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

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 7 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 passes Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 as they lap Lucas di Grassi (BRA) Virgin Racing VR-01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 The damaged car of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010

It looked set to be a good day for Lewis Hamilton, with McLaren closer to Red Bull on pace, and some excellent pit work helping him leapfrog Sebastian Vettel. Then came the problem with the front-left tyre deflating and 18 points disappeared, almost within sight of the flag. Unfortunate - but having delivered a flawless race to that point, Hamilton leaves Barcelona for Monaco with a clear conscience…

Q: Lewis, the race was unfolding very well for you - unfortunately it didn’t have a happy ending. Dropping out almost at the finish line must have been very disappointing for you…
Lewis Hamilton:
It was. It was a very good race for me and it was really fun to drive as we’ve made a real step forward in terms of the Red Bulls. The team worked great and to see that big step forward was great too. To have a podium finish would have been perfect for both championships. But then these things happen. I don’t know what it was. I just felt something on the steering and then the tyre blow-out. It was pretty unfortunate to have another tyre blow-out but I am sure we will find out what exactly happened. It was my fourth tyre blow-out in my Formula One career so far - more than other drivers in their whole lifetime!

Q: But up until that unfortunate moment you felt quite positive about the race?
LH:
Yes, absolutely. I felt that just had to cruise to the finish line. Obviously I had 40 or so laps on these tyres so to keep up with Mark (Webber) was impossible. I just tried to maintain the pace and keep the spot - and I was absolutely blown away that it was the last two laps that something happened, but that’s motor racing. I just keep the chin up and look forward.

Q: Had there been discussions on the team radio about coming in again to change tyres?
LH:
No, because the team said they were fine, and I also felt that this was the case. Sure, only up until that moment in turn three.

Q: Was what happened a sort of reality check?
LH:
Yes, probably.

Q: Eighteen points slipping through your fingers which would have taken you to P2 in the drivers’ championship - how hurtful will that be?
LH:
Unfortunately I’m further back now, especially because I feel that I’ve done a good job today jumping to second position in the race.

Q: Obviously during the race there were some issues with backmarkers. Can you say what happened from your point of view?
LH:
We lapped the backmarkers five or six times. It was insane. But not only that, the backmarkers were very poor in moving out the way. I know that it is not that easy, as I can remember from last year when I was lapped, but some of them almost stopped on the race line - I almost collided with them. That’s when it gets dangerous because there is such a big speed difference. I don’t know what can be done about it.

Q: But looking at Monaco where overtaking is very difficult, do you see a problem there?
LH:
I don’ know how you will handle this situation in Monaco. It will be very tricky. We just have to be aware.

Q: Are you looking forward to Monaco?
LH:
Yes, I am. It’s always such a special place to race. The track, the atmosphere – everything. Hopefully I will have more luck there.