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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: McLaren can break frontrunners' stranglehold 19 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, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Race, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 16 May 2010 Michael Douglas (USA) with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Race, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 16 May 2010

No victories, two podiums and seventh place in the drivers’ championship - the 2010 season may not be going quite to plan for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, but it hasn’t been for want of trying. Indeed Hamilton has been dealt more than his fair share of bad luck over the six opening races, and the British driver is optimistic things are finally looking up. With new developments for the MP4-25 and circuits that should favour the car’s strengths on the way, Hamilton is certain he can wrestle the title from the grasp of Red Bull team mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, as he explained to his official website...

Q: How do you look back on your fifth position in the Monaco Grand Prix?
Lewis Hamilton:
Obviously, I would’ve liked better, but I think the result showed that it’s just so difficult to overtake around Monaco. It’s no narrow, particularly when you’re running with cars of a similar pace, so it’s not really a place where you can ‘race’; because you can’t really attack. So the second half of my race was mainly about keeping the car away from the barriers, and just looking after it until the finish line. Anyway, we knew our car wasn’t going to be perfectly suited to Monaco, so to finish fifth and get some more points was pretty useful.

Q: Was there any reason why the MP4-25 wasn’t that well suited to Monaco?
LH:
Our car is better suited to faster, sweeping turns than to the tighter corners you get at Monaco, where you need quite a nimble car. So while we didn’t have a pace-setting car around Monaco, we always knew that would be the case, and we were still quite pleased with the pace we showed. I think we’ve already demonstrated that it’ll be a different matter at some of the high-speed circuits - places like Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka - where the car should be perfectly balanced.

Q: You’re seventh in the world championship - were you expecting more?
LH:
I think you can look at it two ways, you could say that we had some good opportunities in some of the early races and that we maybe didn’t make the best of those chances. You could also say we’ve done a good job overall, got a great deal of performance out of the car and possibly exceeded the expectation of what the car was ultimately capable of. I think the reality lies somewhere between those two areas: maybe I should have scored more points, but I know that I’ve raced to the best of my ability on every single lap of every single race, and that I got the maximum out of the car, so I’m satisfied with my performance, even if I’ve been a bit unlucky. It would be nice to have more points, yes, but I don’t think it’s something we should be too concerned about right now - there are plenty more races, and we have lots of opportunities to close the gap. It’s more important that we plan to break the stranglehold at the front than look back at what might have been. And that’s exactly what this team has always done, and what we’re doing now. We’re confident that we know what needs to be done to get back to the front.

Q: … and that is?
LH:
Wouldn’t you like to know! No, seriously, we’ve got some developments in the pipeline - they won’t be immediate, but we think we know what we need to do to close the gap to the leaders. In any case, we’re a lot more confident about what our pace will be like at tracks like Istanbul, Canada and Silverstone - we think our package will be a lot more competitive at those places, particularly in race pace, which has always been our strength. The important thing is to stay focused - one of the greatest strengths of the team is our ability to keep developing and refining our car during the season, and I’m confident that we’re heading in the right direction.