Hamilton to take 'cautious' approach
Pole-sitting McLaren to line up alongside Pastor Maldonado on the grid
Last Updated: 23/09/12 8:31am
Despite clinching a dominant pole position, Lewis Hamilton has vowed to take a "cautious" approach at the start of today's Singapore GP because of the "interesting characters" around him on the grid.
With Pastor Maldonado, with whom Hamilton has clashed on a number of occasions in the past, claiming an unexpected starting berth alongside the McLaren, there are no prizes for guessing who the 27-year-old might have had in mind when he identified "staying out of trouble" as the key to transforming pole into victory.
"There are some quite interesting characters around me on the grid so I will have to be very cautious," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham. "As long as I have a good start, I think I am in a good position.
"The aim is to have a good start because overtaking is difficult here and defending so much easier."
So long as Hamilton emerges unscathed through the first corner and is not unduly troubled by Maldonado, Sebastian Vettel is likely to emerge as the pole-sitter's strongest challenger for victory. Prior to qualifying, the Red Bull had appeared poised to claim a clean-sweep of fastest times, but Vettel was undone by a slow out-lap and will only start third.
"I'm a little disappointed, especially with Q3," said the reigning World Champion. "Nevertheless, it's a good place to start from on the grid. The pace is there within the car but we didn't do the last step in qualifying and it's a shame it didn't come together at the end."
As for Hamilton, he has once again expressed his faith in a team he could yet leave at the end of the year. Asked if he still felt confident that McLaren were behind him, Hamilton told reporters:
"Yes, 100 - no, 1,000% confident. I have 1,000% confidence in my team."
'My team'. Interesting.