F1 2012 Korean Grand Prix: Hamilton struggles ahead of qualifying
PUBLISHED: 12:34 12 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:54 13 October 2012
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton struggled in second practice for the 2012 Korean Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton’s Korea record
* 2011: Q1, R2
* 2010: Q4, R2
The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire topped the timesheets in first practice this morning (Friday).
He clocked a lap of 1m 39.148s around the Korea International Circuit at Yeongam.
Hamilton, who will join Mercedes GP next season, then recorded a time of 1m 39.717s in second practice.
“I struggled a little bit with set-up today,” said Hamilton ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.
“There was quite a big difference in feeling between FP1 and FP2, which we don’t fully understand yet.
“This morning’s session was fine, but I made some changes for the afternoon and wasn’t quite able to get a good time out of either the Prime or the Option [tyres].
“So now we’ll work hard to figure out what direction we want to take.”
McLaren teammate Jenson Button was 10th quickest in FP1 and fourth fastest in second practice as the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set the pace in Korea.
Lewis Hamilton F1 record
* Age: 27 (January 7, 1985)
* GPs: 105
* Wins: 20
* Poles: 24
* FLs: 11
* 2012 points: 152 (4th)
Hamilton said: “The Red Bulls look pretty quick, but Jenson [Button] wasn’t that far off their pace this afternoon. So that’s good.
“We’ll make some changes to the balance overnight, and hopefully we’ll be in better shape for tomorrow.”
McLaren driver Button said: “It’s so tricky to get a good set-up around here. We’re still not quite quick enough, but we’re heading in the right direction.
“We’ve been making progress all day, although this morning’s session was more about testing new parts and making sure everything worked correctly and less about choosing the right set-up.
“At the moment, it doesn’t look like we’re quite as quick as the Red Bulls – who’ll probably be quite difficult to beat in qualifying – but our race lap-times and consistency both look good.”
Martin Whitmarsh, team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, added: “Finding the perfect set-up for this circuit is a somewhat tricky balancing act – and it’s not made any easier by the ‘green’ track surface and the changing wind direction between sessions.
“Nevertheless, I think we’ve made a solid start to the weekend. We evaluated a number of new solutions and made decent progress towards cracking the balance needed for both the Soft and the Supersoft tyres.”
Qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix of Korea starts at 6am on Saturday.