Despite finishing fastest in the second free practice session for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has spoken of a “difficult day” after a problem on his car lost him some precious track time in Shanghai.
The British driver suffered damage to his rear suspension at the end of FP1 on Friday morning, and the problem was so severe that the team was not able to fix it in time to get him out at the beginning of the second session some two and a half hours later.
Hamilton eventually emerged from the pits to post the fastest time of the session on the soft tire, finishing one-tenth of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Nevertheless, the Briton was not pleased with the car, complaining about tire wear before eventually telling his team that he “can’t drive this car” and taking to the pits.
“It was quite a difficult day today as we missed some of this morning’s session which put us on the back foot slightly, but we were glad to get some laps in the second session at least,” Hamilton explained. “We’re not too happy with the balance of the car at the moment, so we need to go and work on that.”
Just as it was in 2013, tire wear is a serious concern for Mercedes, but Hamilton is also relishing a battle with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari who appear to have made a step forwards for this weekend’s race.
“This circuit is particularly hard on tires, as it has been every year, so we need to be prepared for that,” he said. “A few of the other teams look to have improved in terms of pace, which is great as it means we will have a fight.
“There’s a lot of work to do and the guys are already here early and working late, but I’m confident that we can make some improvements going into tomorrow.”
Hamilton is looking to win three races in a row for the first time in his career, but with teammate Nico Rosberg looking to get his ownback for defeat in Bahrain, he could face a stiff challenge.