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Ask the Expert - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton 14 Jul 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 9 May 2009 (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with Nicole Scherzinger (USA) Pussycat Dolls singer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 21 May 2009 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB5 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren and team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the beach.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 26 March 2009

What was McLaren's first Grand Prix car called? What is the capital city of Finland? At which race did Ayrton Senna score his first Formula One victory? How many constructors’ championships and drivers’ titles have McLaren won? And what was the Pussy Cat Dolls’ first Number One record? These are just some of the questions we thought Lewis Hamilton would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia test, ‘Ask the Expert’...

Q: Your team mate Heikki Kovalainen is Finnish. What is the capital city of Finland?
Lewis Hamilton:
Helsinki
Correct

Q: What was the Pussy Cat Dolls’ first Number One record?
LH:
Don’t Cha. I should know that one, shouldn’t I!
Correct - Hamilton’s girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger is lead singer of the US group.

Q: How much does it cost to join your official fan club?
LH:
With this question you really caught me on the wrong foot. Sorry, no idea.
Incorrect - adults £65 / €90 / $140; children: £20 / €40 / $60

Q: You were born in Stevenage. Can you name three other famous people to have come from the Hertfordshire town?
LH:
Let me think: Ashley Young and Jack Wilshere, both footballers. Sorry, but then my memory passes out.
Two out of three ain’t bad - an easy third would have been actor Rupert Grint, otherwise known as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Q: When, where and in what series did you enjoy your first single-seater victory?
LH:
I should know that - it’s my life! It was Formula Renault at Thruxton in 2002.
Full marks - 16 June 2002, to be precise.

Q: Can you explain oversteer in fewer than 15 words?
LH:
When the front turns in so sharp that the rear steps out.
Correct

Q: What was long-time McLaren team principal Ron Dennis’ first job in Formula One racing?
LH:
He started as a mechanic.
Correct - with the Cooper team in the mid 1960s.

Q: Whereabouts on your car’s livery is team partner SAP advertised?
LH:
This is my workplace! On the nose.
Correct

Q: What was the McLaren team’s first Grand Prix car called?
LH:
Must be something beginning with an M, but sorry, I don’t know.
Incorrect - McLaren Ford M2B.

Q: How many constructors’ championships and drivers’ titles have McLaren won in total?
LH:
That part of the team history I know: 12 drivers’ and eight constructors’ titles.
Correct

Q: Bruce McLaren scored his team’s first victory at which race?
LH:
Spa? Don’t know exactly the year, 1967 or ‘68…
Good enough - the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.

Q: Last year you became the youngest-ever world champion. Who remains the oldest driver to take their first title?
LH:
Was it Fangio? Ascari? No? No idea.
Incorrect - Nino Farina was 43 when he won the 1950 championship. Although a 46 year-old Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1957 world championship, it was his fifth drivers’ title.

Q: You clinched your first pole position and your first win at the same event - the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix. Which other current F1 drivers managed the same feat, albeit at different venues?
LH:
Webber, of course. The other one, let me think. Was it Felipe?
Correct - Felipe Massa at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix and Webber at the 2009 German Grand Prix. He could also have mentioned Sebastian Vettel at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Q: Can you guess how many test kilometres you covered last year?
LH:
Must have been a lot. Over 8000?
Half marks - pretty close. The actual answer is 9090.

Q: How many points, wins and pole positions have you scored so far during your Formula One career?
LH:
216, 9 wins and 13 poles.
Full marks

Q: Fresh from winning the drivers’ title in 1996, your fellow British driver Damon Hill moved teams and endured a tough follow-up season. What team did he move to and where in the standings did he finish that year?
LH:
He moved to Arrows and I believe he finished quite far back - was it ninth?
Half marks - he finished 12th.

Q: One of your driver heroes is Ayrton Senna. At which race did Senna score his first Formula One victory?
LH:
I should know that one. Must have been 1985 in a John Player Lotus, in Portugal.
Spot on

Q: In what year was the McLaren team founded?
LH:
1963.
Correct

Q: Your team mate Kovalainen has so far won one championship during his motorsport career. In which series did he claim the title?
LH:
World Series (by Nissan)
Correct - in 2004.

Q: Can you guess how many laps you led races for during the 2008 season?
LH:
Must have been around 300.
Close enough - 294 to be precise.

Final score: 22.5 points from a possible 28
Ask the Expert rating: 80%

Current leader board:
1. Heikki Kovalainen - 86%
2. Mark Webber - 84%
3. Lewis Hamilton - 80%
4. Kazuki Nakajima - 73%
5. Sebastien Buemi - 72%
6. Robert Kubica - 70%
7. Jenson Button - 69%
8. Giancarlo Fisichella - 68%
9. Nico Rosberg - 66%
10= Sebastian Vettel - 64%
10= Rubens Barrichello - 64%
12. Jarno Trulli - 58%
13. Nick Heidfeld - 57%
14. Adrian Sutil - 54%

More drivers coming soon.