Hamilton 'much happier' with car handling
23 March 2012 – Lewis Hamilton says he is feeling much more comfortable at the wheel of his MP4-27 in Malaysia, with the McLaren driver citing car setup issues as the reason for losing out to team-mate Jenson Button at Albert Park last weekend.
The 2008 Champion comfortably topped both sessions at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday, posting a fastest time of 1:38.021 in the morning.
"It’s been a good day for me," said a pleased Hamilton. "We’ve made a few changes to the balance of the car since the last race and I’m much happier - but we’ll still be making changes to improve our long-run pace, which can always be better.
"I’m working as hard as I can to have as good a qualifying set-up as my race set-up and I think we’ve got a bit more of an understanding of how the car works on heavy fuel. I went wide a couple of times on my long run in P2, and looking after the tyres will be a tough call in the race – so it’s all about finding the right balance."
On the other side of the McLaren garage, Jenson Button endured a slightly more frustrating day, having suffered an oil leak in the first practice session:
"The morning was a little frustrating," he explained. "We had an oil leak which cut my session short, but it didn’t really matter as the track was still dirty.
"In the afternoon, I did some positive running on both tyre compounds. I think we have a good understanding of the tyre. But it’s going to be tough on both compounds around here with all the humidity and the heat. I think the race will be tough for all of us - unless the circuit improves a great deal, there’s going to be quite a few stops on Sunday!"
With Button and Hamilton finishing first and third respectively in Australia, McLaren currently holds a ten point advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' standings.