Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Q. You didn't start from pole in Monaco, you picked up a puncture but you still won the race. When did it all sink in?

Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: I think probably on the last 20 laps, I thought that as long as I kept it out of the wall I was going to win the race. But it was a long 20 laps! And as you could see at the end of the race, I was very emotional.

Q. Did it just get better and better over the last few days. What have you been up to?

LH: After every race, I try and get over it quickly and focus on the next one. Obviously I had time to enjoy and I had a lot of time with my family on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at home. And then I came out here early. I went with a couple of friends to Los Angeles and from there I came straight here. So I've had time to do my training, enjoy some nice weather in the States - a pretty good time.

Q. You won your first race here in Canada last year. What do you remember of it?

LH: Coming here, it was my first time here - so I had never seen the surroundings. I had been to Montreal before but not really into the city. I remember it being a great experience - staying in a nice hotel, with nice people. And the weather was fantastic.

That weekend, after the problem I thought I had in Monaco, I came here with a clear mind knowing what was going to happen. And I outqualified my teammate, got it on pole and then it was pretty smooth sailing from there. I just looked at some data from last year - and I remember my first stint was incredible. I pulled a good ten to 15 seconds in the lead.

Q. How do you think your car compares this year to last year around this track?

LH: I think it is difficult to say. Last year I think we had a very good car. Obviously with the driving aids we had, I think the package was stronger in some areas than the ones we have right now. But that is because we have had some aids taken away. But we should be slightly better over the kerbs, which is definitely suited for this sort of circuit. And we've improved the engine and improved the aero, so we should be quicker overall.

"It is going to be interesting to see who is quick tomorrow. The car with the quickest car down the main straight, you know who they usually are, so it will be difficult to beat them. But I still feel quite optimistic and feel that we can make quite a big difference here.

Q. How much of a confidence lift was the Monaco result after Ferrari's run of victories?

LH: I don't think it really made much difference to be honest. We had had a couple of strong races. But I think mainly for the team, not for me, it was a big confidence boost. They have been working so hard and they deserved it more than anyone I think. For me, though, I didn't particularly need a confidence boost. I had had a couple of strong races before, so for sure it was nice to have a win - but I am not going to get overly excited about it.

Q. There has been a lot of turbulence in recent weeks and days about the Max Mosley issue. Do you follow this news, and does it make you think about what it means for F1?

LH: I haven't paid any attention to any of the stuff that has been said in the papers or in the news about F1. I am just focused on my job, and making sure I am ready for this weekend. I am focused on the title - that is really what I have got to nail down. I have to make sure we are consistent. The rest of it? I will let other people deal with that.

Q. Ferrari appeared to have made progress in Monaco and were ahead of you in qualifying. Does that bother you?

LH: I don't really think they made any progress. I think they have been quick all year and I don't think they particularly made a step compared to the previous race. But their car is better this year than last, so it was to be expected.

Q. Is it going to be more difficult than last year to beat them?

LH: Yeah, for sure.

Q. What are your most striking memories of winning here last year?

LH: Obviously I got my pole position, and I was happy with that. But I wanted to convert it into a win, and then I had all these safety cars put out. I had this big gap, then the safety car would come out, and then I had another gap. And so I thought, am I really supposed to be winning this race or not? But I still managed to pull it off. It was a spectacular win and I was thrilled about it - having my first Grand Prix win in my first Grand Prix season after such consistent races before it. Even now, when I look back at last year, I don't know how I did it all. It is so hard to be consistent.

Q. Looking back to last year, how much did your maiden win change you as a driver in terms of your confidence?

LH: I don't think it made a huge difference. The only difference it makes is that beforehand you know you can do it, but believing you can do it and then actually making it happen is a different thing. It showed people I was here to do business, and prove to myself that it is possible. And it has just sort of opened that doorway and I was able to win from then on. I think in confidence terms, I was confident already and building my confidence race after race, with more and more podiums.

Q. Did you see your competitors' attitude change to you after the win?

LH: Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think they started to realise that I was a real threat. I had already had a couple of good races. I think by then they were like: "Shoot, maybe he is for real! And he is a real competitor!"

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