F1: Hamilton desperate not to get left behind in race for title
Published 23/04/2013 | 09:55
LEWIS HAMILTON is hoping Europe's cooler climes will have a positive effect as he seeks to stay in touch in this year's Formula One title race.
There was no desert storm from Hamilton and Mercedes as the searing heat played havoc with his race in Bahrain on Sunday where he finished fifth.
It was a race of two halves for Hamilton who struggled miserably in the early part when track temperatures were a blistering 40 degrees plus.
But once those temperatures started to dip, Hamilton's car found a new lease of life and he was at least able to fight for respectability over the latter stages, breathtakingly going wheel to wheel with Mark Webber at one point.
As team principal Ross Brawn remarked: "We must make it a priority to cope better with elevated temperatures.
"The tyres are the same for everybody, and we are not performing as well as our competitors in the (hot) conditions."
With the first four flyaway races behind F1, with Hamilton trailing championship leader and Bahrain winner Sebastian Vettel by 27 points, the sport returns to its traditional stamping ground next month.
Seven of the next eight races - with the exception of Canada - are in Europe where Hamilton feels the situation will be more to the liking of Mercedes.
"To take fifth is a massive positive," said Hamilton, who had started ninth after being hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change not of his own making.
"I'm really happy, particularly after the opening lap which was a disaster for me.
"At that stage I didn't think fifth was possible, so to come away with it after falling so far back is massive.
"After these first four races we've definitely a lot of information, and going to a cooler Europe will be good for us.
"We've got one of the most difficult races out of the way for us in terms of the heat."
Aside from the penalty and the high temperatures, the 28-year-old has conceded to suffering difficulties throughout the weekend.
Hamilton is hoping the planned upgrades Mercedes have in the pipeline for the next race in Spain will aid his cause.
"It was a bad weekend in terms of the fact we had lots of problems with the car from the get go," added Hamilton.
"We were on the backfoot all weekend on my side of the garage, so to come away with the result we did was really pleasing.
"It shows there are a lot of areas we need to improve on, although we have stuff coming.
"I don't think it's going to cure everything, but it's definitely going to be a good step forward and in the right direction.
"At the moment, with two fifths and two thirds from the first four races I couldn't be happier.
"That's especially the case in that when I decided to join the team I knew potentially it could be a lot worse than that."