh was also encouraged by Friday’s running.

Speaking after practice, he said: “The weather still looks unpredictable for tomorrow [Saturday], with brighter weather beckoning for Sunday’s race.

“For the engineers, tonight will be a question of finessing the car as best they can to cope with the fickle northern European climate – the only thing we seem to be able to predict with any certainty these days is the weather’s sheer unpredictability!”

Bookmakers William Hill still make German Sebastian Vettel the 13/8 favourite to qualify fastest for his home race, with Hamilton 4/1. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber are both 7/1.

Qualifying for the 2012 Santander German Grand Prix starts at 1pm.

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