Hamilton “extremely positive” about Korea

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2010

Lewis Hamilton says he is “extremely positive” about the new Korean Grand Prix circuit after driving it in McLaren’s simulator:

I?ve driven the Korean International Circuit on the simulator, and my first impressions were extremely positive. On paper, the track should suit our car quite well ?ǣ the first sector is all about good end-of-straight speeds and strong performance under heavy braking, both key characteristics of our car.

And the middle sector is fast and flowing; it?s the kind of place where you want a car with a good balance and good downforce. I think it?ll reward commitment ?ǣ it actually feels like quite a nice driver?s track. The end of the lap is slower and tighter, but it?s still all about rhythm and flow ?ǣ so, as long as the track surface is nice and grippy, I think we?re set for an enjoyable first race in Korea.

I?m looking forward to the weekend ?ǣ I think we can have a positive race. While recent results haven?t necessarily shown it, we?ve had a strong car ?ǣ now I?m hoping to get the chance to prove it on track.
Lewis Hamilton

Team mate Jenson Button believe the circuit’s three straights should offer drivers opportunities for overtaking:

It?s always exciting visiting a new circuit for the first time. The Korean track certainly looks very interesting ?ǣ a real mix of different characteristics ?ǣ and there appear to be a couple of very likely opportunities for overtaking, particularly at the end of the three main straights, but possibly also off-line in the twisty final sector. The track looks quite high-speed, and the walls are close, so I think it?ll be an interesting challenge.

As with any new circuit, it looks like it might throw up a few unexpected issues ?ǣ not necessarily on the racetrack itself, but I?m sure the teams and drivers will work together with the organisers to make sure the event is a complete success,

We?ve made some improvements to the parts we tested in Suzuka, and it?s looking likely that we?ll run the new parts on Friday in Korea. As with all our upgrades, we are pushing the envelope, so I?m optimistic that the tests will be positive and that we?ll be able to race the new components.
Jenson Button

Hamilton and Button are respectively 28 and 31 points behind in the drivers’ championship with three races to go. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said consistency in the final three races would be vital:

With three races remaining, and 75 points on the table for the drivers, it would be unwise to write off Jenson, Lewis or Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Both drivers have won world championships before ?ǣ they understand the difficulties of such a unique situation, and both have learned how to deliver their best under high pressure. They will be ready for this battle.

And it?s a battle that will doubtless be won by consistency. While we will continue with our aggressive development strategy, bringing further new components to this race, we?re mindful of the need to bag points at every race. Nonetheless, we are committed to winning, and won?t give up without a fight.
Martin Whitmarsh

He added that Hamilton will not face another gearbox penalty following the failure of his replacement unit at Suzuka:

Finally, to clarify, following his gearbox issue in Suzuka, Lewis will not face a second successive five-place grid penalty this weekend. The gearbox regulations were framed to ensure teams weren?t penalised twice for the same gearbox issue, so Lewis will go into the weekend without risk of further penalty.
Martin Whitmarsh

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37 comments on Hamilton “extremely positive” about Korea

  1. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th October 2010, 10:25

    I think McLaren will be fastest in Sector 1, within a tenth or two in Sector 2, but probably slowest in Sector 3, unless it’s a faster combination than it looks on paper. But if this double F-Duct works, they might very well be quickest over the whole lap on race day.

    Having those three straights at the start will be a massive help to McLaren. Not only do they provide three opportunities to overtake at the start, but because Red Bull are so vulnerable on them they might do what they did in Spa and cut some of their downforce to stop themselves from being sitting ducks, which will affect their Sector 2 pace and could bring McLaren into play even before the upgrade.

    Ferrari I don’t think are any upgrade, so whilst Alonso could also benefit from the above, victory doesn’t look as good a prospect as Singapore did. He also doesn’t need the win if he finished second to a McLaren, especially if Vettel and/or Button are ahead of Webber. Don’t forget, he also has to watch out for his engine and those three straights won’t be kind at all to it. Don’t count him out, but on paper a HAM-ALO-VET podium looks very reasonable.

    • Dragos said on 15th October 2010, 11:09

      What is with the double F-Duct … a new version of the F-Duct for McLaren ?

