Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Conducted and provided by McLaren's press office.

Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

Q. Given all that's been said about the pace of the car, what were your thoughts ahead of the race on Sunday?

Lewis Hamilton: "I was sat on the grid thinking, 'Shall I take it a bit easy into the first corner, knowing it's a long race, and be patient... or shall I just go for it and try to overtake as many cars as I can before Turn One?' In the end, I decided to be cautious: I knew there was likely to be trouble going into the first corner and I didn't want to be part of it. Then, after that, I just put my foot down, and I didn't back off for the entire race."

Q. We could see your commitment via the onboard footage - there were some hairy moments, particularly exiting Turn Nine.

LH: "Yeah, actually Turn Nine was one of my best corners. The car was quite planted through there so I felt reasonably confident in getting the throttle down hard and being able to deal with the rear-end. In other places, it wasn't so easy. It felt like there were four or five times through each corner where the car could snap away from you.

"And I was pushing so hard, and you knew it was coming, you were waiting for it, worrying about it, knowing that the car was going to break away and you were going to have to wrestle it back under control. That happened in every corner for 58 laps - it was an exhausting race for me."

Q. Do you think this was one of your best drives in Formula 1?

LH: "It was one of the most unexpected results of my Formula 1 career and, yeah, I think it was one of my best drives too. I'm a fighter, I've never given up at any stage of my motorsport career - both on and off the track - and last weekend was the same. I pushed like crazy on every single lap of the race, always looked for the gap and worked with the team over the radio to find every possible way of making us go quicker.

"This was a fantastic result for me, but also a brilliant team effort - our strategy was perfect, the input from the pitwall was superb and everything came together really well. On paper, the result may not look as strong as our victories, but to come from 18th on the grid to finish third, in a car that we admit is not as good as it should be, is a mega achievement."

Q. What did you learn from this race?

LH: "I learnt to never, ever, ever, give up. We showed in Brazil last year that we would always fight until the very end, and we showed it again in Melbourne yesterday. I'll never give up when I'm in the cockpit - I want to race as hard as I can and I'm looking forward to getting closer to the front and mixing it with the leaders again. Also, Melbourne gave us a clearer idea of which teams have done the best job over the winter. I've got to say again how much respect and admiration I've got for Ross Brawn and all the men and women at Brawn GP.

"They've done an awesome job over the winter, worked so hard in such difficult circumstances, that it must have been a dream come true for them to finish one-two with Jenson and Rubens. He must have had a very worrying winter, and he certainly had a few tough years before that, so he really deserves this success. It must have been a brilliant feeling for him to be able to stand on the podium yesterday, waving to his team.

"I saw a photo of the podium on the internet this morning - he looked really, really happy. They've shown just what an incredible sport we have and just how unpredictable F1 can be - I just wish I could have been on the podium to share his celebrations on Sunday."

Q. Why are you so confident that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes can bounce back?

LH: "Because we haven't forgotten how to win. We're a world-class team, in fact, and while we're not yet at the front, everything within the McLaren Technology Centre is equipped to help us get back there as quickly as possible. From the strategists, the manufacturing capacity, the management, the mechanics - everybody has what it takes to win grands prix and world championships.

"That's why I'm so confident that we'll get back to the front soon. I think Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the strongest team in Formula 1 - and I know just how hard we are focusing on improving MP4-24. That's why I feel so confident that our performance will improve."

Q. Is that something we'll see in Malaysia this weekend?

LH: "The Malaysian Grand Prix is the second of two back-to-back flyaway races, and it's difficult for any team to make big changes to the car when it's so far away from the factory and there's so little time. Also, technically speaking, Sepang is a harder test of a Formula 1 car than Albert Park, so we can't realistically expect a repeat of the result we saw in Melbourne. But we're targeting upgrades and improvements at every race, so I hope they'll have a benefit. I know people are hoping for a night-and-day change in our car's pace, but that's not going to happen this coming weekend."

Q. So when will it happen?

LH: "The aerodynamicists and engineers are working round the clock back at Woking to make us competitive. We're taking huge steps forward and I'm confident we'll show definite signs of progress sooner rather than later."

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