Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes set-up changes could unlock even stronger pace
Hamilton also thinks Merc closer to wins than 12 months ago
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 22/03/13 1:44am
Lewis Hamilton: Continues to be very upbeat about Mercedes' progress
Lewis Hamilton is optimistic he could be poised to enjoy an even better Malaysia GP weekend if planned changes to his Mercedes pay dividends.
The new driver and team combination got their partnership off to a stronger start than many had expected at Albert Park last weekend when Hamilton was only outpaced by the two dominant Red Bulls in qualifying and then finished fifth in race conditions - already Mercedes' best result for seven grands prix.
And speaking to Sky Sports News ahead of his second race for his new team in Malaysia, Hamilton explained that he felt a better set-up on his W04 was key to an even more competitive weekend - and that, significantly, tweaks were afoot to meet that end.
"I just need a better set-up I think. We're got a couple of new bits we added to the car, not particularly adding performance, but just fixing a couple of issues we might have had and just get the set-up better," he told Craig Slater.
"I didn't get a set-up where I was able to extract the most from the car - and also the conditions didn't really help, so hopefully this weekend will be better."
Unusually, despite six previous attempts, Hamilton has still to win the Malaysian GP, with the sweeping Sepang circuit one of just six venues on the 19-stop 2013 calendar the Briton has yet to stand on the top step of the podium at.
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But the 28-year-old, whose best finish of second here came in his rookie year of 2007, is confident he will be able to break his Sepang duck at some point while at Mercedes.
"At some stage we're going to win here, yeah. I haven't won here before," Hamilton said.
"I've been very fortunate to have won at lots of other circuits, but this is definitely one of those I've not been able to dominate at. But who knows whether this could be the weekend?"
While a race victory in normal dry conditions for Mercedes might not quite yet be in their grasp, a clearly upbeat Hamilton suggested the Brackley team were nonetheless closer to such a feat than even they were 12 months ago - when they actually won the subsequent round in China in dominant style with Nico Rosberg.
"I think last year it might have looked like a win was just around the corner but I think they were a long, long way away," he suggested. "But we're a lot closer this year."