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th October 2010, 14:37

        The current F-Duct stalls the flap of the rear wing. The double F-Duct is designed to stall the lower element too, allowing McLaren to run even more downforce and have even less drag on the straights. Easily worth 2/10ths a lap if it works.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th October 2010, 11:18

      But even if Alonso finish it in 3rd behind 2 McLarens, he will close in, on Webber (and even overtake him if he has a DNF) and stay in front of the both of them and Vettel.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 15th October 2010, 17:27

      Yeah so far this season on a track like in Spa,Turkey and Canada McLaren seem to have a big advantage in one part while Red Bull had a big advantage on another and while McLaren have to put more wing on their cars Red Bull have to reduce Wing on theirs and Whos always come out on top,McLaren!.It will be very interesting next weekend

  2. Adam Smith said on 15th October 2010, 10:43

    The straight after turn 1 is sooooooo long! That will definately be of benefit to McLaren, the tight corner at the end will provide lots of overtaking aswell hopefully. As for the final two sectors, it looks like perfect Red Bull territory. I think it will be a lot closer, and we might see Hamilton on the front row.

    I’m looking forward to it as it will be a lot closer, and hopefully an exciting race.

    I don’t think the title is wrapped up and Red Bull’s yet, but McLaren need a miracle to make it theirs

    • That straight is very, very long. When playing F1 2010 I just left a book on the throttle so it stayed flat, went to make a cup of tea and it was still going on when I got back :P just kidding but it does feel very long.

      I think Mclaren should be strong but I’ll be surprised if Red Bull don’t have a good weekend here.

      The thing is, I don’t see how Mclaren can say anything else. They could still win this championship and I believe they’ll close up again soon; Red Bull like throwing away points and if it rains at any of the remaining tracks then they should 1-2 it.

      However, Ferrari were meant to struggle at Suzuka as they feared it most but they still got the needed podium, RBR dominated and it was where they were meant to begin their fightback. That golden track for them now has gone and they’re running out of time.

      What could swing it back for them is the updates. They seem to keep harping on about a largish package so that worries me slightly. All the teams should be done building all their upgrades and I guess it’s just a case of bolting them on and optimizing them but if Ferrari haven’t brought anything at all even just little bits then it makes me slightly more nervous.

      What both the silver and red teams need though is Red Bull to chuck away another win :P

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th October 2010, 12:14

        I’d be a little worried for Alonso; the way Hamilton was catching him in Suzuka it doesn’t bode well for Sector 2 at Korea and Sector 1 at Interlagos. The encouraging thing for Alonso is he doesn’t have to win either of the next two races, just beat Red Bull on average before going to Abu Dhabi, where the cars should theoretically be equal. Sector 1 at Korea and Sectors 2 & 3 at Interlagos gives him a good chance of that.

        • Suzuka was always going to be a struggle for Ferrari but yeah I agree with you Icthyes.

          The saving grace with Interlagos to some extent is that it’s a short track so even if Mclaren storm through sector 1 hopefully it won’t be too bad and Ferrari can make up plenty of time through the rest of the track that has a bit more to it at least in sector 2. Hopefully, Massa will be in the mix too.

          I’m a tad nervous but hey, it looked like it was all over for Ferrari after Silverstone so I’m very happy at the same time. As an F1 fan, I’m pretty chuffed it’s looking so tight!

      • The best comparrison would be Hungary for korea I think.

        1st sector helps mclaren a bit yes but the other 2 sectors put mclaren a second and a half behind the red bulls after qualifying 3, korea might turn out the same.

        If no Mclaren can overtake them on the first straight on the first lap, the red bulls will go off flying again in the other 2 sectors and might start putting the nails into the McLarens coffin for 2010 atleast, since I highly doubt both red bulls will have double DNF’s for the last 2 races.

  3. MacLeod said on 15th October 2010, 11:53

    Even if Hamilton wins all races i doubt he will be WC the other three are making points also and he is 28 points behind so if they stay in the the top 3 he never caught them except if they produce a DNF.

    But wonders are possible in the world of sports if there is still a chance it’s possible till itsn’t anymore.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th October 2010, 12:40

      If he wins all three races he would be champion if Webber never finished 2nd. The tall order is in winning three times in a row!

    • Webber said he wants a win and so does Vettel.

      To me, that is a perfect stage for another Turkey. Coupled to that, all 5 have promised aggressive races from now on.

      Bring it on boys!! :)

  4. JAYDEEE said on 15th October 2010, 12:45

    I believe the new McLaren f-duct has double outlets that stall the wing on both sides as opposed to the original which only had one outlet for airflow. It could give the McLaren a serious advantage on the straits! Im looking forward to seeing Lewis win a few more hopefully but I dont think he can win the WC with a 28 point deficit.

  5. damonsmedley said on 15th October 2010, 14:04

    If Hamilton or Button can qualify at least on the second row, I can see a McLaren in the lead by turn 3(?). The McLarens are always very fast off the line, and if they haven’t passed into turn 1 then they should be able to breeze past down the straight.

    • Gwenouille said on 15th October 2010, 19:35

      oh boy, this long straight just after the start will be soooooooooooo exciting !
      And heavy breaking at the end !
      waw, it smells like disaster after 25 seconds of race..

