Lewis Hamilton is confident he has the machinery underneath him to win the world championship in Brazil this weekend, despite being beaten by championship rival Felipe Massa in Friday practice.
The McLaren driver, who is hoping to become the first British world champion since Damon Hill in 1996, lapped second quickest in the morning session, and dropped to ninth in the afternoon after experimenting with his race setup.
“Our car was blindingly quick this morning despite the cold weather, which made the track feel quite slippery. This afternoon we focused on our race pace – but we were interrupted by the threat of rain and the changeable wind direction. I flat-spotted my tyres on a couple of runs, but I m positive that the changes we ve made will put us in a good position for tomorrow.”
“A decent Friday practice session and we now have a good understanding of tyre performance following our comparison work and evaluation. We were fine-tuning the balance of the car all the time and the outcome makes me happy, although this isn t reflected in the fastest lap times. So we ve found a good baseline to work on for the rest of the weekend.”
“Today was a slightly tricky day for many of the teams – with graining, particularly of the option tyre, a particular problem with the less-than-optimal track temperatures caused by the inclement weather conditions. In fact, we suspect that some teams may have dropped their fuel loads in an effort to nullify that problem, but we didn’t. Instead we adhered to a disciplined programme, all the while assessing our raceable options. We made steady progress with our understanding of the available downforce levels, tyre choices and brake materials, and we feel confident that the lessons we learned today will pay dividends on Sunday.”
“This were certainly not one of the better 2008 Friday s rankings for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. But I doubt whether today s order represents Sunday s competitive situation. We had a conservative approach to the afternoon session to simulate extremes that can take place during the race on Sunday. But of course we still have to optimise both cars. I am confident we can qualify tomorrow in positions that enable us to score the necessary points on Sunday.”