Formula One: Lewis Hamilton aiming to roar back into contention
Lewis Hamilton is hoping reality matches simulation in Korea this weekend as he looks to revive his Formula One world title dreams.
Three retirements in the last five grands prix have seen Hamilton slip from championship leader to 28 points behind front-runner Mark Webber.
With three races remaining, starting with Korea's debut before the season concludes in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, chances to close the gap to Webber are fast running out.
Hamilton knows he cannot afford another DNF as occurred in Hungary, Italy and Singapore, or the kind of wretched luck that affected his weekend in the last race in Japan where he finished fifth.
It is why the McLaren star has to believe what he has experienced on the simulator in preparation for Sunday's race at the new Korea International Circuit comes to fruition.
“I've driven the track on the simulator and my first impressions were extremely positive,” said Hamilton. “On paper the track should suit our car quite well, with the first sector all about good end-of-straight speed and strong performance under heavy braking — both key characteristics of our car.
“The middle sector is fast and flowing, the kind of place where you want a car with a good balance and good downforce.
“I think it'll reward commitment. It actually feels like quite a nice driver's track.
“The end of the lap is slower and tighter, but it's still all about rhythm and flow, so as long as the track surface is nice and grippy, I think we're set for an enjoyable first race in Korea.”
The track surface is one of the key concerns for the drivers as the delays in the building of the venue resulted in the top layer of asphalt only being applied less than a fortnight ago.
Like Hamilton, team-mate Jenson Button is also aware his chances of retaining his title are slim as he finds himself 31 points adrift of Webber.
Following his own simulator experience, Button said: “The track looks quite high speed, and the walls are close, so I think it'll be an interesting challenge.”