• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton wary of Red Bull's 'serious pace'

ESPN Staff
October 13, 2012 « 'My lap wasn't good enough' - Vettel | Alonso not worried by Red Bull pace »
Lewis Hamilton eventually qualified third having been 17th in Q1 © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull has "got some serious pace" after he qualified behind both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel for the Korean Grand Prix.

Having struggled in Friday practice, Hamilton recovered to finish qualifying just 0.2s behind Webber's pole-setting time. Hamilton was on pole in Monza and Singapore but has seen Red Bull dominate qualifying in both Japan and Korea and he said that the form has clearly turned against McLaren.

When asked if Red Bull now has the best car, Hamilton said: "Yeah, definitely.

"We're very close but they've got some serious pace. For us, maybe I had half a tenth in it today; I really ragged the life out of the car so I got absolutely everything out of it. But they were a couple of tenths ahead and Sebastian and Mark are both saying they have a little bit more so you don't know whether or not they do but say it's two or three tenths that's quite a lot of time."

Despite those admissions, Hamilton was pleased with his result in qualifying having very nearly dropped out in Q1.

"I'm real happy, really happy. It was quite a tough weekend so far just trying to get the laps out of the car and get the best out of the tyres and everything and trying to get the car set-up right, but we made a good step today in P3. Qualifying was tough; I nearly went out in P1 so phew! I was sitting there and I wanted to tell the guys but I thought 'Nah, remain cool'. I was on the edge thinking 'jeez', but very fortunate I got through and then very fortunate to have got a lap right at the end on the fresh tyres that hopefully puts us in a good position for the race."

Although unable to match Red Bull's qualifying pace, Hamilton believes he can take the fight to Webber and Vettel in the race.

"You need everything ... making the right choices, not making any mistakes and I hope we have a good long run pace; I haven't done a long run this weekend because I've been trying to focus on the set-up. A good start would be a major help - I was on pole last year and Sebastian got me - there's two long straights so it's a good opportunity for slipstreaming and overtaking but one step at a time, I really hope that tomorrow's just a strong race for us."

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