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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: I love Monaco - I hope it loves me 14 May 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010

Lewis Hamilton has won at Monaco in every category he’s competed in, from Formula Three to GP2 and finally to Formula One. It’s clear then that there’s a genuine affinity between the Monte Carlo circuit and the McLaren driver. But after watching current team mate Jenson Button cruise to victory last year for Brawn, Hamilton is keen to make amends and match his 2008 success this season. And following Thursday’s opening day of practice, the British driver is optimistic the MP4-25 could power him to his first win of 2010…

Q: Lewis, how was Thursday practice for you?
Lewis Hamilton:
Obviously we weren’t at the top of the times, but the car felt very good and I love to race at this track. The weather was decent, at least for the majority of the running, so it’s a good feeling. I really love being at this circuit, and it feels so much better now than last year for me. In fact the car feels light years better than last year so, yeah, we’ve made some good steps forward with the set-up so I think we should be okay.

Q: Looking ahead to qualifying, how tricky will it be in terms of traffic?
LH:
We’ve managed it in the practice sessions so it is not impossible, but I predict that a lot of people will have messed-up laps, so for sure it will be very difficult out there. But of course everybody will do the best job possible.

Q: What does it feel like to race a Formula One car on this track?
LH:
It is really difficult to describe. Even if you drive a normal road car, and if you’ve been away for one year, you seem to forget how crazy it is. When you come back and look at these streets you think ‘wow, that’s going to be tough’. And when you are out there things seem to happen so much faster than normal, twice or three times the speed of another circuit. The barriers seem to be flying by. It’s very bumpy and you are always on the edge. You think that if you brake a little too late you are in the barrier, so you are going so carefully. It’s a fantastic feeling when you have good downforce - it feels phenomenal to drive here.

Q: After your running on Thursday, would you say things look good for the race?
LH:
Yes, we are looking pretty good for the weekend. Hopefully the weather will stay good and for sure we will keep our heads down to make the best possible preparations. Hopefully we’ll be fighting for the top three.

Q: You’ve won at this track in Formula Three, in GP2 and in Formula One racing. Why do you think you are so good around here?
LH:
I guess, generally, perhaps it is more my nature to take more risks than others would. It’s difficult to describe, so let me put it this way: maybe I am a little more aggressive than others. On top of that I love street circuits.

Q: Would you say that this is one of the tracks where the driver counts for more than his car?
LH:
Yes, I think the driver gets more out of the car here compared to other places, like Monza for example. It’s a driver’s track. It is a street circuit. It has no run-off areas and very little space for mistakes.

Q: Wouldn’t it be a fantastic place for your first win of this season?
LH:
Absolutely. This is the best place to win and I haven’t given up hope. We know how competitive everyone else is, so I need to keep my fingers crossed. But I am not under pressure to win this weekend. It will come eventually, as my performance has been very good so far this season, so I’m building on that.

Q: Did you primarily work on your race pace on Thursday?
LH:
No, we worked on both qualifying and race pace.

Q: Do you have any idea which tyres work better on this track?
LH:
Well, I would say both tyres are pretty similar, but my guess is that the option tyre is a little quicker.

Q: The Thursday times were pretty close. Do you feel you’re a little closer to the Red Bulls here?
LH:
It is always difficult to say what Red Bull are doing. Sometimes you get the impression that in Q3 they are able to pull out a huge chunk of time, so I really can’t talk about how they will go this weekend. What I can say is that we are competitive and that we can compete with them, as the top cars are very close together, and I hope it will stay this way. My prediction is that we will see a really interesting qualifying session.