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Lewis' focus on race, not tyres

2013-06-07 16:37

GETTING IT TOGETHER: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says he has focused on being 'at one' with his race car rather than his team's tyre-testing woes. Image: AFP

  Video

Pirelli speaks the importance of tyre choice and strategy ahead of the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit in Montreal.

MONTREAL, Canada - Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he had ignored the controversy about his team's tyre woes because he was more concerned about feeling "at one" with his car for the Canadian Formula 1 GP.

The 28-year-old, who won his first F1 race at Montreal's Gilles Villeneuve circuit in 2007, will be bidding for a fourth career win in Canada in Sunday's race - and hoping to out-perform his friend and Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

'OUT OF HIS MIND'

Both have been on form in recent races but Rosberg has been outstanding, reeling off three consecutive poles before victory in May's Monaco GP where the furore about Mercedes' alleged illegal and secret - though it's far from proven - in-season testing session with Pirelli tyres after the Spanish Grand Prix erupted.

Hamilton, however, said he has put it all out of his mind.

"I haven't been focusing on it, to be honest... I've been focusing on trying to get myself ready for this GP and today is the first day I've really heard about it. I haven't been reading about it. The important people in the team are dealing with it in the appropriate way."

He added that he did not expect to appear before the tribunal being convened to discuss and dissect the test session. "I don't think that will happen. I've been there and done that before for McLaren, but I don't think I need to be involved."

'MORE REPRESENTATIVE'

Hamilton and Rosberg faced a barrage of questions in the paddock on Thursday as they were quizzed about why Mercedes chose to involve them in the now well-known test rather than their test drivers. Rosberg said it was important for Pirelli that active race drivers took part as Mercedes' third driver, Sam Bird, had no experience in the team's 2013 race car.

"It is what the team and Pirelli decided as it is more representative," he said. "Sam doesn't drive much, so he would not be able to get the pace. Through our laps of having experience of the GP that weekend, for Pirelli it was an advantage having us in the car."

Earlier, in a statement, the team had made clear that it welcomed its appearance at the tribunal after being summoned to appear, as it would give them a chance to put the record straight.

Mercedes stressed that it was keen to act properly and transparently.

Hamilton, meanwhile, played down talk of him being any kind of favourite to win the race for a fourth time. Instead, he suggested that he lacked total confidence in the handling of his car.

'LATEST OF BRAKERS'

"It's all in the braking," he explained. "It's just my feeling in the car. I'm confident in the car. The car is great, as Nico proved. You just have to feel at one with the car and I'm definitely not feeling that.

"This track is all about late braking and I've always been the latest of brakers, which is why I've been successful here. I've not been a very late braker all year, so it won't do me too well here."

In addition to three wins in Canada, Hamilton has also started from pole three times in five races and never been out-qualified there by a team mate.

"I've always been strong here in a car in which I felt confident. I have a car now in which I don't really feel comfortable while it's a great car.

"I can't say I've clicked just like that. I hope I get in the car and I feel better this weekend. I hope I can take a lot of positives from this weekend. I come here massively determined to regain everyone's confidence in me."
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