Hamilton flourishes in final practice

Posted: April 9, 2011 in F1, Malaysia, McLaren, News
Tags: , , , ,

Hamilton is taking fight to Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton finished final practice fastest as McLaren and Red Bull continued to set the pace in Malaysia.

The 2008 world champion set the fastest lap of the weekend with a 1.36.360 to edge out Friday’s pacesetter Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

McLaren’s good form was highlighted by Jenson Button in third ahead of Nick Heidfeld who impressed after a difficult Friday.

Current champion Sebastian Vettel was fifth – slower than Webber all weekend – but his flying lap was ruined by traffic.

Ferrari continued to struggle over a second off the pace with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa sixth and eighth, sandwiching the second Renault of Vitaly Petrov.

Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top-ten.

But the battle between McLaren and Red Bull continues to fire up ahead of Saturday qualifying as both team used the quicker soft tyres.

For most of the session the teams focussed on longer race simulations and Red Bull looked to hold an advantage, despite Vettel complaining of problems with his rear wing.

At the back of the field Paul di Resta struggled with a spin and questions must be asked whether it was wise to give extra running to Nico Hulkenberg on Friday morning.

But it was worse for Hispania as both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan failed to get within 107% of Hamilton’s time. They may fare better in qualifying as the top teams are unlikely to push to the limit in Q1.

But technical director Geoff Willis was pessimistic of the team’s chances and said: “This is probably the hardest circuit for us to qualify in.”


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