Hamilton looking for 3rd win in China

Updated: April 13, 2012

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton laid down a marker in first practice for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix on Friday, banging in the quickest lap of the session after spending much of the morning in the garage.

The 2008 world champion, last year’s winner and the only driver to have triumphed twice in Shanghai, completed only seven laps but topped the timing screens with a best time of one minute 37.106 seconds.

His hopes of securing a third pole in three races have already vanished however after his team said on Thursday that the Briton will pick up a five place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Lewis Hamilton has begun 2012 with 2, 3rd place finishes in Australia and Malaysia. The former world champion however will be looking to go two better in China this weekend as he looks to win his second consecutive year.

2011 was an error ridden season for the Brit, which he has claimed he has learnt from.

“I won’t deny that I’m disappointed to have had two pole positions and not to have been able to convert either of them into victories, but I prefer to think of it that luck just hasn’t been on my side, and that it will swing my way sooner or later,” said Hamilton.

“I also think last year taught me the value of consistency: it’s no use chasing a great result if you can’t back it up with another strong finish the following week. So maybe I’m just playing myself in gently: after all, in 2007, I didn’t win a race until the sixth round, and I was in the hunt for the title all through the year.

“I still don’t think the pecking order has settled down yet, so it’s important to get some good results in the bag while we can. It will be very interesting to see how the order has shaken itself out over the last three weeks – it’s going to be an interesting weekend.”

Last years race was the most exciting of the season, an ideal circuit for the DRS considering its 2 long high speed straights. Sebastian Vettel finished outside the points at Sepang and will be looking to achieve at least what he did last season, a second place.

Ferrari despite Alonso winning in the rain 2 weeks ago shouldn’t trouble McLaren or Red Bull this weekend, however according to team principle Ross Brawn of Mercedes GP, they will. Brawn believes that improving car set-up, rather than a wholesale rethink about the design of the W03, is all that is needed for Mercedes to start finally delivering on its promise.

Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have scored just one point so far this season, despite having had a car that has appeared to be the closest challenger to McLaren in terms of single lap pace.

Detailed analysis of the tyre problems Mercedes suffered in Australia and Malaysia have given the team cause for optimism that it knows what went wrong – and that it can address the situation to ensure there are no repeat issues in the future.

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