Lewis Hamilton says he could have gone even quicker despite taking pole position by 0.4s for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
An impressive first lap in Q3 saw Hamilton dip under the 1m33s mark for the first time this weekend, enjoying a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field. Team-mate Nico Rosberg took second place with his final attempt but was unable to get close to Hamilton’s time even though the defending champion locked up heavily at Turn 1 and aborted his last lap.
- REPORT: Hamilton beats Rosberg to Malaysia pole by 0.4s
“Just a huge thank you to the team who have continued through the whole year to improve and coming here this year is definitely the best the car has been here,” Hamilton said.
“Of course this year the car is obviously better but great work done coming into this weekend, obviously over the last few weeks with Nico’s wins but today the car just felt fantastic and I really enjoyed that lap. It could have been faster.”
While dominant over one lap, Mercedes looks set to have more of a challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari over a race distance but Hamilton is confident he has performance in hand.
“I think they’re going to be very quick, they’ve been quick all weekend. I think tomorrow, provided the conditions are like this, the track is better, a lot smoother and seems to work better with the tyres than it has done in previous years
“It will be a close race for sure because I think they had very good long runs but I think we are looking quite strong also, so hopefully that’s the case tomorrow.”
One of Hamilton’s weaknesses this season has been race starts – especially from pole position – but he says he has seen progress from the team and is not overly concerned ahead of the race.
“The clutch system is the same one that we’ve had generally all year so there’s no changes to it. It’s just race on race we’re trying to understand it a more and more and trying to predict what it’s going to deliver. Nico got a great start, we both generally got good starts in the last race, so we are improving gradually.”
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