F1: Hamilton positive ahead of 2013 Chinese Grand Prix
PUBLISHED: 20:25 06 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:22 12 April 2013
FORMULA One driver Lewis Hamilton heads into the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix in a positive mood after securing a podium in Malaysia in only his second race for new team Mercedes.
The Formula One season resumes next week with the third round, the 2013 UBS Chinese Grand Prix, on Sunday.
The race takes place at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit, located 40kms outside of the city.
This year’s race will be the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Grand Prix, which made its debut during the 2004 season.
‘Shanghai specialist’ Nico Rosberg won in China last year, while Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag for McLaren in 2011.
Mercedes at Chinese Grand Prix
* Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has led 78 of a total of 168 laps (46%) in the past three years in China.
* Mercedes-Benz is the most successful engine manufacturer in China, with four wins in the past five races.
* Shanghai has a medium Safety Car risk, with deployments in one third of the nine races so far.
Having finished on the podium in Malaysia last time out, Hertfordshire-born Hamilton, 28, is looking to spring another surprise in Shanghai.
The 2008 F1 world champion said: “I’m looking forward to getting to China next week and going racing again; it feels like a long time since Malaysia!
“My first two races with my new team have been a great experience and everyone has made me feel so welcome.
“We’ve had a better start than we expected and to have finished in fifth and third places so far is really positive.”
"We’ve had a better start than we expected and to have finished in fifth and third places so far is really positive."
Hamilton acknowledges the development race will be key to maintaining Mercedes’ encouraging start to the season.
He said: “I know there is much more to come, so we will keep working hard and pushing the development of the car.
“I’ll be at the factory this weekend and look forward to hearing about the work that’s gone on in the last couple of weeks and the upgrades that we will take to China.”
Mercedes team-mate Rosberg added: “I travel to China next week with very good memories from winning my first Formula One race in Shanghai last year, and having led the race there for the past three years.
2013 Chinese Grand Prix stats
* Race distance: 56 laps (305.066km/189.568 miles)
* Start time: 15:00 (local)/07:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 5.451km/3.387 miles
* 2012 winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W03) 56 laps in 1hr 36m 26.929s (189.778km/h)
* 2012 pole: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W03) 1m 35.121s (206.301km/h)
* Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m32.238s (212.749km/h)
“I enjoy the Shanghai track a great deal and I have a positive feeling going there with the car that we have at the moment.
“The team have been working very hard to develop our car since returning from Malaysia and I will be at the factory on Monday to complete my preparations in the simulator for the next two races.
“We’ve had a strong start to the season and I’m confident that we can keep pushing and hopefully score some good results in China and Bahrain.”
Team principal Ross Brawn is looking for Mercedes to repeat last year’s success in China, although that will be a tough ask.
“The Chinese Grand Prix of course holds great memories following the first win for Nico and our Silver Arrows team in Shanghai last year,” said Brawn.
“That win was an extremely proud occasion for us all and certainly one that we hope to emulate in the future.
“Our season has started well, perhaps better than we expected, however we’re fully aware that there is still a gap to close and that we must keep up the pace of development.
“A lot of hard work has taken place at our factories over the last two weeks to do just that and I look forward to seeing how that translates to track performance.”
Designed by Hermann Tilke, the Shanghai International Circuit is challenging with fast curves, tight corners and two hairpins. The layout requires good straightline speed, braking stability and traction.
It was built on marshland to the north west of Shanghai in 2004. The scale of the project, with its two nine-storey pit buildings, 29,000-seat main grandstand and ornate paddock pavilions, was bigger than anything previously seen in Formula 1.
The 5.451km track has an eclectic mix of corners and one very long straight, at the end of which lies the best overtaking point on the lap.
The circuit’s technical demands are similar to those of Sepang, scene of the last grand prix in Malaysia, but the cooler ambient and track temperatures expected in China are going to place greater emphasis on tyre wear.
Turns 1 and 13 are particularly demanding on man and machine. The cars enter Turn 1 at 185mph and scrub off more than 140mph while turning right through 180 degrees towards the blind apex.
Turn 13 is another 180-degree right-hander that opens up towards the exit as the cars accelerate throughout. Both corners will be a stern test for Pirelli’s Soft and Medium compound tyres.
Mercedes director Toto Wolff says the team’s victory last year counts for nothing going into next Sunday’s race. He said: “One year on from Nico’s win, a lot of people will be asking whether this is something our team can repeat in 2013.
“But like they say, yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games, and that’s definitely true for us. We start again from zero this year and need to work hard to adapt the car to suit the circuit and the tyre compounds we have available, in the conditions that we find on track next weekend. Then we will see where we stand relative to the competition.
“We have made a solid start to the season in the first two races with Nico and Lewis both performing at a very high and equal level.
“The development race will be critical this season so we have more new parts planned for China. Our aim has to be to improve on our good start to the season and continue scoring good points in both championships.”
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