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Lewis Hamilton Q&A: I know we can fight Red Bull 29 May 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates his second position in qualifying in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 29 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 29 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with Nicole Scherzinger (USA) Pussycat Dolls singer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 29 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 29 May 2010

After clinching second on the Istanbul Park grid and separating Red Bull team mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in the times, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was all smiles in Turkey on Saturday. With a long race ahead of him on Sunday, Hamilton didn’t want to predict where he might finish, but he’s not ruling out the possibility of victory just yet…

Q: Lewis, can you talk us through your fastest lap?
Lewis Hamilton:
My lap was really good. The whole qualifying session worked very well. It was probably my best session so far this year, in terms of consistency and balance. I must say I am very happy with the balance that the car has and to be honest my fastest lap was very close to perfect - or as close to perfect as I possibly could get it. In fact it is my first front-row start this season!

Q: Could you also score your first win of the year?
LH:
I think we are in the closest position to do that and I can only hope and pray. Fingers crossed! Of course my plan is to win and I know that I have all the support of my friends and family. I will do everything tonight to prepare myself mentally and come back tomorrow and fight.

Q: McLaren seems to be the only team able to fight the Red Bulls…
LH:
Yes, it seems so. At the moment we are arguably the closest team and we are working very hard on it. Red Bull has a big advantage with something on their car at the moment, and once we get this, I am sure we will close the gap. In the meantime we are trying as best as we can to apply pressure. We are still four tenths down on the Red Bulls in the middle sector because of Turn Seven and especially Turn Eight, where they are easily flat out. For us, we haven’t had a big lift, and I am fighting the car very hard, but it is a work in progress and I hope we get a good result in the race.

Q: You seem to be smiling again…
LH:
Indeed it feels completely different to last year. Then the car felt terrible. Today it was the complete opposite - the car felt good, the balance was right and it was great fun to separate the Red Bulls. I have to thank the whole team - including the guys back home in the factory - they are under immense pressure. We want to win and we are edging ourselves closer and closer. I just walked by Mark’s car and said to myself that there’s just one more step to go! I know that we can fight these guys.

Q: When you went into qualifying did you think you could really separate Mark and Sebastian?
LH:
Definitely not! Compared to Barcelona I don’t think that we’ve made a huge step. We are constantly making small steps, but there’s been nothing to close the gap. They still have a big advantage, although it is not shown in the times today. But we’re going to get there and catch them up, and hopefully you will see Jenson Button and me up there!

Q: The start promises to be very exciting…
LH:
Mark’s not so much of a problem. If he gets a good start, he’s ahead. If anything, Sebastian tends to be very aggressive at the start. I want to finish the race, or at least have a race, so I will do anything to have a sensible start into the first corner and if I can challenge Mark, then I will. I am on the dirtier side of the grid and I hope they give it a bit of a clean tonight as it is really very dusty, but I will prepare my tyres as best as I can and hopefully get a good start.

Q: It seems Red Bull’s biggest issue is reliability. Could you take advantage?
LH:
It is. It’s going to be a long race that will be tough on the tyres. The great thing with our car is that we have a great reliability. I never want to wish for something bad to happen to anyone else, but we want to win fair and square. So let’s see what happens to everyone else!