Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Q. Qualifying. With such a competitive field, what kind of concern is it that a few tenths can make you lose so many places?

Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: For me it's not such a concern. It just shows that some people are doing a slightly better job. Qualifying for me was quite good last time, which is why I was a little bit surprised. I think it's great for the sport to see so many cars so close together, and it is more of a race then I think.

Q. You got on the podium in the last race, but do you think the team have gotten to the bottom of all the problems you've had since Australia?

LH: Yeah, I think so. For sure we are going to be faced with lots of different challenges on the way, but there are still 14 races to go. There's still a lot more than we can improve on and definitely what we will be doing is making sure we keep moving, keep working together and improving our car. This weekend I feel very optimistic. I feel fit, I feel happy and I think we can do the job this weekend.

Q. Have you got refinements to the car this weekend?

LH: There's not really any updates, but just analysing our last race. We have a lot of information about it, and there's lot of things we can improve on, not just with the car, but in the way we do qualifying and the way we do practice, and even in the race.

Q. So what's the aim for this race? Is Kimi the aim, as you are nine points behind him in the championship?

LH: This weekend obviously I want to get points, but I want to win. I miss winning, so that's my plan.

Q.At the end of June you are going to be meeting Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations, did you ever think a few years ago you could be in such a position?

LH: Absolutely not. Never in a million years would I have anticipated having the opportunity to meet someone. He is such a great sport, what a guy. I don't know what I am going to be saying to him, but I've been thinking about it and what I will say when I meet him. I am sure it will come to me when I get there.

Q. Ferrari won in Barcelona, but how encouraging was McLaren's pace in Barcelona - fuel-corrected in qualifying and then in the race to shadow the Ferraris?

LH: I think what's good is that over the weekend we got faster and faster. We went into the race and throughout the race we were quicker the whole way and the great thing is we were able to push them the whole race. So definitely it was, I wouldn't say a relief, but it boosted our confidence for the whole team, including myself, that we do have a very strong package and it is very, very close. We just need to work even harder to make sure we gain a tenth here and a tenth there. But I have no doubts that we can do that.

Q. At the launch you said you and Heikki had hit it off immediately, how has that relationship developed over the season?

LH: Really well. As I said Heikki is very easy to get on with. Fortunately he is well enough to race this weekend, which is great for the team and great for his year. It is just very easy, there is no stress, it's just really positive. He wants to beat me and I want to beat him. After the last race it was a bit concerning that he might not be fit for this race. I was able to speak to him while he was at the hospital. So it is that kind of relationship. We do a lot of travelling and training together, it's just very easy with him, he is a good laugh.

Q. The fact it's so tight in qualifying and that it is virtually impossible to overtake with the current generation of cars, is there a temptation to be more aggressive with the strategy now?

LH: I think it is really important to be disciplined. Considering there are so many cars, there are quite a few of us that are quite quick. It is really important that we cover ourselves. I think we do have a strong enough package to be able to go long, as we have done in the past, without losing too much ground. I think the long run has got to be the best. The strategy we have had in the past has been good it's just not paid off in the last couple of races, but I have to wait and see. I have to speak to the engineers and see what they want to do.

Q. Do you consider yourself a bit of an underdog this weekend, with Felipe having won here the last two years and Ferrari the last three?

LH: I never approach the race ever thinking I am the favourite anyway, it doesn't make any difference. Felipe has won here the last two years, but we are here to put an end to that I guess. It is the same every weekend. They have done a good job in the last few races and we will push hard to overcome that.

Q. How is your second career as an actor coming along?

LH: I wouldn't call it a second career, but I like acting, it was good fun. Today was always a good challenge when you turn up and do some flying or acrobatics or whatever it is. I like a new challenge, so I always welcome it. Sometimes it looks good and sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I am a perfectionist so I try and get in the right zone and do a good job.

Q. Some people suggest that because your lack of experience you and Heikki are struggling to find the right setup for the car. Would you agree?

LH: The experience Heikki and I have has nothing with us not being quick.

Q. You mentioned about missing winning. Does that anxiety grow the longer you go without the win?

LH: It does, I think so. We are racers and we want to win. I've tasted it quite a few times now, and that is what we are here to do. We are here to win, and as a driver when you come to a team you need to be innovative, you need to come with lots of ideas and keep on pushing the team, and the energy to keep on pushing and keep on asking questions.

That is the bit I love about this job. When you come to the race, and all that comes together and you win - it is one of the best feelings you can have. I believe in the team and my abilities, so I have no doubts that we can do it. But it is easier said than done, so I think this weekend we could have a good shot.

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