Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hamilton relieved to be clear of Massa

Lewis Hamilton looked forward to a trouble-free Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after qualifying well clear of Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Saturday

The pair has collided six times this season, most recently in India two weeks ago when they were alongside on the grid, but Hamilton qualified his McLaren on the front row at Yas Marina while Massa starts sixth.

"I am ahead of Felipe, so that helps," the 2008 champion said with a grin when asked whether it would be easier to have a clean race and fight for victory on Sunday.

Hamilton has had a nightmare season, with regular visits to stewards and controversial actions on and off the track as well as splitting from his singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, but there are signs his troubles may be easing.

He was fastest in two of the three practice sessions and missed out on pole only at the very last to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

He remains the sole driver outside of Red Bull to have started a race on pole this year, and in Abu Dhabi he earned warm praise from former McLaren team mate and Ferrari foe Fernando Alonso.

"With racing, a lot of it is mental," said Hamilton, who spoke earlier in the week of his desire to create a happy 'bubble' around him like that enjoyed by team mate Jenson Button.

"Even if you think you're ready, you could subconsciously not be ready.

"I think this weekend I feel fresh, I feel clean in the mind. Obviously I've stayed out of trouble and that makes a huge difference and it just adds to your confidence and you just roll with it.

"I'm second on the grid now, taken no penalty, which is usually quite a big hit to confidence and we are in a good position tomorrow to move forward."

Hamilton revealed that he had spent time with his family since India, enjoying a traditional British bonfire night with fireworks before flying to the Middle East.

"Those kind of positive things make a big difference," he said.

Source: Reuters Sports

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