Formula 1 - Hamilton unfazed by Red Bull's speed

Lewis Hamilton is not overawed by the qualifying pace shown by Red Bull in Australia, as he reckons he has a car that can match it.

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Formula 1 - Hamilton unfazed by Red Bull's speed
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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain powers around the track during the first practice session for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne (AFP)

Vettel qualified six tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton at Albert Park last weekend with many of Red Bull's rivals is no doubt that the RB9 appears to be the fastest car over a single lap.

When asked if he too was frightened by the Red Bull form, Hamilton said: "I don't think they had frightening pace in qualifying.

"I think if I was out at the same time and as late as they had gone out, I think I could have matched their time. So I don't think it was frightening pace. It was a circuit that was drying up."

Hamilton says that Mercedes has learned plenty of lessons about race tyre management from Australia, and has revealed that the outfit will focus more on set-up in Malaysian Grand Prix practice than it did last weekend.

Reflecting on what happened in Australia, he said: "We did something with the tyres which put the car more into understeer [on the super soft compound] and unfortunately when we made the change to new tyres it went too far the other way.

"So I went from massive understeer to massive oversteer. We just generally struggled with the balance.

"We didn't spend a lot of Friday setting up the car because we were testing a lot of components - which was perhaps the wrong way to go. This weekend for example we are going to focus on the set-up - we will make sure we do that."

Hamilton is hugely upbeat about the potential of the Mercedes, though, considering the fact that his relationship with the team is still in its infancy.

"I do feel positive about the car, I feel really positive about the team," he said. "They are moving very, very fast in terms of developing the car and how I like to work, and I think I am learning quite quickly how they like to work.

"Of course we could have done things better, but it was our first race together and no matter how much you prepare for it, you cannot prepare perfectly for a race. It is not until you do a race until you get an experience on how you will work together.

"I came away from there with 10 points and I feel really happy with 10 points.

"When I did the switch I didn't know where we would be and I definitely did not think I would come away from the first race with 10 points - and also with the feeling that it is not just going to be a lucky shot in the first race."

He added: "It is something we can try and continue throughout the year. You see all the other teams, the top teams, are really good at developing the car and moving forward very fast.

"That is something the team is ready to do and I am seeing it coming through so hopefully that shines this weekend."

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