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Q&A with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton 20 Mar 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 20 March 2008 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates on the podium.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 16 March 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 16 March 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 20 March 2008

He made the best possible start to the season in Melbourne and now McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to more of the same in Kuala Lumpur this weekend. Once he has acclimatised to the Malaysia heat, he is also hoping to squeeze in a little sightseeing, and sample a spot of the local cuisine…

Q: Following the performance of the team in Australia, what are your expectations going into Malaysia?
Lewis Hamilton:
The race at Melbourne was the perfect start to the season for me, although it would have been that bit better to have Heikki (Kovalainen) on the podium as well. As I said over the weekend, the MP4-23 felt fantastic and I do feel we can go quicker, but Malaysia is a tough race. We are going to Sepang aiming to get another great result, but it is likely to be hotter again so it will be a big challenge. There is not much we can do with the cars between Australia and Malaysia as there is so little time, but we will keep pushing hard.

Q: You enjoyed the race last year and had some great battles on track, what are the key characteristics of the Sepang circuit that lead to exciting racing?
LH:
Sepang is a fantastic track, but the climate plays a major role making it very tricky for all of us, everyone is really on the limit and so is the car. The track is very high speed with some great overtaking opportunities, but in some places it is quite difficult to stay close enough to the car ahead. The Malaysian Grand Prix with our double victory last year was one of the best races of the season for the team, we had a great car and great pace. The race with both Kimi (Raikkonen) and Felipe (Massa) was good fun, hopefully the race will be as entertaining again this year!

Q: Can you outline the physical preparations you have made specific to the heat and humidity of the Malaysian race?
LH:
For Malaysia it is very difficult to prepare physically for the race, even more so this year, you cannot begin to imagine how hot it gets in the car. Last season we had the test session and a couple of weeks off so we were able to go to a hot country and train there to get acclimatised. This year we are going straight from Melbourne to Sepang, which gives us a couple of days to get used to the extreme heat. We have had a bit of a head start with the temperatures in Melbourne. The focus is always on making sure you are well hydrated, last year I was drinking up to four litres a day in the days building up to the race. It was the hardest race I have ever competed in last year, even with all that preparation and really trying to look after your energy beforehand.

Q: How are you spending your time between Australia and Malaysia?
LH:
We don’t really have much time, I left Australia on Monday and flew straight to Malaysia. The focus in the early part of the week will be training and acclimatisation; this also includes adjusting to the time difference. We will make sure we are eating at the right time and so on. Otherwise, I have nothing else planned. The hotel is quite far away from the Kuala Lumpur, as it is located very close to the track, so I plan to stay in the city for a couple of days. I didn’t see it at all last year, so I will take a look around, try some Malaysian food.