  6. Ferrari at Monza were stronger than Mclaren(even with the f-duct on JB’s car), so how can y’all say that Mclaren gonna win this race? yea they were strong in Japan, but Mclaren is still the 3rd team in performance. Both Ferraris should qualy and finish in the top 4 and 3 respectively, with Alonso capturing the win. Maybe Mclaren might beat RBR, not likely tho. FORZA Ferrari!!!

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th October 2010, 14:45

      Ferrari were stronger because Monza demands traction from low speeds, where Ferrari reign supreme. Korea also demands downforce and after Suzuka it seems McLaren have the edge there.

      And of course, not to put him down too much, but Alonso was fighting Button. Had it been Hamilton, we don’t know what might have happened.

      • Ferrari will certainly be very good in sector 1 though (long straights, heavy braking zones and traction from slow corners all play to their strengths). I think they will struggle on the medium speed corners where aerodynamic downforce is important (something Ferrari is weaker on compared to Red Bull and perhaps Mclaren). However, there aren’t as many medium speed corners in Korea as there were in Suzuka.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 15th October 2010, 17:48

      Im Expecting it the three way battle to be very close but i dont think we will be seeing any ‘FORZA Ferrari’ on the weekend this track is a bit like Spa and the Situation with McLaren and Red Bull is very similar as well but the F10 is becoming a very good consistent all rounder car so im not ruling out Ferrari at all and being biased for McLaren

  7. JamesR said on 15th October 2010, 16:22

    Apart from the fact McLaren place too much reliance on their simulator, there is little doubt that neither JB or LH are in with anything other then the slimmest mathematical chance of a WDC.
    I swear Alistair Campbell could learn a thing about spin from these two.

    The reality is, had there been only one other in contention they could have some hope of a DNF or error, with three contenders of evident caliber there’s more chance of seeing a snowflake in hell.

    As an aside, I find the question of LH’s gearbox perplexing.

    Is McLaren pulling a fast one?

    Initially stated on 11/10/10
    Whitmarsh “It was third gear and probably a dog – but it won’t be a problem for the next race,” he said. “We’ve taken the penalty for this weekend so we had a free gearbox change for the next race. (Autosport)

    Was this because gear ratios along with dog-rings can be replaced without penalty but does it ignore the possibility of associated damage which will lead to premature failure?

    However on 15/10/10
    Whitmarsh clarified “Following his gearbox issue in Suzuka, Lewis will not face a second successive five-place grid penalty this weekend,” he said.
    “The gearbox regulations were framed to ensure teams weren’t penalised twice for the same gearbox issue, so Lewis will go into the weekend without risk of further penalty.” (Autosport).

    What’s that about?

    Regulation. 28.6
    For the purposes of this Article only, an Event will be deemed to comprise P3, the qualifying practice session and the race.

    
a) Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for four consecutive Events in which his team competes. Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event and an additional five places each time a further gearbox is used. Any replacement gearbox must be fitted with the same gear ratios that were declared under d) below and will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event in question. Any change to the gear ratios declared under d) below will incur a further five grid place penalty. In either case a new four race sequence may start at the following Event.
Unless the driver fails to finish the race (see below) the gearbox fitted to the car at the end of the Event must remain in it for three further Events.

    Any driver who failed to finish the race at the first, second or third of the four Events for reasons which the technical delegate accepts as being beyond the control of the team or driver, may start the following Event with a different gearbox without a penalty being incurred.

    
A gearbox will be deemed to have been used once the car’s timing transponder has shown that it has left the pit lane.

    
b) If a driver is replaced after the first, second or third of a four Event period, having finished the first, second or third Events, the replacement driver must use the gearbox which the original driver had been using.

    
c) After consultation with the relevant team the FIA will attach seals to each gearbox in order to ensure that no moving parts, other than those specifically permitted under d) below, can be rebuilt or replaced.

    
d) At each Event seals may be broken once, under supervision and at any time prior to the second day of practice, for the sole purpose of changing gear ratios and dog rings (excluding final drives or reduction gears). Competitors must inform the FIA technical delegate which ratios they intend to fit no later than two hours after the end of P2.
Gear ratios and dog rings (excluding final drives or reduction gears) may also be changed under supervision for others of identical specification at any time during an Event provided the FIA technical delegate is satisfied there is evident physical damage to the parts in question and that such changes are not being carried out on a systematic basis.

    
e) Other than under d) above, a replacement gearbox will also be deemed to have been used if any of the FIA seals are damaged or removed from the original gearbox after it has been used for the first time.

    What have I missed other then perhaps the, “a) Any driver…..” sentence, and just what does it mean? any english lit grads/lawyers out there?

