Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Giving up? No chance 14 Oct 2010
For someone who doesnt believe in luck, McLarens Lewis Hamilton has received more than his fair share of misfortune over recent weeks. From his DNFs in Italy and Singapore, to his gearbox issues in Japan, success has been in short supply since his victory in Belgium back in August. Though his spirits have been dimmed, and his championship chances reduced (hes now 28 points adrift of standings leader Mark Webber), Hamilton is not ready to concede defeat just yet. He explains more in an interview with his official website
Q: After a weekend like Suzuka, what positives do you take away from the weekend?
Lewis Hamilton: Its funny, Ive never believed in luck; Ive always believed you make your own luck. But that belief has been stretched a bit over the last four Grands Prix. I go racing with my heart, and I race hard, but that approach hasnt paid off too well for me recently. But every experience is a learning experience, and Ill certainly learn from these experiences and put that knowledge to good use in the future. Thats one positive. Another is just the simple fact that I got to the flag, scored some points and kept my world championship challenge on track. Weve seen how this years championship is very much a battle of consistency, so every single point is valuable. Finally, I was pleased with the pace we showed during the race. Jenson set the second-fastest lap, and, before my gearbox problem, I was closing down on Fernando (Alonso) and could even have made it onto the podium despite a five-place grid penalty. Given that we werent racing all the updates wed brought to Japan with us, I think that gives us a lot of encouragement for Korea and beyond.
Q: You lost third gear just as you were closing down on a podium finish - how did you adapt your driving style to cope without first, second and third gears?
LH: It wasnt easy at a track like Suzuka, because its such a flowing circuit - you need all the traction you can to keep your momentum up. But, fortunately, because its quite a fast track, youre not in the lower gears for too much of the lap. You need the traction from the low gears out of the hairpin and the chicane, but youre also missing it a lot out of the second Degner, where you need a lower gear to get the car planted properly. I was fortunate on Sunday, because Id already established quite a big lead over the sixth-placed car, so I didnt lose too much ground and could hold onto fifth. The good news is that the rules permit us to change the gearbox for Korea without getting another grid penalty.
Q: There are three races remaining - is the championship still a possibility?
LH: Its getting more difficult, Im fully aware of that. But, in a situation like this, I always look back at the 2007 season and what happened in those final two or three races. I think Kimi (Raikkonen) was 17 points behind with two races remaining, but he still managed to win the world championship. Ive learnt on more than one occasion that the world championship isnt won until the very last gasp - so Ive definitely not given up. I want to win again and I go to Korea believing we can do that. And, who knows, if that happens and the other championship contenders fail to score, then Im right back in it.
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