F1 2012 Grand Prix of Germany: Hamilton hunts Hockenheim podium result

Lewis Hamilton driving in the wet during qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

Lewis Hamilton driving in the wet during qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

HOCH ZWEI

FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton aims to "hunt down" the men ahead of him on the starting grid in today's 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star from Hertfordshire was eighth quickest in qualifying at a wet Hockenheim on Saturday.

However, the 27-year-old former F1 world champion will start from seventh place on the grid as a result of Red Bull driver Mark Webber – who had qualified third – taking a five-place penalty for a changed gearbox.

Hamilton lines up one place behind McLaren teammate Jenson Button, who qualified seventh and starts sixth.

Despite being on the fourth row, Hamilton is determined to celebrate his 100th grand prix with a podium finish in Germany.

The 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim

* Race distance: 67 laps (190.414 miles/306.458km)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/13:00 GMT

* Circuit length: 2.842 miles/4.574km

* 2010 winner: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 67 laps in 1hr27m38.864s (209.788km/h)

* 2010 pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 1m13.791s (223.149km/h)

* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes MP4-19) 1m13.780s (223.182km/h)

“On Sunday, I plan to hunt everyone down from behind,” roared Hamilton after qualifying.

“The great thing at Hockenheim is the great big DRS zone along the back straight – so hopefully Jenson [Button] and I will be doing lots of overtaking there tomorrow!”

Having gone fastest in Q2 on Intermediates with a time of 1m 37.365s, Hamilton was only eighth best in the top 10 shootout on full wets with a lap of 1m 44.186s, as Fernando Alonso grabbed pole position for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton said: “We’ve got to be a little disappointed with the final qualifying result; we were looking good in both Q1 and Q2, so I don’t understand how the others went quicker as the track dried slightly towards the end of Q3.

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

“Still, we’re in a better position for tomorrow [Sunday]. Although we’re not starting from the best positions, our car certainly looks better in the dry and, with dry weather predicted tomorrow, I definitely think we can have a good race.”

After struggling to get temperature into the tyres in the rain, Button echoed Hamilton’s thoughts. Speaking after qualifying, he said: “It’s an issue we’ve had for a few races and an area where we need to improve.

“In dry running, however, the pace is very good: we just struggle in wet conditions to get the tyres working.

“We’ve got to sort out these issues with the tyre temperatures because it’s hurting us both – and that makes it a very difficult day in the office for us.

Lewis Hamilton driving in qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]Lewis Hamilton driving in qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheim [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

“However, the positives that we can take away are that our car looks quick in the dry and that this weekend’s upgrade package is a good step forward.

“Everyone should be proud of their efforts to not only get it working, but to also have delivered it ahead of schedule this weekend.

“Today was tough, but I hope we have a good race tomorrow.”

The 2012 Santander German Grand Prix starts at 1pm.

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