Hamilton: Not the best of Fridays

Date published: October 29 2011

Lewis Hamilton may have had the pace in Friday’s practice in India but it proved to be too much, earning the McLaren driver a grid slot penalty…

Lewis Hamilton may have had the pace in Friday’s practice in India but it proved to be too much, earning the McLaren driver a grid slot penalty.

Hamilton was the man to beat in Friday’s first practice at the new Buddh International circuit as he posted a 1:26.836 to edge Sebastian Vettel.

However, almost immediately after, Hamilton was yet again in the stewards office receiving a penalty. This time it was for ignoring yellow flags warning him that marshals were close to the track when he posted his P1 time.

The Brit was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s 60-lap Indian Grand Prix.

“It hasn’t been the best of Fridays,” Hamilton said. “I’m a bit frustrated at myself, it’s my fault as usual so I just have to do what I can from wherever I qualify tomorrow.

“I have no one else to blame, it’s only me driving. (But) it’s not the end of the world and I can still recover from it.”

And given McLaren’s times on Friday, Hamilton’s bravado is not misplaced.

He finished the day fourth on the timesheets, just 0.748s behind Felipe Massa, while his team-mate Jenson Button was a quarter of a second further behind.

“We looked quick this morning. This afternoon, however, I had a problem with the driveshaft – it felt like it was causing some wear and tear so it prompted me to end the session a little early.

“We’ll fit a new gearbox for tomorrow, so the car will hopefully start behaving a bit better. That should make things closer at the front.

“Sunday’s race will be a long one. Nevertheless, there will be opportunities to overtake: it’s a high-downforce circuit and, although it’ll be very hard to follow other cars closely, the double-DRS zone should make it a bit easier. We’ll get a clearer idea tomorrow of just how quick we really are.”

But while the McLaren driver was not particularly happy with himself, he was with the new track and praised the Jaypee organisers for the work done.

“The track is fantastic – the organisers here in India have done a great job.

“It’s very fast and flowing, the grip-level is fantastic, the run-off areas seem to be good, and the kerbs are probably the best of any circuit we visit: nice rumble-strips that you can drive on. Like any brand-new circuit, it’s been gripping-up throughout the day.”

Related Links
Gallery: Formula 1’s first laps in India
Prac One: Hamilton sets the pace
Prac Two: Massa edges Vettel