F1 2013 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton’s tough test
PUBLISHED: 22:34 10 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:31 11 May 2013
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton goes in qualifying for the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix having only finished sixth fastest in the opening two free practice sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.
Grand Prix of Spain
* Race distance: 66 laps (307.104km/190.825 miles)
* Start time: 14.00 (local)/12.00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 4.655km/2.892 miles
* 2012 winner: Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW34) 66 laps in 1hr39m09.145s (185.838km/h)
* 2012 pole: Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW34) 1m22.285s (203.658km/h)
* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F2008) 1m21.670s (205.121km/h)
As the F1 season reaches Europe for the first time this year, Hertfordshire-born Hamilton bids for a strong grid position in qualifying in Spain on Saturday.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas driver was sixth in Friday’s two practice sessions, as Fernando Alonso and then Sebastian Vettel set the pace for Ferrari and Red Bull respectively.
After Friday’s practice, Hamilton, 28, said: “The team have done a great job to bring our upgrades here this weekend and whilst I could feel the impact immediately, it’s difficult to quantify how much of an improvement has been made at this early stage.
“After the first session this morning, I felt there was some good promise and the car was well-balanced but I was a little less happy in the different conditions this afternoon.
“We’ll keep working on it tonight and see if we can make tomorrow a little better.”
Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg was P9 and P7 in the first two practice sessions.
Rosberg said after practice: “It seems that we are quick again on one lap but we need to focus very much on achieving a good race pace.
“There is still a lot work to do but in general I felt that we had a good test programme today [Friday] and learned quite a lot.
“It’s difficult to manage the tyres in these conditions and we have seen a lot of graining today because of the lower temperature.”
Of the team’s chances in Spain, Mercedes F1 principal Ross Brawn said: “We’ve been working hard on improving our long runs and there are some signs of improvement today but we need to have a good look at the data this evening before making any conclusions.
“The car seems to be quite good on low fuel as we know.
“Tyre degradation is going to be a key consideration over the weekend and we must remain focused to ensure that we get the best possible performance from the car in the race. That’s our priority.”
Mercedes director Toto Wolff added: “A quite difficult day at the office for us today.
“The car seemed quick over a single lap but what matters for Sunday is how we perform on our long runs. They looked more difficult for both drivers today and we have plenty of work to do overnight to improve our pace for the weekend.”
Qualifying for the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Saturday.
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