• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

I'm in a strong position - Hamilton

ESPNF1 Staff
April 16, 2011 « Vettel's pace 'phenomenal' - Button | »
Lewis Hamilton had his race in Malaysia affected by a lack of available tyres © Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton said that his decision to only carry out one flying lap and preserve tyres in qualifying has left him in a stronger position for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton took third on the grid behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button. The front two both set their fastest times on their first runs while Hamilton waited in the garage, as he sought to avoid a repeat of Malaysia where he damaged tyres in qualifying and had his race strategy compromised. Despite being outqualified by Button for the first time this season, Hamilton said the decision would benefit him in the race.

"Jenson did a fantastic job to put his car ahead of me, but I sacrificed a bit of my own pace to enable me to have a fresh set of Options [softs] for the race," Hamilton said. "We took the decision to complete just a single run in Q3. Of course, that was a compromise, but it means I'll have a fresh set of tyres for one of the stints tomorrow. And last week's race in Malaysia showed us how important it is to have fresh tyres for the race.

Today's strategy should increase my chances in the race. It's always good to have a fresh set of tyres in the bag, and I wanted to make sure I had options to cover everything. To be able to put on a new tyre at the end of tomorrow's race will be a great positive and will help the longevity of the tyres."

Hamilton also said that he was pleased with how McLaren had improved the car overnight, having been uncomfortable with the updated MP4-26 during Friday practice.

"We made some really positive set-up changes on Friday evening and I was much happier with our car today," Hamilton said. "I just tried to maximise my chances for the race because that's where it actually counts."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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