Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes still has a hope of beating Sebastian Vettel in the Korea Grand Prix despite losing the fight for pole position.
Qualifying has been Mercedes’ strong point during the 2013 Formula 1 season, with the team taking pole eight times from 14 qualifying sessions so far, but only winning on three occasions. But Hamilton believes Mercedes’ race pace at Yeongam is strong enough to give him a shot at Vettel’s Red Bull, provided he can get past it.
“I will push as hard as I can to get past Sebastian,” he said. “Hopefully the long-run pace is not so bad so I hope it is the case tomorrow.
“I am happy that the car is as competitive as it is, and the guys have done a good job to get us up this high. I am happy with the performance this weekend and there is more to come.
“From past experience it is very difficult to overtake here, but I anticipate I am going to need to try.”
Despite ultimately taking pole by 0.218 second, Vettel said Mercedes remained a threat and that his pole lap had needed to be particularly strong.
“I think it was a fairly close one,” he said. “I had a very, very good lap in Q3 on my first attempt. As expected Mercedes was very strong, they look comfortable in the middle sector.
“We’ve got the balance right this weekend, and we improved the car from yesterday. I was not entirely happy after final practice yesterday.”