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Q&A with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton 09 Oct 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren waves to the crowd.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010

On Friday Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for the Japanese race didn’t go quite to plan, with his heavy crash during Practice One ruling him out of most of the second session. Saturday's rainy conditions meant an even more unproductive day for Hamilton, but with everybody else in the same boat, the McLaren driver is optimistic…

Q: Lewis, what exactly happened to you on Friday?
Lewis Hamilton:
I crashed. In the early laps of the first practice session! But the guys did an incredible job to bring the car back for at least the last laps of session two.

Q: Are you trying too hard?
LH:
I was probably trying too hard. But had the gravel not been so slippery at that part of the track, the damage would have been a lot less. It was a very unlucky situation because you saw various people going off the track and suffer a lot less damage.

Q: When you went out for the last ten minutes of Friday’s session, did you get a feeling for the updates on the car - and for the track?
LH:
Well, I didn’t get a real feel of where the car is at the moment. There was a different feeling because of the rear wing, but with today’s conditions, which meant we haven’t run at all, and the few laps we did on Friday, it is hard to say anything definite.

Q: Are there enough spare parts of the new updates after you went off track on Friday?
LH:
Yes there are. And now, with a bit of extra time to fix it the car it will be as good as new on Sunday.

Q: So how was it on the track on Saturday?
LH:
It was unbelievable! Some of the worst conditions I have ever experienced in Formula One. Rivers were coming across the track from one side to the other. It was just crazy! I like going out in the wet, but to keep the tyres at the right temperature we have to go at a certain pace and that was completely impossible. There was aquaplaning everywhere. These cars are so strong - I think we are putting 700 or 800 horsepower down - and then to try to pull away in fourth gear! You just feel like a passenger.

Q: How have you kept busy while you were waiting?
LH:
I was sleeping at the back of the garage, and every time there was a new time set to check the track they woke me up 15 minutes beforehand.

Q: But the conditions are to your advantage…
LH:
Definitely. Yesterday I did so much damage to the ca, so the guys now have enough time to fix everything perfectly again. Because when we got ready for Practice Three this morning the car was not 100 percent, but tomorrow it will be.

Q: What about Sunday? Qualifying is set for 10 in the morning, but the conditions could stay the same as they were on Saturday…
LH:
Obviously we will all have to arrive much earlier than we normally do on a race Sunday. I guess we will all be here at 7/7.30 for what will be an unusually long Sunday! Naturally it will be paramount not to damage the car, as there will only be three hours between qualifying and the race and it would be very hard to repair a lot of damage. I definitely hope that the conditions will be better tomorrow.

Q: What will happen if the conditions do not improve?
LH:
Well, I definitely would like to do qualifying, but I could also go with the worst-case scenario as then Jenson (Button) would start from pole position and I would start from P2, as we would then start according to our car numbers. But once again - I would still prefer to have a qualifying session, even if it is wet or damp.

Q: Qualifying and race on the one day, do you see that ‘overtime’?
LH:
We drivers like to drive so this is not an issue. And as I have done no driving this weekend I am very much looking forward to getting back into the car again.

Q: What are your expectations for Sunday?
LH:
I don’t think we have any expectations. I want to get through qualifying safely and get as good a position as possible with the limited time that I have on the track. In the race, I hope to make my way forward and score as many points as I can.

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