Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes still believe they can win Sunday's Korean Grand Prix
Team confident in their long-run pace on high fuel in practice
By Pete Gill and William Esler
Last Updated: 06/10/13 7:27am
Hamilton was beaten to pole position by his Red Bull rival by just two-tenths of a second as Vettel edged ahead in their ongoing battle for qualifying supremacy, with Vettel now securing six poles this season to Hamilton's five.
Yet buoyed by their performances in Friday practice, when an on-song Hamilton was quickest in both sessions, the team are convinced they can still end Vettel's run of winning every race since the end of the mid-season summer break.
"I feel good, I'm excited and looking forward to an interesting day. Our long run pace [in Friday's practice sessions] was good, so I'm really hoping that on Sunday we can be strong," said Hamilton.
"I thought we were very close [to matching Red Bull's race-pace]. The weather might be different tomorrow but I feel like I have as good a chance as ever.
"I'm happy that the car is as competitive as it is. The guys have done such a good job to put us up this high. I'm happy with the performance so far this weekend and I think there's more to come."
A pole-sitting driver is yet to win the Korean GP and Hamilton has admitted he is out for revenge against Vettel after losing out to the Red Bull driver on the opening lap of the Yeongam two years ago.
"I'd like to repay Sebastian back at the start as he did to me a couple years ago when I was on pole, so that's my plan," declared Hamilton. "We just need to push as hard as possible and get as much out of the strategy as possible.
"Just from past experience, it's very difficult to overtake here so I anticipate I'm going to need to try [on the first lap]."
Mercedes made set-up tweaks ahead of final practice which didn't work, but having reverted back to Friday's configuration, Team Principal Ross Brawn is hopeful they can carry their impressive long-run pace into the race and take the fight to Vettel.
"We have just made some fine adjustments on the balance - the car wasn't quite what we wanted this morning on the balance and we went back a little bit on the setups," he told Sky Sports F1.
"But it has been a fairly quiet weekend so far and it was about as good as we could have done. Nico didn't get a very tidy lap at the end, but the car was encouraging on Friday with fuel so if we can carry that through to tomorrow it will be an interesting race.
"Lewis is feeling very good in the car. Yesterday on fuel was very encouraging and I don't know what the weather is going to do - it is to be showers in the morning and dry in the afternoon, but definitely cooler than it has been."
Sky F1's coverage of the Korean GP begins at 5.30am, with lights out at 7am