    • DaveW said on 15th October 2010, 17:25

      I’m only one of these but I’ll give it a shot

      It’s what you have at 28.6(d):

      They can break the seal once after P3 begins to change gears and dogs.

      Furthermore,

      “Gear ratios and dog rings (excluding final drives or reduction gears) may also be changed under supervision for others of identical specification at any time during an Event provided the FIA technical delegate is satisfied there is evident physical damage to the parts in question and that such changes are not being carried out on a systematic basis.”

      So they can run a brand new one in P1 and P2. For P3 they fit the busted Suzuka gearbox, then they grab a delegate, open up the box and say, holy cow how did this happen? Can we pleae change all of the gears and dog rings now?

      This is a pretty big loophole for the gearbox rule it seems. I think the spirit of the rule is to allow repairs for things that happened at the event, and this may be a stretch, which is why Martin is jaw-boning the stewards in advance.

      One question is whether they need to do a lap in P3 for the box to be considered used at the event, so they don’t incur an automatic penalty—and to be sure they are eligible for the supervised repair provision. Maybe they can just have it roll over the pit exit transponder and then roll it back.

      In any event it looks like Hamilton misses P3. So, Lewis, please don’t bin it before then.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th October 2010, 17:41

      I believe what Whitmarsh is referring to in your second quote (which is in this very article, by the way) is this from article 28.6 (a):

      Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event and an additional five places each time a further gearbox is used.

      i.e. he gets the penalty at that event, and the next race is a new event where he can use a new gearbox.

      • DaveW said on 15th October 2010, 18:13

        Maybe he is looking at another part of para. a.:

        “Any replacement gearbox must be fitted with the same gear ratios that were declared under d) below and will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event in question.”

        The rule seems to say that if you fit a new gearbox you can retire it after than event.

  8. DaveW said on 15th October 2010, 16:28

    I’ve heard McLaren cry wolf regarding updates too often now. Yes, they are pushing them forward but they never seem to work off the bat and often cause trouble for the drivers on Friday going off trying to sort them out. The mega-F-duct will pay dividends here though if it works. On paper, blowing the entire wing should make it effecitvely disappear on the straights. It may allow them to run massive wing angles to help them with burning up the options.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 15th October 2010, 16:56

      Indeed, am bored of hearing all their updates will make everything OK again.

      But…hopefully this time, its hard seeing them unable to compete (well for a McLaren fan like me anyway!).

  9. They can boast all they like, but we would have seen it a long time a go if “they got it”. Too much bravado before Monza about how it was made for them, and what happened?

  10. well its down to 3 races boys i will say this race Lewis will win the next race Webber will not finish as for Vettel he will finish 5th the eyebrow man 3th Jenson 2th and like i said Lewis 1th. here my question what if Webber has a blown engin ??????.better what if Mr Vettel has a blown engin ?????.

  11. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 16th October 2010, 5:00

    For Mclaren to win they have to provide their driver with a better car.

  12. charlieboy said on 16th October 2010, 7:22

    Yeah I’ve tried the track on my simulator (f1 2010 dev by codies) and the track wasn’t oily and was great fun :D

    No i all seriousness I’m hoping for a McLaren 1-2 with Ham leading the way.

    Will these McLaren updates brought them closer to Red bull I mean they weren’t that far off in Suzuka where they? Ham got held up behind Button and that had gearbox problems and Jenson took a risk that didn’t pay off but never really looks like he can pull the pace out of the car that Lewis does.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 16th October 2010, 21:06

      Wasnt it Jenson that did the 2nd Fastest lap of the race that was 0.050s of the fastest lap of the race set by Mark Webber who once again robbed it at the last lap.Im pretty sure McLaren will be very close to Red Bull in the final races especially Korea and Abu Dhabi,Brazil might worry McLaren a bit

      • Julian (@julian) said on 17th October 2010, 8:37

        Unless im accidentally making things up, Button was on a relatively fresh set of options when he set his fastest time while Webber was on a set of primes that did at least half the race.

        Too many variables to make a proper comparison between the two.

  13. Hamilton needs to win the next two races to have any chance of winning the championship and pray very hard on his knees like those rescued Chilean miners that Weber,Vettel and Alonzo collide somewhere along the track and have DNF
    OTHERWISE finishing second or third is not good enough.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 16th October 2010, 21:07

      I dont think Lewis would be praying for them at all to crash he’s not a sinner or a bad man.Only God knows whats gonna happen at Korea and i think Lewis has been punished enough

    • Younger Hamilton said on 16th October 2010, 21:09

      Yeah Win or loss weekend for Lewis,Jenson is very likely to be out of the hunt on that weekend

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