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Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 17:19 UK

Hamilton buoyed by McLaren pace

Venue: Istanbul Park Dates: 5-7 June 2009 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find complete listings here

Lewis Hamilton

We'll get there eventually - Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says his McLaren should be more competitive than expected in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix after a promising showing in Friday practice.

Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen posted the day's fastest lap - the team's best 2009 practice result - on a track where Hamilton had predicted a struggle.

Hamilton said: "We have better pace here than anticipated. That's due to all the hard work back at the factory.

"Every little bit that comes, it adds up bit by bit. We're getting closer."

Hamilton's season has fallen well short of his expectations as Formula 1's youngest ever world champion - his best finish was fourth at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April.

For this weekend's race, it definitely looks like we have the pace to be in the top 10

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton

But the team have made small improvements to the car at every race and, following three hours of free practice across two sessions on Friday at Istanbul Park, Hamilton uttered his most positive comments of the season.

"I had a couple of spins in P2 but if you're not pushing hard enough you don't spin," said Hamilton, who clocked the second fastest lap of the first practice session before coming 13th in the second.

"I'm not necessarily saying we have the speed of the other top guys but we're getting closer, I think.

"The gap was further away a few races ago. We are edging our way closer and Kers [power boost system] should help us a little bit here as well.

"We will get there eventually - we are working as hard as we can. We've always said it just takes time and we are still focusing on this year while keeping an eye on what's in the future.

"I've not really looked at the times but Heikki did a great job today and he seems to be fast enough. I'm not sure what fuel he's on.

"For this weekend's race, it definitely looks like we have the pace to be in the top 10."

After finishing 12th after starting from the back of the grid in Monaco two weeks ago, Hamilton had warned that he expected McLaren to struggle in Turkey because the car was not well suited to the track's high-speed corners.


But on Friday he said: "It's been a complete hustle all year to get into the top 10 but we are just hustling and grinding and trying to get every little bit out of the car - and some races we do and some we don't.

"But I think that we are getting more out of the car each race.

"I'm pretty happy with what we've been doing - if we had started a lot closer we would have caught up by now but we are quite a long way away.

"I've got plenty left in me. I will give every ounce in me to get back to the front and to score points.

"I definitely prefer a scrap when you're quick enough to win races than scrapping from the back - but it's still a pretty hard scrap from the back. The car is quite a bit different to last year."

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see also
Turkish Grand Prix practice results
03 Jun 09 |  Results
Kovalainen tops Turkey practice
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
We'll get there eventually - Hamilton
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Legal settlement saves British GP
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Turkey GP practice as it happened
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP practice photos
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore calms F1 walk-out threat
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Championship already over - Massa
04 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton fears continued struggle
24 May 09 |  Formula 1

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