Hamilton knows hard work will be needed to put McLaren back on track in Barcelona
22:11 GMT, 23 April 2012
Lewis Hamilton is ready to put in the extra miles to help McLaren solve the mystery of their alarming lack of pace in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button are not scheduled to take part in a three-day session at the Mugello track in Italy next week, with McLaren back-up drivers Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett pencilled in to share the duties at the first mid-season test for three years.
But after a promising start to the 2012 campaign, such is Hamilton’s concern at the speed in which McLaren’s rivals have caught up that he admitted he may not be able to wait three weeks until the next race in Barcelona to get back in the cockpit.
At the wheel: Hamilton drives in Bahrain on Sunday
'I need to get back in the car,' said a frustrated Hamilton whose lack of speed in Bahrain was compounded by two bungled pit stops. 'We need to figure out why the tyres are going off. If there are other things to test or ways to figure that out I will be the one to do it, not let someone else do it.'
The return to Europe after four flyaway races is traditionally the time when teams bring major upgrades to their cars.
And with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull back on song after earning their first victory of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton is understandably worried about the formidable duo disappearing over the horizon like last season.
Plenty to ponder: Hamilton speaks to the press after the Bahrain race
'We have a lot of work to do,' said Hamilton who could only finish eighth in Bahrain while Button did not even make the chequered flag. 'We really have to make some big improvements to the car because the qualifying pace is there but the race pace, at least in Bahrain, was miles off.'
The same applied to McLaren’s pit stops with even Button’s relatively trouble free visits to the garage lagging behind those of their rivals.
With both their drivers having lost valuable seconds during tyre changes this season, McLaren are considering copying pit-stop pacesetters Ferrari who, along with Mercedes, have an innovative system where the wheel nut is integrated into the rim.
The design limits issues of crossing threading which has dogged McLaren and has seen Ferrari achieve tyre changes times of less than three seconds this season.