Lewis Hamilton said his preparations for the Malaysian Grand Prix have been “heavily compromised” by reliability problems with his Mercedes.
Hamilton admits the Ferraris are “looking great”, but feels there is plenty of room for improvement following his P1 at Sepang.
It was a mixed day for the reigning World Champion on Friday as he managed just four laps in the morning practice session due to an engine problem and was also forced to miss the start of FP2.
When he eventually emerged, he clocked only five laps before he was asked to return to the pits due to a telemetry issue. His team, though, managed to fix the problems and he went on to set the fastest time, a 1:39.790, with Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari second and Nico Rosberg third.
Although pleased that he managed to get out after such a long delay, Hamilton believes he still has some pace in the tank.
“Firstly it was just an amazing job done by my guys to rebuild the car and get the engine back on, and gearbox and everything, and get me back out,” he told Sky Sports News.
It was an amazing job by the guys to get me back out this afternoon – particularly here in such tough conditions, so I’m very grateful to them. It’s not an easy track and the temperatures also make it difficult with the tyres, so it never helps to lose such a big chunk of a session. But fortunately I got a few laps in at the end on a longer stint. In terms of setup I didn’t have time to make any changes – I just went with what we brought over from the last race. It’s probably quite a bit off where I’ll eventually want it so there’s definitely improvements to be made. We’ll need to work hard too as Ferrari looked great out there. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.
I had a good morning session but I didn’t get it right with the option tyres in the afternoon, so I need to find out why that was. In general it was a difficult day for the team as we had reliability issues on Lewis’ car and which meant he missed a session. The conditions are really crazy out there. It’s so hot, the temperatures are really unbelievable. So us drivers and the cars have to adapt to that which is a big challenge. We also learned that Ferrari is strong again so it will be an interesting weekend.
A mixed day for us. Nico had a difficult stint on the medium tyres with a lack of grip and his longer run was tricky too. Lewis lost track time with the engine problem, so it’s another reminder for us to keep our feet on the ground and keep working. In this business, winning and losing is decided by fine margins. The team and Lewis did a great job to recover, so we could collect some good data with both cars. Now we need to analyse the performance, ensure reliability and make good choices for tomorrow and Sunday.
Not an easy day. On Lewis’ car we had a failure of the inlet system on the Power Unit. We also had a problem with the telemetry on his car that wasn’t solved until just before the end of P2. This made managing the issue on his car doubly difficult – but the team did a fantastic job to repair the car. Nico had a less troublesome day – running through his programme smoothly. We have a lot of work to do overnight to improve the setup of the cars and understand the issues we had and fix them for the race.