Lewis focused on strong start

Hamilton aims to avoid repeat of run to first corner at the last race

Last Updated: 24/03/12 12:35pm

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Lewis Hamilton has warned he will make his McLaren 'as wide as possible' into the first corner as he seeks to turn his pole position for the Malaysian GP into race victory.


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Having secured pole in Melbourne last weekend, a sluggish start, coupled with a subdued response to the threat of Jenson Button as the second McLaren drew alongside, saw Hamilton lose the lead into the first corner at Albert Park. Largely as a consequence of that early loss of momentum, Hamilton's race continued to unravel thereafter and he trailed home a miserable third.

Ahead of race day at Sepang, however, Hamilton is keen to make amends - and hang on to his lead through that all-important first corner.

"A huge amount of Sunday is about the start. Hopefully my start will be much better than it was in the last race - hopefully we don't have any issues. It's a long haul down to Turn One so there is a great chance for people to overtake, but I'll have to make my car as wide as the track if I can in a safe way so no one gets past."

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh added that there would be no team orders surrounding the start, confirming: "Lewis and Jenson are free to do what they want to do.

"Lewis will feel he wants to come out of the first corner in the lead after what happened in Australia. For us it will be a little bit tense for the first few seconds of the race."

Yet, while Hamilton's immediate attention is on the start of the race, the 2008 World Champion is also aware that tyre conservation will be critical to his aspirations of victory.

"The key is looking after your tyres," he told Sky Sports F1. "I've been working towards having a good race set-up definitely whilst not compromising my qualifying set-up.

"What's comforting to me is there was a little bit more time in my lap [to find] - the last corner I had a little bit of a wide moment - and it's great for the team to know that we have that pace in the car.

"But we definitely need to keep our pedal to the metal because it's going to be a tough fight for the next few races."

"It's not just me and Jenson, it's obviously Red Bull - they were still very quick in the race. Mercedes have picked up their pace, so it's incredibly intense - but I love that challenge."

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