OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Shanghai, China, Oct 17, 2008
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets during both free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. In the afternoon, Lewis completed 33 laps and posted a 1m35.750 – 0.274s faster than his closest rival; the next 15 cars were covered by less than a second. Lewis’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen finished 13th fastest with a 1m36.797. This morning, Lewis set the fastest time of the day with a 1m35.630 (23 laps); Heikki underlined the pace of the MP4-23’s package with a fourth-fastest 1m36.103 (21 laps).
“From the moment we hit the track this morning, the car felt well balanced and positive – and that really allowed me to get into my day’s programme without any problems. No matter what we changed on the car, it just kept getting better and better and the grip and balance kept improving. This is the best possible way to kick off any weekend and has given me extra confidence for the next few days: I feel in a very good place right now.”
“The circuit felt surprisingly dirty and dusty this morning, but everything went well in both sessions. We were immediately quick – which is always encouraging – and spent both sessions just working on the balance of the car. I’m fully focused on the job ahead of us in the next two races and today shows that we have started well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend and feel positive we can achieve another good result.”
“A promising start to our weekend in China. As usual, we spent both sessions focusing on our race set-up, sacrificing ultimate single-lap speed in the pursuit of good balance and tyre-wear over a long run. Both Lewis and Heikki reported that they were happy with their cars and, while it is still difficult to tell at this early stage, we feel happy with our pace relative to the opposition.”
“A good start for Lewis this weekend. The comparison between prime and option tyres worked well and the team saw encouraging results. Lewis’s laptimes were not only good but also consistent on both compounds. Heikki is still not totally happy with his car – something his laptimes reflect – but I am sure he and his engineers will be much better off after going through the data this evening. These were two good Friday sessions with lots of laps for us, however things can quickly change and look different tomorrow; we certainly do not feel like having the job for the weekend already done.”
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