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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Saturday, 29 May 2010 14:35 UK

Lewis Hamilton aiming for first win of 2010

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton happy to split up Red Bulls

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is aiming for his first win of 2010 after qualifying second behind Red Bull's Mark Webber for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who was 0.138 seconds off pole position, said he was optimistic he could take the fight to Webber and the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

"We have a good opportunity," said the 25-year-old Englishman.

"Red Bull have been untouchable nearly all year in terms of pace, so this is a real boost for the team."

Webber, the world championship leader, scored his third consecutive pole position but the margin was much smaller than it had been in the last two races.

In Spain three weeks ago Webber was a second faster than Hamilton, who was the fastest non-Red Bull in qualifying, while in Monaco he was on pole by 0.4secs from Renault's Robert Kubica.

Jenson Button

Button positive ahead of Turkish Grand Prix

And Hamilton predicted that in the race in Turkey his pace would be even closer to that of Webber and Vettel.

"I think on full fuel it will be a little bit closer," he said. "It feels great to be on the front row. I wasn't 100% happy with the balance yesterday, but today it was fine and I couldn't have asked any more from the car. The team have done a great job."

However, he admitted he was concerned about the fact that he would be starting on the inside of the circuit, where the surface is dirty and lacks grip because it is off the racing line.

This will mean he will have to be at least as concerned about losing a place to Vettel behind him as trying to pass Webber for the lead.

"I just want to finish and at least have a race," added Hamilton, who retired from second place in Spain on the penultimate lap following a wheel failure.

"I'll try to have a sensible start but the problem is we're on the dirtier side of grid. I do hope they give it a clean overnight."

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button will start fourth.

The 30-year-old said: "Fourth is not too bad but the last lap was frustrating. Being the last car is sometimes a good thing but there's more chance of someone going off ahead and Michael Schumacher went off in front me, I saw the yellow flag and decided to come in.


"We are a lot closer to Red Bull than I expected. My biggest problem is Turn Eight and I think we've run the car too low. We'll have a lot of fuel on board for tomorrow so it will be tough on Turn Eight."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he felt the team were a match for the Red Bull at all parts of the Istanbul Park track other than the 160mph Turn Eight, which only Webber and Vettel can take without lifting off the accelerator.

Whitmarsh said: "If you look at Turn Eight, we're not with the Red Bulls, but both Lewis and Jenson hung on in there. We didn't have qualifying pace but we have good race pace.

"This is a tyre-eating circuit, you can really damage tyres on Turn Eight which lasts for eight seconds. Lewis is capable at all times of winning. Overtaking a Red Bull is difficult but he'll try on the first corner."

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see also
Highlights - Turkish GP qualifying
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Webber storms to Turkish GP pole
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari will bounce back - Alonso
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher pleased with progress
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Senna lifted by Hispania progress
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP qualifying as it happened
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP qualifying photos
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
We can race Red Bull, say McLaren
28 May 10 |  Formula 1

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