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Exclusive Q&A - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton 22 Sep 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren, McLaren Mercedes MP4-23, Italian Grand Prix 2008, Monza, Saturday, 13 September 2008. © Martin Trenkler / Reporter Images Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 14 September 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 5 September 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 5 September 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 5 September 2008

While Lewis Hamilton awaits the outcome of his Spa appeal hearing in Paris, the championship heads into its decisive, final phase. With testing complete and just four flyaway races left, the question is who did enough in last week’s sessions to gain a pivotal edge? Theoretically six drivers are still in the title hunt. Realistically it’s likely to be decided between Felipe Massa and Hamilton. And the McLaren star is ready for it, determined not to throw it away at the last minute, as many felt he did last season…

Q: Lewis, for someone supposedly en route to the title, the Monza race must have been pretty hard to swallow. Your worst qualifying so far and just two championship points…
Lewis Hamilton:
Of course it wasn’t the result I was looking for going into the weekend, but part of the charm of Formula One is that it is unpredictable. As I said after the race, I was more relieved than anything to come away with some points. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the race.

Q: Your nearest title rival, Felipe Massa, was in a similar situation. Were you surprised that the two top teams were upstaged by an underdog?
LH:
I think we shouldn’t be surprised at anything in Formula One. All the other teams and drivers are professionals and here to race and win if possible. I am really pleased for Sebastian (Vettel), he did a great job. Winning your first race is a fantastic feeling, and good luck to anyone who can achieve this dream.

Q: What does the Monza result mean for your Singapore preparations? McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa clocked the best time on the last day at Jerez last week - the final test of the season - so obviously the team’s pace looks good…
LH:
The Monza result doesn’t mean anything for the next race. Each race is different, but I prepare the same for them all. I am looking forward to the race and I’m sure it will be an exciting weekend. Pedro gave reassuring feedback while I was at the McLaren Technology Centre working on our preparations for Singapore.

Q: There are 40 points still up for grabs - and theoretically six drivers still in the championship hunt. Who do you consider to be the biggest obstacle between you and the title?
LH:
I don’t think about the title or the other drivers, I just think about doing the best job I can each time I get into the car. Clearly a number of drivers can still win the title and so I have to make sure that I do my best.

Q: Are you banking on the fact that Ferrari are now in a similar position to McLaren last year - two team mates fighting for the title and the other team’s driver walks away with it?
LH:
I don’t bank on anything other than myself and my team. I am focused on my challenge and my racing.

Q: Has there been any internal discussion over whether Heikki (Kovalainen) will drive to support you if necessary?
LH:
No, but we are driving together as team mates to try and win the constructors’ championship for McLaren Mercedes.