Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Some you win, some you lose 24 Aug 2009
Hell never know for sure, but a confused second pit stop may well have cost McLarens Lewis Hamilton victory in Sundays European Grand Prix. Is Hamilton downhearted? No - hes been in Formula One racing long enough to know that you have to be philosophical about such things. Now he is just looking forward to Spa, even though he doesnt expect the MP4-24 to be quite so competitive there, as he explained to his official website
Q: What are your thoughts coming away from the Valencia weekend?
Lewis Hamilton: It was a great weekend and the team ought to be really satisfied with our result. We can't complain, we're up there at the front and we led most of the race - some you win and some you lose. That's motor racing. As I've said before, we don't have the best car just yet, we've still got a lot of work to do but the positive thing is that I genuinely believe we can catch up.
Q: Are McLaren genuine contenders now?
LH: Before the recent upgrades, we'd have been hopeful of getting into the top 10 but now we're regularly hoping for a win or to finish second - and that's a big difference and very encouraging. We're definitely strong again - but we're not fastest. With KERS, we are there or thereabouts but we still lack two or three tenths to the Brawns. Hopefully we can make some further changes to our aerodynamic package - Spa will be an interesting test for us.
Q: What exactly happened during your second pit stop?
LH: During my second stint, I was saving fuel as well as trying to build the gap to Rubens. I wasn't sure whether I'd actually done enough for another lap but I got the call to do an extra lap just as I was coming into the pit lane. But it was too late: I was committed to coming in and knew I'd lose more time if I aborted my pit entry and continued for another lap. In terms of the procedure with the guys, they never make mistakes at the stops - they are the best - and that's why we win races. And it just happened that the team was expecting me in on the next lap, which is why there was a slight delay in getting the tyres ready. It was a misunderstanding and we did the best job we could. It's very rare that we do things like that, but it's not a problem and it didn't ultimately affect our finishing position.
Q: Was it frustrating to lose the race?
LH: I'm not frustrated. We've been finishing close to last all year so to just finish second is great - it's my first second of the year, so I'm quite pleased. We win and lose as a team - simple as. There are some races where there will be a problem with me on the track and some races where there will be a problem with the car or the pit stop. The fact is that we have been extremely quick - it was always going to be a very tight fight with Rubens (Barrichello), but he just had the overall pace to win. Our car can't match that - at the moment.
Q: What did you think about Rubens winning - it was like seeing two generations of F1 driver on the podium!
LH: It was a great result for Rubens - he was absolutely on it all weekend. I've got a huge amount of respect for him - he's a driver who's been in Formula One for a long time and has seen so much. He was racing back when Ayrton (Senna) was in Formula One, which is incredible. He did a fantastic job and drove a stonking race!
Q: Are you confident ahead of next week's Belgian Grand Prix?
LH: I don't think we'll be as competitive as we've been at the last few races, because Spa is a circuit where you need a lot of downforce. I think Brawn, Red Bull and even Ferrari will be fast there - it's a high-speed circuit and Ferrari has always been very quick there, so I'm expecting Kimi (Raikkonen) to be quick. It should also suit the Red Bulls because it's very high-speed and flowing and they have great downforce. But, like most races these days, it's going to be very competitive. For ourselves, we need to ensure that we are competitive without KERS, so that when we use it, it will give us the advantage that we need.
Q: Were you pleased to see that England won The Ashes on Sunday?
LH: Absolutely, I think it's a fantastic sporting achievement for this country. It's been a great summer of sport for Great Britain - people like Andy Murray, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Jenson (Button) have done so well. We should be proud of this country. I recently played cricket when I was in New Delhi with Vodafone and I know how much people are affected by it. Congratulations to the whole team, especially Andrew Strauss, who did a brilliant job as captain. Also, my best wishes to Andrew Flintoff, I wish him a happy retirement from test cricket.