McLaren aims for pole at Sepang

© Ubaid Parkar, 23 March 2012
© AP Images

Content with the practice sessions on Friday and its performance at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, McLaren has every reason to be optimistic for the second round in Malaysia.

Lewis Hamilton emerged as the quickest driver in the both the practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday keeping him happy for the weekend ahead.

"We’ve made a few changes to the balance of the car since the last race and I’m much happier – but we’ll still be making changes to improve our long-run pace, which can always be better," the 2008 world champion said.

“I’m working as hard as I can to have as good a qualifying set-up as my race set-up and I think we’ve got a bit more of an understanding of how the car works on heavy fuel.

"Looking after the tyres will be a tough call in the race – so it’s all about finding the right balance," he added.

Teammate Jenson Button however was left a little frustrated as his car had an oil leak in the morning, cutting his session short.

"But it didn’t really matter as the track was still dirty," Button pointed out.

Like Hamilton, the 2009 world champion too believed that the tyres would play a crucial role at the Sepang International Circuit.

"It’s going to be tough on both compounds around here with all the humidity and the heat. I think the race will be tough for all of us – unless the circuit improves a great deal, there’s going to be quite a few stops on Sunday!

“We want a good race car, but the aim for tomorrow is pole – you make your life a lot easier if you start from pole position, so we’re putting a lot of work into single-lap performance.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh however expects McLaren's rivals to be competitive saying that it has not "seen the best of Red Bull just yet" and that Mercedes could be in the mix as well.

“I think we’re in for an exciting championship – a number of teams look extremely competitive and we’re going to have another close race this weekend,” Whitmarsh said referring to the bunched up field.


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