Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Soft approach makes it hard for Hamilton

LEWIS Hamilton is hoping to go from being sick to quick this weekend, although he fears some ropey rubber could scupper his bid for a third Chinese Grand Prix win.

Hamilton was sent back to bed in his hotel after arriving at the Shanghai International Circuit after feeling unwell, resulting in him skipping his regular media commitments.

Suffering from "allergy issues" as he claims to have "allergies to a lot of different things", Hamilton was at least well enough to take to the cockpit of his Mercedes yesterday.

Admitting to "feeling a bit better, and hopefully I'll be even better tomorrow", Hamilton was only seventh quickest overall come the conclusion to second practice.

After finishing second on the timesheet to team-mate Nico Rosberg when the harder medium Pirelli compound was employed in the first session, come the fitting of the soft tyre in the afternoon it was a different story.

Hamilton, unable to get in a full flying lap, finished 1.156 seconds behind Felipe Massa in his Ferrari, with Rosberg fourth fastest and almost half a second adrift.

Asked about the tyres, which will likely be a problem for many drivers this weekend, Hamilton said: "My (soft) tyre was the worst I've ever experienced.

"There were bits flying off it all over the place. It didn't last long. I did a couple of laps and it disintegrated. It was quite unusual.

"I don't know why, but it doesn't feel like the right tyre for this circuit, but at least the medium performed well."

• ADAM Carroll makes his debut as a factory McLaren driver this weekend – but not in China and not in Formula One. Instead, Carroll will on board a McLaren sportscar, an MP4-12C, for the beginning of the Blancpain Endurance series at Monza tomorrow.

Nevertheless the former A1GP champion from Portadown is delighted.

"After a tough few years to get signed up as an official McLaren factory driver is a huge deal for me," he said. "There are very few true manufacturer roles like this around and to work with a company like McLaren is exceptional."

Carroll will share his McLaren with fellow Briton Rob Bell and Belgian Nico Verdock in a massive 60-car field at the Italian Grand Prix circuit.

He has raced – and won – in virtually all forms of racing from Formula Ford to GP2 and also had a spell in Indycar in America but he is something of a rookie to sportscars.

"I've only done two endurance races in my career. The pit stops are hard to get used to," he said.

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